Getting a sinus infection can be a bit of a bummer. They’re painful, uncomfortable, and just plain miserable. But why do you keep getting them? It’s not like you go out of your way to make sure you have one.
In fact, it seems almost as though the universe conspires against you so that you get one. And if that’s the case then why does it keep happening?
If you get frequent sinus infections, there are some things that you can do that will help reduce the number of them and how often they come back.
The first thing is to stop smoking! Smokers are more likely to get frequent or chronic sinusitis because of the negative effects on their immune system from all the harmful chemicals in cigarettes.
Having a stuffy nose and head aches is something you’d expect from a flu or cold, right? Well, not exactly. These symptoms can also be the red flags of recurring sinus infections.
It’s always a bad sign if you feel like your nasal passages are blocked most of the time – and especially if it hurts when you breathe or smell something strong.
If you experience any of these symptoms more than once a month and they last longer than 10 days each time, then you probably have chronic sinusitis.
If that’s the case, read on to find out more about this condition and learn how to avoid getting sinus infections in the future.
What is Sinusitis?
The word “sinusitis” simply refers to a swelling or infection inside the sinuses. It is often confused with rhinosinusitis which is the medical term for chronic or recurrent issues with the nose and sinuses.
The symptoms of sinusitis are very similar to those of a stuffy nose and include pain, trouble breathing, and mucus buildup in the nasal passages.
Depending on the severity of the infection, you might also experience a fever, headaches, and/or pain/pressure behind your eyes. If left untreated, a sinus infection can also cause swelling in the face.
This is because the infected sinuses press against the nearby veins and lymph nodes, causing them to swell up as well. Most people who experience a sinus infection are dealing with rhinosinusitis.
This condition can be difficult to treat, but it is important to do so since it can lead to more serious complications like brain infections and even hearing loss.
Runny Nose or Stuffed Nose?
If you have a stuffy nose, you’ll feel like you can’t breathe even when your mouth is wide open. And you may also have trouble smelling and tasting food.
If the nasal passages are swollen, fluid may leak out of them, and you’ll experience the opposite problem. A stuffy nose will feel like it’s dripping.
A stuffed nose is usually accompanied by a runny nose, whereas a runny nose isn’t always accompanied by a stuffy nose.
When one or both of your nostrils are blocked and you are experiencing other symptoms like a headache or a general feeling of illness, you could have a sinus infection.
These are the most common symptoms of sinusitis: – Pain and pressure in the forehead and around the eyes – Pain when chewing or swallowing An ache in the back of the skull and neck – A yellow or green discharge from the nose – General flu-like symptoms (watery eyes, fever, fatigue, general aches).
What Causes Sinusitis?
The sinuses are air-filled cavities located behind the cheeks, above the eyebrows, and behind the temples in our heads. They serve a very important role in our bodies, helping to warm and humidify the air we breathe.
They also help keep our skulls from becoming too thick by letting out extra fluid that accumulates inside them. Most of the time, the nasal passages that lead to the sinuses are free of bacteria, viruses and other pathogens.
But when you get a cold, allergies, or spend a lot of time in a polluted environment, these harmful particles can get into your throat and travel up towards your sinuses.
When that happens, the body’s natural reaction is to create more mucus to trap the invading microbes. This may cause chronic inflammation of the sinuses and lead to sinusitis.
3 Ways to Recognize and Treat a Sinus Infection
Stay hydrated: Dry air and a stuffy nose cause the mucus to become even thicker. This makes it harder for your body to filter out the bacteria and viruses that cause sinusitis.
A simple way to combat this problem is to keep yourself hydrated. Drink lots of water, and avoid drinking coffee, tea, or soda.
Stay warm: During cold seasons, many people experience sinus infections. This is usually because they are spending a lot of time in drafty places that aren’t very humid. The best way to avoid this problem is to keep your house nice and warm, and avoid spending a lot of time in the cold.
Get plenty of rest: When your body is under a lot of stress, it produces cortisol. This hormone makes the sinuses swell up, causing them to become even more congested and trapping even more harmful particles inside them.
Take supplements to boost your immune system: If you have allergies or chronic sinus issues, you are likely low in certain nutrients. This can make your immune system weaker, and make you more likely to catch infections like the common cold and sinus infections.
The Bottom Line
A sinus infection is extremely common, and unfortunately, it is also something that many people have to deal with throughout their lives.
If you’re feeling sick, it’s important to recognize the early signs of a sinus infection so that you can start treating it as soon as possible.
This will help you recover faster and avoid more serious complications. If you keep getting sinus infections, it’s important to understand why.
There are a number of different factors that can contribute to the risk of getting an infection, including your diet, your environment, and even your emotions. The best way to avoid sinus infections is to take care of your health and follow a few basic preventative measures.