Sinusitis

Sinusitis

The sinuses are airspaces within the bones of the face (cheeks, forehead and around the eyes). The term sinusitis is used to refer to inflammation in these areas, which is most commonly caused by allergy or infection.

Symptoms

  • Blocked nose and upper airways
  • Thick green/yellow mucus from the nose or from back of the throat
  • Headache or facial pain and sensitivity, especially around the eyes, nose and jaw
  • Head feels stuffy, full or congested
  • Sense of smell or taste may be diminished
  • Toothache sometimes occurs, usually in the upper jaw
  • Fatigue
  • Cough or a sore throat

Causes

  • Sinusitis is usually a bacterial infection, and commonly occurs as a complication of Colds and Flu, or other viral upper respiratory infection. The presence of excess mucus in the sinus cavities provides a breeding ground for bacteria, which allows the secondary infection to take hold
  • Other situations that increase the quantity of mucus in the sinus cavities, or that lead to inflammation of the mucous membranes there can also trigger sinus pain or the development of infections. Common culprits include allergies such as hay fever, and the inhalation of harsh chemicals
  • Minor anatomical abnormalities pre-dispose some people to experiencing sinusitis more often than others

Nutritional & Herbal Solutions

  • Echinacea has been scientifically proven to enhance Immunity, and may help reduce the severity and duration of infections. It is specifically indicated for individuals suffering from repeated bouts of Colds and Flu, Bronchitis, sinusitis and other respiratory infections
  • Vitamin C supports Immunity, and can help reduce the severity and duration of respiratory tract infections. It is best taken with bioflavonoids, which enhance the absorption and utilisation of vitamin C
  • Vitamin A is important for the healthy functioning of the respiratory mucous membranes. Cod and halibut liver oils are naturally rich sources of vitamin A
  • Garlic has potent antibiotic and immune-boosting properties, and has traditionally been used to relieve mucus congestion and other symptoms of respiratory infection. Look for a product containing the equivalent of 3 g of fresh garlic bulb. Parsley is sometimes taken at the same time to reduce the odour of garlic
  • Olive leaf has antibacterial and antiviral properties. It has traditionally been used to relieve the symptoms of respiratory infections, and is considered especially useful when fever is present. Look for a product providing 5000 mg of organic olive leaf extract, standardised to contain 100 mg of the active component oleuropein
  • If you are susceptible to recurrent infections, take a multivitamin that's been specially formulated to promote Immunity. Look for a product combining a broad spectrum of nutrients with immune-boosting herbs such as olive leaf, andrographis, echinacea, Siberian ginseng, and shiitake mushroom

Diet & Lifestyle advice

  • Severe, persistent or recurrent sinus pain may be indicative of underlying disease, and requires medical investigation
  • Get plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables and their juices. This will ensure you are getting plenty of vitamin C, betacarotene (some of which is converted into vitamin A in the body) and bioflavonoids
  • Many natural therapists encourage those who suffer from sinusitis to avoid dairy products, believing that they encourage the airways to produce mucus. Even though this advice is controversial, it's worthwhile trying; many sufferers report that avoiding dairy foods helps manage their symptoms
  • Steam inhalations or the use of a humidifier can help break up respiratory mucus and make it easier to expel; eucalyptus oil enhances the effects of the steam
  • Spicy herbs such as horseradish, chilli and ginger can help to liquefy mucus and drain it from the sinuses. Menthol-containing herbs have similar properties, so try drinking peppermint tea, or sucking on lozenges containing eucalyptus and menthol
  • Keep your house and bedding clean and free of dust, pet hair and other allergens. You may need to take extra care on days that are windy or have high pollen or pollution counts
  • Avoid dust, fumes and cigarette smoke, and always use appropriate protection if you are exposed to airborne pollutants at home or work

If symptoms persist consult your healthcare professional. Information provided is of a general nature and should not replace that of your healthcare professional.

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