Sinusitis is an infection or inflammation of the sinuses. Sinuses are the air-filled spaces inside the bones of the face, are located in the cheeks, forehead and around
the eyes. The sinuses are linked together and connected to the nose and throat via narrow channels called Ostia.
One function of the sinuses is to warm and moisten inhaled air before it reaches the lungs. They also produce mucus which traps airborne dirt, bacteria and pollutants.
Sinusitis is caused by a build up of mucus, or a swelling of the lining of the sinuses
and nose, which can block the narrow channels. This can occur during a cold, or be
due to allergies. Bacteria then grow inside the sinuses, causing pain, headache and sometimes fever.
Symptoms of Sinusitis
Feeling pressure inside the face
Yellow or green coloured mucus
- Generally feeling unwell
Chronic Sinusiti Risk Factors
Excessive use of nasal decongestant sprays
Untreated hay fever or other allergies
Structural abnormalities of the nose
- Dental disease, such as untreated tooth abscess
Those troubled by frequent sinus infections should consult their healthcare professional. Chronic sinusitis can lead to middle ear infections and other complications.
Decongestants that help with symptoms of colds usually do not help with sinusitis. Decongestant nasal sprays, while useful for normal blocked noses, must not be used for more than a few days at a time in cases of sinusitis because they cause swelling which can make the problem worse.
Antibiotics are often prescribed for sinusitis – some are more effective than others,
but most people can recover without antibiotics with the help of gentle, non-invasive therapies.
Steam inhalation is effective for sinusitis sufferers – it is gentle and doesn't interfere with other medications. Warm, moist steam helps humidify the air and replace the natural workings of normal sinus passages, which are impaired due to infection.
It helps clear the passages for easier breathing, relieve sore, dry and inflamed
nasal tissues and soothe sore throats irritated by constant mucus drip.
Natural supplements such as garlic or horseradish may help reduce mucus production
Ensure any potential triggers are treated – for example, hay fever or dental disease
Avoid swimming pools which can harbour bacteria and encourage infections,
or use a saline nose spray to clear nasal passages after swimming or inhaling pollens/cigarette smoke
Hot compresses held against the face can help relieve swelling
Paracetamol can assist with pain relief while recovering
Surgery may be an option for persistent cases of sinusitis – see your doctor for advice and appropriate diagnosis