Sinus infection symptoms are mainly due to the inflammation of the nasal passages and sinuses.
A sinus infection also known as sinusitis can cause pressure on one side of the head, cheek area, nose, or eyes. It also causes headaches. An individual affected by sinusitis may as well have thick nasal secretions, nasal congestion, bad breath, fever, sore throat, and cough. Sinusitis is classified into two: acute and chronic. Acute involves the sudden onset of sinusitis while chronic sinusitis is more of a long term type.
A person has four major pairs of sinuses located in the skull otherwise known as paranasal sinuses. They are hollow air-filled-cavities. The purpose of the sinuses is to aid in insulating the skull. They also reduce the weight of the skull as well as allow resonation of the voice within it. Located in the forehead are the frontal sinuses, maxillary sinuses behind the bones in the cheeks, between the eyes are the ethmoid sinuses, and behind the eyes are the sphenoid sinuses are the major pairs of sinuses.
These sinuses have methods of defending themselves against invading bacteria and viruses. There are tiny hairs or cilia as well as mucous layers that cover the sinuses. They function to trap pollutants and bacteria, and then propel them out of the sinuses.
Types of Sinus Infection
A sinus infection is classified into two types: acute and chronic sinusitis. Acute sinusitis usually occurs in individuals with a cold. Sinus infection symptoms in this type may be severe but usually doesn’t last long. The symptoms of this type typically include a greenish-yellow nasal discharge which may occur for a week or more. This causes severe pain in the forehead, eyes, or cheeks.
Chronic sinusitis is typically the long term type of this disease. It may last for several weeks. Usually, it is a result of an acute sinus infection that failed to resolve or because of an allergy that affects the membranes of the sinuses and nose. Common symptoms of chronic sinusitis include: halitosis, facial pain, decreased sense of smell, fever, nasal discharge, headache, and nasal obstruction.
Cause of Sinus Infection Symptoms
Problems with the sinuses usually are a result of blockage in the opening of the sinus. The sinus opening may be blocked by abnormality in the structure itself, allergens, irritants, and infections. Most adults acquire upper respiratory tract infection or colds for up to three times per year, and occur more frequently in children. These infections are often caused by bacteria. A yellowish or greenish nasal discharge may mean that a bacterial infection has occurred. Both bacterial and viral infections causes tissue swelling inside the nose and the mucus thickens. This causes blockage and hinders proper sinus drainage.
Blockage and swelling in the nose lining which narrows the opening in the sinuses may also be results of exposure to irritants. Irritants includes: pesticides, smoke, and other types of air pollution. This impairs the drainage of the sinuses.
Allergies are also a common cause sinus inflammation. Common sinus infection symptoms caused by an allergy reaction includes: watery and itchy eyes, sneezing, runny nose, and nasal stuffiness. Asthma is sometimes associated with chronic sinusitis.
In some cases, structural problems in the nasal cavity which causes narrowing in the passages are the cause of sinus infection. This occurs in severe cases wherein the mucus builds up in the narrow passages. The build-up of mucus provides a suitable environment for the growth of viruses and bacteria in the sinus cavities.
Treatment of Sinus Infection Symptoms
The goal self-care treatment of sinus infection symptoms involves reducing congestion in the sinuses. This is done by applying a moist, warm washcloth to the face several times per day. Drinking liberal amounts of fluids also helps thin the mucus. Stream inhalation is recommended for two to four times a day. Nasal saline irrigation should also be done several times a day. The use of humidifier to moisten the discharges may also be done. Decongestion may also be done using over-the-counter decongestants. However, it is not recommended to be used several times per day because it may actually worsen the condition.
It is also advised to avoid extreme temptations, bending forward, and areas with frequent temperature changes. A person should also avoid flying when congested. In cases of pain, medications such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen may be taken.
Other treatments for sinusitis include the use of immunotherapy or allergy shoes to prevent the disease from reoccurring. Individuals with sinusitis triggered by allergy should avoid substances that trigger the allergy. Patients with allergy triggered sinusitis may also use medications such as antihistamines and nasal corticosteroid sprays to decrease swelling.
In cases of sinus infection symptoms due to structural problems, surgery may be needed. This is to correct structural problems and prevent reoccurrence of the disease. Surgery may also be necessary in patients with chronic sinusitis.
Other Respiratory System Diseases, Symptoms and Diagnosis