Sinuses are the hollow cavities of the skull. When virus or bacteria infect the sinus cavity around the nasal passages, it causes inflammation. It is also caused by allergens. These irritants may trigger immune system of the body that will produce mucus to flush out these irritants.
Common symptoms of sinusitis are- increased production of mucus, nasal congestion and discomfort or pain in the cheeks, forehead, around eyes, and headache. If the symptoms of sinusitis keep coming back or last for more than eight weeks the person might be suffering from chronic sinusitis, and should consult a physician.
A person can try various remedial actions to treat congestion of the sinus.
- Take plenty of rest, when your body is fighting the infection in sinus.
- Drink plenty of water. This helps in thinning of mucus, and help sinuses to drain properly. This will also prevent bacterial infection.
- Inhale steam using a humidifier, or stand in hot shower. This helps in opening of nasal passages, loosening of mucus, and allows you to breathe comfortably.
- Drink herbal tea with honey and lemon. This will soothe the sour throat.
- You can use over the counter saltwater nasal sprays to help clear your nose and sinus.
- If in too much discomfort, a pain reliever such as ibuprofen can give some relief from headache. Over the counter decongestants and antihistamines can be taken if required.
Your doctor may suggest some allergy tests to identify allergy triggers if any. If allergies are causing sinusitis, the doctor may prescribe oral antihistamine and steroid nasal spray. As a preventive measure, during peak hay fever and pollen season the person should stay indoors as much as possible. Pets such as dogs and cats too cause allergic reactions. Contact with pets should be minimized. Vacuum clean the house frequently and take every precaution to stay away from the allergens.
If the sinusitis keeps coming back, the person should consult a doctor. After extensive tests, the doctor may prescribe allergy medicine. In severe cases, the person will have to take antibiotics, oral steroids and other drugs such as decongestants. If the patient does not respond to any common treatments, the doctor may prescribe simple endoscopic sinus surgery.
Although sinusitis generally responds to home remedies and simple treatments, chronic sinusitis may require vigorous medical treatment in consultation with a doctor. If you have cold and sinusitis symptoms for more than 10 days, you should see a doctor.