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Information on Chronic Sinusitis

Causes of Sinus Headaches

A headache is the characteristic feature of sinusitis, a painful inflammation of the sinuses usually caused by bacteria. The sinuses are air-filled cavities in the skull, lined with mucous membranes similar to those lining the nasal passages and the mouth. The sinuses warm and moisten the air you breathe.

Sinusitis is often a secondary bacterial infection that accompanies a cold. Allergies, polyps, and even tooth decay can cause an infection in the sinuses. The symptoms include pain around the upper cheeks, forehead, and eyes that sometimes get worse when you bend forward; dizziness or light-headedness; and a thick yellow-green nasal discharge.

treatment for sinusitisSinusitis Treatment

Breathing moist air helps to loosen the mucus and permit drainage, the goal of treatment. Put a towel over your head and breathe the steam from a sink or pan filled with hot water. Repeat this procedure 3 to 6 times a day for 5 to 10 minutes. It also helps to increase the humidity in your environment with a vaporizer, humidifier, or even a pan of water simmering on the stove. A warm, moist compress placed over the sinuses can make you more comfortable. Try above for temporary relief.

Never travel to a high altitude (greater than 5,000 feet) location or in an airplane when you have sinusitis. The pressure in the sinuses may be transmitted to the inner ear and eardrum, causing an ear infection and possibly perforating the eardrum.

If your sinusitis lasts for more than 2 or 3 days after a cold, you should see a doctor. You may require an antibiotic, and the doctor may take X rays for an accurate diagnosis.

Prevent Acute Sinusitis & Chronic Sinusitis Sinus Infections

Proper rest, good nutrition, and regular exercise can help prevent this and many other infections. If you are susceptible to sinus infections, keeping the air you breathe moist with a humidifier is a preventive measure. Arid, desert air or heated air can dry and crack the sensitive sinus tissue, leaving it vulnerable to infection.

Avoid using a nasal spray. It may dry the external nasal passages temporarily but usually causes a rebound swelling of the sinuses when you stop its use. Also, you can become resistant to it in 3 to 4 days, and it will lose its effectiveness. If you use a spray, do so for only 1 or 2 days.

Decongestants used for more than a day or two can also over dry the mucous membranes and leave thick mucus that is unable to drain.

Avoid blowing your nose, and in particular blowing one nostril at a time. This may force an infection up into the opposite nasal passage and the inner ear.

Helpful Herbal Treatment for Chronic and Acute Sinusitis

Sinusitis Helpful Herb: Eucalyptus

Family: Myrtaceae

Species: Eucalyptus globulus (NOTE: There are over 700 different species of eucalyptus, with over 500 of those producing essential oil.)

Infection Control: antibacterial, antiviral, and anti fungal

Actions: analgesic, anti neuralgic, anti rheumatic, antiseptic, antispasmodic, antiviral, balsamic, cicatrisant, decongestant, deodorant, depurative, diuretic, expectorant, febrifuge, hypoglycaemic, parasiticide, prophylactic, rubefacient, stimulant, vermifuge, vulnerary

Uses: Eucalyptus essential oil is used for respiratory illness including asthma, bronchitis, catarrh, colds, croup, flu, sinusitis, and tuberculosis. It is also used for feverish conditions including malaria, typhoid, cholera, and skin problems such as burns, ulcers, and wounds.

Safety: Eucalyptus oil is toxic if taken internally; but non-toxic used externally. Sensitization may occur in some individuals.

Home Remedies for Chronic Sinusitis

If you're clogged, it's important to try to clear out your sinuses to prevent infection. Techniques include using Alkalol or Alkalol-like ingredients in a nose spray, neti pot, or bulb irrigator; using a steam inhaler; taking a hot shower with water running over your head; applying a hot compress to your nose and cheeks; dabbing eucalyptus oil on the outside of your nose; drinking hot tea and lots of liquids in general; and eating hot chicken broth with garlic.

Some people find that spicy foods (seasoned with garlic, cayenne pepper, ginger, wasabi, etc.) help open up their sinuses, while others find them sinus irritants. One trick is to carry wasabi (Japanese horseradish mustard) with you. It's available in small toothpaste-type tubes from many Asian grocery stores. Just place a dab on your tongue when you're congested.

Some sufferers use a vaporizer/humidifier at night to decongest, though you need to keep it clean as well as keep the humidity in the room from rising above 50 percent to prevent mold and dust-mite growth.

Another technique is nasal massage, which can soothe your sinuses, reduce swelling, and encourage blood flow to the area. Gently rub the sides of your nose and your cheeks with your fingers or knuckles.

A recent sinus article in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings, however, has brought candida more into the mainstream by reporting that the vast majority of sinusitis patients studied by the Mayo Clinic have fungal growth in their sinuses.

Some doctors still dispute the importance of candida and other fungi for sinus patients because the criteria the Mayo researchers used for measuring fungal growth were less stringent than is commonly used and because small amounts of fungi are commonly present even in people not suffering from sinusitis or any other health condition.

The Mayo doctors contend that it's not the fungi itself in the sinuses that causes problems but the allergic response to it by some individuals.

Researchers at the Mayo Clinic are further investigating, including developing possible new treatments.

In the meantime, anti fungal drugs such as Sporanox and Amphotericin B are available, though they don't penetrate the sinuses particularly well and frequently have side effects. Also available are anti fungal diets, such as the one described in Dr. Ivker's book.

The special anti-sinusitis diet consists primarily of vegetables and non-red-meat sources of protein, eliminating refined sugar, bread and other foods made with yeast, dairy, mushrooms, fried foods, grapes and some other fruit, alcohol, and a number of other foods and drinks.

Substances that are thought to have anti-fungal properties include garlic, the herbs barberry and oregano, and the bacteria Lactobacillus acidophilus, Bifidobacterium bifidum, and Lactobacillus bulgaricus (in some yogurts or available in pill form in health food stores).


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