What is Sinus Infection?
Sinuses are the cavities within the bones of the skull or face, which connects to the nasal cavities. The sinuses are usually filled with air, but when the cavities become filled with fluids, germs start growing causing sinus infection. The inflammation of the lining tissues of the sinusescauses pain. Blockage of sinus cavities occurs due to conditions such as common cold, deviated nasal cavity septum, growths or polyps in the lining of the nose and allergic rhinitis.
Sinusitis or sinus infection is mainly of two types
- Acute Sinusitis– It develops with cold like symptoms like stuffy or runny nose and facial pain and the pain remains for more than 14 days. This type of sinusitis will usually last less than four weeks. The attack will not occur more than three times in a year.
- Chronic Sinusitis– If the sinus inflammation and pain lasts for more than four weeks and the episodes repeat more than four times in a year, it is considered as chronic sinusitis. The symptoms may last for more than 20 days.
Factors that Contribute to Infections
The main contributing factors in adults are infections caused by viruses, bacteria and fungi, smoking and high level of air-pollution.
In children the trigger factors are allergies, illness spread from other children at school, infections, use of pacifiers and the presence of smoke in the air.
Common Signs and Symptoms of Acute Sinus Infection
- Facial pain and pressure around eyes and cheekbone
- Green or yellow Nasal discharge
- Sore throat
- Stuffiness of nose
- Loss of smell
- Cough and congestion
- Dental pain
- Bad breath
CommonSigns and Symptoms of Chronic Sinus Infection
- Facial congestion
- Facial pain and fullness
- Blockage of nasal passage
- Presence of pus in nasal cavity
- Dental pain
The symptoms will last for more than four weeks
When to Seek Medical Care?
If you are experiencing cold, nasal congestion or nasal discharge along with pain or pressure in the upper part of face for several days it is better to seek medical attention. If left untreated, complications can occur and this may lead to severe health problems. If you experience fever, headache and pain in the forehead area, you may be having sinus infection of the frontal bone. Pain near the eye socket and eyelids becoming droopy indicates ethmoid sinusitis. So, try to get medical help within first few days to avoid complications.
Treatment for Sinus Infection
Depending on the type of sinusitis the treatment may differ
- Treatmentfor Acute Sinusitis-If you are suffering from acute sinusitis, the medical practitioner may recommend decongestants and steam inhalations. The symptoms can also be effectively controlled by using non- prescription nasal drops and nasal sprays that act as a decongestant. These medicines should be used as recommended by the doctor. Sometimes antibiotics may be prescribed by the doctor to relieve the symptoms.
- Treatment for Chronic Sinusitis– The sinus congestion associated with sinusitis can get alleviated by inhaling warm, moist air or steam using a vaporizer. Giving warm compressions on face reduces the pain around the eyes and cheekbones. Saline nasal drops are very effective in relieving the congestion and pain. Antibiotics and oral steroids are recommended by doctors in extreme cases.
Some people may experience chronic sinus infection even when treated using antibiotics and other stronger drugs. If the CT scan of the person indicates sinus infection the doctor may suggest for sinus surgery, which is performed using an endoscope. The surgery helps to clear nasal passage and to remove the nasal polyps and to correct the nasal septum.