A sinus infection is caused by the inflammation of the paranasal sinuses on either side of the nose. This inflammation could either be caused by allergies or caused by bacteria or virus.
The mucus in the sinuses normally drains into the nasal passages. However, during a cold or an allergy attack, histamines cause the sinuses to inflame and block up the passages, making the mucus collect there. Histamines are chemicals produced during allergic reactions.
The collected mucus becomes a breeding ground for bacteria. These, then, form the building blocks for an infection.
A sinus infection could last for three weeks or more. Sinus infection normally occurs after a common cold, and its symptoms are headache, facial pain, nasal congestion, fever, green or yellow discharge from the nose, a heavy face feeling, etc
Allergies, smoking, deviated septum and other such structural problems, nasal polyps, etc., can lead to a bout of sinus infection.
Painkillers such as aspirin or paracetamol tablets, steam inhalation, nasal irrigation, hot drinks, such as tea or chicken soup, and decongestants are some of the treatment methods used to cure sinus infections. All of these measures when used should be backed up with plenty of rest. If the infection continues for more than 48 hours, antibiotics or nasal steroids should be used. Sinusitis could develop into bronchitis and pneumonia, if not properly treated. Chronic sinusitis could damage the sinuses and the cheekbones. You would then have to go for nasal surgery to repair the damage.
Sinus infection lasting for more than three months or recurring frequently is called chronic. Some bacteria are immune to certain antibiotics. Antibiotic resistance can be prevented by exactly following the antibiotic dosage prescribed by the doctor. The course must be completed, even though symptoms disappear before.
Should medical treatment fail, or nasal obstruction persists, surgery should be resorted to. Functional Endoscopic Sinus Surgery (FESS) is considered the most efficient sinus surgery. The surgery uses an endoscope with which the surgeon can look directly into the nose to remove diseased tissue and polyps and clear the narrow channels.
Sinusitis can be prevented by using an oral decongestant or a short course of nasal spray decongestant, especially before air travel, gently blowing the nose by blocking one nostril and blowing through the other, drinking lots of fluids to keep the nasal discharge thin and using antihistamines to control allergy attacks. Allergy testing can also increase tolerance towards allergy-inducing substances.
Allergic reactions that lead to sinusitis are often caused by the overreaction of the immune system. The immune system goes awry because of several factors, including the increasing presence of toxins in the environment.