Sinusitis is an infection of the small, air filled cavities inside the cheekbones and forehead. Acute sinusitis is fairly common, with between one in five people in 100 being diagnosed with the condition every year. Acute sinusitis often develops quickly (over a few days) following a cold or influenza (flu). It often clears up on its own with little or no treatment. Chronic sinusitis is less common, and can last for weeks or, sometimes even months. People of all ages can get sinusitis. Typical symptoms include a high temperature, pain and tenderness over the infected area, and a blocked or runny nose. Often, no treatment is required, but painkillers may be needed and, occasionally, antibiotics are prescribed.
- High temperature
- Tenderness of affected sinus
- Cold symptoms including blocked or runny nose
- Pain when chewing, eating or talking
- Green or yellowish mucus
- General feeling of being unwell
Western Medicine View
If your symptoms are severe, and the infection has not cleared within a week, your GP may prescribe you antibiotics. In either case, there are a number of treatments that will help relieve your symptoms in the meantime, including: over-the-counter (OTC) painkillers such as paracetamol, ibuprofen or aspirin. If you are diagnosed with chronic sinusitis your GP is likely to refer you to an ENT specialist. If your symptoms do not improve after a course of antibiotics, and you are still experiencing difficulties with your affected sinus, an operation called a functional endoscopic sinus surgery (FESS) may be performed.
Chinese Medicine View
Repeated invasions of external Wind, whether Wind-Heat or Wind-Cold but more frequently Wind-Heat, impair the Lung-Qi (qi refers to energy) in the nasal passages so that fluids stagnate in the nose and sinuses. The long-term stagnation of fluids leads to Phlegm and Heat which leads to a yellow nasal discharge. Repeated invasions of external Wind are the main cause of sinusitis especially when the person does not take care or have extra rest during such invasions.
According to Chinese Medicine theory acupuncture and Chinese herbs can be prescribed to treat sinusitis. Chinese herbs are used for the treatment of Wind-Heat. Chinese herbs combined with acupuncture are used for the treatment of Lung-Heat, Liver and Gall-Bladder Fire and Stomach and Spleen Damp-Heat.
Excessive consumption of greasy-hot foods which can lead to Phlegm and Heat may predispose one to sinusitis. This type of food may lead to the formation of Damp-Heat in the Stomach and Spleen which may be carried to the sinuses via the Stomach. However, this can only be a predisposing factor in the development of sinusitis, the repeated invasions of Wind being the main factor involved.
For personalised advice on diet and lifestyle, please ask the doctor during your consultation. Please be reminded that we offer free online health advice.