Sinuses are hollow air-filled sacs found between the bones of the skull and face. They are a system of cavities and connect to the nasal airway. There are four pairs of sinuses. They are the frontal sinus in the forehead, the maxillary sinus behind the cheeks, the ethmoid sinus between the eyes, and the sphenoid sinus behind the ethmoid bone. Each sinus is lined with a thin mucus layer. Cilia, tiny hair-like strands, are located on the membrane. They move back and forth to help flush out pollutants and unwanted particles. basically, the cilia help transport unwanted particles to the back of the throat and down the stomach where they are neutralized by powerful stomach acids. mucus, also known as sinus fluid, helps us drain toxins. The sinuses help humidify the air we breathe, insulate surrounding structures, increase voice resonance, and act as buffers against facial trauma.
Symptoms of sinus infections or sinusitis:
- Facial tenderness and/or swelling
- Pain when pressing on sinus tissue
- Inflammation of sinuses
- Discolored and cloudy nasal drainage
- Mucus overproduction causes a post nasal drip which irritates throat tissue
- A Sore throat caused by inflammation of throat tissue
- A Cough to attempt to get rid of throat tissue irritants
- Tooth pain, Ear pain, and/or Eye pain caused by the pressure on surrounding tissues and nerves
- Bad breath can be caused by bacterial infections
- Itching, sneezing and other allergy symptoms
Sinus infections occur when a virus, bacterium, or fungus grows in a sinus. Sinusitis occurs when the air cavities within the passages of the nose become inflamed. Sinusitis can be caused by sinus infections, allergies, or chemical irritations. It can result when environmental pollens irritate the nasal passages, abuse of over-the-counter nasal sprays, and illegal substances that are inhaled or snorted through the nose.
Sinus infections can be caused by basically anything that interferes with the airflow into the sinuses and with the drainage of mucus out of the sinuses. The openings of the sinus can be blocked by swelling of the tissue lining next and the nasal passage tissue. This is what happens with the common cold, allergies, and tissue irritants. If they are near the sinus opening, tumors and growths can also block the hollow cavities. Dehydration, diseases like cystic fibrosis, drying medications like antihistamines, and lack of humidity in the air can also cause sinusitis. Irritants can damage cilia and this can prevent them from aiding in mucus drainage. If mucus cannot escape the sinuses, then they become the ideal environment for bacteria, viruses, and fungi.
Types of Sinus Infections:
- Acute sinus infection: less than 30 days of duration
- Subacute sinus infection: lasts from 1 to 3 months
- Chronic sinus infection: longer than 3 months
- Recurrent sinusitis: when a person has several attacks a year
- Infected sinusitis: caused by uncomplicated virus infection
- Non Infectious sinusitis: caused by irritants and allergic conditions
For sinusitis caused by a virus infection, treatments include pain medication, fever medication, decongestants, and mucolytics that break down mucus. Bacterial infections are suspected when symptoms last for more than a week and are not responding to over the counter nasal medications. Antibiotic medication is needed to treat a bacterial infection.
Home remedies to soothe and prevent sinus infections:
- Sleep 7-8 hours
- Drink an abundance of water (by staying well hydrates the mucous remain thin for proper drainage)
- Avoid eating sugar, dairy
- Use saline spray
- Steam inhaler with eucalyptus oil
- Take Vitamin C
Vitamin C cannot be stored in the body so a daily intake is recommended
- Sweat-Light exercise, brisk walk for 20-30 Min.
- Vigorous head massage