What is Sinusitis?

Sinuses are air-filled cavities within the facial bones. The sinuses connect each other and they also connect to the nose through small openings. Four pair of sinuses are present – frontal sinuses (forehead), maxillary sinuses (behind the cheekbones), sphenoid sinuses (behind the nose), and ethmoid sinuses (between the eyes and the bridge of the nose). The inflammation of the mucosal lining of the sinuses is known as sinusitis. It can be caused due bacterial infection, viral infection or due to allergies.

The swelling of the mucosal lining of the sinuses blocks the normal drainage of the fluids into the nose and throat. This results in the sinusitis symptoms such as headache, dizziness, and facial swelling etc. Also, the fluids build up over time and this makes it an ideal breeding ground for further bacterial or viral infection.

What Causes Sinusitis?

Sinusitis can be caused due to bacterial infections, viral infections or fungal infections. Viral infection is the most common reason behind sinusitis. Allergy is also a common reason behind sinusitis. During sinusitis, the mucus and the other secretions accumulate, this results in headache, fever, fatigue and other symptoms.

Symptoms of Sinusitis:

  • Pain over the areas of the face ( behind the forehead, brow, eyes)
  • Nasal congestion
  • Dizziness
  • Fever
  • Green or yellowish nasal discharge
  • Headache
  • Increased headache on bending
  • Facial swelling, especially around the eyes
  • Coughing

Home Treatment for Sinusitis:

Here are a few tips to relieve sinusitis:

  • Drink lots of water. This can help in loosening up the mucus
  • While lying down, elevate your head. This will minimize the congestion
  • Use warm compresses on your face to relieve the pain
  • Fill hot water in a bowl and inhale the steam. You can put a towel over your head to prevent the steam from escaping. This will loosen up the mucus and reduce the congestion
  • Use a humidifier
  • Saline solution can be used to irrigate the nose. This can help in washing out the accumulated mucus

Sinusitis Treatment:

Antibiotics are used if the sinusitis is caused due to bacteria. Over-the-counter pain killers such as ibuprofen can relieve the pain associated with sinusitis. Decongestants help in reducing the nasal congestion. Saline sprays can also be used to loosen the mucus and relieve the nasal congestion.

Sinus infection can last for shorter periods or longer periods. Acute sinusitis lasts for less than 4 weeks, while chronic sinusitis can last for 12 weeks. If the sinusitis does not resolve in 1 week, it is important to consult your doctor. Treatment of sinusitis can resolve the symptoms in 4 days. Hence, if you experience the symptoms of the sinusitis, do consult your doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment.

1 response to What is Sinusitis?

  1. Hi, great overview and thanks for including “home” stuff. It’s too easy to go right to meds — there’s plenty you can do before that!
    Nasal irrigation, neti pots and such are a great place to start and a good idea even for those without sinus trouble.
    Do take it seriously though. See a doctor if it’s chronic sinusitis and have the CT Scan if recommended. Options after that are usually sinus surgery or balloon sinuplasty.
    That’s it for now. Thanks!

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