Inflammation of the sinuses, known as sinusitis, can be caused by a variety of conditions, although it is most often results from an upper respiratory tract infection. When your mucus membranes swell, or too much mucus builds up, a breeding ground for bacteria is created, leading to infection. In some cases, sinus inflammation is caused by allergies or the common cold.
The most common sinus-related symptoms are nasal congestion, decrease in sense of smell and tenderness on the sides of your nose. Cough, fatigue, fever, and sore throat are common complaints. You may also feel tenderness in the forehead, upper jaw, teeth, cheeks, eyelids or upper eyes. Sometimes, sinusitis may result in earaches, neck pain and deep headaches.
Who is at Risk?
The people who are at greatest risk of inflamed sinuses are suffering from a cold virus, although anybody with severe or constant allergies may suffer from insufficient sinus drainage. People who smoke, experience a change in altitude, have diseases affecting their nasal cilia, or have a weakened immune system are more susceptible to sinus infections.
Treatment of Sinus Symptoms
In most cases, over-the-counter medications like pain relievers and decongestants can successfully help to ease symptoms. If your doctor expects a bacterial infection, he or she might prescribe antibiotics to help fight it. Allergy shots, nasal corticosteroid sprays and antihistamines could be suggested to decrease swelling of the sinuses. At home, you can drink plenty of fluids, inhale steam, and apply a warm damp washcloth to your face to relieve symptoms.
Emergency Warning Signs
Visit your physician if your symptoms don’t subside after three days or if you find that common medications aren’t providing any relief.