Sinus infection or sinusitis can often be a painful and annoying condition in a person. Sinuses are small cavities around the nose which help in maintaining the shape of the skull and provide strength to it. The nose is the chief respiratory organ of the body that provides inhaled air to the lungs. The nasal chambers are connected to the internal respiratory tracts leading to the lungs.
However, to protect the lungs, the nasal chambers filter the air and moisten it to warm it to the body temperature. This is done by fluid called mucus that is secreted by the mucus membrane lining the entire nasal chamber. The mucus also collects the dirt and foreign harmful microorganisms like bacteria and fungi and is constantly drained out towards the stomach where these harmful substances are destroyed by acids.
The first symptom of sinusitis is blockage of the nose and difficulty in breathing. If there is a bacterial infection, it causes inflammation of the mucus lining. This leads to greater secretion of mucus that blocks the narrow sinus passageway. The blocking of the mucus leads to further bacterial and fungal breeding.
Burning sensation of the nasal chambers due to this inflammation is another symptom for a sinus problem. The excess mucus becomes stale and stagnant and also makes the cilia or hair like projections of the nasal chamber immobile. During sinusitis the mucus might be initially yellow and then turn to brown color as well. It might have streaks of red, which is due to the blood in the mucus from excessive inflammation.
Loss of smell
Another symptom of sinus infection is the loss of smell. This is because most of the cilia connected to olfactory nerves are in the upper part of the nose. Due to nasal blockage there is no air that goes to the upper part of the nose, so cilia do not pick up any sensations as a result of which one loses the sense of smell.
The nasal blockage and excessive sinus also affects the inner ear which is located close to the sinus opening. The fluid in the inner ear is responsible for collecting signals from the body and sending to brain after interpreting it. Due to sinus, the inner ear sends incorrect signals that the brain fails to interpret. This leads to the body loosing equilibrium. This is referred to as nausea or vertigo and is one of the main symptoms of sinus infection.