We all suffer from the common cold from time to time. Nothing serious, am I right? Just put some extra tissues – and these days a mouth mask – in your bag, and we go about our daily business as usual. The big question is: Are you 100% sure it’s “just” a cold or is it maybe something more serious? Like a sinus allergy or, worse, a sinus infection? Approximately 35 million suffer from sinusitis, better known as a sinus infection, at least once a year. Severe types of sinus infections, like chronic sinusitis, resulting in more than 20 million doctor visits each year. Making sinusitis for everyone important to know how you can recognize this condition and what you should do next.
What Is Sinusitis?
Sinuses are 4 paired spaces in the head and when (one of) these sinuses, or the tissue lining them, gets infected, inflamed, or swollen, it’s called sinusitis or sinus infection. In case you wonder what these sinuses are for. Well, they help keep the nose clean and free of bacteria, but if they get blocked by swelling inflammation, the thin mucus the sinuses make, won’t be able to drain through the nose and fill up in these spaces. These 4 different types of sinuses are called:
- Ethomoidal sinuses, located between the eyes
- Maxillary sinuses, located below the eyes
- Sphenoidal sinuses, located behind the eyes
- Frontal sinuses, located above your eyes
What Causes Sinusitis?
The sinuses that get infected the most are the maxillary sinuses because these are the ones with the biggest cavity in the head. There are also 4 different types of sinusitis, this has nothing to do with, which sinus is infected, but how it’s caused, what symptoms it causes, and how long it last. The types are called acute bacterial sinusitis, chronic sinusitis, subacute sinusitis, and recurrent acute sinusitis. Often bacteria, viruses, or fungi cause the sinuses to swell, block and inflame. Examples are:
- Common cold
- Weakened immune system
Other possible causes for sinus infections are smoking, having a deviated septum, and growths (nasal polyps) on the lining of the nose or sinuses. For children spending time at a daycare, pacifiers, and drinking a bottle on its back are well-known causes. Continue reading on the next page and find out, among others, how you can recognize it’s a sinus infection, instead of a regular cold or sinus allergy.