Tuesday, June 28, 2011

How to Prevent Symptoms of Sinus

How to Prevent Symptoms of Sinus

Preventing symptoms of sinus is better than cure. Follow the tips given below to reduce chances of sinus problems:

  • Eat well and exercise regularly to avoid contagious colds and flu. If these diseases occur, do not delay the treatment as untreated colds and flu can cause sinusitis.

 

  • Strengthen your immune system, increasing body resistance to infections. Consumption of vegetables and fruits loaded with antioxidants will help in boosting immune system. Adequate sleep is also essential for a good immune system that protects you against symptoms of sinus. De-stress regularly.
  • Drink enough fluids to hydrate the body. Try a humidifier to enhance moisture content in sinuses and nose. Humidifier will especially be helpful in case of a dry forced-air system used to heat the room air.
  • Ensure that the offices and houses are free from allergens. Air conditioners and heating equipment may help, as both feature electrostatic filters to remove allergens from the air.
  • Keep hands clean. Regular washing, especially after handshake, will control spread of viruses. Handshake is a common source of disease transmission, particularly colds and flu. Use an ordinary soap. Alcohol-based gel hand cleaners without water may kill viruses of flu and cold. Wipe surfaces with the solution consisting of 10% bleach and 90% water to kill viruses.

 

  • Avoid air pollutants and cigarette smoke. Do not smoke.
  • Since alcohol consumption may cause swelling of sinus and nasal membranes, avoid it.

 

  • Chlorine irritates membranes of sinuses and nose, so swimming in the pools treated with chlorine will be uncomfortable for people prone to sinusitis.
  • Generally, divers suffer from sinus infection and congestion if water from the nasal passages reaches to sinuses.  Take care!

 

  • Use nasal sprays prescribed by the doctor.
  • Patients suffering from infection of the upper respiratory system may use decongestants.

 

  • Quick and appropriate treatment of allergies is necessary. If food, pollens, mold, dust or any other allergen triggers infection in upper respiratory system and inflames sinuses, consult your physician immediately.
  • Administer influenza vaccine during October or November. Since influenza viruses change with time, vaccines are enhanced or improved pursuant to new viral strains. Healthy children between 6 months and 18 years, and adults >=65 years can also take the vaccine.  Pneumococcal vaccines prevent respiratory infections caused by S. penumoniae bacteria.

 

  • Air travel may be uncomfortable for passengers suffering from chronic or acute sinusitis, because air pressure in the airplane falls. Resulting pressure build- up in the head may block your Eustachian tubes or sinuses. Consult your physician to use a decongestant.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Types of Headaches

Types of Headaches

There are two types of headaches: primary and secondary. Primary headaches are ascribed to a neurological disorder. For instance, headaches associated with tension and migraine. These two primary headaches are generally misdiagnosed as sinus headache, making epidemiology of sinus headache complex.

Many common symptoms of sinus headache and a primary headache make it difficult to distinguish between the two. However, sinus headache has the following unique symptoms:

  • Continuous nasal congestion or obstruction that is not because of phonophobia, photophobia, auras, vomiting or nausea associated with migraine.
  • Dull pressure-like pain, which is generally periorbital. The pain worsens in the morning, thereafter it improves.
  • Pain concentrates over the infected sinus during Mueller sign test.



 

Sinus headache, the most common form of secondary headache, is mainly caused by acute rhino sinusitis. As per International Classification of Headache Disorder (ICHD)-II symptoms of the headaches ascribed to rhino sinusitis include:

  • As soon as acute exacerbation of the disease starts, facial pain and headache begins.
  • Evidence of acute-on-chronic or acute rhino sinusitis is found in magnetic resonance, nasal endoscopic, clinical and Computed Tomography (CT) images.
  • Facial pain or headache disappears within a week after curing acute-on-chronic or acute rhino sinusitis.
  • Pain in teeth, ears or face and frontal headache

 

Sinus Headache vs. Migraine

  • An acute headache or an acute exacerbation indicates sinus headache, whereas recurrent headaches are symptom of migraine.

 

  • Self-limited headaches of short duration accompanied by nasal discharge are a sign of migraine.
  • Migraine is aggravated by bright light or noise unlike sinus headaches.

 

  • Sinus headache creates dull deep achy feeling, fullness and heaviness. Pain increases while lying down and bending forward. Nasal discharge may have blood or be of yellow-green color.
  • Doctors may conduct the following tests to find out whether you are suffering from sinusitis or not:

 

    • Imaging tests include MRI or CT scans. MRI uses radio waves and magnetic field to generate cross sectional pictures of the brain. CT produces images of the brain and sinuses with the help of a computer. CT captures details, like level of air-fluid, clouding, scarring, swelling of sinus surface, on the images.
    • During mucus testing, a sample of mucus from nose is examined to check for fungal or bacterial infection.

 

    • Nasal endoscopy uses an endoscope (a thin tube with a light) for examining nasal passages. With the endoscope, doctors can visualize condition of the nasal passages and nose, and confirm or rule out presence of infection.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Post Nasal Drip: Causes, Harmful Effects, Treatments

Post Nasal Drip: Causes, Harmful Effects, Treatments

Post nasal drip is excess mucus build-up dripping in the throat and the nose’s back.

Causes

  • Blood pressure, birth control, nasal sprays and some other medications
  • Bright lights, cold temperatures
  • During winter, heated homes and buildings become dry. This dryness thickens the mucus.
  • Foreign particles blocking the nose, especially in children
  • Head injuries
  • Hormonal changes and pregnancy
  • Sinusitis and / or chronic rhinitis trigger post nasal drip. It may also occur because of allergies, asthma, colds, flu and gastro-oesophageal reflux disease.
  • Some spices and food items
  • Sometimes structural problems, such as abnormal nasal septum, cause the drip.

 

Harmful Effects

  • It may cause chronic cough or sore throat. The cough worsens at night.
  • Secretions may block the Eustachian tube connecting the ear and the nose, creating pain and infection in the ear.
  • The drip may block the sinus passages.
  • Runny and blocked nose
  • Bad breath (halitosis) and hoarseness
  • “Tickle” in the throat



 

Treatment

If you know what caused the drip, treatment is easier. First, try to find out the reason / factors for the drip. Consult your physician before administering any medicine. A thorough ENT examination may also be required.

You may need antibiotics to treat bacterial infections that may produce yellow or green mucus.

The drip caused by viral infections and sinusitis may be treated with decongestants and antihistamines. Although antihistamines reduce the level of mucus, some of these medications may make you sleepy.

Nasal sprays and steroid medications may be used for allergy- associated post nasal drip.

Since thick secretion creates discomfort, the mucus thinning is essential. Thin mucus will reduce chances of sinus and ear blockage. Drink lot of water and fluids to thin the mucus. Alternatively, try mucus-thinning medicines. You may use nasal irrigation or saline nasal sprays to drain out the excessive discharge and other irritating particles. Moisturize room air by switching on humidifier or vaporizer.  Try special HEPA air filters for your home.

You must contact a doctor if

  • the drip has foul order.
  • The drip is one-sided.
  • Mucus color is neither yellow nor white.
  • The drip is caused by head injury.
  • The drip lasts for over three weeks.
  • Children under three years of age are suffering from the drip for over ten days.
  • Fever accompanies the drip.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Allergies: Allergens, Symptoms

Allergies: Allergens, Symptoms

Allergies are common. But, what is an allergy? An abnormal or unpleasant reaction of human immune system to allergens is called allergy. Allergens are substances that trigger allergies. Allergens are broadly divided into the following categories:

  • Airborne allergens: animal dander, dust mites, mold, pollens and other pollutants.
  • Food allergens: eggs, fish, including shellfish, milk, peanuts, soy, tree nuts (walnuts) and wheat
  • Insect stings: wasp and bee stings are common allergy triggers.
  • Penicillin-based antibiotics may cause allergy.
  • Latex and other substances that touch the skin may cause allergy.

 

When human body is exposed to any of the allergens, the body produces immunoglobulin E (IgE), an antibody that binds the allergen. Antibodies (proteins) are attached to the blood cells that are called mast cells and found in all parts of the body, including airways and gastrointestinal tract (GI). The mast cell attached to IgE releases various chemicals, including histamine, into blood. Histamine creates allergy symptoms. Both the body parts airways and GI featuring mast cells are highly vulnerable to allergen attacks. Risk associated with allergies increases in patients with family history of hay fever and asthma.

Common Symptoms of allergies

  • Face may become red. Eyes, face and / or tongue may swell. If allergy is ascribed to an insect sting, the sting site may also swell (edema).

 

  • Patients suffering from allergies feel ill, tired or week.
  • Rashes are common during allergies. A rash with elevated red patches is called hive. Generally, hives appear on the face and the neck.

 

  • Runny and itchy nose and sneezing may irritate the patient. Nose may become stuffy. Patient may have problem in breathing and swallowing. Coughing, wheezing or shortness of breath may cause discomfort.
  • Tightness or discomfort in chest may occur.

 

  • Other common symptoms include anxiety, dizziness, fear, light headedness, nausea, palpitation, red watery eyes and vomiting.

Food Allergy Symptoms

Food allergies are result of hypersensitivity to a food item. For example, peanuts cause anaphylaxis. The blood pressure of the patient suffering from anaphylaxis falls suddenly, which is fatal. Anaphylaxis may tighten and constrict airways. You may feel a lump in throat, thereby making breathing difficult. A shock may occur. Pulse may race.

Common symptoms of food allergies include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Eczema, hives, itching
  • Fainting
  • Itching or tingling in the mouth
  • Stomach cramps
  • Swelling of throat, tongue, face, lips…
  • Vomiting

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

How to Treat Symptom of Sinus Infection

How to Treat Symptom of Sinus Infection

Main purpose of the sinusitis treatment is to get rid of symptom of sinus infection. The treatment drains off the sinuses, removes infection and reduces swelling, keeping sinuses unclogged. Although home remedies can be helpful, consult the doctor for reliable and quick treatment.

Acute Sinusitis Treatment

If symptom of sinus infection ranges from mild to moderate, expectorants, antihistamines and decongestants can be taken for seven to ten days. These patients should not take antibiotics, especially during the first week.

Chronic Sinusitis Treatment

Chronic sinusitis is an offshoot of acute sinus infection that was not treated in timely manner. The anaerobic and aerobic bacteria present in acute and chronic conditions are different. The objective of chronic sinusitis treatment is to enhance quality of life of the patient, if it is not curable.

Patients suffering from chronic sinusitis may need therapy for longer period. Antibiotics may be helpful for these patients. If the condition improves within two months, antibiotics can be discontinued. However, saline nasal solutions and steroids should be continued. If the condition does not improve even after two months, surgery is required.





Doctors may prescribe oral corticosteroids for patients with nasal polyps or patients not responding to nasal corticosteroids. Oral corticosteroids are also administered to patients suffering from allergic fungal sinusitis.

Generally, regular saline nasal irrigation is required.

To identify main trigger of chronic symptoms of sinus infection, a thorough diagnosis is necessary. Diagnostic check up should rule out any associated conditions, such as structural problems in any of the nasal passages, gastro esophageal reflux disorder, ailments related to immune system, asthma and allergies. If the trigger is found, it should be controlled or treated at the earliest.

Some of chronic sinusitis patients, especially the patients with associated medical disorders that can worsen the symptoms, may require intravenous antibiotic therapy. The therapy is generally given two weeks prior to surgery and one month after the surgery.

Mild symptoms other than acute infection signs can be treated with home remedies. For instance, hydration keeps the sinuses open. Drink lot of water to lubricate the mucus membranes. Alternatively, hot beverages like chicken soup, hot tea with lemon and honey, and ginger tea may relieve aches and congestion. Steam inhalation for two to four times a day will be very useful. A nasal wash helps in draining of the mucus. Regular nasal passage irrigation with hypertonic saline solution reduces symptoms and minimizes use of antibiotics.

Treatment for Sinus Infection Spread Beyond the Sinuses

If the infection has spread beyond the sinuses and entered into parts of the skull such as brain and bone, emergency treatment is required. Emergency surgery may also be required. Antibiotics may be given intravenously.