Breathe Easy… Stop the sniffing of sinusitis

Battling through a cold or flu is no easy feat, but even after that, there’s no rest. Although the infection may be over, there’s still the recovery, and that can be just as much of a mission when sinusitis shows up.

Sinusitis is a condition that causes the sinuses (the spaces behind your cheekbones and forehead that connect to the inside of the nose) to become inflamed and swell, making it difficult to pass mucus and causing uncomfortable symptoms.

Pharmacy First England has launched! Book an appointment today

Woman with sinusitis

Symptoms of sinusitis

  • Tenderness around your eyes, cheeks and forehead
  • A blocked nose causing a reduced sense of smell
  • Green or yellow mucus from your nose
  • A headache or toothache
  • Bad breath
  • High temperature

Sinusitis symptoms in children

If your child has sinusitis, the symptoms may also include them becoming irritable, and having difficulty feeding and breathing through their mouth.

What do bad sinuses feel like?

A lot of people refer to a bad sinus as feeling like your head is heavy and full, with lots of pressure around your nose and eyes, sometimes making you feel dizzy. You’ll feel like you desperately need to blow your nose, but nothing, or very little, will come out. It can be very frustrating, making it difficult to sleep or do anything active.

What causes sinus infections?

A sinus infection usually occurs during and following a cold or flu when the infection has spread to your sinuses. Other forms of infections may also inflame your sinuses and cause sinusitis; but are much less common, such as bacterial infections and tooth or fungal infections.

Long-lasting, or chronic sinusitis, has been associated with…

  • Allergies, asthma, and hay fever
  • Smoking
  • A weakened immune system
  • Growths inside the nose

If you’re worried that your sinusitis is chronic and isn’t going away, your pharmacist may recommend you see your GP.

How to recover from sinusitis

Sinusitis usually passes on its own after a few days and doesn’t require any special treatment. But there are things you can do to help recover from sinusitis, this includes:

  • Getting plenty of sleep and rest
  • Drink water to stay hydrated
  • Taking painkillers
  • Avoid allergic triggers and smoking

It’s a mucky road, but with plenty of rest and water, you’ll be on track to a clearer nose.

How to treat sinusitis at home

You can make your own salt water solution to help clean your nose by following these simple steps from the NHS:

  1. Boil a pint of water, then leave it to cool.
  2. Mix 1 tsp of salt and 1 tsp of bicarbonate of soda into the water.
  3. Wash your hands.
  4. Stand over a sink, cup the palm of 1 hand and pour a small amount of the solution into it.
  5. Sniff the water into 1 nostril at a time. Breathe through your mouth and allow the water to pour back into the sink. Try not to let the water go down the back of your throat.
  6. Repeat the first 5 steps up to 3 times a day until your nose feels more comfortable.

This is not suitable for children.

How your pharmacy can help

With the launch of Pharmacy First: England, pharmacies now offer easy access to tailored advice and treatment for sinusitis to help you breathe easy once more.

Available to those 12 years and over. This service is unsuitable for Immunosuppressed individuals, patients suffering from chronic sinusitis (sinusitis that causes symptoms that last for more than 12 weeks)

There are also many products available at your local pharmacy to help relieve symptoms of sinusitis, making it easier for you to breathe and reducing your temperature. They may recommend decongestant sprays or drops, and you’ll have access to paracetamol and ibuprofen to relieve those stuffy symptoms.

When to see your GP about sinusitis

You should only see your GP about sinusitis if you feel your symptoms are severe and treatment from the pharmacy doesn't help. Long-lasting sinusitis could be a sign of something else such as Nasal polyps, which are small, painless growths inside your nose.

Surgery for sinusitis

In rare cases, if you’re experiencing chronic sinusitis (lasting over 12 weeks), you may have to have surgery, this is called functional endoscopic sinus surgery (FESS), which is carried out under general anesthetic.

Learn more from the NHS