Sinuses are empty cavities in the skull around the nose. Their function is mainly to keep the weight of the skull light. Based on their location, they have different names. Frontal sinus in the forehead region, ethmoid sinus between the eyes, maxillary sinus in the cheek area, and sphenoid sinus at the back end of the nose. These sinuses inside are lined by the same pink skin you see in the nose, and all these sinuses ultimately open into the nose, draining their mucus into the nose.
An infection of any of these sinuses is called as SINUSITIS. Sinusitis can be due to many reasons. Most commonly, it is due to a bacterial infection. Fungal infection is also very common nowadays. Sinus infection starts as a part of a common cold, but due to the swelling of the mucosa of the nose, the sinus openings get blocked, and infection starts in the sinuses, which cannot drain their secretions. Symptoms of sinusitis usually include nose block, fever, thick/sticky nasal discharge, post-nasal drip and headache. CT-SCAN of the nose and sinus is done and usually gives us an accurate diagnosis.
Treatment usually includes antibiotics, pain and fever management, anti-allergic medication, and sometimes a short course of low dose steroids to reduce the inflammation and swelling in the nose.
As sinuses are in close relationship with important structures like the upper jaw and teeth, eyes and brain, and the bones separating these structures are thin, a delayed diagnosis or non-recovery with routine treatment may spread the infection to the nearby structures. If any presenting symptoms last more than 2 weeks without any improvement or if any of the symptoms worsen, it indicates a spreading sinus infection. A few other symptoms include:
Keeping our nose and sinuses healthy is quite simple. Small everyday practices can help significantly.
Finally, maintaining a good diet rich in antioxidants and getting adequate sleep helps our overall well-being, hence less risk of catching common viral infections.
You need to consult an ENT specialist as soon as possible in these cases to diagnose the problem and start the correct treatment accurately. Avoid going to the general practitioner.