What is a sinus?
A sinus is a hollow cavity found in the face, connected by a narrow hole found in the bone. There are 4 types of sinuses found in the human skull, which, when referred to as a group, are known as the paranasal sinuses. The four pairs of sinuses that made up the paranasal sinuses are as follows:
- The Frontal Sinus
This type of sinus is found in an individual’s forehead.
- The Maxillary Sinus
These sinuses are positioned behind the facial cheeks.
- The Ethmoid Sinus
This type of sinus is located between an individual’s eyes.
- The Sphenoid Sinus
These sinuses are found positioned deep behind an individual’s ethmoids.
What do sinuses do?
The sinuses have a number of ‘jobs’ that they perform on a day to day basis. These include:
– Purifying air breathed in through the nose
– Warming cold air as it enters the nasal passages
– Insulating facial surrounding structures such as the eyes
– Improving vocal quality
– Protecting the face from traumas or injury
– Decrease the weight of the skull
What is a sinus infection?
A sinus infection is usually caused by the growth of viruses, bacteria or a fungus in the cavity of the sinus – thus causing intermittent blockage in the sinus canals. In order to clear this blockage, the body forms mucus which is drained through the nasal passages and exits the body through either the throat or nostrils.
As you would expect with any form of infection, there are a number of signs and symptoms that accompany a sinus infection. These include the swelling or inflammation of sinuses which, in turn, can cause the sinus cavity to close up causing pain and discomfort for the sufferer.
This form of infection is generally referred to as sinusitis and is a relatively common condition. In most cases, sinusitis occurs when natural or environmental irritants such as dust or pollen aggravate the nasal passages – one typical example for this is hay fever. Alternatively, exposure to strong chemicals or solvents can also irritate nasal passages and result in an individual developing sinusitis.
If you think you may have sinusitis, it is advisable that you book a consultation with a sinus specialist as soon as possible in order to receive a full medical diagnosis with regards to your sinuses and, therefore, offer a tailored form of treatment to suit your personal health complaint.