Sinus Pain, Drainage & Infection
Did you know... sinus problems affect an estimated 35 million Americans, making sinusitis conditions one of the most common complaints of patients seeking medical attention There are four pairs of sinuses in the head that control the temperature and humidity of the air reaching the lungs no matter how hot, cold, or dry the weather.
Sinuses begin as pea-sized pouches in the newborn, extending outward from the inside of the nose into the bones of the face and skull. They expand and grow through childhood into young adulthood.
They are air pockets: cavities that are lined with the same kind of membranes lining the nose, and are connected to the inside of the nose through small openings about the size 'of a pencil lead.
Normally, the nose and sinuses produce between a pint and a quart of mucus secretions per day. This passes into and through the nose, picking up dust particles, bacteria and other air pollutants along the way. The mucus is swept to the back of the throat by millions of tiny hair-like structures (cilia), which line the nasal cavity; and is swallowed. In the stomach acids destroy any dangerous bacteria. Most people do not notice this mucus flow because it is just a normal bodily function.
Sinusitis Symptoms: Sinus infection can be divided into two types, acute sinusitis, which is frequently a temporary condition. Whereas Chronic sinusitis is an ongoing condition.
Acute Sinusitis: If a cold becomes worse, acute sinusitis may develop and may eventually lead to an even worse sinus problem known as chronic sinus condition. You should see a doctor if you experience the following: 1.) Green / yellow nasal discharge. 2.) Facial pressure around the cheeks, eyes, and forehead, especially with swelling, 3.) High fever (102" F and above), or 4.) Upper molar tooth pain.
Chronic Sinusitis: Patients with chronic sinus infections probably have had sinusitis for some time and had prior episodes of acute sinus infection, which failed to go away or be cured. They may also complain of having a continuous cold. Common symptoms include:
- 1. Low grade fever (less than 101 F),
- 2. Nasal congestion/nosebleed,
- 3. Headaches,
- 4. Chronic sore throat and cough,
- 5. Poor or decreased sense of smell.
Causes of Acute or Chronic Sinus Problems
When the openings into the sinuses become plugged up sinus pressure develops and the nose may feel blocked. These blockages may be caused by infections, irritants, anatomic (physical) problems, and allergies. Sinus disease can be common among family members, and even stress may play a role in chronic sinus diseases.
Causes of blockage:
- Infection: Most adults viral
get colds and upper respiratory infections about three
times per year. Children get them more frequently. Bacterial
infections often follow the common cold. When the mucus
changes from clear to yellow or green, it usually means
a bacterial infection has developed. Bacterial and bacterial
infections cause swelling of the tissues inside the
nose and thickening of the normal mucous. This slows
down or even stops proper sinus drainage.
- Irritants: Air pollution, smoke, and chemical irritants
(e.g., some sprays containing pesticides, disinfectants,
and household detergents) may cause swelling and blockage
of the narrow channels from the nose to the sinuses,
leading to bacterial growth and sinus infection.
- Anatomic Problems: In some people, the cartilage
and bone in the center of the nose (called the septum)
can be shifted to one side through injury while others
may be born that way. If this shift is severe, sinus
drainage on that side of the nose can he affected. This
can lead to complete closure of one or several of the
sinus channels. Mucus then builds up behind these obstructions
and causes sinus infection. If the swelling becomes
severe, the lining of the sinuses can grow excessively.
These growths are called nasal polyps, which can cause
further blockage of the sinus channels. Trapped or stagnant
mucus provides a breeding ground for bacteria.
- Allergies: Allergies can cause inflammation inside the nose. Common symptoms of an allergic reaction include; nasal stuffiness, runny nose, sneezing, and itchy, watery eyes. Chronic sinusitis is sometimes associated with asthma. Allergies are responsible for asthma in some patients and may also cause nasal stuffiness, resulting in a strain on the lungs that makes the asthma worse