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Sinusitis

When your sinuses (air chambers in the bone behind your cheeks, eyebrows and jaw) are inflamed or infected, it leads to sinusitis. The different sinus areas are:


Frontal sinus – on the brow area
Maxillary sinuses – inside each cheekbone
Ethmoid sinuses – behind the nose bridge and between the eyes
Sphenoid sinuses – behind the ethmoids in the upper region of the nose


When the sinuses are blocked, the mucus is not sufficiently drained thereby leading to sinusitis. Sinusitis occurs when trapped air lays pressure and causes pain in the sinus regions. Typically, sinusitis follows a cold or respiratory ailment. The increased mucus and fungal production leads to inflammation in the nasal passage. Often a structural defect in the nasal cavity or weakened immune system can be the cause for a sinus attack. Allergic rhinitis can bring on an attack of sinusitis. The symptoms and pain associated with sinusitis depend on the affected sinus. Damp weather, environmental pollutants and asthma often lead to sinus attacks. This inflammation is usually the result of a viral infection, an allergy (pollen, dust, pet dander, molds, and food), or an environmental irritant such as air pollution, perfume or cigarette smoke. Persons suffering from chronic inflammation of the nasal passages have an increased risk of suffering sinusitis. Swimming, diving, nasal polyps, smoking or alcohol consumption can lead to blocked sinuses. Air travel is yet another possible trigger.


Acute sinus infection lasts for about a fortnight whereas chronic sinus infection festers longer, for months or years. Most affected persons tend to suffer from acute sinus infection. Typical symptoms of sinus infection:


  • Pain over frontal sinuses
  • Headache
  • Swelling of eyelids or tissues around the eyes
  • Earache
  • Neck pain
  • Stuffy nose
  • Facial tenderness
  • Bad breath
  • Ache in the upper teeth
  • Nasal congestion

Blood tests and cultures aid in diagnosing and detecting bacterial or fungal infections. Acute sinusitis is treated with antibiotics to control the bacterial infection. Decongestants and painkillers can provide relief to those suffering from sinus infection. On the other hand, chronic sinusitis may need to be treated with steroid nasal sprays. But prolonged use of such products are not without side-effects. Allergies and infections that contribute to the sinus infection must be appropriately treated. Children suffering from chronic sinus infection are treated with removal of adenoids. Functional endoscopic sinus surgery is performed on severe cases of chronic sinusitis where the natural openings of the sinuses are dilated to allow drainage of accumulated mucus.


Home remedies for treating sinus infections
1. Steam inhalation
2. Gentle warm compress on painful area
3. Use of electrostatic filters attached to heating and air conditioning equipment
4. Saline nasal spray
5. Rest with your head elevated to help drain your sinuses
6. Drink plenty of fluids and warm liquids in order to thin mucus

Allergic Rhinitis

Rhinitis occurs when there is inflammation of the inner lining of the nose. Allergic Rhinitis is a condition where there is hypersensitivity by the immune system to allergens. Allergic rhinitis is triggered when the body responds to allergens by producing antibodies. Histamines are released into the bloodstream leading to allergic symptoms. Allergic rhinitis is a common upper respiratory infection that affects nearly a fifth of the population. Allergic rhinitis is often associated with severe asthma, otitis media and sinusitis. This manifests in symptoms such as sneezing, nasal congestion, stuffy nose and itchy eyes. Some persons suffering from allergic rhinitis may experience frequent headaches and difficulty in hearing and smelling. This condition can bring on fatigue, sleep disorders and drowsiness.


Seasonal allergic rhinitis is also known as hay fever and is noticed during autumn. On the other hand perennial allergic rhinitis is a condition where the patient suffers rhinitis symptoms due to exposure to pet hair, carpeting, upholstery or air pollution. Patients suffering from perennial allergenic rhinitis tend to notice the symptoms irrespective of the season. Some of the common allergens are pollen, mold, animal dander, feathers, dust and grass. The symptoms are usually noticed more in winter. Certain foods and spices might increase nasal secretions associated with allergenic rhinitis. Stress and gastroesophageal reflux can trigger the symptoms of allergic rhinitis. There is post nasal drip and cough and may be accompanied by loss of smell.


Antihistamines are prescribed to block the action of the histamines created by allergy. But antihistamines tend to cause drowsiness. Decongestants can help in alleviating the symptoms of allergic rhinitis such as stuffy nose. Decongestants must be used with care on those suffering from , thyroid problems and heart conditions. Corticosteroids are useful in treating allergic rhinitis since they reduce the reaction by the body to the histamines. Steroid nasal sprays can help reduce nasal inflammation and allergy. Mucus thinning agents are prescribed for patients suffering from allergic rhinitis to make the nasal secretions less sticky so that they do not coagulate at the back of the nose and throat.


  • Keep away from pets if you are extremely allergic to animal dander
  • Use pillows made from hypoallergenic material such as dacron or polyester
  • Use HEPA filter for your bedroom and living area
  • Resort to vacuuming instead of dusting
  • Drink adequate fluids
  • Sleep with the head at a slight elevation
  • Balanced diet
  • Avoid nasal irritants like perfume, cigarette smoke, car exhaust and aerosol sprays

Barotitis Media

Barotitis Media is often referred to as 'airplane ear'. It occurs due to changes in the atmospheric pressure and the resultant effects on the ear. Barotitis media can occur in one or both ears. It is typically caused due to unequal pressure between the middle ear and surrounding cabin of the aircraft. In most cases, the equalization of pressure is maintained by the ear tube. But should a person already suffer from sore throat, sinusitis or congestion, the eardrum is affected due to the unequal pressure. Barotitis Media can occur due to air pressure changes such as during scuba diving, mountain travel, sky diving and air travel. Pain of dental origin can sometimes lead to this condition. A person suffering from the pressure differentials can experience severe pain and conductive hearing loss. It can also bring about dizziness and stuffiness in the ears. A person can relieve the condition during the flight with decongestant nasal sprays and antihistamines. Yawning or sucking on candy or gum during take-off and landing can give relief to some. If you are traveling with an infant, nurse it or give it a sip of drink. This condition is usually temporary and clears on its own. But if the symptoms persist, consult a physician. In rare cases, it can lead to ear infection or even a ruptured eardrum.

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Collection of Pages - Last revised Date: November 11, 2019