As we head into winter, many of us may find ourselves reaching for the tissues as we tackle a runny nose or common cold. But when that cold lingers - and develops into sinusitis, or a sinus infection, it can leave you feeling really under the weather.
So what is sinusitis? And what are the best ways to get you feeling better quickly?
Signs and symptoms
According to the Australian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy (ASCIA), sinusitis is an inflammation of the nasal sinuses. It can be short term - often triggered by the common cold, or long term, caused by allergies and/or structural problems in the nose.
Common symptoms of sinusitis include:
- A feeling of pressure and pain in your face
- Sore throat and/or cough
- Loss of sense of smell or taste
- Bad breath and/or bad taste in the mouth
- Thick, green or yellow coloured mucus from the nose or down the back of the throat
- Temperatures or fever
- Sensation of pressure that is worse leaning forward
- Obstructive sleep apnoea
- Post nasal drip
Sinusitis is more common in older children and adults than in babies or younger children.
Some people find themselves suffering from sinusitis regularly. Factors that increase your likelihood of having sinusitis include:
- Frequent colds
- Cigarette smoking (including passive)
- Untreated hay fever or other allergies
- Structural abnormalities of the nose
- Nasal polyps (swellings in the linings of the nose or sinuses)
- Dental disease such as untreated tooth abscess.
How to get relief
While some cases of sinusitis will need to be treated with antibiotics, ASCIA advises that around half of all sinus infections will resolve without antibiotics - but it’s important to treat the symptoms quickly.
Your Ramsay Pharmacist can help with advice on some good treatment options that you can do from home. These include:
- Steam inhalations - to help thin the mucus and make it easier to drain
- Salt water irrigation of the nose (these can be a spray or douche)
- Steroid nasal sprays to help reduce the pain and inflammation inside the sinuses, and help drain mucus and reduce pressure
- Paracetamol can also help ease any pain associated with sinusitis.
If you think you have a sinus infection it’s important to speak with your doctor so that your best treatment option can be determined.