According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology, sinus infection affects more than 31 million people. Our body has minute air pockets behind the forehead, cheekbones, nose, and eyes. These air pockets are known as sinuses. Sinuses contain mucus that helps in trapping harmful bacteria and viruses. However, certain allergens can cause the production and accumulation of mucus in excess quantities. Sinusitis is an upper respiratory disorder caused by viruses, bacteria, or fungi causing inflammation and swelling of sinuses.
Types Of Sinus Infections
Acute Sinus Infection
In this condition, the person experiences nasal inconvenience for a short duration of time, typically for one to two weeks. Seasonal allergies, a weak immune system, prolonged cold or flu, and nasal polyps are responsible for acute sinusitis.
Subacute Sinus Infection
The duration of a subacute sinus infection is about three months. Seasonal allergies, bacterial or viral infections are majorly responsible for this type of sinusitis.
Chronic Sinus Infection
The duration of chronic sinus infection is more than three months. Persistent allergies, viral infections, bacterial infections, recurrent acute sinusitis, and immune system deficiency, upper respiratory diseases, and other nasal problems are responsible for this type of sinusitis.
Symptoms Of Sinus Infection
Rhinosinusitis is another name for Sinus infection medically. Allergies, bacteria, fungi, viruses, nasal polyps, and tooth infections are responsible for sinusitis. Therefore, the signs and symptoms of sinus infection vary from individual to individual. So, some of the symptoms include
- Decreased smelling sense
- Unexplained fatigue
- Extreme headaches
- Constant runny nose
- Thick and dark mucus discharge from the nose
- High fever
- Puffiness around the eyes
- Coughing and bad breath
- Occasional swelling of face
- Sore throat
- Nasal stiffness
- In addition, symptoms that are not responding to over-the-counter nasal medications.
- People with deviated nasal septum are at a greater risk of developing a sinus infection. Therefore, there is a displacement of the tissues of the wall of the nose causing an uneven surface.
- People with excess cell growth in the nose (non-cancerous cells) can develop sinusitis. In addition, the growth of bone in the nose (bone spur) amplifies the chances of sinus infection.
- Cystic fibrosis is a condition wherein thick mucus accumulates in the lungs of the patient causing difficulty in breathing. So, individuals having cystic fibrosis are at a greater risk of developing sinusitis.
- Furthermore, extreme exposure to germs, allergies, dental caries, similar respiratory diseases, and tobacco smoking can increase the chances of acquiring a sinus infection.
How To Treat Acute Sinusitis?
Using saline nasal sprays, oral decongestant therapy, and hungrier helps in treating acute sinusitis at home. It is advised to put a damp cloth on your face three to five times a day to reduce the pain and inflammation. Furthermore, drinking water helps in thinning of the mucus. Also, healthcare professionals recommend OTC nasal corticosteroid sprays as decongestants. Acupuncture and acupressure can help in relieving pain caused by acute sinusitis. Taking flu vaccination, treating allergies, maintaining a healthy diet, and avoiding smoking are helpful to prevent sinusitis.
Treatment Options For Sinus Infection
There are several treatment options available to reduce the severity of symptoms caused by sinusitis. So, using over-the-counter medications can help to relieve sinus infections. In addition, various herbal medications are available to address allergic reactions.
To reduce nasal congestion
Addressing the problems of nasal congestion and clearing it is one of the major focuses to treat sinusitis. Staying hydrated, using humidifiers, OTC pain relievers, and sleeping with an elevated head helps in reducing nasal congestion.
Antibiotics can help in treating sinusitis. However, they may produce side effects like rashes, abdominal pain, and diarrhea. So, such antibiotics are used along with pain medications and nasal steroid spray.
In certain cases, doctors recommend surgery to remove nasal polyps, nasal tumors, draining of sinus mucus, and correcting the deviated nasal septum.
To sum up, sinusitis is an upper respiratory disorder caused by viruses, bacteria, or fungi causing inflammation and swelling of sinuses. So, the signs and symptoms of sinus infection include nasal congestion, decreased smelling sense, unexplained fatigue, extreme headaches, constant runny nose, thick and dark mucus discharge from the nose, high fever, puffiness around the eyes, occasional swelling of face, sore throat, and nasal stiffness. Sinus infection is categorized into three types namely acute, subacute, and chronic sinusitis. So, drinking water, using OTC nasal corticosteroid sprays as decongestants, and humidifiers are helpful during sinus infections. Lastly, it’s advisable to consult a doctor for the treatment of subacute and chronic sinus infections.