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Sinus Related Articles > Defense System in the Sinuses and Nasal Passage

Defense System in the Sinuses and Nasal Passage

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 down the.

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 as well.

Physicians generally 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.

Another interesting 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.

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