Sinusitis: Paranasal Sinuses, Symptoms, Causes, Risk Factors, Types, Diagnosis and Home Remedies

It is a common inflammation of the paranasal sinuses, the cavities that produce the mucus necessary for the nasal passages to function effectively.

It can be acute or chronic, and can be caused by viruses, bacteria, fungi, allergies or even an autoimmune reaction.

Although uncomfortable and painful, sinusitis often goes away without medical intervention. However, if the symptoms last more than 7 to 10 days, or if there is a fever or headache, you should consult your doctor.

In 2015, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention noted that 12.1 percent of adults surveyed in the United States (US) had been diagnosed with sinusitis in the past 12 months.

Paranasal sinuses

They are a set of air cavities found in the frontal bones. A breast is a hollow space in the body. There are many types of sinus, but sinusitis affects the paranasal sinuses, the spaces behind the face that lead to the nasal cavity.

The paranasal sinuses have the same mucous membrane lining as the nose. They produce a slimy secretion called mucus. This keeps the nostrils moist and traps particles of dirt and germs.

Sinusitis occurs when the mucus builds up and the sinuses become inflamed.

Doctors often refer to sinusitis as rhinosinusitis, because inflammation of the sinuses almost always occurs with inflammation of the nose known as rhinitis.

Symptoms of sinusitis

Symptoms vary, depending on the duration and severity of the infection.

If the patient has two or more of the following symptoms and thick nasal discharge, green or yellow, you can be diagnosed with acute sinusitis:

  • Facial pain and pressure.
  • Nasal congestion.
  • Runny nose.
  • Sense of smell reduced.
  • Congestion.
  • Tos.

In more advanced cases, the following symptoms may also be present:

  • Fever.
  • Halitosis, or bad breath.
  • Fatigue.
  • Toothache.
  • Headache.

If these symptoms continue for 12 weeks or more, the doctor can diagnose chronic sinusitis.

Causes of sinusitis

Sinusitis can be due to several factors, but it is always due to the liquid being trapped in the sinuses. This feeds the growth of germs.

Virus: in adults, 90% of sinusitis cases are the result of a virus.

Bacteria: in adults, 1 case in 10 is caused by bacteria.

Pollutants : chemicals or irritants in the air can trigger a buildup of mucus.

Fungi: the breasts react to fungi in the air, as in allergic fungal sinusitis, or are invaded by fungi, as in chronic sinusitis. This is rare in the United States.

Risk factor’s

The following may increase a person’s risk of developing sinusitis:

  • Previous infections of the respiratory tract.
  • Nasal polyps, or small growths in the nasal passage that can lead to inflammation.
  • Weakened immunity, due, for example, to a health condition or some types of treatment.
  • An allergic reaction to substances such as dust, pollen and animal hair.
  • Structural problems in the nose, for example, a deviated septum.

The septum is the bone and cartilage that divides the nose into two nostrils. When it is folded to one side, either by injury or growth, it can cause repeated infections and inflammation.

Many people. About 35 million Americans have sinusitis at least once a year. Other factors that can increase the probability are:

  • Swelling inside the nose due to a common cold.
  • Drainage ducts blocked.

For children, the things that can cause sinusitis include:

  • Allergies
  • Illnesses of other children in nurseries or school.
  • Smoke in the environment (especially toxic smoke).

Types of sinusitis

Sinusitis always involves nasal swelling and a buildup of mucus, but there are different types and they can last for different periods of time.

The different types are:

Acute sinusitis : this lasts up to 4 weeks and is the most common type.

Subacute sinusitis : symptoms last longer than the normal acute period, between 4 and 12 weeks.

Chronic sinusitis : the symptoms persist or return continuously after 12 weeks. You may need more invasive treatment and possibly surgery.

Recovery time and treatment depend on the type of sinusitis.


A doctor will perform a physical examination and ask the patient about his symptoms. This is usually enough to make a diagnosis.

The doctor can visually examine the nasal cavity with a light source, or a small handheld device with a connected light called an otoscope, which can also be used to examine the ears.

If symptoms persist, a doctor may refer a person with sinusitis to an ear, nose and throat specialist for a deeper examination.

They can insert an endoscope into the nose, a small, thin and flexible tube with a light and an attached camera. This can provide more detailed images.

In cases of persistent or severe sinusitis, a CT scan may be necessary.

How to cure sinusitis?

Acute and subacute sinusitis: most acute cases will resolve without treatment.

However, sinusitis can be uncomfortable, so people often use home remedies and over-the-counter (OTC) medications to relieve symptoms.

In the following cases, the person should see a doctor:

  • Symptoms persist for more than 7 to 10 days.
  • There is a fever greater than 101.5 ° Fahrenheit, or around 38.6 ° Celsius.
  • There is a severe headache that is not resolved with over-the-counter (OTC) medications.
  • Visual disturbances or swelling around the eyes occur.
  • Symptoms continue after taking antibiotics prescribed by a doctor.

If the sinusitis has a bacterial cause, a doctor can prescribe antibiotics. If the symptoms persist after the treatment is finished, the individual must return to the doctor.

Chronic sinusitis : chronic sinusitis is usually not bacterial in nature, so antibiotics are unlikely to resolve symptoms. A fungal infection can be treated with antifungal medications.

Aerosols with corticosteroids can help in recurrent cases, but these require a prescription and medical supervision.

In allergic sinusitis, treating allergies with injections or reducing and avoiding exposure to allergens such as animal dander or mold can decrease the incidence of chronic sinusitis.

Surgery:  Structural problems, such as a deviated septum, may need surgery. Surgery can also be recommended if there are polyps or if sinusitis has resisted all other treatments.

Functional endoscopic sinus surgery (FESS) is the main procedure used for treatment, but other surgeries may be required since other parts of the nose are often affected.

If a deviated septum is causing recurrent infections, for example, a septoplasty will be used to straighten this bone and cartilage.

Treatment may be required after surgery to prevent the return of sinusitis.

Surgery should always be the last resort for sinusitis in children, and it is recommended to obtain a second opinion before proceeding.

Insurers may require patients to provide in-depth evidence to ensure that the surgery is for sinusitis and not for cosmetic surgery (to improve the appearance of the nose).

Home remedies for sinusitis

Less severe or recurrent cases of sinusitis can be treated at home without the need to visit a doctor.

These remedies can reduce pain and unblock the breasts to allow adequate drainage.

Home remedies for sinusitis include:

Nasal irrigation : also known as sinus irrigation, sinus rinsing or sinus lavage, this home procedure involves rinsing and rinsing the nasal passages with salt water or a saline solution.

Hot compress : applying a warm compress gently on the affected areas of the face can relieve swelling and discomfort.

Natural analgesics: these can reduce the symptoms of pain and fever.

Inhalation with steam : breathing hot, humid air can relieve congestion. At home, steam from a container of hot water, possibly with a few drops of essential menthol or eucalyptus oil, can help unblock the sinuses.

Essential oils should not be applied directly or swallowed.

Decongestant tablets and sprays : can reduce swelling and allow the sinuses to drain. Patients should not use aerosols for more than 3 days.

Hydration and rest : drinking liquids regularly and avoiding excessive exertion can help the symptoms pass.

Avoid smoke: The air you breathe can cause pain in the sinuses, depending on what is carrying that air. Avoid cigarette smoke and fumes from aggressive cleaning products, paints, hair spray, and perfumes.

With a world full of industrial chemicals and people who smoke, how can you keep your sinus problems at bay? Here are a couple of tips:

  • Do not allow friends or family to smoke in your home.
  • Look for “green” cleaning products in unscented varieties. They are less likely to contain aggressive chemicals that can cause sinus pressure and pain.
  • Drink more water

Discovering how to relieve sinus pressure can be as simple as taking a glass of cold water or juice. Doing so will help dilute the mucus and stimulate drainage. Hot tea is another good option.

However, not all liquids are created equal. To relieve the symptoms of sinusitis, do not overdo caffeine or alcohol. Both can dehydrate you.

Alcohol can make sinus swelling worse. Try to drink eight or more 8-ounce glasses of water or other healthy drinks every day.

Saline nasal wash : Also called nasal irrigation, and can help keep your sinuses clean and clear. To do this well, use a mild sterile saline solution to remove mucus and the allergens that cause your congestion.

To perform the washing:

  • Tilt your head.
  • Inhale the solution in a nostril.
  • Let it drain through your nasal cavity and through the other nostril.
  • Keep your mouth open and do not breathe through your nose.

Many people find breast relief through a nasal wash with saline, but it requires some preparation. You can find many of these supplies at most pharmacies, including:

  • Presentation in bottle.
  • Light bulb syringes.
  • Neti pots.

You can buy a pre-filled container or make your own saline solution.

Nasal saline solution recipe

To make your own nasal saline solution, follow this simple recipe:

  • 16 ounces of sterile water
  • 1 teaspoon salt.
  • ½ teaspoon of baking soda.

Simply mix the warm water with the salt. Some people add ½ teaspoon of baking soda to eliminate the burning of the salt, but this ingredient is optional.

What are the side effects of nasal and oral decongestants?

Nasal and oral decongestants have side effects, which include:

  • Increased heart rate
  • Increased blood pressure.
  • Insomnia.
  • Nerves.
  • Anxiety.
  • Temblor.
  • Dry mouth.
  • Blurry vision.
  • Headache.
  • They can also cause inability to urinate.

Consult a health professional before using decongestants if you have a history of:

  • Heart disease.
  • High blood pressure.
  • Anxiety.
  • Urinary problems (especially disorders of the prostate).

The combination of decongestants with OTC or prescription medications with similar side effects can cause dangerous complications.

What medications promote drainage in case of allergy?

If environmental allergies cause sinusitis, an antihistamine can help reduce the swelling of mucous membranes.

Allergens stimulate white blood cells in the blood and tissues to release histamine into the circulation. This causes the fluid to escape from the blood vessels to the tissues of the nasal passages, leading to nasal congestion.

Some of the old sedative OTC antihistamines (diphenhydramine) are no longer recommended because they tend to dry out and thicken the mucus, making it difficult to drain.

Non-sedating antihistamines such as fexofenadine (Allegra), cetirizine (Zyrtec), levocetirizine (Xyzal), loratadine (Claritin) or desloratadine (Clarinex) do not appear to dry the mucosa.

If the nasal congestion is severe, a decongestant can be added (for example, Allegra-D or Claritin-D).

What specialists treat sinus infections?

Sinusitis is often first diagnosed by a general practitioner, a primary care physician or an internal medicine doctor. Children can be diagnosed by their pediatrician.

If the sinusitis is chronic or severe, you may be referred to an otolaryngologist, also called an ear, nose and throat specialist. If your sinusitis is caused by allergies, it can be referred to an allergist.

If you experience an emergency due to your sinusitis, you may see an emergency medicine specialist in a hospital emergency room.

What happens if the sinusitis is not treated?

You will feel pain and discomfort until it begins to clear up. In rare cases, untreated sinusitis can cause meningitis, a brain abscess or an infection of the bone. Talk to your doctor about your concerns.

Possible complications

Sinusitis can be a localized infection. But the location of the breasts makes the surrounding structures prone to infection. Sinusitis must be treated and managed effectively so that it does not cause complications.

Eyes: there is the possibility of infection of the eye socket, accompanied by fever and a serious illness. It can also cause the loss of sight.

The spread of the infection can cause periorbital cellulitis, inflammation of the eyelid and the skin around the eye. Orbital cellulitis can occur and affect the ocular tissues. Abscess (pus accumulation) can occur in and around the eye tissues.

Ears : the nasal cavity is connected to the middle ear through the auditory tube (eustachian tube). This allows infections of the nasal cavity and sinuses to spread to the middle ear.

Earache and dizziness are common symptoms in such cases. Sinusitis can also spread to the mastoid bones (bony part of the skull behind the ear) and cause abscesses and infection.

Brain: the infection of the frontal and sphenoid sinuses can extend to the surrounding meninges, the three layers of membranes that protect the brain.

Abscess or pus formation is another possibility that results from the spread of the infection from the breast to the brain.

Dental problems : chronic sinusitis can cause pain that radiates to the upper molars. Because the breast is very close just above the upper jaw (upper jaw), the upper teeth can become infected.

Osteomyelitis : The term osteomyelitis is generally used for infection in a bone. Since the sinuses are cavities within the bone, the infection can reach the bone tissues by contact and can cause bone death or osteomyelitis.


The following can help prevent sinusitis:

  • Practice good hygiene in your hands.
  • Avoid smoking and secondhand smoke.
  • Keep vaccines up to date.
  • Stay away from people with colds and other respiratory infections.
  • Use a humidifier to moisten the air at home and keep it clean.
  • Keep the air conditioning units to prevent the accumulation of mold and dust.
  • Where possible, avoid allergens.