Sinusitis occurs because of the infection of the sinuses or cavities of the nasal passage, causing an inflammation and swelling of the tissue lining them. The usual cause is a virus, and the infection persists even when the upper respiratory symptoms have disappeared. Bacteria or fungi can also cause it, but this is rare. The condition can also be triggered by factors such as allergies, a tooth infection, a deviated septum, or nasal polyps.
Acute Compared with Chronic Sinusitis
Acute sinusitis stays around only for a short period. The acute infection can be due to an allergy or cold. On the other hand, chronic sinusitis lasts longer, sometimes more than eight weeks. Most of the symptoms of sinusitis are seen in both acute and chronic cases.
One of the main symptoms of sinusitis is pain. All human beings have sinuses which are located above and below the eyes and at the back of the nose. If you are infected with sinusitis, your sinuses will ache because of the swelling and inflammation. Pain will also be felt on the face, sides of your nose, the jaws, and even teeth and eyes. It can result in a headache as well.
Discharge by Sinusitis
A runny nose can be a characteristic of a sinus infection. Your infected sinuses will produce greenish-yellow mucus. In some cases, the discharge may flow down to the throat. This is what is known as postnasal drip. It will usually cause coughing especially at night during sleep and in the morning when you wake up. It is also accountable for your voice becoming hoarse.
When a sinus is inflamed, breathing through your nose can be restricted and you may not be able to breathe well. The sinuses and nasal passages swell because of the infection. It is likely that you will also lose your senses of smell and taste due to nasal congestion.
When you have sinusitis, there is a lot of pressure in the affected areas, and the sinuses become swollen which can make your head ache. Pain in the ears, teeth, cheeks, and jaws is caused by the pain that occurs in the sinus. In the mornings, you will likely experience a lot of pain because of the fluid that has accumulated over the night. Quick changes in the temperature of your surroundings can make the pain worse.
The discharge from the sinuses that then drains to the throat can cause irritation. If this happens, you may experience an annoying chronic cough. The cough is at its worst when you are asleep or otherwise lying down and when you have just woken up. In fact, you might not be able to sleep well unless you sit upright. The intensity of the cough is reduced when you sit upright.
If you experience postnasal drip, your throat may become sore. It begins as an annoying tickle and worsens. In an infection that lasts for a long time, the mucus irritates the throat, which soon becomes inflamed and sore, causing your voice to become hoarse.
Seeing your doctor
In a situation where your sinus infection causes a fever or persists for many weeks, seeing your doctor for medication would be wise. It is possible to experience fever, although it is not a primary symptom of sinusitis. If there are other factors causing the infection, then they can be treated, and your sinusitis will be gone along with the other causes.
For the short-term treatment of sinus infection, you can use nasal sprays such as oxymetazoline and phenylephrine. However, these sprays should not be used for a long time because they can actually end up causing nasal passage congestion. When you use these sprays for a long time, the symptoms can even become worse.
In some instances, a steroid nasal spray can help reduce the symptoms of nasal congestion. Steroid nasal sprays usually contain fluticasone or mometasone. There are also medicines bought over the counter. They contain antihistamines and decongestants and are good in relieving infection of the sinus. Some of these medications are Zyrtec, Allegra, Claritin and Sudafed.
It is not advisable to take decongestants for more than 10 to 14 days because the effects can rebound. It is wise to call your health practitioner before you commence the use of these medicines so that you can know if you have an allergy to any of them. It is also good to confirm whether they will be able to treat your sinusitis.
So as to remove infected mucus from your nasal passages, mix one cup of warm water with half a teaspoon of table salt and half a teaspoon of baking soda, and use a nasal sprayer to spray the mixture into your nose. This natural remedy is helpful in various ways. Aside from clearing the discharge from your sinuses, it also helps in removing allergens that contribute in causing sinusitis, as well as relieves dryness.
There are also herbal mixtures that are used for treating sinusitis. Some of these natural or home cures can be obtained over-the-counter at a pharmacy. They contain herbs such as cowslip, verbena, gentian, sorrel, and elderflower. Note, however, that while these herbal preparations are natural remedies, they should still be used carefully, since there may be side effects associated with using too little or too much of them.
Antibiotics are among the treatments considered for sinusitis. Some of them, however, such as amoxicillin, are used only for chronic (not acute) sinusitis. It is not wise to self-prescribe antibiotics. Make sure you consult your doctor before using any of them. Also, know that there may be side effects of antibiotics such as rashes, diarrhea, and stomach problems. If you find that you are not benefiting from the mentioned treatment, consult your doctor for assistance.
There are things that by their nature irritate the nose and sinuses, and they should be avoided. Among these irritants are such things as chemicals, cigarette smoke, the fumes of cleaning supplies, and allergens. If you find that exposure to any of them irritates your nose and sinuses, try to avoid them.
Keep your hands clean by thoroughly washing them so that any virus or bacteria that may be on your hands do not get a chance to infect your sinuses. If you are suffering from persistent sinusitis, and you do not know what is causing it, talk to your doctor, who will help in figuring out the cause and prescribe the proper treatment in your case.
Sinus Infection in Children
Children commonly experience allergies when they have sensitivities to particular things or particularly sensitive parts of their bodies. The following symptoms are seen if your child is suffering from sinusitis:
- Persistent cold
- Swelling around the eyes
- Thick and colored nasal discharge
- Postnasal drip
Outlook and Recovery
Acute sinusitis normally disappears within one to two weeks with correct medication and treatment. Chronic sinusitis, on the other hand, may stay for 12 or more weeks. This type of sinusitis is more severe and may result in the patient visiting a health practitioner or taking medication for long periods to deal with the cause of the continuous or recurrent infection. Keeping yourself clean, ensuring that your sinuses are clear and moist, and curing the symptoms can assist you in avoiding continually getting sinusitis.
A number of procedures and treatments exist for both chronic and acute conditions. Visiting your doctor will tremendously boost the recovery process regardless of whether you have chronic or acute sinusitis.