Advertisement
Sinus problems and infections affect a reported 30 to 35 million Americans every year, making it one of the most common complaints that patients present to the doctors. Often, the term 'sinus infections' is used interchangeably with the term 'sinusitis'. However, there are many diseases and disorders that entail sinus infections including bacterial and fungal infections and even allergic reactions. However, since most of them cause an inflammation of the sinus cavity and the sinus lining, they are often referred to as simply sinusitis.

Causes

➜ One of the most common causes of severe infection of the sinus is precipitation of an upper respiratory tract infection, especially one that is of viral origin. However, there are certain bacteria also that are responsible for causing sinus infections, like Streptococcus pneumoniae and Haemophilus influenza.

➜ Although viral sinusitis lasts for 3 to 7 days, bacterial sinusitis is a lot more persistent, and thus, lasts longer and sometimes even goes into the chronic infection mode. People who have a relatively low immunity, like those suffering from diabetes and AIDS are more susceptible to such diseases, and thus, can even land up with a fungal sinus infection.

➜ Sometimes, certain people, despite being healthy individuals, suffer from repeated attacks of sinus infections. In such cases, the main culprit is normally some or the other allergen. Such sinus infections are noncontagious in nature.

Symptoms

➜ Nasal congestion is normally one of the main symptoms of a sinus infection. There is a thick discharge that is yellowish-green in color.

➜ One may suffer from facial pain or pressure due to the congestion. If there is an involvement of the ethmoid sinus, pain or pressure around the inner corner of the eye is common. The person may even get repeated attacks of headache, which may be so severe that they may resemble migraine.

➜ The pain or pressure that is felt, which often makes the head feel heavy, normally gets aggravated while coughing, sneezing, straining, or lying down. This is the reason why the pain worsens at night.

➜ Certain parts of the face may become red, swollen, and tender in nature. If the pressure is severe and extends to the brain, one may even experience disturbances in vision like double vision.

➜ In certain cases that are left untreated for long, there may even be an aggravation of the sinus infection symptoms due to which systemic symptoms, like fever, body ache and pain, muscle weakness, etc., may be seen.

Diagnosis

➜ It is relatively easy to diagnose a sinus infection after simply seeing the signs. However, recent studies have shown that the sinus headache, which people may claim to be suffering from may actually be migraines.

➜ Hence, it is important to rule out this possibility early on itself by identifying the trigger factors. The doctor may also suggest an MRI to be taken. Once a person is diagnosed with a serious sinus infection, the sinus cavity infected should be first identified.

➜ This is done by paying attention to the particular symptoms of sinus infection, like if the cheek bones feel tender, then there is involvement of the maxillary sinus. Thus, once a final diagnosis is done, a detailed treatment plan is chalked out.

Remedies

There are various ways of dealing with a serious sinus infection. Firstly, one can try and mitigate the symptoms by resorting to some simple solutions at home.

➜ A simple home remedy is to drink plenty of water and hot beverages so as to facilitate the drainage of the sinus. This will help relieve the pressure, and thus, provide relief.

➜ One can also inhale steam for the same purpose. One can also use some medicines, like expectorants that can help thin the mucus. These are available as over-the-counter drugs.

➜ However, if home remedies do not help and the infection still persists, then it is always best to visit a doctor who will prescribe antibiotics for severe sinusitis. In certain severe cases that do not even respond to antibiotics, the person may then require a surgery to get some kind of relief.

Thus, although most people think that a sinus infection is not a very serious or life-threatening condition to deal with, it should still be looked into and treated on a priority basis so as to prevent any further complications that may be fatal.

Disclaimer: This Buzzle article is for informative purposes only and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.