What are sinuses? Sinuses are hollow space in the skull and face bone around your nose. There are four pairs of sinuses, each named for the bones they are located in:
- The maxillary sinus is located on each side of the nose, near the cheekbone.
- The frontal sinus is located behind the eyes and in the forehead
- The ethmoid sinus is found in the spongy ethmoid bone in the upper part of the bone between the eyes.
- The sphenoidal sinus is an air cavity within the body of the sphenoid bone.
The sinuses lighten the skull or improve our voice but their main function is to produce mucus that moisturizes the inside of the nose. The mucus layer protects the nose from pollutants microorganisms and death, the general roles of sinuses in the head include:
- Reducing the weight of the skull
- Dampening pressure
- Insulating the brain
- Humidifying and heating inhaled air
- Increase the resonance of speech
- Act as shock absorbers in trauma
- Providing mechanical rigidity in the head.
A condition in which the cavities around the nasal passage becomes inflamed which is usually caused by bacteria and in some cases virus is called sinusitis (sinus infection). Sinus infections are occasionally caused by problems with the immune system. If the sinus infection goes untreated, it can spread to the brain and lead to brain abscess or meningitis. A sinus infection should be treated with immediate effect when you are diagnosed to prevent the infection from getting worse. Some common symptoms of sinus infection include:
- Sinus pressure
- Sleeping difficulty
- Inflammation of the nasal passage
- Mouth breathing and difficulty breathing through the nose
- Throat irritation
Types of sinuses:
- Acute sinusitis: also called rhinosinusitis is a short-term inflammation of the membrane that lines your nose and surrounding sinuses.it is mostly caused by viruses, bacteria, fungi, and intranasal allergies such as hay fever, cystic fibrosis( an inherited disease, where thick, sticky mucus builds up in the body), and bacteria Haemophilus influenza.
Acute sinusitis can be treated using a humidifier, holding a warm moist cloth over your sinus, Sleep with your head elevated. It can last for a week to 10 days and home remedies are enough to treat them.
- Sub-acute sinusitis: sub-acute sinusitis last longer than a month and sometimes even up to a year. Symptoms of sub-acute sinusitis include fever, stuffy or runny nose, and decreased sense of smell. Treatments involve using pain relief prescription medication such as acetaminophen (e.g. Tylenol) or ibuprofen (e.g. montril, Advil), flushing the nose and sinus with a saline solution several times a day can decrease pain and decrease the duration of symptoms.
- Chronic sinusitis: sinusitis that lasts more than 12 weeks despite medical treatment is called chronic sinusitis, they are often less severe. Some causes of chronic sinusitis include deviated nasal septum, allergies such as hay fever, respiratory tract infection, and tissue growth blocking the nasal passage or sinuses.
Symptoms include difficulty breathing through your nose, loss of sense of smell, runny nose, swelling around your cheek, nose, and forehead. It can be triggered by cold or allergies and it often goes away on its own. Methods of treatments include; oral or injected corticosteroids, and aspirin desensitization treatment (for aspirin-induced sinusitis).
The most commonly involved sinuses in acute and chronic sinus infection are the maxillary sinus in the nose and the ethmoid sinus in the upper part of the nose and eye. This is due to the anatomic relation of the frontal sinus and the maxillary teeth allowing for easy spread of infection.
General methods to prevent and avoid sinus infections include:
- Drink lots of water to stay hydrated
- Sleep with your head elevated
- Bathe your nasal passage daily
- Avoid dry environment
- Avoid taking decongestants and also antihistamines unless prescribed.
A permanent cure for sinus infection is saline nasal irrigation with nasal spray or solution to reduce drainage and rinse away irritants and allergies and also oral or injected corticosteroids. Acute sinusitis can be effectively treated with antibiotics.
Sinus infections are occasionally caused by problems with the immune system. Tissue growths, nasal polyps, or tumors that can obstruct strouses and the osmium. Irritants such as cigarettes, car exhaust, household chemicals, and paint fumes when inhaled can cause inflammation of the nasal passage.
Another type of sinus infection is recurrent sinusitis. It occurs when a patient experiences three or more episodes of acute sinusitis per year. Surgery can also be used to treat sinus infections; nasal endoscope is the recommended procedure for people with cases of chronic sinusitis.