Sinus infections are a common problem. They are caused by the sinuses becoming inflamed and infected. Sinusitis is a type of sinus infection which is inflammation of the sinuses. Sinusitis can be caused by allergies, colds, or even from an injury to the head. They’re most common during seasonal changes, but can occur year round. Sound familiar? Let’s talk about why you get them and the best ways to treat them!
Understanding the Types of Sinuses and How They Function
Sinuses are hollow, air-filled spaces that allow the sinus cavity to connect to the nose (nasal passage) and the ear.
There are four major types of sinuses, each named for its location:
- Frontal Sinus
- Sphenoid Sinus
- Ethmoidal Sinuses (ethmoid sinuses)
- Maxillary Sinuses
The maxillary sinuses are located inside the cheekbones and nasal cavity. They produce up to 80% of our body’s mucous. The ethmoid sinuses are located behind the eyes and are involved in balancing pressure on our internal organs. The frontal sinuses are located between eyebrows or top of forehead, where frontal bone meets the forehead bone. These produce about 15% of our mucous and help to keep respiratory passages open during inhalation. Finally, there are sphenoidal sinuses which can be found either above or below eyes or at back of nose; these produce tiny amount of mucous as compared to maxillary or ethmoid sinus
Types of Sinus Medications- What’s Available
There are a variety of sinus medication types, but there are primarily four different types: decongestants, antihistamines, nasal steroids, and antibiotics. The best sinus medications for you will depend on your symptoms.
Decongestants help open up the sinuses by constricting blood vessels which decreases fluid buildup in these areas. The most common type of decongestant used for this condition is pseudoephedrine
Antihistamines are drugs that help decrease the effects of a histamine reaction.
When the body reacts to an allergen such as pollen or dust, histamine is released. Antihistamines block this action and help prevent the symptoms of an allergic reaction. There are many different types of antihistamines which may be used or prescribed depending on the severity of symptoms or allergies.
Nasal sprays are used to help decrease congestion. The medication is sprayed up into the nose to reduce swelling in the nasal passages and sinuses that can be caused by allergies, a cold or other conditions. These meds work quickly and are easy to use making them an ideal choice for people with chronic congestion due to their symptoms.
Antibiotics are prescribed for a sinus infection when the infection can not be cured with over the counter medications. Patients usually take 1-2 antibiotics per day by mouth for 7-14 days. The antibiotics target the infection and/or bacteria, helping to decrease congestion.
What Causes Sinus Infections and How to Prevent Them
Sinus infections are often caused by bacteria, a virus, or allergies. Sinusitis can be triggered by an infection that spreads from the sinuses to the nasal passages and back of the throat. Additional symptoms include severe headache, sore throat, cough, tooth pain and pressure behind your forehead. You can prevent sinus infection by avoiding high pollen days and taking frequent breaks when the air is bad. Before you head to your doctor, make sure you are not suffering from a cold or flu. A physician will likely prescribe an antibiotic for treatment of sinus infections if this is the case.
Sinusitis is a condition that can be managed with medications to treat it. The most common types of medicine used are antibiotics and decongestants. However, it’s important to remember that antibiotics will not work on viral infections like the common cold or flu. It’s important to mention that natural remedies are also an option for people looking for alternatives to traditional medical treatments. Make sure you reach out to us for your medication needs to nip your sinus infection in the bud!