Get 7% OFF* Over $50 - Use Code: HPFYD7

Online since 2002 |   866-316-0162

Articles and News

What is Sinus Infection?

What is Sinus Infection?
Laura Castricone, CRT

To understand what a sinus infection is, you need to know the role of your sinuses, and where they are located.

The human nasal sinus system is an area of air-filled space in the bones that are connected to the nasal cavity. Depending on which bones consist of the sinus spaces will dictate the name of the sinus.

The maxillary sinuses are located in the cheekbones, below the eyes on each side of the nose. The frontal sinuses are above the eyes. The ethmoidal sinuses are between the eyes and the sphenoidal sinuses are located behind the eyes.

There are many possible reasons for our sinuses. They aid in warming and humidifying inspired air and play a role in speech and sound. But they may also serve the purpose of reducing pressure in the breathing system and aid in reducing the weight of the head.

So, what happens to these cavities when we get a sinus infection? Fluid build-up in the sinus cavity may lead to germ proliferation, inflammation, and infection. The infection can be either viral, bacterial, or in rare instances fungal. In some cases, infections may result from allergies.

Sinus Symptoms

The proper medical term for a sinus infection is sinusitis. Symptoms of the sinusitis infection can include -

  • Swelling of the nasal cavity tissue
  • Congestion
  • Sneezing
  • Nasal discharge or runny nose
  • Fever
  • Sore throat
  • Cough
  • Frequent facial pain.

As these air-filled cavities fill with fluid and debris, they swell and can cause pain in the forehead, eyes, cheeks, teeth, ears, or face. Besides antibiotics and other medical treatments, there are some things you can do at home to help to alleviate some of your symptoms.

Treatment for Sinus Infections at Home

1. OTC antihistamines and decongestants

These should only be taken under the supervision of your healthcare provider. Remember, some Over-The-Counter preparations can interfere with prescription medications and may cause or aggravate health problems (i.e.: high blood pressure.) Antihistamines work by helping to stop the histamine release that causes the sinus cavities to swell and become inflamed. Decongestants help to open up swollen passages.

2. Nasal irrigation

This is a procedure that can be done at home by using a Neti pot or equivalent. Sterile water or specific nasal preparations are poured gently into the sinuses via the nares (nostrils) as you tilt your head to the opposite side allowing the fluid to run out of the opposing nostril along with any sinus debris or mucus. It is very important to keep the nasal irrigator clean. Cross-contamination may be a side effect of using this system. Using tap water can also be harmful as it contains many impurities.


3. Drinking hot liquids

Beverages like tea, broth, or hot water with lemon and honey can help to open up blocked sinus passages by helping them drain. Hot compresses applied directly to the area can be effective as well.

4. Room humidifier

Humidifiers help keep the environment humid. If our nasal passages become too dry, then our natural barrier of nasal mucosa dries out and becomes susceptible to invasion by viruses or bacteria.

5. Room dehumidifier

On the flip side, if our environment is too moist, it can be a good place for molds to grow. Mold can be a huge indoor allergen that can aggravate the sinuses and lead to sinusitis. The consequences of not treating sinus congestion can be significant, especially if the infected cavity is near the brain as the infection can spread to the brain itself. Although it is a rare occurrence, you may experience vision impairment if you have unresolved sinusitis that migrates to the eye socket.

It is important to treat any sinus issue. Consult your health care provider for guidance. Always remember, before embarking on a home remedy for any health issue, be sure you have consulted & cleared it with your doctor.

Some home remedies can make matters worse, interfere with prescribed medications, or be inappropriate for your specific situation.


Author Profile: Laura Castricone, Respiratory Therapist

Laura Castricone (Certified Respiratory Therapist)

My name is Laura Castricone and I am a Certified Respiratory Therapist. I have been practicing in the state of Connecticut since 1992. I have worked in several aspects of respiratory care including sleep medicine, critical care, rehab, and home care. I earned my respiratory certification at Quinnipiac University in Hamden, CT. Prior to becoming an RT, I attended the University of Connecticut pursuing a degree in English but left Uconn in my junior year to work with my father in the restaurant business. I stayed with him for over a dozen years. An education, by the way, that can never be bought! Once I married and had children, the restaurant business no longer fit my lifestyle. When my children were one and two years old, I decided to go back to school and that is where my career in respiratory care began. This career has been very rewarding and I have been blessed to meet some extraordinary people along the way. I grew up in Waterbury, CT, and now live in Litchfield County, CT with my husband and our crazy Jack Russell terrier, Hendrix. My hobbies include antiquing, gardening, writing plays, and painting miniature paintings.


Disclaimer: All content found on our website, including images, videos, infographics, and text was created solely for informational purposes. Our content should never be used for the purpose of diagnosis or treatment of any medical conditions. Content shared on our websites is not meant to be used as a substitute for advice from a certified medical professional. Reliance on the information provided on our website as a basis for patient treatment is solely at your own risk. We urge all our customers to always consult a physician or a certified medical professional before trying or using a new medical product.


HPFY Laura Castricone, CRT

Laura Castricone, CRT

LinkedIn Profile My name is Laura Castricone and I am a Certified Respiratory Therapist. I have been practicing in the state of Connecticut since 1992. I have worked in several aspects of respiratory ...

Continue reading

Trending Articles

How To Increase Iron Levels Quickly

HPFY Staff Writer

It’s a question that must have puzzled you like many others. Iron is essential in hemoglobin production and its inadequate levels can negatively impact your health. Dive into this informative article to explore top iron-rich foods that can help you fight iron deficiency.

10 Best Coccyx Cushions for Tailbone Pain

HPFY Staff Writer

If you're like most people, you spend about 8 to 10 hours sitting every day. However unhealthy, it is part of life for many, and can cause tailbone pain. Coccyx cushions can help alleviate this pain. Click to read more and find the perfect coccyx cushion for your tailbone pain.

5+ Best Adult Diapers for Fecal Incontinence

HPFY Staff Writer

Dealing with fecal incontinence can be challenging, but you're not alone. Read this article and navigate through discreet and effective solutions that help you manage fecal incontinence and let you live life on your terms with confidence and comfort.

Top 5 Best Reviewed Nebulizers of 2024

HPFY Staff Writer

Need an effective and affordable nebulizer? Look no further, in this article we offer 5 of our best reviewed nebulizers that are loved by our customers. Click to read more and find the perfect nebulizer for all your respiratory needs.

10 Best Penis Pumps For Erectile Dysfunction

HPFY Staff Writer

For anyone dealing with erectile dysfunction, penis pumps serve as a great way to manage it. But with so many products available, determining the best one for your needs can be challenging. To assist you in refining your choices and making an informed decision, here are our top 10 options, recognized for their effectiveness and safety.