Sinus disease or sinusitis is an inflammation of the sinuses. Sinuses are hollow air-filled cavities lying just behind the face. There are four cavities located in different parts of the face-Frontal sinuses (in the forehead), maxillary sinus (located behind the cheeks), ethmoid sinuses (between the eyes) and sphenoid sinus (deep behind the ethmoids). These sinuses are together termed as paranasal sinuses. These sinuses are lined with a thin layer of mucus that helps in trapping germs and other particles. There are tiny hair-like projections lining the sinuses that help sweeping this mucus towards down the threat. From there it slides down the stomach. This is a continual process. In a sinus infection, this normal process is stopped because of mucus buildup and subsequent infection of the mucus.
The infection of the mucus can be caused by either a virus or bacteria or fungi or an allergic reaction. Other common causes of sinusitis are deformity of the bone partition between the two nasal passage, nasal polyps (nasal growth), a narrowing of the sinus openings, common cold and allergic rhinitis (a swelling of the lining of the nose). Sinusitis in children can be caused by allergies, pacifiers, or smoking in the vicinity. Therefore, active or passive smoking can really aggravate your sinus infection.
Sinusitis treatment depends on the types of sinus infection you have. There are three types of sinusitis- acute sinusitis is characterized by runny and stuffy nose and facial pain. It usually starts with a common cold and lasts for 2 to 4 weeks. Subacute sinusitis lasts for 4 to 12 weeks and chronic sinusitis lasts for more than 12 weeks. Often, people suffering from acute or subacute sinusitis do not require any treatment and goes away on its own. If symptoms lasts for more than 7 to 10 weeks and include nasal obstruction or blockage, feeling of congestion, pus in the nasal cavity, fever and runny nose or discoloured postnasal drainage. You can also have headaches, bad breadth and tooth pain. These symptoms signify chronic sinusitis that need diagnosis by a doctor and subsequent treatment.
The treatments for sinusitis include antibiotics which are standard treatment for bacterial sinus infection. Antibiotics are usually taken for 3 to 28 days. They attack the bacteria and help in eliminating the symptoms. However, overuse of antibiotics has led to building up a resistance against it. The other treatment includes nasal decongestant sprays which help in clearing up the blockage of the air cavities. They work by shrinking the nasal passages, facilitating the flow of drainage from the sinuses. It should be noted that these over-the-counter nasal sprays and decongestant should not be used for more than 3 to 4 days. If your symptoms persist you may need to undergo a CT scan along with mucus culture and biopsies. Then your treatment may include surgery.
People showing symptoms like discoloured nasal discharge (greenish in colour), nasal congestion, and tenderness of the face (particularly under the eye and the nose), headaches, tooth pain, coughing, fever and bad breadth. Because of these symptoms people often confuse sinusitis with rhinitis which is inflammation of the nasal passages. Also, people suffering from asthma can develop sinusitis.
People showing symptoms like runny nose, headache, fever, nose congestion but suffering from common cold or rhinitis are not eligible for the treatment of sinusitis.
Although sinusitis treatment do not have any side effects, untreated sinus infection can cause some problems. People can develop meningitis (an infection of the meninges that cover the brain and spinal cord) or brain abscess (inflammation and collection of infected material coming from local or remote site. Additionally, other adjacent structures can become infected and develop problems like osteomyelitis (an inflammation of the bones caused by an infection) of the bone in the skull and infection around the eye. These are all life-threatening disease and can occur in person with suppressed immune system and diabetes.
There are no definite post-treatment guidelines for sinusitis treatment as it includes mainly antibiotics and nasal sprays and decongestants. However, there are ways to prevent sinusitis which include- try to not to smoke or be around people who are smoking because even passive smoking can lead to worsening of your condition. Remember to wash your hands often during cold and flu season and also during weather changes. Moreover, stay away from people suffering from colds and other respiratory problems, use a humidifier to moisten the air at home and keep it clean, clean your air conditioning units to prevent mold and dust from collecting and also avoid allergens. Make sure to drink plenty of fluids and stay hydrated.
Recovery for sinusitis treatment is pretty low and will depend on the type and cause of sinusitis. Generally, with acute or subacute sinusitis, recovery can range from eight days to two weeks. But if you have chronic sinusitis caused by fungal infection, the symptoms can take more than three weeks to disappaer. Even then it may come bcak again.
Doctoral consultation and medicinal charges may range between Rs.500 to Rs.2000. But, if you require surgery for your sinusitis, then it may cost you between Rs. 10,000 to Rs.30,000.
More often sinusitis clears up on it's own but when antibiotics and nasal sprays are required, the results are permanent. However, if you have chronic sinusitis, it may come back even after having medicinal treatment.
There are numerous home remedies for sinusitis. Some of them include- nasal irrigation which means rinsing and clearing the nasal passages with salt water or saline solution. Warm compresses help relief the swelling and pain on your face. Steam inhalation can be taken at home by placing a bowl of water infront and mixing a few drops of menthol or eucalyptus oil to unblock the sinuses. Also having spicy food or hot bowl of soup helps in clearing up of the sinuses.