Sinus Information

All about SINUSITIS

You have four pairs of sinuses. They are lined with mucous membranes that help keep your nose from drying out. The mucus helps trap any dirt and bacteria that you breathe in. That’s if nothing gets in the way. Unfortunately cold sufferers may develop an inflammation of their sinuses that can lead to sinusitis.

Symptoms you may suffer from:

  • pain and tenderness
    in facial sinuses
  • runny nose
  • high temperature (fever)
  • headaches
  • blocked nose

How to prevent

A viral infection is the most common cause of sinusitis. It's usually the result of a cold or flu virus that spreads to the sinuses from the upper airways and causes the membranes that line the inside of the sinuses to become inflamed. As sinusitis is often brought on by a cold, preventing a cold is one of the best ways to prevent sinusitis. Preventing a cold begins with cleaning your hands regularly. And when you think about it, that’s a healthy habit to get into any time, as is staying fit to help your immune system fight off infection. You might also want to avoid crowded places where the risk of catching someone else’s cold may be higher.

How to treat

In most cases, sinusitis takes about two-and-a-half weeks to clear up (longer than a cold). For mild sinusitis, over-the-counter painkillers such as paracetamol and ibuprofen can be used to relieve a headache, high temperature and facial pain or tenderness, whilst a decongestant such as Otrivine® Adult Measured Dose Sinusitis Spray can help unblock your nose allowing you to breathe more easily.

Additionally, there are some simple things you can do at home to help. Try using a saltwater solution to clean out your sinuses and allow them to drain; this technique is known as nasal irrigation. A popular way to perform nasal irrigation is with an instrument known as a Neti Pot. Other recommendations include applying a warm, moist cloth to the affected areas several times a day and drinking sufficient fluids in order to thin the mucus.

See your GP if your symptoms don't improve after seven days, if they're getting worse, or if your sinusitis keeps coming back.

www.treatyourselfbetter.co.uk is a new website which provides useful information and advice on how you can self-treat cold and flu symptoms without the need to visit the GP.

What we would suggest

For even more information about sinusitis, visit our Sinusitis FAQs.