Your sinuses consist of air-filled chambers that sit in your skull behind the forehead, nasal bones, cheeks, and eyes. These chambers, which are lined with mucus membranes, help your body breathe and distribute air correctly.
Often, the mucus lining in your sinuses can become inflamed or infected. This process is called sinusitis and can cause thick nasal discharge, pressure or pain in your face, fever, and/or a reduced ability to smell. When mucus blocks the chambers it can give way to rapid growth of bacteria and germs, leading to serious damage. Sinusitis can be labeled as acute, subacute, chronic, or recurrent, depending on how long symptoms last and if bacteria spread to infection.
Causes of Sinusitis
Sinusitis is caused by viral, bacterial, or fungal infections. The cause determines the classification of the infection. Viruses are said to cause 90-98% of cases. Starting with a common cold, these viruses can causes blockage of the sinuses resulting in inflammation. Viruses cover almost all of the acute cases of sinusitis.
Bacteria are behind only a small percentage of acute sinusitis, but can also cause chronic cases. Bacteria are harmless in the sinuses until blockage occurs. When this happens bacteria can reproduce and cause infection. Bacteria-based sinusitis is usually linked to longer and more intense symptoms.
Allergic reactions to fungi act as a potential cause of chronic sinusitis. The most common type of fungi associated with this problem is aspergillus. Those with diseases that cause immune system deficiencies such as leukemia, diabetes, and AIDS are at higher risk to develop chronic sinusitis through fungi. Although anyone can develop such cases through fungi, it is a lot less common in those with strong immune systems.
Those with asthma and allergies are at higher risk for developing sinusitis. Asthma and allergies are often intertwined with sinusitis. One can cause the other, and one may worsen the other.
The purpose of treatment in sinusitis is to reduce swelling, drain sinuses, halt infection, and keep sinuses open. There are various treatments for each case of sinusitis. The most common include decongestants, nasal sprays, and steam inhalations. Stronger cases may require antibiotic treatment. Whatever the case, try at home remedies and if symptoms persist visit a doctor for further guidance and correct care.
No matter how hard we try, we all get sick once in awhile. However a couple tips help to avoid all colds and flus which lead to sinusitis. First is to keep up with good hygiene. Wash your hands with antibacterial soap, keep a tidy house and wipe surfaces with bacteria killing solution, and try to avoid others who are sick. Vaccinations are also essential to avoid harsh influenzas. Dodging these common sicknesses will aid in staying clear from sinusitis.