Sinusitis is the sinus infection caused due to swelling of inner lining of sinuses. The sinuses are the spaces or areas between the bones in the face where air passes and where a fluid called mucus percolates into the nose. Sometimes, if the body has difficulty in defending from the bacteria or virus that caused the cold, then simple head cold can lead to sinusitis.

Sinusitis is very common. For many people, sinusitis is a temporary condition that can be cured with simple treatment. In few cases, surgery can provide permanent relief. Sinus infection is not contagious from one person to other. However, viruses and bacteria that generate colds and other respiratory infections that cause sinusitis may spread from person to person through drops of fluid from the nose or mouth.

People who are more prone to sinusitis:
Sinusitis disturbs all age groups. Any healthy person can be affected by it, but certain groups are more sensitive to it than others. Especially, allergy sufferers (at the time of hay fever or in locations filled with smokes and fumes), asthma sufferers both adults and children, smokers and those who inhale the secondary smoke, and people with low resistance to infection (immunodeficiency) are more prone to sinusitis.

Types of sinusitis

There are four types of sinusitis:

  • Acute sinusitis: A sudden attack of cold-like symptoms such as runny, stuffy nose and facial pain that lasts for more than 7-10 days. Acute sinusitis usually ends after 4 weeks or less.
  • Subacute sinusitis: Sinus infection lasting 4 to 8 weeks.
  • Chronic sinusitis: A condition identified by sinus inflammation symptoms lasting 8 weeks or longer.
  • Recurrent sinusitis: Numerous attacks within a year.

Symptoms of sinus
Symptoms of sinusitis change from person to person. While one person may have all of the symptoms, some may have only one or two of them. Acute sinusitis is generally painful, while chronic sinusitis is usually more uncomfortable or irritating than painful.

Most common symptom is stuffy or runny nose. Clear, thin discharge from the nose (as in chronic sinusitis), or thick yellow or green discharge from nose, sometimes strained with blood (as in acute sinusitis). Sneezing and/or coughing, headache that is worse in the morning when bending forward or when riding an elevator, frequent throat clearing, itchy eyes and nose, reduced sense of smell and/or taste, fever and chills, face and eye pain.

Few Self Treatment tips:
Tips to follow when you are suffering from cold or allergic reactions or symptoms of sinusitis are,

  • Drink plenty of water and keep the nostrils moist with saline nasal sprays, a humidifier, or by breathing steam from a vessel of hot water.
  • Stop eating dairy products, like milk and cheese, until symptom decrease, since dairy products are responsible for mucus production in the body.
  • Do not take substances that dehydrate the body (like spicy foods, alcoholic beverages, tea, and coffee).
  • Avoid excessive forceful nose blowing, swimming or diving (which can put unnecessary pressure on the sinuses), and air travel (use a decongestant nasal spray if a flight is unavoidable).
  • Immediately consult a doctor if a fever or thick yellow or green mucus is observed.

Sinusitis is not completely preventable. People can reduce their exposure to the viruses and bacteria that cause the infections by washing their hands frequently and by avoiding sharing while eating or drinking. Avoiding smoking and exposure to tobacco smoke also helps to restrict sinusitis risks. People with allergies should avoid the things that activates their allergy symptoms and control their allergies with the treatment advised by doctors. Drinking more fluids and keeping the air in the house moist by using a vaporizer can prevent thin mucus production in the sinuses. Reducing alcohol consumption can also help as alcohol may cause nasal membranes to swell.