Sinus infection, also known as sinusitis, is an inflammation of the paranasal sinuses. Sinuses are hollow spaces in the bones surrounding the nose. Mucus is normally produced in the sinuses and when the inflammation occurs the tissue becomes swollen and blocks the sinuses causing the pain and infection.
Causes of sinusitis
Sinusitis normally occurs as a result of an infection, allergic reaction or as an autoimmune disorder. Sinusitis may be acute or chronic. Acute sinusitis is a result of a bacterial infection associated with the common cold, and it usually lasts less than a month. Chronic sinusitis lasts longer than three months and it may be caused by some other underlying disease.
Bacteria are the most common direct cause of acute sinusitis. Typically, health problems are starting with a common cold or flu. These conditions may support the bacterial sinusitis by creating favorable surroundings in the sinus cavities.
Untreated acute sinusitis may be direct cause of the chronic sinusitis. In this case, chronic sinusitis develops because of the damage to the mucus membranes. Chronic sinusitis may also develop in patients with compromised immune system, patients with structural abnormalities, or those allergic to fungi.
Now it is clear that sinusitis is not a contagious infection. However, cold or flu, which usually precedes sinusitis, may be spread to other people.
Symptoms of sinusitis
Sinusitis is described by a strong, dull and constant pain and pressure in the head and face regions. The pain most commonly originates from the area around the eyebrows, starting on one side of the head and gradually spreading to both sides. Pain may radiate all the way to the cheekbone. Facial tissue may also appear tender, red, and swollen.
Usually, a thick nasal discharge is present. The discharge is most commonly green and may contain pus or traces of blood. Commonly, there is a sensation of constant mucus dripping down the throat behind the nose. This may affect the bacterial infection in the throat and extremely bad breath.
Sinusitis may also provoke a toothache or dull pain in the eye region. Furthermore, infection of the eye socket or facial bones is possible complication of severe sinusitis.
Treatment of sinusitis
It is often difficult to treat chronic sinusitis successfully. But generally, the medical treatment of sinusitis involves antibiotics and decongestants. The nasal sprays are also available over-the-counter. Drinking a lot of fluids and hot beverages may help to ease the symptoms of sinus infection. Breathing in hot steam or covering the face with hot towel, may also be helpful.