The sinuses are a connected system of hollow cavities in the skull. The paranasal sinuses are located in your head near your nose and eyes. They are named after the bones that provide their structure.
• The maxillary sinuses (The biggest sinus cavity is the maxillary cavity, and it is one of the cavities that most often becomes infected.), in the cheekbones.
• The frontal sinuses, in the low-center of the forehead.
• The ethmoid sinuses, between the eyes, at the nasal bridge.
• The sphenoid sinuses, in bones behind the nasal cavity.
Sinus infections happen when fluid builds up in the air-filled pockets in the face (sinuses), which allows germs to grow. Viruses cause most sinus infections, but bacteria can cause some sinus infections too.The sinuses make thin mucus that drains out of the channels of the nose. This drainage helps keep the nose clean and free of bacteria. Normally filled with air, the sinuses can get blocked and filled with fluid. This is also called rhinosinusitis, with “rhino” meaning “nose”. The nasal tissue is almost always swollen if sinus tissue is inflamed.
Several factors can increase your risk of getting a sinus infection:
- A previous cold
- Seasonal allergies
- Smoking and exposure to secondhand smoke
- Structural problems within the sinuses (such as growths on the lining of the nose or sinuses, known as nasal polyps)
- A weak immune system or taking drugs that weaken the immune system
For infants and young children, spending time in day cares, using pacifiers or drinking bottles while lying down could increase the chances of getting sinusitis.
For adults, smoking increases the risks for sinus infections. If you smoke, you should stop. Smoking is harmful to you and to the people around you.
Common symptoms of sinus infections include:
- Runny nose
- Stuffy nose
- Facial pain or pressure
- Mucus dripping down the throat (post-nasal drip)
- Sore throat
- Bad breath
There are different types of sinusitis:
- Acute bacterial sinusitis: This term refers to a sudden onset of cold symptoms such as runny nose, stuffy nose, and facial pain that does not go away after 10 days, or symptoms that seem to improve but then return and are worse than the initial symptoms (termed “double sickening”). It responds well to antibiotics and decongestants.
- Chronic sinusitis: This term refers to a condition defined by nasal congestion, drainage, facial pain/pressure, and decreased sense of smell for at least 12 weeks.
- Subacute sinusitis: This term is used when the symptoms last four to twelve weeks.
- Recurrent acute sinusitis: This term is used when the symptoms come back four or more times in one year and last less than two weeks each time.
How can I tell if I have a sinus infection, cold, or nasal allergy?
It can be difficult to tell the difference between a cold, allergies, and a sinus infection. The common cold typically builds, peaks, and slowly disappears. It lasts a few days to a week. A cold can transform into a sinus infection. Nasal allergy is inflammation of the nose due to irritating particles (dust, pollen, and dander). Symptoms of a nasal allergy can include sneezing, itchy nose and eyes, congestion, runny nose, and post nasal drip (mucus in the throat). Sinusitis and allergy symptoms can happen at the same time as a common cold.
If you are fighting off a cold and develop symptoms of a sinus infection or nasal allergy, see your healthcare provider. You will be asked to describe your symptoms and medical history.
The goals of treatment for sinusitis are to:
- Improve drainage of mucus and reduce swelling in the sinuses.
- Relieve pain and pressure.- take some pain killer
- Clear up any infection.- by suitable antibiotics ( Augmentin would be better)
- Prevent the formation of scar tissue, and avoid permanent damage to the tissues lining the nose and sinuses.
SOME HOME REMEDIES TO TREAT SINUSITIS:
- Use a humidifier.
- Breathe in steam vapors.
- Put a warm, wet towel on your face. It can take off some of the pressure.
- Try a nasal saline solution (Saline is salt water).
- Flush out your sinuses using bulb syringes or Neti pots.
- Drink lots of fluids but avoid alcohol .
- Eat immune-boosting foods