What Are The Sinuses?

What Are The Sinuses?

What is Sinusitis?

Sinuses are air-filled spaces in the bones surrounding the nose1. More specifically, sinuses are found in the forehead, cheeks, between the eyes and behind the eyes2. The sinuses produce mucus that drains into the nose1. The mucosal lining of one or more sinuses can become inflamed such that it swells up causing obstruction of the sinuses and the build-up of the mucus in the nose and sinuses3. This condition is called sinusitis3. Viral upper respiratory tract infections ( e.g. the cold) are one of the most common reasons for developing “acute” sinusitis4. Acute sinusitis refers to cases that last 4 weeks or less1.

Symptoms of Sinusitis May Include:

  • Nasal Congestion4
  • Purulent nasal discharge4
  • Facial swelling5
  • Pain and pressure around the eyes, across the cheeks and the forehead5
  • Upper toothache pain5
  • Headache5
  • Fever and chills5

How to Relieve a Sinus Headache

Sinus headache often accompanies sinusitis. Sinusitis may have many causes; however, it often accompanies viral upper respiratory tract infections4 such as the cold. Sinus headache causes pain in the front of head and face6, and tends to become worse when bending forward or lying down5. Sinus headache can be relieved over-the-counter medications such as ibuprofen5. Decongestant medications can also help by relieving swelling, pressure and congestion7. Read the labels on the medications to see if they are right for you, if you have any questions talk to your doctor. Steam inhalation, cool mist humidifiers, and saline nasal sprays are other measures that can be done to help relieve the symptoms of sinusitis by softening nasal secretions and moisturizing the nasal area4. Adequate rest and hydration and warm facial packs or compresses may also be of help4.

  • High fever
  • Fever lasts longer than 3 days or pain and cold symptoms lasting longer than 5 days
  • Over the counter medication is not effective in relieving pain
  • Swelling of the face
  • Confusion
  • Stiff neck