Skip to content

Allergies Health Center

Font Size

Sinusitis and Mucous Membrane - Topic Overview

The nose and the sinuses are lined with a membrane that produces mucus.

  • When air enters the nose, it is warmed, moistened, and filtered before passing into the lungs.
  • Dust, smoke, bacteria, and other irritants often become trapped in the mucus that lines the nasal passages.
  • This mucus is pushed to the back of the throat by tiny hairs (cilia) that line the inside of the sinuses and nose, and the mucus is eventually swallowed.

If the mucous membrane becomes inflamed, it may swell, blocking the openings that drain the sinuses. Mucus inside the sinuses then becomes trapped. Both the inflammation and the pressure of trapped mucus cause pain. Also, bacteria trapped in the mucus can grow, causing a bacterial sinus infection.

Recommended Related to Allergies

Relief for Allergies at School

Relief for allergies at school and day care is an urgent problem for many parents and kids. Consider the statistics: As many as 40% of children in the U.S. suffer from seasonal allergies, and one in every 17 children under the age of 3 has a food allergy. How can you work with teachers, coaches, the school nurse -- and your family -- to keep allergies at school under control? How can you help your child avoid missing important class days and be comfortable and productive while in school? If...

Read the Relief for Allergies at School article > >

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: September 12, 2012
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
    1
    Next Article:

    Sinusitis and Mucous Membrane Topics

    Today on WebMD

    man blowing nose
    Make these tweaks to your diet, home, and lifestyle.
    Allergy capsule
    Breathe easier with these products.
     
    cat on couch
    Live in harmony with your cat or dog.
    Woman sneezing with tissue in meadow
    Which ones affect you?
     

    blowing nose
    Article
    woman with sore throat
    Article
     
    lone star tick
    Slideshow
    Woman blowing nose
    Slideshow
     

    Send yourself a link to download the app.

    Loading ...

    Please wait...

    This feature is temporarily unavailable. Please try again later.

    Thanks!

    Now check your email account on your mobile phone to download your new app.

    cat lying on shelf
    Article
    Allergy prick test
    VIDEO
     
    Man sneezing into tissue
    Assessment
    Woman holding feather duster up to face, twitching
    Quiz