Sinusitis is a painful inflammation and swelling of the tissue lining the sinuses. When they become blocked and filled with mucous, pathogens such as bacteria, viruses, and fungi can grow and cause infection. Although more common in winter, sinusitis can become chronic and last for months or even years if the cause is not properly diagnosed and treated. 

Although you can get sinusitis year around, it tends to accompany the cold and influenza seasons during the fall and winter months.

SYMPTOMS 

The first symptoms of sinusitis manifest as congestion in the form of rhinitis (runny nose), additional indications would be a green or grey nasal discharge, a postnasal drip, and a headache or facial pain when pressure is applied on the sinuses. There may be a low-grade fever, dizziness, and an irritating cough that won’t stop. Sufferers may also find that they experience additional pain when they lean forwards because of the pressure on the sinuses.  

Acute sinusitis is characterised by a sudden onset of cold-like symptoms such as a runny nose, nasal congestion, and facial pain and symptoms that don’t dissipate after about ten days and this can last for about four weeks.  

Chronic sinusitis is diagnosed when the sinusitis lasts for eight weeks and longer and recurrent sinusitis presents when a person has a few attacks a year. Chronic sufferers may have facial swelling, bad breath, pus in the nasal cavity, as well as all the symptoms of acute sinusitis.  

TREATMENT 

A painful condition that will leave sufferers weary and miserable, it is always better to treat the sinusitis as soon as possible. Timeous treatment will probably prevent a bacterial infection from developing and thus solve the problem much sooner. In addition, it can reduce the possibility of it becoming a chronic condition.  

Cleveland Clinic recommends a simple sinusitis infection is treated with decongestants, OTC cold and allergy medications, nasal saline irrigation, and drinking fluids (sinusitis is a viral infection and fluids will help). If symptoms of sinusitis don’t improve after 10 days, a doctor may prescribe antibiotics, oral or topical decongestants, or prescription intranasal steroid sprays. Long-term or chronic sinusitis may be treated by focusing on the underlying condition (typically allergies). This is usually treated with intranasal steroid sprays, topical antihistamine sprays or oral pills, leukotriene antagonists to reduce swelling and allergy symptoms, and rinsing the nose with saline solutions that might also contain other types of medication.  

However, there is a concern that antibiotics are often unnecessarily prescribed for sinusitis, potentially contributing to the problem of antibiotic resistance. Instead of using antibiotics, patients with sinusitis may want to consider herbal remedies to reduce symptoms.  

Made up of several different combinations of ingredients, when recommending a herbal remedy there are two ingredients, in particular, to look out for – Pelargonium Sidoides and Echinacea Purpurea. While Pelargonium Sidoides has been shown to improve recovery time and relieve symptoms of acute sinusitis, studies have found that Echinacea not only possesses potent antiviral and anti-inflammatory activities but that it may help to boost the immune system and reverse the excessive mucus secretion so common in sinus infections too. The benefit of herbal treatments is of course that compared to pharmaceutical treatments, they’re generally associated with minimal adverse effects.