Most of us have experienced a sinus infection as it’s one of the most common conditions people suffer from. It can be either a viral or bacterial infection, sometimes it is also caused by allergies. It can last just a few days or become chronic. Find out what the most common causes of a sinus infection are and how to get rid of it using natural and safe home remedies.
Understand Your Sinuses
To prevent or treat your sinus infection you should understand the anatomy and functions of the sinuses in our organism. They are located in your skull and may be described as a system of connected hollow cavities.
The largest sinuses are known as maxillary sinuses and are located in your cheekbones. The frontal sinuses can be found in the lower part of your forehead while so called ethmoid sinuses are between your eyes. Last but not least, sphenoid sinuses are located behind your nose.
Your sinuses are lined with so called mucosa, which is soft and pink tissue. The inside of our nose is equipped with ridges, which are known as turbinates. Septum is a thin wall that divides our nose.
If our sinuses are healthy, they are almost empty as there is only a thin layer of mucus. The expert are not sure about the function of the sinuses. Some theories say that we need them as they humidify the air that we breathe in. Others claim that they improve our voices.
Despite the fact that the function of sinuses is not clear and that their anatomy is simple, it is true that they often cause problems as various illnesses tend to develop in them.
The most common conditions that may affect our sinuses include a sinus infection which in medical terms is known as acute sinusitis. It’s an inflammatory illness which is caused by fungi, bacteria, or viruses. The most common symptoms are a blocked nose, a feeling of discomfort in the area of cheeks, eyes, forehead, and headaches.
Acute sinusitis sometimes develops into chronic sinusitis, which means that the inflammation process is permanent and the infections keep coming back. Other frequent conditions of sinuses include deviated septum, hay fever, and nasal polyps.
If the septum, which divides your nose, is further to the one side of your nose, we talk about deviated septum. As a consequence it blocks the airflow and you have difficulties with easy breathing through your nose.
Hay fever, also known as allergic rhinitis, is a medical condition in which you have chronic problems with sinuses due to an allergy. The most common allergens which may cause hay fever include pet dander, pollen, certain food products, and dust mites. Your sinuses overreact and they produce too much mucus, which blocks your nose, leads to sneezing, and an itching sensation.
Nasal polyps, on the other hand, often develop as a consequence of chronic conditions, such as frequent sinus infections, or allergies. They may also occur due to asthma inflammation. Nasal polyps can be described as small growths in your nasals.
If you’ve been dealing with sinus problems, remember that only your doctor can diagnose you due to a thorough examination. Only then the optimal treatment can be chosen for you.
Is It Only a Cold or Sinus Infection
The sinuses are located within the bones which surround our nose and can be described as hollow pockets. If they are perfectly healthy, they are filled with air and you have no problem. In case of an infection, however, they create mucus, which drains into your nose.
A common cold has very similar symptoms to a sinus infection, which means that you have a runny nose or it’s blocked, you may also have a headache, sore throat or a cough. However, in case of a cold the symptoms are less troublesome and they usually go away after a few days. It can also be cured with over-the-counter medicines.
A sinus infection, on the other hand, is often a complication after a common cold. You have probably developed it if your runny or blocked nose lasts for more than ten days or it comes back over and over. While a cold is a viral infection, a sinus infection is usually a bacterial one, it can also be caused by allergies.
In case of a sinus infection, apart from typically cold-like symptoms, you may also feel pressure behind your eyes or cheeks. You may also suffer from headaches, which are getting worse and worse, your nose is stuffy for more than a week and you can’t get rid of the accumulated mucus.
Also, the mucus is often thick and in green or yellow color. Cough and bad breath are common symptoms of a sinus infection too. Unfortunately, a sinus infection often requires medical treatment with antibiotics.