A feeling of tiredness and heaviness in the head that lingers throughout the day accompanied by continuous coughing and sneezing – most of us have experienced this after getting up in the morning. Mistaking these symptoms for common cold we consume over the counter medicines that has very little or no effect. Finally we drag ourselves to the doctor who after listening to our history of symptoms, does a sinus x-ray and comes to the conclusion that the ailment is sinusitis.
So what is sinusitis? Sinusitis is an inflammation of the mucous membrane of any sinus specifically the paranasal. Paranasal means lying next to the nasal cavities. The inflammation can be caused due to infection, allergy or even issues related to autoimmune reaction. Classification of sinusitis can be done on the basis of two factors – by location and by duration.
Our body has many hollow cavities that are filled with air. Sinus cavities are located behind the bones of the head surrounding the nose. Depending on the severity of the disease sinusitis can be classified by the sinus cavity it affects. There are four paired sets of sinuses and they include:
• Maxillary sinuses: They are located in each cheekbone and are ones which are mostly affected when a person has sinusitis.
• Frontal sinuses: They are located above the eyes on either side of the forehead.
• Ethmoid sinuses: They are located behind the bridge of the nose between the eyes.
• Sphenoid sinuses: They are located between the upper part of the nose and behind the eyes.
Sinusitis is based on duration and, is classified into acute, sub acute and chronic. Acute sinusitis lasts for less than four weeks, sub acute sinusitis lasts for 4 – 8 weeks and chronic sinusitis lasts for 8 weeks or more. However similar symptoms are seen in all the three types of sinusitis and therefore it is often very difficult to differentiate between them.
Symptoms Of Sinusitis
A very typical symptom of sinusitis is headache after getting up in the morning. The pain is centralized in the area of the involved sinus and could aggravate if the affected person bends over or while lying down. The pain usually starts on one side of the head and gradually engulfs both the sides.
Thick nasal discharge, normally green in color accompanied with pus or blood is symptomatic of chronic and acute sinusitis. Ethmoid sinuses are located near tear ducts around the corner of the eyes. Therefore inflammation of these cavities causes the eyelids to swell and pain is experienced between the eyes. Sinus infection could also lead to inner ear problems because of the accumulation of mucous in the nasal passages which further results in dizziness.
Home Remedies For Sinusitis
Thus it is pretty obvious that sinusitis can be downright debilitating. So, before the disease can get the better of you, why not do something to prevent it from happening in the first place. Let’s consider some home remedies that can help to avoid the next attack.
The very first step that holds true to prevent any ailment is to take good care of ourselves. A healthy immune system will help to boost our resistance to germs that we are most likely to encounter in our day to day life. In this way we become less prone to catch a cold or come down with flu thus making the symptoms much more manageable. So to enhance the body’s resistance we can begin by eating right, staying in shape and by taking plenty of rest.
Avoid unnecessary contact with people who are suffering from a cold or the flu. If it’s a family member be careful not to share eating utensils or drink from the same glass and wash hands often to stay away from germs.
Keep yourself hydrated by drinking a fair amount of liquids like fruit juices and water. This will improve drainage by loosening the mucus secretions that gets congested in the sinus. Consumption of alcoholic beverages is a strict no no at this time because they tend to flare up the symptoms by increasing the swelling found in the lining of the nose and sinuses.
Gradual increase in the intake of onions and garlic in our regular diet can prove to be beneficial in this case. Their antibacterial properties can help fight the virus that causes sinusitis in the first place. Tea made with fenugreek seeds can be prepared by boiling one teaspoon of fenugreek seeds in water. This home remedy is very effective in relieving sinus related headaches and it also induces the body to perspire thereby reducing fever caused during a sinus attack.
A diet rich in Vitamin A works as a great membrane conditioner as it helps to strengthen the mucous membranes in the throat as well as the nose. Foods that contain rich sources of Vitamin A are milk, carrots, egg yolk, tomatoes, leafy vegetables etc.
Treating the sinus cavity with a steam bath by draping a towel over the head and inhaling the steam from boiling water can also be very helpful. Its effect will increase if a few drops of eucalyptus oil is added to the boiling water. Practice this regularly for at least ten to fifteen minutes every day. Another way of treating sinusitis is through nasal flush.
This can be done by mixing ¼ teaspoon of salt and ¼ teaspoon of baking soda in one cup of warm water. Fill up a syringe with this solution and drop the mixture up in the nose.
Sinus patients can treat themselves to a sinus massage by pressing the thumbs firmly on both sides of the nose. In this way a fresh supply of blood is carried to the effected sinus which in turn helps to release the discomfort. Both the thumbs should be kept in that position for at least 15 to 30 seconds. Repeat this exercise for further relief. While sleeping the head should be kept in an elevated position to enable easy flow of the mucus and also to release nasal congestion.
Another very effective home remedy for the treatment of sinusitis that can be easily prepared is a mixture of grated lotus root, grated ginger and unbleached white flour. This mixture can be applied directly to the skin. Allow the mixture to stay overnight or for several hours. Continue this for at least a week or even more. This remedy works very well in removing and loosening the accumulated mucus.
Since allergies are a common cause for sinusitis it makes sense to know about our allergy triggers and try our best to avoid them as far as possible.
In medical parlance antibiotics and in some severe cases surgery is the only solution available for sinusitis. However studies have proved that about 60 to 90% people have not found any resolution to the symptoms using antibiotics.
Going to the doctor is the first thing that comes to our mind whenever there is an ailment. However in cases like sinusitis barring an initial check up visiting a doctor should be the last resort because sinusitis is a disease that goes out of hand only when we do not manage our system properly.