Does your cold refuses to go away? If yes, then it could be sinusitis. According to a
survey by The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), an estimated 134 million Indians suffer from chronic sinusitis. These numbers are surprisingly double the number of people with diabetes in India and more than the entire population of Japan! Sinus infection or sinusitis occurs when the air-filled spaces inside your nose and head (called sinuses) get inflamed or swollen. Both viruses or bacteria can cause this inflammation.
Know Your Sinuses
The human body has four pairs of sinuses and here is how they function:
When you are healthy: Each sinus is lined by a membrane that produces mucus. This is authin, watery fluid that flows freely from the sinuses into the upper part of your nose.
When you have sinusitis: The mucus gets thick and sticky, so it can’t flow into the nose. Fluid builds up in the sinuses, causing pressure and pain.
How Do You Know If You Have Sinusitis?
This infection leads to pain with pressure in the forehead, over the cheek, in the upper jaw and teeth, behind the eyes, or at the top of the head, depending on which sinus is involved. The pain usually increases when you bend forward. Other common symptoms include:
-Reduced sense of smell
-Fever and frequent headaches
Cold vs. Sinusitis: Know The Difference
The main difference is the duration of symptoms. You will most probably recover from a cold within 5-10 days. But, this infection can make you feel run down for 4 weeks (acute sinusitis) or for over 3 months (chronic sinusitis).
Some of the common triggers of sinusitis include:
-Smoking, including passive smoking
-Changes in barometric pressure during air travel or scuba diving
-Soft, painless growth inside the nasal passages (nasal polyps)
-Deviated nasal septum, i.e, the thin wall in the nose that separates the nostrils is displaced to one side
-Weak immune system.
How To Feel Better?
Most sinus infections usually get better on their own without antibiotics by taking proper self-care measures. Talk to your doctor about the best treatment in your case. Here are a few tips to help you feel better.
– Apply warm compress on your face to soothe sinus pain.
– Wash your nasal passages with saline rinse daily to clear off any extra mucus and keep the passages moist.
– Keep yourself hydrated.
– Inhale steam or take a long hot shower to open up your sinuses.
– Keep your head elevated while sleeping.
– Use a humidifier at home or workplace.
– Take anti-allergic medicines and decongestants only when prescribed.
(The article is reviewed by Dr. Swati Mishra, Medical Editor)
1. Javed Ali S, Nasir Abdul A, Mustafa S, Rahman A. A Review of Sinusitis in the Unanai Medicine. Int J Univers Pharm Bio Sci. 2014; 190 p. http://ijupbs.com/Uploads/23.%20RPB14150098015.pdf