Tag Archives: Sinusitis

Eriodictyon angustifolium

Botanical Name : Eriodictyon angustifolium
Family: Boraginaceae
Subfamily: Hydrophylloideae
Genus: Eriodictyon
Species: E. angustifolium
Kingdom: Plantae

Common Names : Narrow-leaved Yerba Santa,Narrowleaf yerba santa

Habitat :Eriodictyon angustifolium is native to California and is also found outside of California, but is confined to western North America. It is  found  primarily in California, Utah, Nevada, and Baja California.

Description:
Eriodictyon angustifolium is a perennial shrub.This plant has white, five-petalled flowers that bloom in June or July. The toothed leaves, about 10 centimeters in length, are sticky above and hairy below.

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Medicinal Uses:
An important lung and bronchial medicine, most useful when phlegm is loose, milky, and profuse and the lungs, throat, and  sinuses feel weak and boggy.  Often combined with Yerba de buey.  It also is effective for head colds and sinus infections. The cold tea is used as a disinfecting diuretic for bladder and urethra pain.  New research is showing that it also has some anti-microbial properties.

Yerba Santa’s medicinal properties are strongest right after blooming, either in late spring or after a drought-breaking rain has brought out new foliage. Use the leaves either fresh or dried. Gather by breaking off branches full of leaves. Spread out the branches or hang them individually to dry. If you leave the branches clumped together in a bag or box, the resin on the tops of the leaves will glue the leaves together so you will end up with a black, sticky, unusable mass. Once dried, the resin is no longer a problem. When using fresh leaves for tea or tincture, cut them into small pieces with scissors or a knife, then use alcohol to clean the resin build up from the utensil. If dried leaves are being used, simply crumble them into small pieces. For smoking, it is best to use the mature leaves that are starting to dry and turn yellow around the edges and are almost ready to fall off, found near the base of large stems and the main trunk of the bush.

Yerba Santa is a great upper respiratory herb. It has a resinous coating and is aromatic. Use as a tea or tincture for coughs, lung and sinus congestion and infused in oil for muscle and chest rubs. In order to infuse Yerba Santa into oil you must first sprinkle it with alcohol to dissolve the resins. Drink the tea hot to induce sweating to break a fever. Inhale the steam from the hot tea to clear sinus and chest congestion. It thins mucous and is useful as an expectorant, decongestant and bronchial dilator for chest colds, bronchitis, asthma, sinus infections and hay fever. The resin complex and phenols in Yerba Santa make it useful for mild bladder and urethra infections. Since these properties are only partially water soluble, an alcohol tincture is preferable, twenty to thirty drops in water several times per day. Yerba Santa has no specific toxicities in moderate doses and up to an ounce of the leaves can be used to make a tea or infusion to drink in one day. It is safe for children, using one half of the normal adult dose. The leaves can also be used in a vaporizor to relief congestion.

Inhaling smoke from Yerba Santa leaves is useful to calm mild bronchial spasms. Burning a Yerba Santa smudge can be used to warm up trigger points, especially on the hands and feet. This will give relief from headache and muscle spasms. The fresh leaves make a pleasant and tasty chewing gum, bitter and balsamic at first, with a sweet aftertaste which freshens the mouth and breath. In Baja, for skin eruptions, boil leaves with Atriplex and wash the sores. Or grind dry leaves and apply. For malaria, make a tea with Haplopappus and Larrea, and massage with the lotion. For stiff neck, tie the leaves around the throat. For sore throat, make a leaf tea. For aches, bruises, wounds, bruises, wounds, heat leaves, apply to affected area. For coughs, colds, boil leaves and drink.

Disclaimer:The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider

Resources:
http://www.calflora.org/cgi-bin/species_query.cgi?where-calrecnum=3181
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eriodictyon_angustifolium
http://calphotos.berkeley.edu/cgi-bin/img_query?rel-taxon=contains&where-taxon=Eriodictyon+angustifolium
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_UZ.htm

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Mucus

 

Definition:
Mucus is a slippery secretion produced by, and covering, mucous membranes. Mucous fluid is typically produced from mucous cells found in mucous glands. Mucous cells secrete products that are rich in glycoproteins and water. Mucous fluid may also originate from mixed glands, which contain both serous and mucous cells. It is a viscous colloid containing antiseptic enzymes (such as lysozyme), proteins such as lactoferrin, glycoproteins known as mucins that are produced by goblet cells in the mucous membranes and submucosal glands, immunoglobulins, and inorganic salts. This mucus serves to protect epithelial cells in the respiratory, gastrointestinal, urogenital, visual, and auditory systems in mammals; the epidermis in amphibians; and the gills in fish. A major function of this mucus is to protect against infectious agents such as fungi, bacteria and viruses. The average human body produces about a litre of mucus per day.

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Bony fish, hagfish, snails, slugs and some other invertebrates also produce external mucus. In addition to serving a protective function against infectious agents, such mucus provides protection against toxins produced by predators, can facilitate movement and may play a role in communication.

In the respiratory system mucus aids in the protection of the lungs by trapping foreign particles that enter it, particularly through the nose, during normal breathing. “Phlegm” is a specialized term for mucus that is restricted to the respiratory tract, while the term “mucus” more globally describes secretions of the nasal passages.

Nasal mucus is produced by the nasal mucosa, and mucal tissues lining the airways (trachea, bronchus, bronchioles) is produced by specialized airway epithelial cells (goblet cells) and submucosal glands. Small particles such as dust, particulate pollutants, and allergens as well as infectious agents such as bacteria are caught in the viscous nasal or airway mucus and prevented from entering the system. This event along with the continual movement of the respiratory mucus layer toward the oropharynx, helps prevent foreign objects from entering the lungs during breathing. Additionally, mucus aids in moisturizing the inhaled air and prevents tissues such as the nasal and airway epithelia from drying out. Nasal and airway mucus is produced constitutively, with most of it swallowed unconsciously, even when it is dried.

Increased mucus production in the respiratory tract is a symptom of many common illnesses, such as the common cold and influenza. Similarly, hypersecretion of mucus can occur in inflammatory respiratory diseases such as respiratory allergies, asthma, and chronic bronchitis. The presence of mucus in the nose and throat is normal, but increased quantities can impede comfortable breathing and must be cleared by blowing the nose or expectorating phlegm from the throat. Tears are also a component of nasal mucus.

Diseases involving mucus:-
Generally nasal mucus is clear and thin, serving to filter air during inhalation. During times of infection, mucus can change colour to yellow or green either as a result of trapped bacteria, or due to the body’s reaction to viral infection.

In the case of bacterial infection, the bacterium becomes trapped in already clogged sinuses, breeding in the moist, nutrient-rich environment. Antibiotics may be used to treat the secondary infection in these cases, but will generally not help with the original cause.

In the case of a viral infection such as cold or flu, the first stage and also the last stage of the infection causes the production of a clear, thin mucus in the nose or back of the throat. As the body begins to react to the virus (generally one to three days), mucus thickens and may turn yellow or green. In viral infections, antibiotics will not be useful, and are a major avenue for misuse. Treatment is generally symptom-based; often it is sufficient to allow the immune system to fight off the virus over time.

Cystic fibrosis:.CLICK & SEE
Cystic fibrosis is an inherited disease that affects the entire body, but symptoms begin mostly in the lungs with extremely viscous (thick) production of mucus which is difficult to expel.

Mucus as a medical symptom:
Increased mucus production in the upper respiratory tract is a symptom of many common ailments, such as the common cold. Nasal mucus may be removed by blowing the nose or by using traditional methods of nasal irrigation. Excess nasal mucus, as with a cold or allergies may be treated cautiously with decongestant medications. Excess mucus production in the bronchi and bronchioles, as may occur in asthma, bronchitis or influenza, may be treated with anti-inflammatory medications as a means of reducing the airway inflammation which triggers mucus over-production. Thickening of mucus as a “rebound” effect following overuse of decongestants may produce nasal or sinus drainage problems and circumstances that promote infection. Mucus with any color other than clear or white is generally an indicator of an infection of the nasal mucosa, the paranasal sinus or, if produced via a productive cough, of a lower respiratory tract infection.

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Cold weather and mucus:……..CLICK & SEE
During cold weather, the cilia which normally sweep mucus away from the nostrils and towards the back of the throat (see respiratory epithelium) become sluggish or completely cease functioning. This results in mucus running down the nose and dripping (a runny nose). Mucus also thickens in cold weather; when an individual comes in from the cold, the mucus thaws and begins to run before the cilia begin to work again.

Digestive system:….
In the digestive system, mucus is used as a lubricant for materials which must pass over membranes, e.g., food passing down the esophagus. A layer of mucus along the inner walls of the stomach is vital to protect the cell linings of that organ from the highly acidic environment within it. The same protective layer of mucus is what comes out when you sneeze. Mucus does not digest in the intestinal tract. Mucus is also secreted from glands within the rectum due to stimulation of the mucous membrane within.
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Diseases Associated With Mucus in the Bowel
Reproductive system:
In the female reproductive system, cervical mucus prevents infection. The consistency of cervical mucus varies depending on the stage of a woman’s menstrual cycle. At ovulation cervical mucus is clear, runny, and conducive to sperm; post-ovulation, mucus becomes thicker and is more likely to block sperm.

In the male reproductive system, the seminal vesicles contribute up to 100% of the total volume of the semen and contain mucus, amino acids, prostaglandins, vitamin C, and fructose as the main energy source for the sperm.
You may click to see :What Is The Function Of The Pinocytic Vesicles

You may also click to see :-
Empty nose syndrome
Spinnbarkeit
Mucoadhesion
Mucophagy

Sources: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mucophagy

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Tea Tree (Melaleuca alternifolia)

Botanical Name : Melaleuca alternifolia/Melaleuca leucadendron, M. leucadendra
Family: Myrtaceae
Subfamily: Myrtoideae
Genus: Melaleuca
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Myrtales
Tribe: Melaleuceae
Syn.  : Melaleuca minor
Common Names : Tea Tree , ti tree,Narrow-leaved Paperbark, Narrow-leaved Tea-tree, Narrow-leaved Ti-tree, or Snow-in-summer,
Cajeput Oil , Weeping tea tree, weeping paperbark

Habitat : There are well over 200 recognised species, most of which are endemic to Australia. A few species occur in Malesia and 7 species are endemic to New Caledonia.

Description:
The species are shrubs and trees growing (depending on species) to 2–30 m (6.6–98 ft) tall, often with flaky, exfoliating bark. The leaves are evergreen, alternately arranged, ovate to lanceolate, 1–25 cm (0.39–9.8 in) long and 0.5–7 cm (0.20–2.8 in) broad, with an entire margin, dark green to grey-green in colour. The flowers are produced in dense clusters along the stems, each flower with fine small petals and a tight bundle of stamens; flower colour varies from white to pink, red, pale yellow or greenish. The fruit is a small capsule containing numerous minute seeds.Leaves are linear, 10-35 mm long and 1 mm wide. White flowers occur in spikes 3-5 cm long. Small woody, cup-shaped fruit are 2-3 mm in diameter.

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Melaleuca is closely related to Callistemon, the main difference between the genera being that the stamens are generally free in Callistemon but grouped into bundles in Melaleuca.

In the wild, Melaleuca plants are generally found in open forest, woodland or shrubland, particularly along watercourses and the edges of swamps.

The best-accepted common name for Melaleuca is simply melaleuca; however most of the larger species are also known as paperbarks, and the smaller types as honey myrtles. They are also sometimes referred to as punk trees.

One well-known melaleuca, the Ti tree (aka tea tree), Melaleuca alternifolia, is notable for its essential oil which is both anti-fungal, and antibiotic, while safely usable for topical applications. This is produced on a commercial scale, and marketed as Tea Tree Oil. The Ti tree is presumably named for the brown colouration of many water courses caused by leaves shed from trees of this and similar species (for a famous example see Brown Lake (Stradbroke Island)). The name “tea tree” is also used for a related genus, Leptospermum. Both Leptospermum and Melaleuca are myrtles of the family, Myrtaceae.

In Australia, Melaleuca species are sometimes used as food plants by the larvae of hepialid moths of the genus Aenetus including A. ligniveren. These burrow horizontally into the trunk then vertically down.

Melaleucas are popular garden plants, both in Australia and other tropical areas worldwide. In Hawai?i and the Florida Everglades, Melaleuca quinquenervia (Broad-leaved Paperbark) was introduced in order to help drain low-lying swampy areas. It has since gone on to become a serious invasive weed with potentially very serious consequences being that the plants are highly flammable and spread aggressively. Melaleuca populations have nearly quadrupled in southern Florida over the past decade, as can be noted on IFAS’s SRFer Mapserver

The genus Callistemon was recently placed into Melaleuca.

Weeds
Melaleucas were introduced to Florida in the United States in the early 20th century to assist in drying out swampy land and as garden plants. Once widely planted in Florida, it formed dense thickets and displaced native vegetation on 391,000 acres (1,580 km2) of wet pine flatwoods, sawgrass marshes, and cypress swamps in the southern part of the state. [It is prohibited by DEP and listed as a noxious weed by FDACS.]

Melaleucas became an invasive species that raised serious environmental issues in Florida’s Everglades and damaged the surrounding economy. Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists from the Australian Biological Control Laboratory assisted in solving the problem by releasing biological controls in the form of insects that feed on Melaleuca. These insects are natural predators of Melaleuca in Australia and help control the spread of the weed in the U.S.

Medicinal uses:
Common Uses: Abrasions/Cuts * Abscess/Boil * Acne * Burns/SunBurn * Candida/Yeast Infection * Fungus Infections * Herpes * Insect Bites/Rashes * Insect Repellent * Scabies *

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Properties:  Analgesic* Antibacterial* Vulnerary* Antifungal* AntiViral* Aromatic*
Parts Used: essential oil distilled from leaves
Constituents: pinene, cymene, cineole, terpenes, terpinene, alcohols .

Traditional Aboriginal uses
Australian Aborigines used the leaves traditionally for many medicinal purposes, including chewing the young leaves to alleviate headache and for other ailments.

The softness and flexibility of the paperbark itself made it an extremely useful tree to aboriginal people. It was used to line coolamons when used as cradles, as a bandage, as a sleeping mat, and as material for building humpies. It was also used for wrapping food for cooking (in the same way aluminium foil is today), as a disposable raincoat, and for tamping holes in canoes. In the Gadigal language, it is called Bujor

Modern Uses:
Scientific studies have shown that tea tree oil made from Melaleuca alternifolia is a highly effective topical antibacterial and antifungal, although it may be toxic when ingested internally in large doses or by children. In rare cases, topical products can be absorbed by the skin and result in toxicity.

The oils of Melaleuca can be found in organic solutions of medication that claims to eliminate warts, including the Human papillomavirus. No scientific evidence proves this claim (reference: “Forces of Nature: Warts No More”).

Melaleuca oils are the active ingredient in Burn-Aid, a popular minor burn first aid treatment (an offshoot of the brandname Band-Aid).

Melaleuca oils (tea tree oil) is also used in many pet fish remedies (such as Melafix and Bettafix) to treat bacterial and fungal infections.[citation needed] Bettafix is a lighter dilution of tea tree oil while Melafix is a stronger dilution. It is most commonly used to promote fin and tissue regrowth. The remedies are often associated with Betta fish (Siamese Fighting Fish) but are also used with other fish.

It is the primary species for commercial production of Tea tree oil (melaleuca oil), a topical antibacterial and antifungal used in a range of products including antiseptics, deodorants, shampoos, soaps and lotions.

The essential oil is distilled from the feathery, narrow bright green leaves. Tea tree’s major contribution to the herbal pharmacy is its broad spectrum of antimicrobial activity. Often called a “first aid kit in a bottle”, it is ideal to take along on camping trip or anytime you are traveling. Tea tree is also an all purpose remedy for respiratory infections, acting as an anti-infective agent and strongly stimulating the body’s own.

Disclaimer:The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
http://www.anniesremedy.com/herb_detail56.php#7
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Melaleuca
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Melaleuca_alternifolia

http://www.wildcrafted.com.au/Tea_Tree_Oil_(Melaleuca_alternifolia).html

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Ear Infection

Alternative Names: Otitis media – acute; Infection – inner ear; Middle ear infection – acute
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Definition:
Ear infections are one of the most common reasons parents take their children to the doctor. While there are different types of ear infections, the most common is called otitis media, which means an inflammation and infection of the middle ear. The middle ear is located just behind the eardrum.

There are two types of ear infection…Acute & Cronic.

The term “acute” refers to a short and painful episode. An ear infection that lasts a long time or comes and goes is called chronic otitis media.

You may click to learn more about ear infection:

Symptoms
An acute ear infection causes pain (earache). In infants, the clearest sign is often irritability and inconsolable crying. Many infants and children develop a fever or have trouble sleeping. Parents often think that tugging on the ear is a symptom of an ear infection, but studies have shown that the same number of children going to the doctor tug on the ear whether or not the ear is infected.

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Common Ear Infection

Acute Ear Infection

Cronic Ear Infection

Ear Infection of Bone

Other possible symptoms include:
*Fullness in the ear
*Feeling of general illness
*Vomiting
*Diarrhea
*Hearing loss in the affected ear
*The child may have symptoms of a cold, or the ear infection may start shortly after having a cold.

All acute ear infections include fluid behind the eardrum. You can use an electronic ear monitor, such as EarCheck, to detect this fluid at home. The device is available at pharmacies.

Possible Causes:
Ear infections are common in infants and children in part because their eustachian tubes become clogged easily. For each ear, a eustachian tube runs from the middle ear to the back of the throat. Its purpose is to drain fluid and bacteria that normally occurs in the middle ear. If the eustachian tube becomes blocked, fluid can build up and become infected.
Anything that causes the eustachian tubes and upper airways to become inflamed or irritated, or cause more fluids to be produced, can lead to a blocked eustachian tube. These include:

*Colds and sinus infections
*Allergies
*Tobacco smoke or other irritants
*Infected or overgrown adenoids
*Excess mucus and saliva produced during teething

Ear infections are also more likely if a child spends a lot of time drinking from a sippy cup or bottle while lying on his or her back. Contrary to popular opinion, getting water in the ears will not cause an acute ear infection, unless the eardrum has a hole from a previous episode.

Ear infections occur most frequently in the winter. An ear infection is not itself contagious, but a cold may spread among children and cause some of them to get ear infections.

Risk factors:

*Not being breast-fed
*Recent ear infection
*Recent illness of any type (lowers resistance of the body to infection)
*Day care (especially with more than 6 children)
*Pacifier use
*Genetic factors (susceptibility to infection may run in families)
*Changes in altitude or climate
*Cold climate
*Sudden change of weather

Diagnosis:

Signs and tests
The doctor will ask questions about whether your child (or you) have had ear infections in the past and will want you to describe the current symptoms, including whether your child has had any symptoms of a cold or allergies recently. Your doctor will examine your child’s throat, sinuses, head, neck, and lungs.

Using an instrument called an otoscope, the doctor will look inside your child’s ears. If infected, there may be areas of dullness or redness or there may be air bubbles or fluid behind the eardrum. The fluid may be bloody or purulent (filled with pus). The physician will also check for any sign of perforation (hole or holes) in the eardrum.

A hearing test may be recommended if your child has had persistent (chronic and recurrent) ear infections

Modern  Treatment
The goals for treating ear infections include relieving pain, curing the infection, preventing complications, and preventing recurrent ear infections. Most ear infections will safely clear up on their own without antibiotics. Often, treating the pain and allowing the body time to heal itself is all that is needed:

*Apply a warm cloth or warm water bottle.
*Use over-the-counter pain relief drops for ears.
*Take over-the counter medications for pain or fever, like ibuprofen or acetaminophen. DO NOT give aspirin to children.
*Use prescription ear drops to relieve pain.

ANTIBIOTICS
Some ear infections require antibiotics to clear the infection and to prevent them from becoming worse. This is more likely if the child is under age 2, has a fever, is acting sick (beyond just the ear), or is not improving over 24 to 48 hours.

However, for several years there was a tendency to over-prescribe antibiotics, leading to the increasing numbers of bacteria that are resistant to these drugs. Joint guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Academy of Family Physicians are aimed at using antibiotics for ear infections when they are most needed. If the antibiotics do not seem to be working within 48 to 72 hours, contact your doctor to consider switching to a stronger antibiotic. Usually there is no benefit to more than two, or at the most three, rounds of appropriate antibiotics.

SURGERY
If there is fluid in the middle ear and the condition persists, even with antibiotic treatment, a healthcare provider may recommend myringotomy (surgical opening of the eardrum) to relieve pressure and allow drainage of the fluid. This may or may not involve the insertion of tympanostomy tubes (often referred to as ear tubes). In this procedure, a tiny tube is inserted into the eardrum, keeping open a small hole that allows air to get in so fluids can drain more easily down the eustachian tube. Tympanostomy tube insertion is done under general anesthesia. Usually the tubes fall out by themselves. Those that don’t may be removed in your doctor’s office.

If the adenoids are enlarged, surgical removal may be considered, especially if you have chronic, recurrent ear infections. Removing tonsils does not seem to help with ear infections.

ALTERNATIVE TREATMENT:
Click to see:
Alternative Treatment for Ear Infections :
Alternative to Tubes for Ear Infection Treatment:
Natural Cures For an Ear Infection – More Than Home Remedies:

Prognosis:
Ear infections are curable with treatment but may recur. They are not life threatening but may be quite painful.

Prevention:
What can kids do to prevent ear infections? You can avoid places where people are smoking, for one. Cigarette smoke can keep your eustachian tubes from working properly.
You can reduce your child’s risk of ear infections with the following practices:

*Wash hands and toys frequently. Also, day care with 6 or fewer children can lessen your child’s chances of getting a cold or similar infection. This leads to fewer ear infections.
*Avoid pacifiers, especially at daycare.
*Breastfeed — this makes a child much less prone to ear infections. But, if bottle feeding, hold your infant in an upright, seated position.
*Don’t expose your child to secondhand smoke.
*The pneumococcal vaccine prevents infections from the organism that most commonly causes acute ear infections and many respiratory infections.
*Some evidence suggests that xylitol, a natural sweetener, may reduce ear infections.
*Avoid overusing antibiotics.

Click to see:
Taking Care of Your Ears;
What’s Earwax?;
What’s Hearing Loss?

Disclaimer: This information is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advise or help. It is always best to consult with a Physician about serious health concerns. This information is in no way intended to diagnose or prescribe remedies.This is purely for educational purpose.

Resources:
http://kidshealth.org/kid/ill_injure/sick/ear_infection.html
http://healthtools.aarp.org/adamcontent/ear-infection-acute?CMP=KNC-360i-GOOGLE-HEA&HBX_OU=50&HBX_PK=ear_infection_acute
http://health.nytimes.com/health/guides/disease/ear-infection-acute/overview.html

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Those Painful Sinuses

Doctors have a lot of work in the winter months with the low temperatures, the monsoon, and the festivals with smoky fireworks. Almost everyone complains of colds and “sinusitis”.

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We have four pairs of sinuses that drain into the nasal cavity: frontal above the nose, maxillary in the cheekbone area, ethmoidal at the roof of the nose and between the orbits of the eyes, and sphenoidal on the sides of the forehead near the corner of the eyes. Sinuses are present at birth and continue to grow and develop until adolescence. They are, in fact, useful as they contain air, which helps to modulate the pitch and timber of the voice. They also reduce the total weight of the skull, which would otherwise be composed of heavy solid bone. They are lined with mucous membranes similar to that in the nose.

Sinuses may become inflamed as a result of viral infections, which are likely to occur with seasonal changes. A “cold” causes the nose to clog up and the natural orifices through which secretions from the sinus drain get blocked. Acute allergies to pollen, smoke, room fresheners and mosquito repellents compound the blockage. As the membrane swells, it exudes mucoid secretions which fill the sinus.

The space in the sinus is limited on all sides by rigid bone, leaving no room for expansion. The typical throbbing headache develops, and worsens on changing positions as the mucous shifts around. These clogged secretions may become secondarily infected by bacteria.

Sinusitis produces a nasal block, a thick yellow or green discharge, a troublesome sleep-disturbing night cough, fever and swelling over the affected sinuses. It can also cause bad breath, which persists despite brushing the teeth or using mouthwashes.

Acute sinusitis can be completely cured in 30 days with treatment — adequate doses of appropriate antibiotics for 10-14 days. If the treatment is discontinued after a few doses as relief is obtained, the infection tends to recur.

Recurrent sinusitis occurs in cycles with at least a 10-day, symptom-free intervening period. It occurs when there is exposure to the allergen again and again, perpetuating a cycle of nose blocks, infections, treatment and relief.

Sinusitis is labelled as chronic only if it persists for more than 90 days. It can be caused by a variety of bacteria or even fungi. It is rare in normal healthy individuals unless there is an aggravating factor. Pus from an infected untreated tooth, particularly in the upper jaw, can burrow into the maxillary sinus.

Some people have a deviated nasal septum (the partition between the two halves of the nose is not straight). This can be present from birth. It may develop as a result of injury. The small openings draining the sinuses may become blocked by the bent nose. Allergies, which are untreated and chronic, can cause permanently swollen nasal mucosa. This can form grape-like swellings called polyps. Children sometimes insert stones, peas, erasers and other objects into their nose. They can remain wedged, unsuspected and undiagnosed, causing a permanent nose block and sinusitis. Swollen adenoids can also perpetuate sinusitis.

Treatment of sinusitis is likely to succeed only if the aggravating factors are removed. Drainage of the infected material also has to be facilitated. This can be done by using nasal drops. Saline nasal drops are the safest and can be used as often as required. Nasal drops containing chemicals like oxymetaxoline, xylometazoline or ephedrine should be used 3-4 times a day only for the first three to four days, if at all.

Although immediate relief is obtained, in the long run habituation occurs. The nose does not open up even when the drops are used.

Continuous use can also cause rebound congestion. If the nasal mucosa is permanently swollen because of chronic allergy, the newer, non-absorbed steroid nasal sprays are helpful. Steam inhalations and humidifiers also help with liquefaction of the secretions and drainage.

Pain over the sinuses, fever and headache all respond well to paracetemol, which is sold under a variety of trade names. The dose of paracetemol is 500mg three to four times a day for adults and 10-15mg/kg/dose for children.

Sinusitis because of allergy or a viral infection does not need antibiotics. Antbiotics should be used for bacterial infections. Eradication of an infection is difficult, as sinuses are closed spaces. Antibiotics have to be carefully selected and need to be given for 10-14 days for a complete cure. Immunisation covers two of the organisms (H. Influenza and pneumococcus) which can cause sinusitis. This means that children who have been completely immunised are unlikely to be infected by these organisms.

Decongestants and mucous liquefying agents are also helpful if used in addition to other medicines. Antihistamines are not useful, as they tend to dry up the secretions, making them sticky and adherent.

Sinusitis, allergies and respiratory ailments all decrease in frequency and intensity with regular aerobic exercise, like 40 minutes of jogging, swimming or running daily.

Disclaimer: This information is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advise or help. It is always best to consult with a Physician about serious health concerns. This information is in no way intended to diagnose or prescribe remedies.This is purely for educational purpose.

Sources: The Telegraph (Kolkata, India)