Sunday, July 02, 2006

Do we need a sinusitis institute?

Prime minister Abdullah Badawi is in Australia on holiday with his family (it is understood that his son-in-law Khairy Jamaluddin not in the exclusive group of holidaymakers). Australia is the favourite holiday playground of Abdullah's late wife, Hendon Mahmood.

It is no surprise that Abdullah went on holiday, again, but it is a surprise to know that he underwent sinus treatment in Perth. Sinus or resdung in Malay, is not a serious life-threathening disease. It can be easily treated in Malaysia, either by modern medicine or traditional medication.

As a comparison, when former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir suffered a severe heart problem, he underwent open heart surgery at the hands of local specialists at the KL Hospital. As a prime minister, he could be flown either to the United Kingdom or the United States for treatment by the best heart specialists in the world. But, no he preferred to be treated at home, by our very own heart specialists.

Tun was suffering from serious heart disease and not sinus and at that time the National Heart Institute was yet to be set up.

Now, what are sinuses?

The air chambers in the bone behind your cheeks, eyebrows and jaws are called sinuses. They make mucus, a fluid that cleans bacteria and other particles out of the air you breathe. Tiny hairs called cilia sweep mucus out of your sinuses so it can drain out through your nose.

Sinusitis is the name for a condition in which the lining of your sinuses becomes inflamed. Anything that causes swelling in your sinuses or keeps the cilia from moving mucus can cause sinusitis.

When sinusitis is caused by a bacterial or viral infection, you get a sinus infection. Sinus infections sometimes occurs after you've had a cold. The cold virus attacks the lining of your sinuses, causing them to swell and become narrow. Your body responds to the virus by producing more mucus, but it gets blocked in your swollen sinuses. This built-up mucus makes a good place for bacteria to grow. The bacteria can cause a sinus infection.

Normally, your doctor will prescribe an antibiotic.

You don't have to fly to Perth, Australia to get treatment for sinusitis unless it is paid for by the government.

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