Sinus diseases affect about 37 million people per year in the U.S.
The sinuses in the bones around the lips, nose, cheeks, and forehead are hollow recesses. They are filled with mucous membranes that typically produce fluid (mucus), which helps to trap any debris. Hair-like cilia cells line the membranes and brush through the mucus, which usually flows into the nasal passages and is swallowed throughout the day.
Who causes sinusitis?
After a cold, a sinus infection can occur. The condition inflames nasal passages, which can block sinus openings and cause infection. Allergies can also cause inflammation of the nasal tissue, causing more mucus and leading to sinusitis.
Specific factors that can lead to sinusitis include:
- Nose structure defects
- Larger adenoids
- Tooth infections
- Nose injury
- Foreign objects in the nose
- Second-hand smoke
If mucus drainage is blocked, bacteria that begin to grow, this leads to an infection of the sinus, called sinusitis. The most common viruses and bacteria causing sinusitis also cause the flu or some forms of pneumonia.
How long does a sinus infection last?
Sinusitis is generally categorized as being either chronic or acute.
- Acute sinusitis causes inflammation and symptoms that often proliferate and last from 7 to 10 days if caused by a viral infection. If caused by a bacterial infection, the illness can last for up to 4 weeks.
- Chronic sinusitislasts for longer than 12 weeks. For months or years longer, this inflammation could continue, and people sometimes characterize it as a constant cold.
Sinusitis can also be categorized as:
- Subacute, where symptoms last longer than four weeks but fewer than 12 weeks.
- Recurring acute, in which at least four acute sinus infection episodes occur within one year.
- Acute exacerbation of chronic rhinosinusitis, in which symptoms deteriorate in a person with chronic sinusitis.
Home remedies against problems with the sinus
To combat stuffiness in your sinuses, try the following steps:
Flush your nasal passages. To clean the nasal passages, use a Neti pot, a treatment that uses a salt and water solution. For decades, nasal irrigation with the Neti pot has been a tried-and-true way of treating sinuses. When doing so, try to use only distilled water.
Use a spray. Use a decongestant nasal spray that contains saltwater over the counter to help keep your nasal passages clean, unblock the obstruction, and relieve inflammation. Many sprays can only be used for up to three days. If you reach three days, you’ll get nasal inflammation “rebound” or worse.
Get plenty of fluids. To help remove the mucus, drink plenty of fluids — water and juice. Avoid alcoholic or caffeinated drinks, which can cause dehydration.
Rest. Get take it easy to battle infection and make a recovery faster. When you’re sleeping, elevate your head with a few pillows. Staying elevated will make you feel more relaxed when breathing.
What about antibiotics?
Most people assume that antibiotics are the number one cure for infections with the sinus, but that is not generally the case.
According to recommendations issued by the American Infectious Diseases Society, bacteria are not responsible for 90 to 98 percent of sinus infections, meaning antibiotics do not work.
Antibiotics are usually used for the prevention of bacterial infections or diseases. If the sinusitis is infectious, it’s going to be ineffective. An ENT doctor will help decide whether you have sinusitis and need a referral to a specialist.
If home remedies aren’t working, visit us
When at-home remedies do not relieve the symptoms, and if they last more than seven to 10 days, you should see a doctor for treatment.
An ENT specialist can check your nose-drainage to understand the cause of infection better. Additionally, they can examine the sinuses more closely to search for any problem with the nasal passage system, which may be leading to recurrent sinus problems.
If you have a sinus issue that just won’t go away, set up an appointment with us today! We can help you relieve the symptoms and deal with the root cause of the infection first hand.