Sinus is a hollow, air-filled cavity in “para-nasal sinuses” nasal passage connecting nasal passage to forehead (frontal sinus), behind cheeks area (maxillary sinus), between the eyes region(ethmoid sinuses), deep behind the ethmoids area (sphenoid sinus).
Sinus infections are caused by a disease causing pathogenic microorganism (such as virus, bacterium, or fungus), that grows within a sinus and causes intermittent blockage of the sinus ostium. Sinusitis is inflammation of the air cavities within the passages of the nose termed differently as acute sinus infection(being of less than 30 days duration), infected sinusitis, chronic sinus infection (greater than 3 months duration), non-infectious sinusitis and sub -acute sinus infection (over 1 month but less than 3 months). Sinus infection symptoms include facial tenderness, feeling of nasal stuffiness, cough, fever, sore throat, facial swelling, pressure or pain in the sinuses, cloudy discolored drainage, and sinus headache.
Risk of sinusitis increases in common cold ((flu) due to Nasal mucous membrane swelling), blocking of drainage ducts, Nasal allergy, Cystic Fibrosis (thickening and hardening of secretion from secretory glands in nose), Nasal trauma (injury to nose), Nasal tumors (cancer in nose area), Nasal Polyps (Over-growth in nasal mucosa layer), Overuse of nasal sprays, Dental trauma (injury to teeth and gums) and viral infections.
Sinusitis occurs when there is a major abnormality in the person's sinus tissue (such as abnormal mucus production, facial or nasal trauma, swelling, inflammation). Bacterial sinusitis is caused by bacterial infection by bacterium-- Moraxella catarrhalis, Haemophilus influenzae, Staphylococcus aureus, Streptococcus pneumoniae, and Streptococcus pyogenes. Sinusitis can be caused by allergies (allergy to dust mite, mould and fungi) and chemical or particulate irritation of the sinuses. Fungal sinusitis is caused by fungus such as zygomycosis. Complications in sinus infection that lead to meningitis (inflammation of protective layer covering the brain), brain abscess (collection of pus in brain caused by inflammation in ear or dental region), osteomyelitis (inflammation of bone marrow), and orbital cellulitis (inflammation of eye tissue).
Sinusitis is diagnosed based on patient history and physical examination for symptoms--redness and swelling of the nasal passages, swelling about the eyes and cheeks and pus like-drainage from the nasal passages. Nasal endoscopy and mucus examination help to confirm the sinusitis inflammation. Allergic fungal sinusitis is an inflammatory response to fungal elements in the sinus cavity diagnosed based on CT imaging. Fungal infections are usually diagnosed by fungal culture, biopsy procedures and microscopic tissue examination by a surgeon. The infectious sinusitis is identified by appearance of polymorphonuclear cells and allergic sinusitis is diagnosed by presence of eosinophils. Treatment of sinusitis is done by use of analgesic (mostly amoxicillin), over a period of 10-14 days to cure fever and pain. Corticosteroids are used in case of inflammation and allergic sinusitis. Use of decongestants (pseudoephedrine) and mucolytics (guaifenesin) through oral adminstration assists drainage of sinus infection.
Any instance of trouble in breathing and swelling of face, lips, tongue and throat during the sinusitis treatment should be consulted with your physician. Immediate medical attention should be taken if there is yellowing of the eyes or skin, Diarrhea, Stomach cramps or pain or presence of blood in vomiting.
Preventive care in sinusitis includes use of Saline (salt-water) nasal sprays or nasal drops that can help clear your mucus. Inhaling steam from bowl of hot water releases the nasal congestion and provides temporary relief from blocked sinuses. Drinking lot of water helps hydrate your system.