What Is Sinusitis?
Sinuses are cavities that are filled with air in the facial region. They are present in and around the nose. Normally, they are filled with air and they help us in breathing. However, in some cases, these might get filled with fluids and then get infected due to attacks of external microorganisms. When this happens, the condition is called as sinusitis. In simple terms, sinusitis means inflammation of the sinuses.
The microorganisms that could infect the sinuses could be fungi, viruses, or bacteria. They are introduced into the sinuses from the environment. In most cases of sinusitis, blockage of the sinus occurs that might cause common colds. In some cases, complications such as swelling of the inner lining of the nose (allergic rhinitis) and small formations in the inner lining of the nose (nasal polyps) might also occur. At times, physical deformities of the nasal septum might also occur. Hence, it is advisable to take care of sinusitis as soon as the earliest symptoms begin to appear.
What Are the Symptoms of Sinusitis?
The symptoms of sinusitis are many and varied. The following are some of the common ones:-
- There is a regular discharge from the nose. This discharge is thick and could be yellow or green in color.
- The nose is blocked during such an infection.
- There is difficult in breathing through the nostrils. There might be a wheezing sound when breathing.
- The facial region around the nose might become sore and swollen. There could be pain in these regions. The commonly affected regions are cheeks, eyes, and forehead.
- There might be a lot of coughing. It persists throughout the day but could worsen at nights. When coughing, the throat may pain severely.
- Headaches might occur.
- Differential pressure can be experienced in the ears. Ears may ‘pop’ often.
- The jaws ache when talking or eating. The pain is experienced more at the points where the jaws meet.
- The sense of smell and taste are compromised. Due to this, the person may not feel like eating much.
- There might be a sense of constant tiredness.
- The person might be a subject of bad breath.
Sinusitis may progressively worsen. If the following things begin to happen, then immediate medical attention is required:-
- Fever that lasts for more than one day.
- Symptoms that go on aggravating without letting go for a couple of days.
- Frequently occurring problems of the same kind.
- Soreness of the eyes.
- Swelling the forehead or severe headache.
- Disturbance in vision.
- Inability to think properly.
- Pain in the neck region.
How Can Sinusitis Be Treated?
Most cases of simple sinusitis don’t even require medication. They can get treated by themselves after a few days of exhibiting their acute symptoms as mentioned above. They do not even require medication.
However, the symptoms themselves could be highly difficult to live with. The following are some ways in which the symptoms of sinusitis can be allayed:-
- Using specifically prepared nasal drops and decongestants could be very helpful. They can open up the sinuses. In case of breathing difficulties, this provides a great deal of relief.
- Saline water gargle can give relief to throat congestions that might occur during sinusitis.
- Cough is a difficult symptom during this condition and it worsens at night. Have a cough syrup handy. When you get a coughing bout, have a little of the syrup, taking care that is passes down slowly, making good contact with your throat. This will give you relief and allow you to sleep. You could also use lozenges to give you relief from the cough.
- Drink a lot of water. You might get dehydrated easily when you have sinusitis.
- If you experience pains in different parts of your body, then you could take a pain reliever. A common over-the-counter one such as aspirin or paracetamol would do just fine. This is only for adults. Children have pain relievers in syrup form. You could ask your doctor for a recommendation.
- Use mentholated hot water inhalation therapy. Do this for about half an hour each day when you are suffering from sinusitis. You will find that this helps immensely in clearing your sinuses of all the accumulated material.
- Make sure you rest well. Sinusitis does not usually respond to medication. It will complete its infection cycle and pass away by itself. You have to ensure rest so that your body recuperates from the infectious attack.
Why Should Sinusitis Not Be Ignored?
Ignoring sinusitis is definitely not a good idea. If it is allowed to persist, then it might soon complicate into more difficult conditions that might not be easily treatable. Here we list a few of the complications that might occur if sinusitis is left unchecked.
- If an acute sinusitis infection is not taken care of, and occurs regularly, then it might become a chronic problem. Chronic sinusitis is a similar condition but with more intense symptoms. Also it takes a long time to heal, about 12 weeks.
- A dangerous situation with sinusitis is that it can lead to meningitis. This is the condition where the fluid protecting the brain and the spinal cord gets inflamed. This can be highly dangerous to the proper functioning of the nervous system and can also cause paralysis.
- It is also possible that you might lose your olfactory senses completely. When this happens, you will not be able to smell things anymore. This happens if the inner lining of your nasal cavity is inflamed for long periods of time.
- Sinusitis can also impair your vision in the long run. It can give rise to disturbed vision, and it can also cause permanent blindness.
- Other infections can also be caused if sinusitis is left unchecked. Cellulitis, a condition of the skin, and osteomyelitis, a condition of the skeletal system, are examples.
However, sinusitis is not such a grave problem if taken care of at the right time. The complications mentioned above occur in only very rare cases.