Sinusitis: Symptoms, Causes and Treatments
Do you often complain of headaches and pain around the eyes and the cheeks? It could be sinusitis. Sinusitis is a common medical condition that leads to swollen sinuses. Sinuses are nothing but the hollow cavities that are present on the frontal part of the skull – behind the nose, at the lower centre of the forehead, near the cheekbones and between the eyes. In their normal state, these 4 sinuses are empty and lined with a thin tissue called mucosa. When any of the sinuses get infected it leads to sinusitis – a condition when the mucosa is inflamed and the cavity gets filled with mucus.
How do I know if I have sinusitis?
Look out for these sinusitis symptoms:
- Pressure or pain in the face
- Excessive mucus in the nose
- Blocked nose
- Inability to distinguish smells
- Facial congestion
If you suffer the above symptoms then you most likely are suffering from acute sinusitis. These cold/ flu-like symptoms are said to fade away in 4 to 12 weeks. But if these symptoms continue beyond 12 weeks, this could be a sign of chronic sinusitis – a more severe and aggravated form of the ailment. Apart from the symptoms above mentioned, a person suffering from chronic sinusitis will also endure the following signs:
- Foul smelling breath
What causes sinusitis?
When mucus or fluid gets stuck in the sinuses it encourages germ buildup in the cavities which leads to the breeding of viruses, bacteria, fungi, etc. that infect the sinuses.
- Almost 90% of sinusitis cases are due to viruses. This happens when you suffer from cold quite frequently and the flu virus remains in the system.
- Nasal polyps can lead to sinusitis. Polyps are non-cancerous teardrop-shaped growths in the inner lining of the nasal passage which obstruct the cleansing process of the sinuses. If you are an asthma patient or suffer from an auto-immune disease, then you are more susceptible to these growths.
- Smoking directly destroys the sinuses’ self-cleansing mechanism, thus leading to mucus buildup and eventually sinusitis.
- Excessive use of inhalers and decongestant nasal sprays makes you dependent on them and eventually resistant to them. This makes it difficult for you to get rid of excessive mucus and leads to sinusitis over time.
- The risk of sinusitis increases if your nasal passage is frequently irritated with allergens like dust, animal dander, pollen grains, etc.
How can I get rid of sinusitis?
Getting your nasal tract or sinuses rid off the trapped mucus is the basic remedy for sinusitis. You can achieve this by following these easy and safe sinusitis treatments that you can try at home:
- Rinse your nostrils with over-the-counter nasal washes or warm salt water.
- Use decongestant nasal sprays. They will help reduce the discomfort and pain but do make sure you don’t use them beyond 3-4 days or else they can aggravate your symptoms.
- Inhale steam by placing your head over a pan containing hot water. The vapours will moisten the sinuses and melt out the mucus.
- Doctor prescribed antibiotics can be useful if the sinusitis is caused by bacteria. In order to reduce the risk of virus-induced sinusitis, the basic remedy is to avoid catching a cold.
- To further moisturize your sinuses and to soften the trapped mucus, drink ample water and fluids. Avoid beverages that contain alcohol and caffeine as they tend to dehydrate you.
If these remedies fail to ease your symptoms or if you still experience them even after the passage of 12 weeks, consult your doctor immediately. Certain severe cases may even require a minor surgery. To get in touch with the best ENT specialists in your city book an appointment with Apollo Spectra.