The nasal passage normally
contains many bacteria that enter through the nostrils. One of the
principal functions of the nose is to remove particles from the
air before it goes into the lungs. These particles become trapped
in the mucus lining of the nose and are subsequently destroyed.
Healthy sinuses are sterile and contain no bacteria.
The purpose of the
sinuses is to help moisturize or humidify the air we breathe. They
are some kind of air-conditioning spaces in the front of the skull
and in the bones of the face. The most important sinuses lie above
and below the eye sockets and behind the bridge of the nose. They
are lined by a moisture-producing mucous membrane. Moisture normally
drains unnoticed from the sinuses into the back of the nose and
Sinus health depends
on a cycle that involves a number of important factors and processes:
Sinuses are lined with
a membrane that secretes mucus, which drains down into the nasal
passage from a small channel in each sinus.
The mucus is fluid
in order to flow freely while being sticky enough to absorb pollutants
and entrap bacteria.
The mucus also contains
sufficient amounts of bacteria-fighting substances, including immune
factors called antibodies.
Small, hair-like projections
called cilia beat in unison to propel mucus outward, expelling bacteria
and other particles.
The sinus passages
are open to allow mucus drainage and the circulation of air through
the nasal passage.
Salt water has been
found to improve mucus transport. Saline water is also found to
be helpful in some patients, especially those with dryness as a
major symptom. Herbal additives have given some patients relief
advocate rinsing the nose with saline or other solutions. The fluid
can be delivered using a variety of equipment like the Neti Pot.
Saline wash can assist in removing thick or dried mucus. Care should
be taken to keep the equipment as clean as possible to prevent introducing
new bacteria from the irrigation system into the nose.
belief is that the sinuses 'were designed to' form a sort of "crumple
zone" that protects the eyes and brain in case of a severe
injury to the face.