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Sinusitis is an inflammation of one or more of the paranasal sinuses. The paranasal sinuses are spaces within the skull, below, above, between and behind the eyes. They form a complex interconnecting system of small pipes, which drain into the nasal cavity.
Sinusitis may be caused by an allergy or a viral, bacterial or fungal infection. Sinusitis may be acute (short-lived) or chronic (long-standing).
SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS
The discomfort felt with Sinusitis will vary depending on which sinuses are affected.
• The maxillary sinus is located over the cheek area on either side of the base of the nose. Pressing on the cheekbone may cause pain. The patient may have a toothache and/or headache in the front of the head.
• The frontal sinus is located above each eye. There may be pain near the eyebrows and a frontal headache.
• The ethmoid sinus is located on each side of the bridge of the nose. Pain may be felt behind and between the eyes.
• The sphenoid sinus is located behind the ethmoid sinuses, deeper in the skull. Pain is less localised and may involve a 'heavy' feeling in the head.
Other Sinusitis symptoms include a stuffy nose and a persistent aching in the head, which often worsens with bending over and lying down. Senses of smell and taste are often affected. A thick green or yellow discharge may flow from the nose or down the back of the throat (post nasal drip), which usually indicates the presence of infection. Fever - adults may be present.
Always consult your Doctor for diagnosis and advice.
Treatment depends on the cause of inflammation. Most treatment is aimed at reducing the symptoms and treating underlying infection. Your Pharmacist or Doctor can recommend medications including: decongestants (sprays or tablets), analgesics, antihistamines and antibiotics to help eradicate infection. Your Doctor may recommend a procedure to flush out the sinuses or increase the size of the openings, where the sinuses enter the nasal cavity.
• If fever - adults is present, drink plenty of fluids. Six to eight glasses per day of filtered water, dilute fruit juice, soups, broth and fruit are recommended. Herbal teas, such as fenugreek or golden seal, may also be of benefit.
• If senses of taste and smell are poor, add healthy spices and flavourings to your meals. Ginger, garlic, cracked pepper and chillis are strongly flavoured as well as being beneficial for the immune system and respiratory passages.
•Protein is vital for a variety of bodily processes, particularly during recovery from illness or injury. Include lean meat, chicken, fish or a vegetarian meat substitute in the diet a few times per week.
• Avoid fatty and sugary foods. These are high in calories and low in nutritional value.
• Dairy foods are reputed to increase mucus production in some people. It may be of benefit to avoid dairy products while suffering from a sinus headache.
Supplements may only be of value if dietary intake is inadequate.
• Vitamin C may improve sinusitis as it can act as a natural antihistamine, and may help to minimize the inflammation and swelling of mucus membranes lining the sinuses and improving symptoms.
• Bioflavonoids can be helpful with people with allergies and can therefore be used in the treatment of sinusitis. Quercetin is particularly useful in sinusitis as it has anti-inflammatory properties, which help the body counter allergic reactions to pollen. Quercetin also seems to reduce inflammation in the lungs and other air passages, making breathing easier.
• Echinacea and Golden Seal can work well in combination for acute sinusitis by enhancing immune function and reducing mucus congestion.
• Garlic can help to fight infection and help to drain the sinuses.
• Horseradish has a mucokinetic action, which can help to alleviate congestion common during using sinusitis. Allyl isothiocyanate, a compound in horseradish, stimulates the endings of olfactory nerves, induces tears, and helps to thin mucus.
• Bromelain has a natural anti-inflammatory effect and has been shown in studies to improve acute sinusitis.
The listed essential oils are suggested for the temporary relief of Sinusitis. The most specific oils are shown in capitals.
Aniseed, Cajuput, Cedarwood, EUCALYPTUS, Lavender, PEPPERMINT, PINE
STEAM INHALATION: In a bowl containing one litre of steaming water add 5 drops (total) of essential oil; cover head with towel and inhale while leaning over bowl. Keep eyes closed.
VAPORISATION: Add 5 drops (total) single essential oil or combination of several essential oils listed to water in oil burner.
The above recommendations are for an adult. For children 2 - 12 years and during pregnancy, use 1/2 dose.
Ask your MedAux Pharmacist for advice.
1. Antibiotics are usually required to clear up bacterial infection. Ask your Pharmacist for advice about the dosage and side effects of your medications.
2. Eucalyptus oil inhalation may help clear congestion. Put a few drops into a bowl of hot water and inhale the steam.
3. A decongestant nasal spray might be suggested. Ask your Pharmacist for advice, as some of these may cause a rebound swelling of the membranes after several days.
4. Antihistamines may help manage sinus inflammation as a result of an allergic reaction. Antihistamines also help to dry up mucus.
5. Pain relief may be necessary.
6. Allergies are a common cause of chronic Sinusitis. Ask your Pharmacist or Doctor about allergy testing.
7. If the dietary intake is inadequate nutritional supplements may be of benefit.