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What is it

Your sinuses are air pockets eight of them that are located above, behind, and below the eyes and are connected to the inside of the nose. Sinusitis is an inflammation of one or more of these cavities, usually because of a bacterial or viral infection or owing to allergies. Sinusitis typically starts off as an acute condition, but it can become chronic, lasting for months or even years if not treated adequately.

One purpose of the sinuses is to create mucus that helps pick up and flush out attacking particles, bacteria, and air pollutants.When you’re fit, the mucus moves from the sinus cavities towards the nose; it then flows backward into the throat and down into the stomach, where stomach acids eliminate any hazardous bacteria.

However, once a hollow becomes irritated due to cold, flu, or an allergy attack the mucous membrane which lines the sinus usually swells unusually, hindering the drainage canals which allows usual mucus flow. (Mucous membrane in sinuses is same as that of the nose so whenever the nose is infested, the sinuses are also usually involved.)

This subsequent buildup in pressure often results in nasal congestion, headache and pain in the forehead or at numerous points round the teeth, ears, eyes, neck and cheeks, dependent on which sinuses are affected.

If the cause of the swelling persists, the sinuses also allow bacteria to breed and thrive. A bacterial infection can then grow, indicated by mucus which has a bad taste and/or turns yellow-green, followed by pain and stress that may become severe.


  • A feeling of fullness and head congestion.
  • Headache pain or pressure around one or both eyes or cheeks that is worse in the morning or when the sufferer bends forward.
  • Swelling in the upper eyelids.
  • Yellowish green nasal discharge.
  • Difficulty breathing through the nose following a cold or flu.
  • Fever and chills.

What causes it

Sinusitis is triggered by either a bacterial or bacterial infection which spreads to the sinuses from nose. Upper respiratory infection like flu and common cold are the most common reasons of sinusitis.  There are other options as well: swimming in dirty water; spread of infection from sores in the upper teeth; or irritation from dust, air pollutants or tobacco smoke. Some people with structural problems, such as a deviated nasal septum or polyps in the nasal cavities, may also be prone to recurring sinusitis.

What if you do nothing

Without cure, sinusitis may last for weeks or months, frequently with pain, fatigue and congestion. If bacteria moves from the sinuses towards the lungs, bronchitis can occur.  The ears can also be affected, causing balance problems.

Home remedies

Inhale steam from a basin of hot water

Take deep breaths. This will help relieve sinus congestion and pain. Inhaling the vapors in a hot shower or bath may have similar effects.

Use a nasal decongestant

Over-the-counter oral or nasal decongestants may help reduce swelling when used sparingly. Don’t use a nasal decongestant for more than two days or you risk a rebound effect in which the nasal tissues swell back up, oftentimes worse than before. Follow label directions carefully.

Avoid bending over with your head down

This movement increases sinus pain.

Try exercising

For some people vigorous exercise has a powerful decongesting effect though for others, it can aggravate congestion. Try performing an aerobic exercise at a light intensity. Stop if you feel the congestion worsen.


Control your allergies

Sinusitis can be a complication stemming from a seasonal allergy. If allergies are the source of your sinusitis, find out what triggers them. Limit your exposure to the allergens that affect you and use antihistamines when necessary.

Keep hydrated

Drink plenty of liquids each day a minimum of 8 to 10 glasses to loosen nasal secretions. Using a cool-mist humidifier in your home and sleeping with your head elevated can also help promote optimal drainage.

Reduce alcohol consumption

When you have sinusitis, alcohol can dehydrate the body and make mucus dry and thick, leading to possible blockage of the opening of a sinus cavity.

Minimize your exposure to people with colds or known infections

Practice sanitary health habits when you must be around such people; wash your hands frequently and avoid shared towels, napkins, and eating utensils.

Avoid chlorinated swimming pools

If chlorine irritates your nose and sinuses, plan to do your swimming in a freshwater lake or saltwater bay or ocean.

Fly with care

The changing air pressure in a plane can force mucus into the sinuses. Consider using a nasal spray before taking off and shortly before landing to keep your sinuses open.

If you smoke, quit

Tobacco smoke, as well as other pollutants, aggravates sinusitis symptoms.

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