The human skull houses four pairs of paranasal sinuses located in the forehead (Frontal sinuses), at the back of the cheek bones (Maxillary sinuses), between the eyes (Ethmoid sinuses), and at the rear of the eyes (Sphenoid sinuses). Sinus infection is the infection of the paranasal sinus leading to the swelling of the sinuses, a condition known as Sinusitis. There are various types of sinus infections, these are:

Sinus infection

  • Acute sinus infection which occurs as a complication of upper respiratory tract infection, often caused by a viral infection and is self-limiting. Viral infection period usually lasts less than L0 days. However, bacteria can infect the paranasal sinuses such as Staphylococcus aureus, streptococcus pneumonia, Moraxella catarrhalis, and Haemophilus influenza (most common). Allergic reactions to dust, chemical fumes and particles from secondhand smoke can trigger sinus inflammation, providing good medium from pathogenic growth. Acute sinus infection usually lasts less than 8 weeks and if symptoms last beyond this time period, it is considered to be chronic. Patients with immune-compromised conditions like AIDS, and those undergoing long-term steroidal therapy, as well as those with Diabetes Mellitus are at great risk for developing sinus infection.
  • Frontal sinus – pain is located superior to the eyes and on the forehead. To reduce pain and discomfort, position the head upright and discourage reclining.
  • Maxillary sinus – Pain, accompanied with swelling, tenderness and redness are felt on and across the cheek, as well as below and around the eyes. Location of the pain can be felt either unilaterally or bilaterally. Symptoms are Toothache and headache. To lessen further pain and pressure, avoid putting the head in an upright position. Leaning or bending forward can aggravate symptoms. Encourage reclining for better comfort.
  • Sphenoid sinus – Pain is felt at the rear and on the apex of the head, across the forehead, and at the back the eye or vertex. Discourage the patient from bending forward and lying , on their back. Visual instability like Diplopia or better known as double vision may occur when pain radiates to the nerves that are connected to the visual cortex of the brain.
  • Ethmoid sinus – Pain is concentrated on the temple. Pain is also felt between and at the back of the eyes. Position of comfort is putting the head upright. Lying supine is not encouraged. Caution should be taken during coughing and straining

Sinus infection pose a significant danger especially when complications develop. Loss of sight occurs as infection spreads toward the ocular nerves. Patient is also febrile and feeble. More severe complications like infection of the bones or Osteomyelitis, particularly on the forehead and cheek bones are often observed from Frontal and Maxillary sinus infections, respectively. The worst complication involves the brain which can cause changes on the level of consciousness, as well as on the person’s personality, less severe symptoms include persistent headache and visual anomalies. If left untreated or if medical interventions are ineffective, episodes of seizures, which can progress to coma, and even death.

TREATMENTS

  • Treatments can range from simple nasal irrigation, nasal decongestants such as oxymetazoline (Afrin) and Naphazoline (Naphcon), as well as Phenylephrineor pseudoephedrineoral decongestants. When using nasal decongestants for a prolonged period of time, caution should be taken. This can lead to a phenomenon called Rhinitis Medicamentosum.
  • For bacterial sinus infection, the first-line antibiotic of choice is Amoxicillin, a penicillin derivative.
  • If allergic reactions or resistance to penicillin occurs, the alternative choice is Sulfamethoxazole/Trimethoprim (Bactrim) or Co-trimoxazole. Drug sensitivity and bacterial resistance should be considered. If either of these occurs with Co-trimoxazole, new generations of antibiotic class like the Cephalosporins and Carbacephems, like Loracarbef (Lorabid) may be prescribed as replacement therapies.
  • Nasal corticosteroids like Fluticasone and Beclomethasone, as well as oral corticosteroids such as Prednisone may be used to reduce inflammation.
  • Anti-histamines are also useful against sinus infection. Allergic reactions such as nasal drip provides excellent medium for pathogens to thrive. To deprive microbes a base for accelerated growth, anti-allergy medications such as Cetirizine, Hydroxyzine (Atarax) and Loratidine (Claritin)can be given as preventive measures.
  • For fungal sinus infections, anti-fungal medication such as Amphotericin B is administered, usually by Intravenous route (IV).
  • Self-medication is an unhealthy practice and can lead to undesired outcomes. It is always advisable to consult professional medical help from a qualified healthcare provider.
  • There are also easy home remedies for providing relief from sinusitis such as inhaling steam, saline nasal spray, gentle heat application over the inflamed area, lying down in a darkened room, decoction of mustard seeds and water instilled in the nostrils, drinking juice of ripe grapes, jalapeno pepper, inhalation of peppermint steam, applying a paste of cinnamon and water or dry ginger and water, etc.

SINUS INFECTIONS SYMPTOMS

Green boogers and sinus infectionThe diagnosis of a sinus type infection is often done based on the symptoms of sinus infections, medical history, and physical examination of the patient. Symptoms are often similar to a cold bout so doctor may require one to undergo certain diagnostic exams, which may include endoscopic evaluation of nasopharynx, microbial culture, and CT or computed tomography scan. palpation and percussion of the face may also be helpful in determining which among the sinuses are infected. It is important to treat sinus infection as soon as possible, as it may result to acute sinusitis, which may then lead to sub-acute or chronic infection. The main goal of a sinusitis treatment is to get rid of the infection and relieve one of nasal congestion. For someone suffering from acute sinusitis, an antibiotic course therapy is often recommended. Decongestants, either oral or topical can also be used to clear the blockage in the nasal passages. Apart from this, doctor may also recommend some adjunctive treatments for symptoms of sinus infections, such as steam bath, healthy diet plan, corticosteroids, mucolytic agents, and antihistamines. It was also known that daily nasal irrigation could help relieve the patient from sinus related infections. One can do this by using a saline solution and a squeeze bottle or nasal spray bottle.

SINUSITIS

Sinusitis is also used to replace name for a sinus infection, a common disorder. Sinusitis treatment should be required when the symptoms become chronic. Sinuses are hollow pockets of air located on either side of the nose, behind and in-between the eyes, and in the forehead. The sinuses produce mucus that cleans and moistens the membranes of the nose and throat. When the sinuses become blocked and filled with fluid, bacteria can grow there and cause infection known as sinusitis.

Sinusitis is an infection of the air passages (sinuses) inside the skull bones next to the nose. Any blockage of the normal osmium leads to disturbed mucociliary transport and subsequently infection of the sinus. The frontal and the maxillary sinuses open into the middle meatus. The sinusitis treatment should deal simultaneously with the infected area. Usually the simple sinusitis treatment is to use a natural antibiotic for sinus infection that is proven to work. Otherwise antihistamines are generally best used in the case of allergies, and do not tend to work as well in treating colds and sinus infections. There are also a number of prescription decongestants that your doctor can give you if over the counter remedies do not have the desired effect. Anyone can get a sinus infection but those who are born with a deviated septum or an especially narrow sinus opening or those who have suffered an injury to their nose are most susceptible. Either condition makes it harder for mucus to drain, which makes it easier for bacteria to get trapped and grow. It is possible with chronic sinusitis that the situation may arise that the infection may extend into the brain and cause an infection there and eventually cause death. Individuals with weakened immune systems are at risk since they are prone to infections of all kinds. The purpose of sinusitis treatment is to eliminate infection and encourage the sinuses to drain. Many people, including children, get sinus infections after a cold’ People with sinusitis may have yellow or green-colored mucus draining from the nose, facial pain and headache.

Treatments can include regular cleansing of the sinuses via nasal irrigation method which can help those who have contracted sinus infection recover quickly. To prevent recurrent sinus infection, nasal irrigation must be done on a regular basis. Nasal irrigation with saline solution is one method of controlling sinus symptoms-and possibly curing mild infections that you can easily do at home. Nasal irrigation is not a new discovery, yet more and more ENTs worldwide are recommending it for patients with chronic sinus or other respiratory diseases.

Suitable antibiotics include amoxicillin, sulfa drugs and a variety of cephalosporin are the most common used medication in sinusitis treatment. Antibiotics are prescribed to help control the bacterial infection. This is necessary in order to eliminate the bacteria that were causing the problem. Antibiotics may help destroy your sinus infection symptoms, however, they may also help destroy your immune system leaving you wide open to further infection.

When one suffers from sinusitis, the undrained mucus in the sinuses causes pain and pressure and creates a breeding ground for bacteria and fungi, which can make you more susceptible to viruses and infection. Acute sinusitis can last 2-8 weeks, or even longer, and in some cases the pain and pressure can become chronic. If your sinus symptoms continue, be sure to see your doctor to get right sinusitis treatment and make sure you haven’t developed a sinus infection that calls for an antibiotic medication.

SINUSES AND SINUS HEADACHES

Sinus infectionSinuses are known to produce mucus that cleans and moistens the membranes of the nose and throat and when they get infected that is where we usually feel the discomfort and pain that we experience when we have a case of sinusitis’ When one has a sinus infection, one of the symptoms will definitely be a headache which is only characteristic for sinusitis (which is a sinus infection) happens while one is awake. The headaches that one might experience during the night are rarely caused by a sinus infection’ However, if there is any change in the pressure of the atmosphere or in the temperature’ a sinus infection may appear together with a headache.

ARE SINUS INFECTIONS CONTAGIOUS?

Sinus infections can be contagious if they are recurring infections, which are often due to viruses, bacteria, and fungus, which is often a very rare case. Most of the time, a sinus related infection is due to a viral multiplication in certain sinuses. Frequently, this is a result of a cold bout. Viral sinus type infections on the other hand are not contagious but the viruses can be passed on from one person to another thus making him susceptible to a cold bout or any other conditions related to it. Sinus related infections, which are due to a virus, are very easy to deal with. This condition can be cured by means of certain over-the-counter medications such as decongestants, corticosteroids, and antihistamines. However, the best way is to avoid being in close contact with a person suffering from a viral sinus type infection.

Bacterial sinus infections are not contagious. A bacterial or fungal sinus type infection often occurs due to a swollen sinus where mucus is trapped within it that causes bacterial growth. Certain symptoms such as high fever, postnasal drip, tooth and facial pain, bad breath, yellowish to greenish pus-like discharge, ear pressure, cough, and fatigue are present as well. Visit the physician for medical prescriptions as they cannot be easily cured by over-the-counter medicines and may require an antibiotic course for treatment.