What are Sinuses?
The sinuses are a series of air-filled cavities in the skull linked by tubes to our nasal cavities. Mainly located around the eye sockets and forehead, they not only lighten the weight of the skull and improve the sound of our voices, but also produce mucus that moisturizes and protects the inside of the nose, trapping dirt, pollen, and spores, and preventing them from traveling to our lungs.
Before we get into the various causes, symptoms, and possible ways to treat a sinus infection, it is important to know that a less serious case of sinus infections can be treated at home.
How to Treat Sinusitis at Home
A simple home remedy that relieves the symptoms of sinusitis uses menthol essential oil.
Add a couple of drops to a bowl of hot water and breathe in the steam. Menthol is well known for clearing the sinuses of mucus, releasing built-up pressure and easing the pain and discomfort. Try to do this at least twice a day, including at night as it may help you to fall asleep.
Menthol oil can also be diluted in a carrier oil and gently massaged into the face, concentrating on the sinus areas, while a few drops of menthol in a warm bath eases tired muscles, can relieve headaches, nasal congestion and encourages feelings of relaxation.
As always, however, if your sinusitis gets worse, or has not improved after two to three weeks, seek medical advice.
Are Sinus Infections Contagious?
Sinus infections can be contagious as most are caused by a virus, which can easily be spread to others.
However, while sinus infections are sometimes caused by viruses, they can also be caused by bacteria and fungi. If your sinus infection is bacterial, it is likely not contagious. The Mayo Clinic asserts that while some causes of sinus infections are contagious, other causes, such as nasal polyps or growths in the sinuses are not; however, they can require a visit to your doctor if you suspect this is the case.
Why do my Sinuses Hurt?
Your sinuses can be quite painful as a result of the sinus infection, which is also known as rhinosinusitis or simply sinusitis. When we develop sinusitis, the lining of the sinuses can become inflamed and painful. The symptoms of sinusitis include:
- A greenish or yellowish thick nasal discharge
- Nasal congestion
- A fever
- Pain and tenderness around your nose, cheeks and eyes
- Persistent headache
- Difficulty sleeping
- Inability to focus and fatigue
A secondary symptom may be developing a chest infection.
Other Home Remedies for Sinusitis
Many people suffering from sinusitis gain relief from a saline nasal spray which can be easily made at home. It can feel unpleasant to use, but the results are often worth the slight discomfort.
- Into a ¼ pint of warm, clean water, mix ¼ teaspoon of salt and ¼ teaspoon of baking soda
- Pour the mix into a spray bottle that has a nozzle
- Lightly spray the liquid into each nostril, sniffing as you do it
- Repeat two or three times a day until the symptoms have eased
If you think you have sinusitis, educate yourself further on the matter here, and if in doubt, contact your doctor.