Problems with sinuses affect people of all ages. This condition is also known as sinusitis, and described as an inflammation of the paranasal sinuses. In many cases, sinus problems are caused by viral infections, and they typically resolve in a course of 10 days. However, in more serious cases, problems with sinuses arise due to infection, allergy or autoimmune diseases. Sinusitis is also classified by the duration and severity of inflammation. Acute sinusitis resolves in less than four weeks, subacute can last anywhere from four to eight weeks, while chronic sinusitis lasts for eight or more weeks.
Causes and symptoms of sinusitis
Acute sinusitis typically occurs as a side-effect of an upper respiratory tract infection. It can be caused by viruses or bacteria. Somewhere between 0.5% and 2% of viral sinusitis results in subsequent bacterial sinusitis, since the nasal irritation from nose blowing develops in bacterial infection. Frequent episodes of sinusitis are most common in people with a compromised immune system and diabetes.
Chronic sinusitis can be caused by many different diseases and often includes nasal congestion, pain in the face, frequent headaches, thick green or yellow discharge, tightness in the face, problems with breathing and sleeping. These patients may have chronic problems with sore throat and bad breath, as well as low-grade discomfort across the bridge of the nose.
Dealing with sinusitis
In cases of acute sinusitis, no treatment will be necessary. Simple self-care techniques may help to alleviate the unpleasant symptoms and speed up the recovery. One of the best ways to deal with sinus infection is to steam the sinus cavities on a regular basis. This simple technique is performed by draping a towel over the head and breathing in the steam from the bowl of hot water. One can also add mint or eucalyptus drops to steaming water to get the maximum benefits.
It is also good to apply warm compresses on the face using warm damp towels. Towels are usually placed around the nose, on the cheeks and above the eyes to alleviate the pain.
A simple neti pot is a handy bottle designed for cleaning the nasal passages. This is very important because it helps to clear the airways and get rid of the bacteria.
Patients may also find helpful to sleep with slightly elevated head and drink a lot of fluids to help the body fight with the infection and dilute mucous secretions from the nose.
If everything else fails, doctors will probably prescribe saline nasal spray, nasal corticosteroids or even antibiotics as a part of a treatment.