Sinusitis is a condition which effects the sinuses, the part of the upper respiratory system located in the face near the nose and eyes. It is an inflammation of the sinus tissues, and can be caused by a viral, bacterial, or fungal infections. Over 24 million people in the United States alone deal with symptoms and effects of sinusitis, making it a very common condition. Most cases are caused by viral infections, and as such tend to clear up within 10 days.
Infections in the sinus cavities may cause nasal congestion and fevers. In addition to these, cough and bad breath resulting from nasal congestion are not uncommon. Symptoms of sinusitis include pressure in the eyes, nose, or cheeks and can either occur on either or both sides of thes face. The sinus cavities occur in pairs, and due to their function as part of the immune system, they are sensitive to infection. Sinuses are the key agent of the respiratory part of the immune system and they serve as the body’s main defense mechanisms against germs and bacteria.
Sinusitis is can be a sudden onset (known as acute sinusitis), or, more commonly, it can be long term (chronic sinusitis). Infections may also be sub-acute, which lasts between 4 to 12 weeks. Some ways to try to allieviate pressure and congestion in the sinuses yourself are to remember to drink plenty of fluids, inhale steam (this can be done in the shower or with a bowl of hot water and a towel over your head), using a humidifier, and applying a warm washcloth on your face. There are over-the-counter medications that will help with decongestion, but their use over long periods of time can worsen your situation. To allieviate sinus pain and pressure, you can take acetaminophen or ibuprofen.