Sinusitis is a rather upsetting condition. The thick mucus gathered in the nasal passages and in the sinuses blocking them causes several unpleasant symptoms, and pain and a feeling of pressure in the face are the most prominent ones. Luckily, there is relief from this condition, and in fact, it is recommended to act on it as soon as the symptoms start, otherwise the infection may become even worse.
Sinuses are hollow cavities filled with air, located behind the cheekbones, eyebrows and jaw. There are four pairs of them, and they connect the nostrils and nasal passages. They also cushion the skull and insulate the brain, and they allow the voice to resonate.
Sinuses secrete a fluid that serves to collect and expel bacteria and foreign particles out of the passages, with the help of tiny hairs on the sinus walls, called cilia.
Sinusitis occurs when the sinus liming becomes inflamed and swollen, trapping the fluid inside. The fluid generates pressure, which results in pain. Sinusitis can last anywhere from several days to several weeks. It can be acute, chronic or recurring, and it can range from mildly irritating to debilitating.
Causes of sinusitis
There can be many different causes of inflammation of the sinuses. Allergens can cause it, especially pollen and dust, and it can be caused by microorganisms, usually viruses or bacteria. Sudden climate changes, changes in altitude, smoking, swimming and overuse of nasal sprays are other possible causes of sinusitis. In addition, sinusitis can be caused by small growths called polyps, which need to be surgically removed.
Treatment for sinusitis
If the infection is caused by bacteria, it is important to establish that and to start taking antibiotics. Otherwise, the infection can spread further, for example to the ears.
In case of allergies or viral infections, sinusitis can be relieved using home remedies or over-the-counter medications. Pain killers, such as Tylenol, can be helpful for the pain. In case the problem is caused by allergies, an antihistamine should be used. It is, however, important, to try and remove the mucus stuck in the sinuses.
Nasal washes, which usually use saline solution, are very helpful for unblocking the sinuses. It is also recommended to inhale vapors, which will loosen the mucus and make it easier to expel it. This can be done by heating a large bowl of water and adding a few drops of an essential oil, for example eucalyptus. The vapors are then inhaled for several minutes, with the head covered with a towel.
In order to successfully overcome sinusitis, it is very important to stay hydrated. Large amounts of fluids will help break down the mucus, and it will be much easier to remove it from the sinuses.