Sinusitis occurs when the sinuses become inflamed or infected. There are four pairs of sinuses that are usually hollow and filled with air and light mucous. The mucous helps to trap the dirt that is brought in by the air that we breath, the mucous is then pushed out through tiny openings known as ostia that serve as drains. These openings are very small and are usually found at the bottom of the cavities where the mucous can drain out easily, however there are openings at the top which can make draining of the mucous more difficult. Symptoms of sinusitis include:
Pressure and pain in the face and behind the eye
Post nasal drip
Yellow or discoloured mucous that is smelly.
The sinuses become inflamed when the small openings known as ostia become blocked and this usually causes sinusitis. Infection occurs when the mucous is unable to drain out of the sinuses and pressure begins to build up and because of this bacteria is trapped in the sinuses. The bacteria then multiply and and the symptoms of sinusitis start. The ostia can also become blocked as a result of flu’s and cold, allergies and hay fever as well as abnormalities in the nasal passages or as a symptom of other diseases.
Try to increase you daily intake of fluids such as herbal teas, filtered water and fruit and vegetable juices. You could take a supplement of Vitamin A, C, potassium chloride, zinc lozenges, ginkgo biloba, goldenseal and garlic. You should also avoid spicy food, smoking and drinking alcohol.
Apply a warm compress on your nose as it will help open your sinuses, drink plenty of fluids also steam is very beneficial if you are suffering from sinus problems so fill up a bowl with hot water and bend over it with a towel over your head and keep the steam in the area and then breath, you could also use one of the aromatherapeutic oils recommended above.
It is very important that you avoid any allergenic substance and cigarette smoke. Also try and stay from anyone that has the flu or a cold.
When to seek further professional advice
If you find that the condition has not improved within 7 days or is recurring frequently.
The following alternative therapies will attempt to deal with the underlying cause of the disease as well as trying to relieve the pressure of the sinuses and letting them drain. The symptoms of sinus are similar to other upper respiratory conditions so it is important that you consult your doctor before starting any alternative treatment. Peppermint, eucalyptus, pine, rosemary or thyme are often used in aromatherapy to help break up your clogged sinuses and can be used in a vaporizer or steam inhalation. A Chinese herbalist will need to fully examine you and your symptoms before he prescribes any preparations. The Chinese herb Ephedra which is a decongestant is usually included in a preparation that is used for sinusitis, this herb should not be used if you suffer from heart disease or hypertension though. There are also a number of other Chinese herbs that have been found to be quite helpful in relieving sinusitis symptoms such as fritillary bulb (Fritillaria cirrhosa), honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica), xanthium fruit (Xanthium sibiricum), tangerine peel (Citrus reticulata) and magnolia flower (Magnolia liliflora). Herbalists often recommend that you use Bromelain tablets as they help reduce inflammation, headaches, nasal discharge and breathing difficulties. You could also take goldenseal, Echinacea or raw garlic which will help build up your immune system. Elder flower, mashmallow, goldenrod and eyebright may also be suggested as they help fight severe mucous production. Your homeopath will be able to recommend specific remedies for various types of sinusitis discomfort.
Once your doctor has diagnosed sinusitis he will probably try to restore drainage within the sinuses. An antibiotic will also be prescribed if an infection is present.
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