Science Questions

Is it possible to have sinus problems without the pain around the nose and eyes?

Sun, 29th Jul 2007

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Question

Anne asked:

Is it possible to have sinus problems without the pain around the nose and eyes? I didn't have a cold for about 5 years and it left me with a cough which only affects me when I am lying down.

Answer

Normally when you get a cold the reason that you get lots of mucus in the nose is that most colds are produced by viruses.  Viruses can only reproduce if they infect one of our cells, when they do this the cell turns into a virus factory and pumps out thousands of new viruses which jump into the cells next door and you get a big area of inflamation which causes the local blood vessels to get leaky and the immune system moves in.  You get the sensation of a blocked nose because of this swelling as well as the mucus.  This mucus acts as a filter trapping dust bacteria etc.  The mucus drains back into your mouth through a series of little tubes called sinuses.  Most ways that this can go wrong are inherited, but some are not such as a pollip which is a localised growth of cells which can block one of these sinuses so the mucus can't escape and can build up and cause lots of pain.

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