What are sinuses?
There are four pairs of sinuses in the human head. The largest ones are located behind the cheekbones and in the forehead above each eye. The sinuses are air filled cavities which are lined with mucous. The mucous is continually being swept into the nose to moisten the air we breathe and to keep the nasal passages clear of allergens and pollutants. Sinuses also act to lighten the bones of the skull and serve as sound-resonance chambers for speech.
Sinus congestion, sinus headaches and sinusitis
When not properly drained, mucous builds up in the sinuses and they can become inflamed, this is known as sinusitis. Inflammation can be the result of a cold or flu virus as well as from untreated allergic rhinitis (commonly known as hay fever). These conditions lead to a blocked nose which in turn blocks the sinuses. Other causes of sinusitis include crooked nasal anatomy (deviated septum), nasal polyps, smoking and overuse of decongestant nasal sprays. Sinus headaches can also occur from blocked sinus passages. Sinusitis can be acute, lasting up to 4 weeks, or chronic lasting from several weeks to years.
Common Symptoms of Sinusitis
Symptoms include headache, sinus pressure, facial pain, runny nose and nasal congestion.
How to Treat Sinusitis
Treatments include pharmaceuticals such as paracetamol or ibuprofen for pain and anti-inflammatory sprays and short term use of decongestant. Natural therapies include saline nasal sprays and irrigation, as well as steam. If an infection is present antibiotics may be required. Surgery might be necessary for patients with persistent and chronic conditions.
Steam inhaled through the nose moisturises and soothes the inflamed, swollen passages and sinus cavities that triggers sinus congestion and pain. Warm steam vapour is a natural expectorant which helps to dislodge the mucous trapped within the stuffed-up sinus cavities. By expelling the blockage, pressure is relieved as is the facial pain and headaches associated with sinusitis. The therapeutic benefits of steam are recommended by doctors and leading medical sites. Being all natural, there is no unpleasant side effects.