It may not seem much like it, but sinus infections are fast becoming one of the medical conditions that consume a lot of financial resources for treatment. Consider the following information: In the United States, the incidence of sinus infections has increased 18% over the last decade. This translates to nearly 40 million Americans who have experienced a sinus infection. The cost of sinusitis includes surgery; hospital confinement; antibiotics and other medications; physician visits and of course, the missed days at work because of the physical discomforts and pains associated with it.

The Sinus Profile
With all the expenses and discomforts a sinus infection can give you, don’t you think it makes some sense to get to know these air-filled cavities and what prompts them to go mayhem? So get a dose of this:

The sinuses, or sinus cavities, are air-filled cavities in the skull that surround the eye sockets. Among humans, there are four pairs. Each pair bears a unique name and has a different location. The maxillary sinuses are in the cheek area below the eyes, while the ethmoid sinuses lie between the eyes. The sinuses above the eyes are called frontal sinuses and finally, the sphenoid sinuses are located behind the eyes.

These sinuses communicate with the nose through small openings known as ostia (singular form: ostium) and are ventilated with each breath. The openings from the sinuses into the nose are quite small, ranging in size from one to five millimeters. Everyday, the nose and sinuses produce about two quarts of mucus, which is a clear, slippery liquid that functions to trap debris and bacteria; as well as to prevent the sinus and nasal linings from drying out. Under normal conditions, mucus doesn’t remain stagnant within the cavities. It is cleared from the sinuses and moved towards the opening or the back of the nose by the action of cilia, which are fine, hair-like projections found on the surface of the cells that make up the sinus lining.

What Goes Wrong
Sinus infection usually begins when an inflammatory process happens within the mucous membranes that line the nasal and sinus cavities. The inflammation, which is often coupled with the secretion of copious amounts of mucus, is a reaction to a lot of triggering factors like medications, dust, pollen or viral/bacterial upper respiratory tract infection. Because of the inflammation, the sinus ostia are blocked, making the drainage of mucus difficult. The stagnant mucus quickly becomes a breeding ground for bacteria. When the microbes invade the mucous linings, this is the start of a sinus infection and soon, the person will be experiencing the usual manifestations associated with this condition.

Back to Normal
Despite the aforementioned information on the progressively rising incidence of sinus infections, the condition is very manageable. It is easy to diagnose using visualization techniques like x-ray, CT scan, endoscopy, etc. Treatments are wide range- from do-it-yourself cures to sinus surgery (but surgeries are done only as last resort). Medications are widely available, ranging from over-the-counter decongestants to especially compounded forms suitable for medicated irrigation or nebulized treatment. One company which offers this service is Sinus Dynamics, which is both a compounding pharmacy and a manufacturer of state-of-the-art nebulizers and irrigators.

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