A cold that lingers—and lingers—isn't something that happens only in winter. It may not even be a cold. It could be sinusitis, an inflammation of the sinuses and nasal passages. You can relieve the symptoms of this common infection with several easy treatments, reports the March 2009 issue of Harvard Women's Health Watch.
When the sinuses become blocked, viruses or bacteria in the nose can become trapped in a pool of mucus with nowhere to go. The germs can grow out of control, causing infection and inflammation. The result: swelling, which causes headache and facial pain; mucus buildup, which produces congestion; and an influx of white blood cells to fight the infection, which thickens and tints the mucus. Other symptoms may include loss of smell or taste, bad breath, fever, and fullness in the ears.
The main cause of blocked sinuses is swelling produced by the common cold. More serious sinusitis can result from a deviated septum or nasal polyps.
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