SINUSITIS / SINUS INFECTION
Sinusitis is an inflammation or swelling of the inner lining of the spaces between the bones in our face where mucus drains into the nose and air passes. These spaces are what are known as the sinuses. When the swelling occurs it blocks these openings, which causes mucus to build up. As the mucus builds up it creates pressure, which we feel as pain.
Sinusitis is very common, and it can either be acute or chronic.
Acute sinusitis is an infection that is usually caused by bacterial or viral infections of the nose, throat and upper respiratiry tract and it typically lasts for around four weeks. Most often this type of sinus infection is preceded by an allergy attack, a cold, air travel or other environmental pollutants.
Chronic sinusitis is when the condition lasts for 12 weeks or more and is a reoccuring problem.
Allergic sinusitis is often caused by hay fever or food allergies, most commonly milk and dairy products.
If the nasal secretions turn clear after a week, and you have no other symptoms of a cold, your condition is most likely to be caused by allergies and an allergy test would be very helpful.
Anyone that has ever suffered from sinusitis or a sinus infection will tell you that one of the main symptoms is pain and pressure. This pain and pressure can be over the cheeks and upper teeth. It could be in the forehead and/or above the eyebrow. Pain can also be felt behind the eyes or around the eyes, in the temples or the top of the head. Where you feel the pain depends on which sinuses are affected by the infection.
Pain and pressure are not the only symptoms. You may also experience a headache, discharge that is yellow or green in colour from the nose or back of the throat, bad breath, stuffy nose, productive cough, tooth pain, fever and a decrease in your ability to taste or smell things. The blockage of mucous tends to cause a postnasal drip which can then in turn cause a sore throat and loss of sleep.
In children the symptoms that are most often present are nasal discharge that lasts for 7 to 10 days, coughing, facial pain and headaches. Children age 2 or older that have chronic sinusitis might also suffer from frequent ear infections and allergies.
Do not use force when blowing your nose with sinusitis because this forces mucous back into the sinus cavities. Instead draw the secretions back into the throat by sniffing and then expel them.
What Causes It?
Acute sinusitis can be caused by a number of different agents. Some of the more common causes of acute sinusitis include viruses, bacteria, fungus, blowing your nose, scuba diving or medications.
Chronic sinusitis is usually due to a combination of things such as allergies or fungus and bacteria or a virus. The hormone changes in pregnancy which relax the mucous membranes can also cause sinusitis. In fact anything that causes a disruption in the normal flow of air and mucus in the sinuses can cause this condition. The more common causes of chronic sinusitis are: allergies, asthma, extreme temperature and humidity or rapid change in temperature and humidity, deviated septum, defective mucus membrane, poor air quality, dehydration, weaken immune system, stress, hormones, and finally polyps or tumors.
Diet and Lifestyle Advice
There are simple things that you can do to help improve sinusitis, these includes certain lifestyle choices. If you are a smoker, now is a good time to try to give it up. This will help increase recovery time and help decrease the frequency of sinus infections. Try to avoid all second hand smoke. If you live in an area where the air is smoggy you will want to invest in a good home air purifier and/or a personal air purifier that can be worn around the neck. Make sure that you make regular visits to the dentist - infections in the mouth can very easily spread to the sinuses and cause a sinus infection.
There are also dietary steps that can be taken to help you deal with an infection and avoid the reoccurrence of infections. These recommendations include eating a healthy diet that mostly consists of raw (uncooked) foods. Avoid eating all dairy products including milk, reduce the amount of red meat and soya that you consume as these foods all increase mucous production in the body, and do your best to eliminate all sugar and junk food from your diet. Drink plenty of fluids to help flush out your system - filtered water, herbal teas, fresh juices and soups. Adding thyme, cayenne, garlic, ginger and raw onion to soups or teas can also help to reduce and thin mucous production.
The Conventional Approach
The typical conventional approach to treating sinusitis consists of antibiotics, antihistamines and decongestant nasal sprays. The problem here is that antibiotics destroy levels of good bacteria in the gut which are vital for a healthy immune system. They are also completely ineffective for viruses. Antihistamines should only be taken for a few days because their main side effect is dryness, making it more difficult for your sinuses to drain thereby delaying healing.
Decongestants and nasal spray medications also should only be used for about three days unless your doctor prescribes them differently. Using these items long term can actually worsen the condition because the passage ways become dependent upon the nasal spray. Long term use can also increase your risk of high blood pressure and heart problems.
The two most effective complementary therapies that help alleviate sinusitis are acupuncture and homeopathy. You may also try steam inhalations. To do this place a towel over your head so that you are capturing the steam that is coming from hot water or a vaporizer and breath in as deeply as you can.
Natural Nasal Spray - the 'Rhinodoron Nasal Spray' is a medical device to help clear a blocked, stuffy nose. The spray hs a cleaning and sothing effect and contains moisturising aloe vera. Helps break down and clear a congested nose. Suitable from birth and during pregnancy.
Essential Oils - 'Congest Ease' is an anti-viral, penetrating and head clearing blend of organic essential oils for colds, 'flu, catarrh and sinusitis. Can be added to a vapouriser, or inhaled from a tissue or a bowl of hot water (full instructions included). The therapeutic concentration of the essential oils is suitable for adults/children over 10 yrs. Younger children should use 'Breathe Ease' - see Coughs & Colds
Homeopathy - 'Belladonna' is helpful for infections accompanied by fever and pain, while 'Kali bich' is useful if there is ecessive mucous in the throat.
Take one dose every half an hour or an hour depending on the severity, and then three or four doses a day as required. If your symptoms match two different remedies alternate them.
NB. It is important to touch the pills as little as possible, ideally tipping them into the lid and then directly into the mouth, and also to avoid eating and drinking at the same time as taking the remedy.
The stronger the symptoms the stronger the potency required, so if you are unsure, if any of these remedies are not working, or you feel you need a higher potency contact a professional homeopath.
Please contact us for one-to-one advice
NB. This information is in no way intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. If you are unsure as to the suitability of any of the products or recommendations with regard to your condition please consult your doctor. If your doctor does not approve of complementary medicine it may be helpful to find one who does.