What is Sinusitis?
Sinusitis is defined as inflammation of the soft tissues that are covering the sinuses; The sinuses are bony cavities that are found on the face and skull, and are filled with air.
One of the ways that it has been used to classify the types of sinusitis is the duration of the infection. In this way, we can find sinusitis of short duration and sinusitis of long duration; to be considered of short duration it must have a time span of about 4 weeks, despite that the long duration is considered as such only after having persisted for more than 12 weeks in a row.
Symptoms and Diagnosis
Some of the symptoms that sinusitis presents are:
•A general feeling of discomfort.
•Fatigue or tiredness.
•Sensation of pressure behind the eyes, accompanied by a toothache and / or sensitivity on the face.
•Loss of sense of smell.
•Dark nasal discharge.
Between acute sinusitis (up to 4 weeks) and chronic sinusitis (more than 12 weeks) the difference is the duration of the symptoms.
When you go to a doctor he has to perform a series of test to diagnose correctly, which may consist of the following:
• Projecting light on the nasal sinuses, the purpose of this test is to look for signs of breast inflammation.
• Exploration of the nose, whose aim is to look for signs of polyps.
• An external examination in which the sinus area is percussed to find and locate the infection.
• A nasal endoscopy can also be performed, which consists of observing the sinuses using a fiber optic endoscope; this test is usually performed by an otolaryngologist.
• It’s also possible to use imaging tests, which mainly serve to decide which treatment is best to attack sinusitis.
• CT scans are used to diagnose sinusitis.
• Magnetic resonance imaging allows the identification of a tumor or fungal infection.
Other types of tests are done to identify external factors that are causing sinusitis, these are:
• Allergy tests.
• Blood tests.
• Nasal cultures.
• Chlorine sweat tests for cystic fibrosis.
Causes of Sinusitis
Paranasal sinuses are found on the back of the forehead, bones of the nose, eyes and cheeks; these breasts, in healthy conditions, don’t store any kind of microorganisms; they also allow a good circulation of air, combined with this the ability of the mucus to come out is sufficient.
However, there are some situations that can cause the sinuses stop working properly. For example, if the mucus accumulates excessively or if the sinus openings are blocked, the proliferation of bacteria occurs in a much more feasible way.
In this way the causes of sinusitis are:
• The first cause has to do with the accumulation of mucus in the paranasal sinuses; since the cilia, which are small hairs of the paranasal sinuses, due to some affections can’t perform their work correctly, because they can’t remove the mucus in a way and in the amount that is appropriate, hence it tends to accumulate the mucus, thus allowing the bacteria to install and multiply.
• The second reason is much more common than the previous one, and is due to health problems in the airways, such as colds, flus and allergies; these can affect the sinuses in two ways, the first is producing too much mucus so that the system can expel it efficiently; the second way they can affect the paranasal sinuses is because these conditions tend to close the openings of the paranasal sinuses.
• A deviated septum may also be cause as it may block the opening of the breasts.
The following list contains some considerations that, although not directly cause of sinusitis, can greatly increase the chances of suffering it.
• Day care centers.
• Sudden altitude changes, for example flying or diving.
• Hay fever.
Once its cause has been identified, it can be applied a treatment.
Treatments for Sinusitis
Treatments to eliminate it are divided into personal care and medical care.
Personal care consists of a series of steps that can be taken from the comfort of your home, without requiring the intervention of a doctor.
Personal care consists of:
• Drink plenty of fluids, this will work because it will cause mucus to dissolve.
• Use a humidifier.
• A rhino can also be used to clear potential sinus blockages.
• Apply cloths moistened with hot water on the face several times a day.
• Inhale water vapor 3 to 4 times per day to dilute the mucus by direct contact with the vapor.
There are certain activities that should be limited to minimize the discomfort caused by sinusitis, including:
• Flights: it’s best not to fly while you are congested.
• Avoid extreme temperatures, both cold and hot, and avoid sudden changes in temperature.
Under certain conditions antibiotics may be used. It’s important to note that most over-the-counter decongestants may help relieve symptoms at the start of treatment, however, after using them for 3-5 days, the effect will begin to decrease, so decongestants are not the better option.
Some treatments for chronic sinusitis may include:
• Allergy injections.
• Nasal sprays to reduce swelling.
The most drastic treatment for sinusitis, and which is only used in cases in which no other treatment shows improvement within a period of 3 months, is surgery; Another reason to resort to surgery is that the patient has more than 3 acute episodes per year.
Home Remedies for Sinusitis
Here are some of the most popular and natural home remedies used to treat this condition.
1. Eucalyptus vapor
Breathing eucalyptus vapor can help clear the mucosa and reduce the inflammation of the sinuses. In a pot with water, add eucalyptus leaves, or some drops of eucalyptus oil. Put it to heat until it leaves steam, which we will breathe paying attention to not burn our face. While we’re breathing we can put a towel on the head to create a sauna effect.
It can be done one to three times per day. Never ingest the oil and it’s not recommended for babies, seniors, pregnant women or with heart disease.
2. Vervain poultice
The verbena plant has great decongestant properties, so making a poultice with it can help us fight the symptoms of sinusitis. To make the poultice, add two tablespoons of dried verbena to a frying pan and put it to heat. When it starts to smell, we add two beaten whites egg and a dash of olive oil.
To emulsify it, we will put it carefully because it’s quite liquid in a cloth or gauze, and we will apply it on the nasal cavities (sinuses) for about 10 minutes to act and contribute its properties.
If we have verbena, we can prepare radish poultice, which is done by mixing and crushing 5 radishes and an onion until a paste remains.
3. Saline solution
A very effective remedy is to apply a saline solution to cleanse the mucus. In pharmacies or herbal stores we can find saline solutions, but it can also be prepared by mixing in warm water a third teaspoon of sea salt with a pinch of baking soda. With this solution, fill a dropper, put the head back, cover a nostril and in the other pour the solution and then gently blow the nose. Repeat the procedure on the other nostril.
This washing helps to unbutton the nose, reduce inflammation and cleanse the nasal passages.
Garlic, due to its antibiotic and antibacterial properties, helps reduce infection and symptoms. For this it’s good to add garlic in our diet, it will help to strengthen our defenses and mucous membranes.
We can also prepare nasal drops with garlic to fight against sinusitis. To do this, crush a clove of clean garlic and soak it in five teaspoons of water. Put this solution in a dropper and apply twice a day 5 to 8 drops for each nostril.
5. Temperature comparisons
Alternating cold with heat, can help relieve pain and reduce inflammation produced by the sinuses. To do this, fill a large pot or basin with warm water (not so hot) and another with cold water. In it we will submerge our face for a few seconds alternating the hot with the cold one.
We can also do it by wetting a wipe with hot water and another with cold water and let the wet wipe of hot water rest on our nose for 2 or 3 minutes, then remove and apply the wet wipe with cold water.
Recommendations and advice for the prevention of sinusitis
1. Avoid colds and the flu. If a close member or family member has a cold or flu, don’t share eating utensils or personal belongings.
2. Get annual influenza vaccination.
3. Eat vegetables and fruits. These are rich in vitamins and antioxidants that will help strengthen the immune systems and thus better resist possible infections.
4. Wash your hands frequently especially after shaking hands or going outside, to avoid possible contagion.
5. Drink liquid (juices or water) to increase the humidity in the body.
6. Avoid stress, this weakens the immune system.
7. Avoid smoking, tobacco contains chemical compounds that can promote nasal infections among other problems.
8. Look for clean air (mountain, field, forest) and avoid smoke and pollutants.
9. Control and treat allergies appropriately. If you suffer from any kind of these, consult with the specialist for appropriate treatment that helps the body to create immunity to the allergic substance.
10. If symptoms don’t improve or worsen (fever or green discharge) after a few days of home treatment, go to the doctor.