Sinus Infection (Sinusitis)
Table of Contents
- Sinus infection (sinusitis) definition and facts
- What are the sinuses? How many do we have?
- 18 signs and symptoms of sinus infection or sinusitis
- What is a sinus infection or sinusitis?
- What causes sinus infections or sinusitis?
- What are the types of sinusitis and sinus infections?
- How is sinus infection or sinusitis diagnosed?
- What kinds of doctors treat sinusitis and sinus infections?
- Are antibiotics necessary to treat sinus infections and sinusitis?
- What decongestants and nasal sprays soothe or cure sinus infections or sinusitis?
- What home remedies help soothe sinus infection or sinusitis symptoms?
- What are complications of sinus infection or sinusitis?
- Can sinus infection or sinusitis be prevented?
What are the sinuses? How many do we have?
A sinus is a hollow, air-filled cavity. For the purposes of this article, a sinus will refer to those hollow cavities that are in the skull and connected to the nasal airway by a narrow hole in the bone (ostium). Normally all sinuses are open to the nasal airway through an ostium. Humans have four pair of these cavities each referred to as the:
- frontal sinus (in forehead),
- maxillary sinus (behind cheeks),
- ethmoid sinuses (between the eyes), and
- sphenoid sinus (deep behind the ethmoids).
The four pair of sinuses are often described as a unit and termed the "paranasal sinuses." The cells of the inner lining of each sinus are mucus-secreting cells, epithelial cells and some cells that are part of the immune system (macrophages, lymphocytes, and eosinophils).
Functions of the sinuses include humidifying and warming inspired air, insulation of surrounding structures (eyes, nerves), increasing voice resonance, and as buffers against facial trauma. The sinuses decrease the weight of the skull. If the inflammation hinders the clearance of mucous or blocks the natural ostium, the inflammation may progress into a bacterial infection.