Important facts about sinus infections
The infection of the sinuses (cavities situated inside the skull, which are filled with air), also known as sinusitis is produced by bacteria, fungus and sometimes by pollutants and allergic factors. It can be acute or chronic and can lead to serious complications like the facial bone infection or the exacerbation of respiratory tract conditions, and the extension of infection to the brain and eyes.
There are different types of sinuses: frontal, maxillary, ethmoid, and sphenoid and the symptoms might differ when each one is affected; the symptoms also differ for acute and chronic sinusitis.
The role of the sinuses is not completely elucidated, scientists believing that the sinuses are important in absorbing impacts that occur from the front and preventing them from affecting the brain. They are also important in warming, moistening and filtering the inhaled air.
In the air there are numerous bacteria and when breathing we inhale them. If the cilia filter is malfunctioning, these bacteria can get blocked in the sinus cavities and produce an infection.
For acute sinusitis, that generally lasts 2-3 weeks, doctors recommend antibiotic treatment for 5 to 7 days. The chronic sinusitis lasts longer, about 6-8 weeks and it is more difficult to treat. Infectious sinusitis is generally caused by a bacteria; the non-infectious one is caused by pollutants and allergic factors.
The sinus infections affect every year 37 million Americans. Sinusitis also appears when the nasal membrane gets affected by pollutants, cold or dry air and becomes inflamed. People who have a weakened immune system (due to cancer, HIV, diabetes), children and elders can easily develop sinusitis. People who work in places exposed to infections, people who suffer of allergies, and smokers are more vulnerable to sinusitis than others.
If a patient has followed the classical antibiotic therapy and there were no signs of improvement the surgical therapy will be recommended because a complication could have occurred: the infection of the facial bones.
Some general symptoms of sinus infection are: headaches, fatigue, facial and upper jaw pains, and tenderness of the sinus area, sore throat, cough, colored nasal drainage, bad breath and swollen eye lids.
If symptoms last longer than 10 days you should call your doctor before any complications occur.
The doctor will diagnose sinusitis by looking inside the nose with an endoscope, then request for a computerized axial tomography, and even a MRI. Others might perform a rhinoscopy for looking into the back of the nasal passages.
Treating sinusitis is made with drugs prescribed by the doctor, and some home remedies.
The treatment must kill the bacteria, make facial pain and pressure disappear, clear up the nasal cavities and maintain intact the sinus and nasal tissues.
For keeping your cilia system intact and for avoiding or recovering more quickly after sinus infections you should drink hot tea. If you get hydrated, your cilia movements will improve and the mucus from your sinuses will be washed out, so you will cure faster. Chicken soup is also helpful.
Applying wet bandages on your face also helps. The compresses must be soaked in warm water in order to help the cilia move more efficiently. You must apply them three times a day and keep them for five minutes on your face. You can also use steam inhalations to minimize your nasal congestion.
The doctor will prescribe an antibiotic drug (oral or inhale drugs) if the sinusitis is caused by a bacterium; a decongestant, analgesics who will reduce the pain and corticosteroids to slow down the inflammation in the nasal cavities.
The most important thing is preventing sinus infections by keeping your nose clear, quitting smoking and treating well and as soon as possible any type of colds and allergies
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