House dust mite allergy sufferers are commonly prone to problems with their sinuses. It’s important to try and understand this hidden area of the body, and how it reacts to allergens, in order to reduce symptoms and make changes that will improve your quality of life.
What are the sinuses?
Sinuses are hollow air spaces found in the human body. House dust mite allergy sufferers often experience pain and inflammation in the para-nasal sinuses. Headaches, drowsiness, dizziness and nausea are are potentially sinus related, and if you’re a suffer of house dust mite allergy or any other airborne allergy it’s essential you have a thorough knowledge of what the sinuses are, and how to maintain good sinus health.
You can take all the paracetamol in the world for a headache, but if you’ve got blocked sinuses that headache ain’t going anywhere till you tackle the issue properly.
These sinuses are situated in the skull around the nose. The four pair includes:
1. Frontal sinuses which are situated over the eyes in the brow region.
2. Maxillary sinuses are inside each cheekbone.
3. Ethmoid sinuses are located behind the bridge of the nose and in between the eyes.
4. Sphenoid sinuses are much deeper behind the ethmoids behind the eyes.
When sinuses become inflamed, following prolonged exposure to an allergen, the result can be allergic rhinitis or sinusitis. Sinusitis is a condition that affects the para-nasal sinuses. These are the cavities found around the nose, forehead and between the eyes. When the sinuses become inflamed and blocked they stop draining properly, and the mucus contained within the sinuses can become infected. The most common bacteria that builds consistent bacterial infections is the Haemophilus flu as well as Streptococcus pneumonia.
Sinusitis is often brought on as a result of allergy, common cold or microbial, viral, and fungal infection. Acute sinusitis describes sinusitis symptoms lasting under 30 days. In some cases tooth removal or specific dental procedures, can also result in sinusitis, and nearly all human experience sinusitis at least once in their lifetime. Most cases start as an ordinary cold. Symptoms normally disappear within a week to 10 days. However in allergy sufferers a constant build up and inflammation of the sinus tissue can mean prolonged, or even permanent sinus pressure and discomfort. If this sounds like it describes your situation, read on!
Allergies are among the main contributing factors to the buildup of sinus infections. Affected individuals can be treated by “reducing the inflammation or swelling in the nasal pathways and sinuses, preventing the infection, promoting drainage from the sinuses, and preserving open sinuses”.
Sinus issues may be treatable with prescription drugs and can likewise be wiped out by surgery. In the case of allergy sufferers, reducing exposure to the allergen in question is the holy grail of sinus health. If the nasal sinus doesn’t come into contact with the pollen or dust, it has very little to complain about and can drain and behave as usual.
One protective method against sinusitis is by using humidifiers. The sinuses drain more efficiently when there is a good amount of dampness in the atmosphere. By moistening the air in your home, temperature is likewise controlled and breathing will become more comfortable. There are a number of other factors to consider in maintaining good sinus health. The amount of alcohol you drink can weaken your immune system, making you more susceptible to infections and colds which, particularly for allergy suffers, can have miserable consequences. Likewise smoking can cause major inflammation of the sinuses and should be avoided. It’s hard to believe they used to say smoking was actually a good way to relieve catarrh in the airways, when we now know it not only inflames the airways but also has other devastating health results. I must admit there have been times when smoking a cigarette has agitated mucus in my airways and lungs, bringing a feeling of reduced pressure, but overall it’s pretty conclusive that for anyone with a house dust mite allergy or similar, smoking should be avoided at all costs.
Removing mucus and opening up the sinuses is a constant battle for sufferers. People will often complain of having a ‘sinus headache’ or feeling that hazy, cotton woolly feeling in their heads. There are a number of methods people use to try and drain the sinuses, to counteract these symptoms.
Using vapor and steam to drain the nasal and sinus space which are clogged up by mucous is one such method. Breathing in vapor is said to reduce the swelling and relieve sinus headaches. Another is to use the neti pot, and literally wash the sinuses free of allergens and mucous. Sinus irrigation might not just help you overcome a sinus infection by thinning out nasal secretions and wiping out the infection, but can also help in protecting against infection by rinsing out harmful bacteria or infections before your become ill.
The results of all these methods are debatable, and it’s important to always consult a medical professional before trying out of these techniques.
Healthy sinuses allow mucous to empty and air to circulate through the sinus passages. When sinuses are constantly inflamed because of exposure to dust it can become virtually impossible to breathe normally. Where normal, non allergic people will flush out mucous as a normal bodily function, those with allergies will find their sinuses blocked and unable to drain. This can lead to difficulties breathing and even a dry, unpleasant taste in the mouth. Sinus sufferers therefore might find themselves wanting to drink more fluids, or brush their teeth more often.
Sinuses are delicate, complicated areas of the human body. They are hidden away in the head and unlike a foot or a leg injury cannot be easily diagnosed or inspected. It is critical, therefore, that those with allergy symptoms who might be suffering sinus complications find a routine that works for them, but most importantly put all their efforts into reducing their exposure to the allergen this should have an enormous effect on their sinus health, and therefore their quality of life.