Most people will unfortunately suffer from at least one sinus infection throughout their lifetime. Beneath and around the nose area, there are a series of small cavities connecting the nasal passages to the sinuses. When these areas become infected, germs accumulate; block the passages, leaving you feeling miserable. Common symptoms of an acute sinus infection include congestion, coughing, headache, tenderness and swelling, among many others.
While sinus infections can happen to anyone, there are many individuals who tend to suffer from this condition much more frequently, sometimes suffering from an infection at least once a year. If you do not suffer from frequent sinus infections, you most likely know someone that does. If you consider to common causes of acute sinus infections, you can better understand what puts an individual at a higher risk than others.
Majority of sinus infections begin as the common cold, which are caused by viruses. If you are more prone to contract colds, then you will be more susceptible to developing sinus infections. Unfortunately, most viruses must simply run their course, and your symptoms should begin to dissipate after a week or so.
To protect yourself against viruses, you must diligently protect yourself from germs, especially during periods during the year when the cold and flu are prevalent. Wash your hands frequently, and avoid others who are showing cold symptoms. It can also be beneficial to take probiotics and receive your flu shot in order to further safeguard.
The actual structure of the nose can contribute to an increased vulnerability for infection. Nasal polyps are small growths that form in the nasal passages and cavities from tissues. The growths are benign, but can block the airways, causing headaches, and increasing the opportunity for infections to develop. The polyps restrict the cavities, preventing mucus from being able to drain properly, which can lead to an infection.
Polyps are sometimes formed due to the persistence of chronic allergies. Areas of the nasal passages become swollen for long periods of time, or polyps begin to form. There are nasal sprays and oral medications that can possibly reduce and treat nasal polyps with the use of steroids. In some cases, the polyps may require surgery in order to be completely removed from the nasal passages.
A sinus infection is certainly icing on the miserable cake when you are already suffering from allergies, but this is a very common problem people face. Those who suffer from chronic allergies are not only much more likely to contract a sinus infection, but they also tend to have more extensive infections. The allergies cause the nasal passages and sinus cavities to become irritated and inflamed, which leads to restriction and obstruction of air and mucus flow. This creates the perfect nasal environment for an infection to develop.
The only way to reduce the number of allergy related sinus infections is to alleviate the allergy symptoms themselves. There are two primary ways in which you can reduce allergic reactions. You can avoid any substances that will trigger the allergic reactions. If your allergens are pollen or dust mites, this may be easier said then done. The other method is to use antihistamines, or other medications that will address your nasal inflammation.
Blocked Nasal Passages
The bottom line is that the primary culprit of all sinus infections is the restriction of nasal passages. This is why people who are already prone to have inflamed nasal passages due to allergies, or those who have unusually obstructed nasal anatomy, are at an increased risk to develop an acute sinus infection. If you are continually battling with these debilitating infections, consult with a physician to see how you can reduce your risk.