Sinusitis or inflamed paranasal sinuses is in most cases a viral disease following a complicated cold. Although sinusitis may seem trivial, it can give us a hard time. Apart from bacterial sources, sinusitis may be provoked by an allergic reaction. Most people experience the unpleasant symptoms of sinusitis sometime during their lives. Its onset is usually a consequence of a weak immune system.

Risk factors

The most common risk factor is an obstruction of the upper airways, specifically those leading to nasal sinuses. The obstruction may be due to a minor cold, medications or allergies (hay fever, allergy to gluten). The risk increases along with a weak immune system due to excess stress, poor diet, lack of vitamins or an eating disorder. Sinusitis may even be caused by untreated tooth decay when the inflammation penetrates the root of a tooth and its own cavity. Another possibility is an inherited defect when the abnormal nose structure disables a free airflow within sinuses and promotes a multiplication of viruses and bacteria in the area. A similar obstruction arises after injuries involving fractured or damaged cartilages.

Signs and symptoms

Dull headache or pain in the face is a key symptom of sinusitis. Pain is located primarily in the forehead and above the jaw, sometimes in ears. Pain increases on movement, pressure changes, on touch of the affected area, or when clearing the nose. Symptoms confirming the presence of sinusitis include a limited function of sensory input (smell, taste and hearing) and they are accompanied with difficulties of clearing the nose, and the presence of yellow-green mucus of a thick consistency, possibly mixed with blood. The infection is manifested by a typical smell of breath. Accompanying signs include fever, sore throat and cough.

Preventing sinusitis

The most crucial step is maintaining a healthy diet, adequate vitamin intake, and a strong immune system. A regular and adequate sleep also contributes to the overall health. We should avoid cigarettes as the smoke irritates mucosa making it more prone to multiplying viruses and bacteria. If the immune system is weak, crowded places should be avoided during the flu seasons and the immune system enhanced using appropriate food supplements.

Treatment

In terms of treatments, acute and chronic inflammation should be distinguished. Acute sinusitis is shorter than the chronic, but chronic sinusitis is of mild progression. Antibiotics are usually administered with an addition of nasal drops. The treatment of sinusitis is not effective if the immune system remains weak; whereas under normal circumstances it should defeat the bacteria. A very effective therapy involves rest and hot baths of the lower and upper limbs. Herbs such as sage or dense-flowered mullein are also helpful. If sinuses are not cleared by then, a visit to a doctor is necessary, who may perform a puncture to flush out accumulated mucus. The puncture is an unpleasant but sometimes necessary emergency procedure, and it always brings a relief. Chronic sinusitis has often a more complex source which needs to be found and removed. In the field of holistic medicine, inflamed anterior sinuses cause inflammation of the upper airways, and mucus including mucous membranes fall under the control of the pancreas. Treatments should focus on pancreas and its function as the source of chronic sinusitis. In this case, a special diet and herbal teas are effective.  

Impact of the immune system on sinusitis

The immune system plays a major role against harmful parasites. If immunity is compromised or weak, viruses have a great opportunity to multiply and stimulate inflammation. Hence it is necessary to strengthen the immune system, especially during the initial stage of the disease, and to provide the body with essential vitamins and a healthy diet. Sinusitis can be provoked by typical colds as well as a proliferation of viruses inside the oral cavity due to the weak immune system.

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