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Today in Health & Wellness
HEALTH CONDITIONS

Sinusitis

Overview
Symptoms
Risk Factors
Commonly Prescribed Drugs
Treatment and Management
Home Remedies
Doctors to Consult
Overview

Sinusitis refers to inflammation of the nasal sinus or sinuses.

The sinuses are air-filled spaces around the forehead (frontal sinuses), the cheeks (maxillary sinuses), behind the bridge of the nose and between the eyes (ethmoid sinuses) and in the upper region of the nose behind the eyes (sphenoid sinuses) that are lined with mucous membranes and connected to the nasal cavity.

Sinusitis can be acute (lasting anywhere from 2 to 8 weeks) or chronic, with symptoms lingering much longer.

Symptoms
  • Nasal discharge (rhinorrhea)
  • Nasal congestion
  • Facial pains
  • Tenderness of the sinus areas
  • Headaches
  • Eyes are sensitive to light
  • General fatigue
  • Swollen eyelids
  • Cough and sore throat (occasional)
  • Headache
  • Swelling around eyes
Risk Factors
  • Bacteria such as Streptococci, Staphylococci, Pneumococci and Haemophilus influenzae
  • Viruses such as influenza and parainfluenza virus
  • Less commonly by fungi such as Aspergillus.
  • Allergic rhinitis or hay fever may trigger sinusitis which is also called allergic rhinosinusitis.
  • Environmental conditions such as humidity, cold air, and perfumes
Commonly Prescribed Drugs

Antibiotics (e.g., amoxicillin and trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole). They are used to fight the bacteria that causes the inflammation. However, they will not be effective against viruses. Adverse effects of amoxicillin are lethargy, anxiety, nausea, vomiting, anemia, hyperkalemia; while cotrimoxazole causes headache, insomnia, fatigue, abdominal pain and cough.

Decongestants (e.g., phenylpropanolamine or PPA and phenylephrine) They stimulate a-adrenergic receptors of vascular smooth muscle thus producing vasoconstriction, pressor effects, and nasal decongestion.

  • May cause palpitation, arrhythmias, transient hypertension, restlessness, headaches, nausea and vomiting
  • Pseudoephedrine and phenylpropanolamine are contraindicated in the nursing mothers for higher risks of sympathomimetic effects to infants.
  • They are usually combined with an analgesic to alleviate facial pains and headaches.

Antihistamines are not always recommended for sinusitis except for allergic rhinosinusitis. Side effects are drowsiness, dryness of mouth, nose or throat.

Treatment and Management
  • Wash hands frequently, particularly after shaking hands with others.
  • Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, which are rich in antioxidants and other chemicals that could boost the immune system and help the body resist infection.
  • Manage stress.
  • Avoid exposure to cigarette smoke and environmental pollutants.
  • Use a humidifier to increase moisture in the nose and sinus areas.
  • Drink plenty of fluids to increase moisture within the body.
  • Treat allergies promptly and appropriately.
  • For people prone to sinusitis, chlorine-treated swimming pool should be avoided.
Home Remedies
  • Garlic/ginger tea - two to three cloves of garlic (Allium sativum) and two to three slices of fresh ginger (Zingiber officinale). Steep 5 to 15 minutes and drink, breathing in the steam. This stimulates the immune system and improves drainage.
  • Inhalation of steam can soothe the inflamed sinus cavities. Sometimes menthol or eucalyptus is added to provide a cooling effect.
  • Contrast hydrotherapy. Alternate hot and cold applications. Apply wet washcloths over the sinus area for one minute then apply hot for three minutes. Repeat three times.
  • Nasal wash. Rinse each nostril by holding the head sideways over the sink and letting water run from the upper nostril to the lower nostril. Keep nostrils lower than throat to prevent salt water from draining into the back of the throat.
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