Sinusitis, also known as sinus infection, is one of the foremost health problems afflicting millions of people. This condition is the inflammation of the sinuses, which are the air-filled cavities located behind the forehead and eyebrows, on both sides of the nose bridge. Bacterial infection often causes the inflammation of the sinuses but in some cases, virus and fungi, such as molds are the reason for the swelling. Bacteria and fungi are most likely to afflict people with weak immune system. As for fungal sinusitis, individuals with allergies are more susceptible to this condition. Sinusitis can be acute or chronic. The former can last up to 8 weeks while the latter lasts more than this period.
Since the sinuses are located right in front of the brain, infection and inflammation can be fatal, if not treated properly, as this can spread to the brain. A healthy sinus is lined up with a thin layer of mucus that serves as protection against dust and airborne particles. The mucus traps these particles so as not to cause harm to the body. Within the sinuses, minute hair-like protrusions flounce the mucus, along with the trapped particles, into an opening behind the throat then it slides into the stomach.
There are cases where in an individual has deformities that disrupt the normal functioning of the sinuses. Some of these include the following:
- Distorted bone partition between the nasal passages
- Nasal polyps
- Narrow sinus opening
These defects afflict individuals with chronic sinusitis.
Symptoms of Sinus Infection
While sinusitis is commonly mistaken for a bad cold, symptoms must not be dismissed. They must be observed thoroughly so that if they last long or are severe, medical assistance is needed. Here are the symptoms of sinusitis:
- Discoloration (greenish) of nasal discharge
- Sinus pressure headache, which is sensed the front of the head
- Postnasal drainage
- Nasal congestion
- Foul smelling breath
- Pain in the teeth or ears due to the pressure
- Facial tenderness at the nose bridge or under the eyes
For bacterial sinusitis, the symptoms include the following:
- Pain in the face
- Nasal discharge has pus-like characteristics
- Does not get better with OTC medications
- Lasts over a week
Diagnosis by a Doctor
If you decide to go to the doctor, your sickness will be diagnosed by examining not only the sinus but other parts of the nasal cavity as well as the throat. Here are some characteristics the doctor will determine:
- Swelling of the nasal tissues
- Facial tenderness
Diagnostic Procedures that may be ordered by the doctor include the following:
– this is used to identify the cause of the infection for chronic sinusitis that does not get better even with rounds of antibiotics. The samples are taken from the nose, or in some cases, directly from the sinuses. This diagnostic procedure is done to know the type of bacteria that is causing the infection. This will help determine the right type of antibiotic to which the bacteria will respond. For example, if the cause is fungus, antifungal agents will be used to treat the infection. For allergic sinusitis, oral steroids are prescribed. The extent of the symptoms of sinus infection can also be diagnosed through a sinus CT.
– A bone biopsy is ordered by the doctor to see if the fungi have penetrated into the nasal bone. This is a rather serious disease. To do the diagnosis, an instrument will be inserted via the nose to take sinus tissues. A biopsy is also useful in determining if a patient is inflicted with recurrent infections, one of which is chronic sinusitis.
Medical Treatment for Sinus Infections
The following are medical procedures on how to get rid of sinus pressure and infections:
Bacterial sinus infection is treated through rounds of antibiotics. The regimen may last from a span of 3 to 28 days, depending on the severity of the disease and the type of antibiotic used.
Patients must never abuse the antibiotics since overuse will cause the bacteria to become resistant to the medications. Taking antibiotics is advised only if the symptoms persist for over 10 days.
These medications do not necessarily alleviate the symptoms of the disease but they fight the bacteria that cause the infection, leading to healing.
Nasal Decongestant Sprays
These products are recommended to be used for no more than 4 days. Nasal decongestant sprays act by minimizing the inflammation of the nasal passages and improving the sinus drainage flow. Patients must regulate the use of this medication by following the prescription since dependency on it can develop.
While antihistamines are mainly used for the treatment of allergies, it can also assist the treatment of sinus infections. One of the ways on how to relieve sinus pressure through antihistamines is through its ability to prevent potential inflammation stemming from allergic reactions. However, patients must be careful since some antihistamines can dry the nasal passage causing the thickening of the mucus. Thus, this must only be taken upon doctor’s advice.
These are nasal sprays prescribed by the doctor. They help in the prevention and reverse of nasal passage and sinus opening inflammation. These medications can also reduce the size of nasal polyps and averting its recurrence. This type of medication is suitable for prolonged use since it is not absorbed in the bloodstream, thereby not causing any dependency.
Nasal rinses are temporary remedies to relieve sinus pressure by clearing the thick mucus from the nasal passages.
The last resort, after every other non-invasive drug therapies have been tried, is surgery. Bone defects are corrected, nasal polyps are amputated, and closed nasal passages are opened through the method performed by an otolaryngologist. Surgery for sinus infections is performed under local anesthesia allowing patients a same day discharge from the clinic or hospital.
Home Remedies on How to Get Rid of Sinus Pressure
There are remedies that you can execute at the comfort of your own home to address sinus pressure and treat sinus infection. The remedies can be divided into three categories:
Manage the Symptoms
While the easiest way to healing is getting to the bottom of what causes your sinus infection—whether it is bacteria, virus, or fungi, the truth is that treating your sinusitis at home requires you to focus on alleviating the sinus pressure headache and other symptoms to help you feel better. Here are some of the steps in treating the symptoms:
Drink plenty of water and eat fruits with high water content such as the watermelon. Avoid drinks and fruits with high sugar content. You can also drink broth, and hot tea. These will thin out the mucus that is causing the inflammation of the sinuses. Sugary, caffeinated, and alcoholic beverages worsen the symptoms by thickening the mucus, thereby clogging the airways.
Dispel the Mucus
Spicy ingredients such as cayenne mixed with apple cider vinegar or lemon juice can be used to dissolve excess mucus.
Activate the Pressure Point
When the airways are inflamed, breathing is difficult. A face massage that activates different pressure points can help alleviate your breathing.
One of the methods on how to relieve sinus pressure is by breathing in steam. A few drops of essential oils such as peppermint oil or eucalyptus oil mixed with hot water can be used to make a homemade therapeutic steam. Position your face over the bowl with the hot water then cover your head with a towel while you inhale the steam. This will help break up the thick mucus and help you breathe more easily. If you have a humidifier, you can add a few drops of essential oil to the water before you start the machine.
Use Herbs and Pantry Staples
- Turmeric or ginger is a spice popular for its healing properties. Turmeric can be used to treat sinusitis with its anti-inflammatory properties. Ginger can be boiled and made into tea to unclog the nasal passages. Both of these help in alleviating sinus pressure and symptoms with the added benefit of treating an upset stomach, which is a side effect of nasal drip.
- Grapefruit Seed Extract is a powerful natural antibiotic. The seeds of this citrus fruit can be ground into a fine powder. Creating it into a nasal spray helps in thinning and clearing mucus.
- Apple cider vinegar is pantry staple that is known for its multitude of uses in beauty, cleaning, and health. ACV can be mixed with hot drinking water or tea to be take thrice per day. This will relieve nasal congestion—an effective remedy on how to get rid of sinus pressure.
Improve your Immune System
Enhancing your immune response is not only beneficial for the treatment of sinusitis but also for your overall health. Here are some ways to do this:
Start Vitamin C supplementation
Using vitamin C as a supplement helps boost the immune system that leads to the betterment of overall health.
Use Oregano Oil
Adding a few drops of oregano oil or extract to your beverages can help relieve sinusitis. It has antibiotic and anti-fungal properties that can fight off the cause of infection in your nasal passages.
Steer Clear from the Potential Source of Infection
Sinus pressure relief can be achieved through eliminating the possible culprits that cause nasal irritation and sinus infections. Here are some steps you can employ:
Improve the Quality of Indoor Air
A large portion of your daily life is spent indoors, which is why it is not surprising that you might have gotten the infection from sources inside your office or home. Airborne irritants including dust, molds, mildew, smoke, pollen, pet hair, and many others cause nasal irritation that may lead to inflammation. These particles can be filtered through an air purifier. It is advised to invest in a purifier with HEPA filter since it can filter both large and minute particles, allowing for great improvement on indoor air quality.
Keeping your house dry and clean can help reduce the growth and spread of molds and mildew. Keep your pets out, if possible so that their dander will not scatter around the house causing you allergies.
Manage Outdoor Allergens
Outdoor elements affect indoor air quality, which is why it is equally important to maintain clean surroundings within your residence. During pollen season, keep the windows and doors closed. When walking or commuting, wear a face mask to keep irritants out of your nose and your system. If you use a car, keep the windows closed. Rely on the automobile’s air conditioning and ventilation system instead.
Observe Your Diet
A lot of the allergies and infections we get come from the food and drinks that we consume. If you want to relieve sinus pressure, you must be watchful of your diet. Common irritants in food that lead to the inflammation of the sinuses include gluten, sugar, and dairy. It is best that you make a food journal so that you can track what food or drink triggered your allegories or sinusitis. Once you discover it, eliminate it from your diet.
Change Your Lifestyle
Many of the activities you do make you prone to diseases such as sinus infections. Working your way to treat the symptoms of sinus infection and their root cause is a matter of implementing discipline in your lifestyle. Avert from smoking, drinking alcoholic and carbonated beverages, which can irritate your sinuses and worsen your symptoms.
Make sure that you have enough time for rest and sleep per day. If you are sleep deprived, your immune system will weaken, making it easy for bacteria, fungi, and viruses to attack your body.
Overall, the treatment of your sinusitis is a combination of routine changes, incorporation of home remedies in your lifestyle, and leaving some room for medical intervention. If you feel that something is different about the seemingly “common cold” that you are experiencing, do not dismiss the symptoms, consult a doctor so that you can determine the underlying cause and create an effective solution to treat the disease.