Monday, December 5, 2022

Can A Sinus Infection Turn Into An Ear Infection

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Warning Over Five Unusual Covid Symptoms That You May Not Know Yet And When To Seek Emergency Treatment

Ask Dr. Mike: What is a sinus infection and how do I treat it?
  • 17:34 ET, Jan 12 2022

EXPERTS are warning of unusual Covid symptoms and when to seek emergency treatment as the omicron variant continues to spread in the US.

While fever, cough, and shortness of breath are common signs of a possible coronavirus infection, other strange symptoms are being attributed to the virus.

Doctors say one of the first signs of the omicron variant in particular can be a scratchy throat, followed by headache and fatigue.

Though someone infected with Covid may not experience any of the following symptoms, its important to be aware that they could be signs of an infection.

Vaccine Effectiveness & Omicron

Expert studies have shown that the risk of severe illness from Covid-19 is reduced by 90 percent or more among people who are fully vaccinated.

While there are breakthrough cases of Covid among people who are vaccinated, they are rare.

In the event of a breakthrough case, victims are highly unlikely to be hospitalized with severe or deadly symptoms from the virus.

Health officials have advised that the Omicron variant is more infectious and could lead to further breakthrough cases.

Yet the spread can be offset by all vaccinated Americans receiving a booster shot.

Current vaccines are expected to protect against severe illness, hospitalizations, and deaths due to infection with the Omicron variant.

With other variants, like Delta, vaccines have remained effective at preventing severe illness, hospitalizations, and death.

Studies have also shown that side effects from the vaccine are extremely rare.

Middle And External Ear Infections

A middle ear infection can cause ear congestion, as well as dizziness, ear pain, and occasionally fluid drainage. Theyre usually caused by colds or other respiratory problems that travel to the middle ear through the Eustachian tube.

External ear infections, also known as swimmers ear, are usually caused by water that remains in your ear after swimming or bathing, providing an ideal breeding ground for bacteria. You may experience pain, itching, redness, and clear fluid drainage or a discharge of pus.

Ear infections often resolve without treatment. Over-the-counter ear drops and pain medication can help relieve your symptoms. If your symptoms are severe or last more than two days, your doctor may prescribe antibiotics.

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When To Go To The Er For Sinus Infection

When to Go to the ER

A sinus infection comes with loads of awful and draining symptoms. Of course anyone with a sinus infection is uncomfortable, but how do you know when a sinus infection becomes a serious issue? While it is true that most sinus infections clear up on their own in a few days, if left unchecked, a sinus infection can lead to serious medical complications.

How Is Sinusitis Treated

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Doctors may prescribe oral antibiotics to treat sinusitis caused by . Some doctors may recommend decongestants and antihistamines to help ease symptoms.

Sinusitis caused by a usually goes away without medical treatment. Acetaminophen, ibuprofen, and/or warm compresses can help reduce any pain. Over-the-counter saline solution is safe and helps wash the nose and relieve many symptoms caused by allergies, viruses, and bacteria.

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What Are The Six Types Of Sinusitis And Sinus Infections

Sinusitis may be classified in several ways, based on its duration and the type of inflammation . The term rhinosinusitis is used to imply that both the nose and sinuses are involved and is becoming the preferred term over sinusitis.

  • Acute sinus infection usually lasts less than 3-5 days.
  • Subacute sinus infection lasts one to three months.
  • Chronic sinus infection is greater than three months. Chronic sinusitis may be further sub-classified into chronic sinusitis with or without nasal polyps, or allergic fungal sinusitis.
  • Recurrent sinusitis has several sinusitis attacks every year.

There is no medical consensus on the above time periods.

  • Infected sinusitis usually is caused by an uncomplicated virus infection. Less frequently, bacterial growth causes sinus infection and fungal sinus infection is very infrequent. Subacute and chronic forms of a sinus infection usually are the result of incomplete treatment of an acute sinus infection.
  • Noninfectious sinusitis is caused by irritants and allergic conditions and follows the same general timeline for acute, subacute, and chronic as infectious sinusitis.

What Tests Diagnose The Cause Of Sinus Infections And Sinusitis

Sinus infection is most often diagnosed based on the history and examination of a doctor. Because plain X-ray studies of the sinuses may be misleading and procedures such as CT and MRI scans, which are much more sensitive in their ability to diagnose a sinus infection, are so expensive and not available in most doctors offices, most sinus infections are initially diagnosed and treated based on clinical findings on examination. These physical findings may include:

  • redness and swelling of the nasal passages,
  • purulent drainage from the nasal passages ,
  • tenderness to percussion over the cheeks or forehead region of the sinuses, and
  • swelling about the eyes and cheeks.

Occasionally, nasal secretions are examined for secreted cells that may help differentiate between infectious and allergic sinusitis. Infectious sinusitis may show specialized cells of infection while allergic sinusitis may show specialized white blood cells of allergy . Physicians prescribe antibiotics if the bacterial infection is suspected. Antibiotics are not effective against viral infections many physicians then treat the symptoms.

In addition, both rigid and flexible endoscopy has been used to obtain diagnostic material from sinuses. These procedures are usually done by an otolaryngologist under topical and local anesthesia. Occasionally, there may be a need to sedate the patient. Some investigators suggest that endoscopy specimens are comparable to those obtained by needle puncture.

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Sinus Infection Treatment Options

Mild sinus infections can be managed at home using over-the-counter decongestants, sinus rinses, and rest. If the symptoms dont go away after about a week or 10 days, then its time to schedule an appointment with a doctor.

These are some of the treatments used by ENTs for sinus infections:

  • Medications: First, the doctor will identify the type of sinus infection, then prescribe an appropriate medication. Common medications include antibiotics, antifungal medications, nasal corticosteroids, or NSAIDs.
  • Surgery: If minimally-invasive treatments arent effective in clearing up the infection, then surgery might be recommended. For example, the doctor might use balloon sinuplasty or functional endoscopic sinus surgeryl to open up the sinus passages.
  • Underlying Causes: Why are you experiencing frequent sinus infections? A skilled ENT can help with preventive treatments to minimize the risk of recurring infections in the future.

Our team of ear, nose, and throat specialists dedicates the time and attention needed to support your unique health concerns. By designing a custom treatment plan, we help each patient find relief from mild and severe medical concerns.

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Causes Of A Sinus Infection

Managing and Treating Sinus Infections | Mohamad Chaaban, MD

A sinus infection or sinusitis is an infection of the sinuses. Most often, it is triggered by a common cold, which is considered a virus. These include rhinoviruses, influenza viruses, and parainfluenza viruses. Influenza viruses, which are responsible for the flu, can also cause sinusitis. These viral infections of the sinus usually resolve in ten days.

Bacteria can also cause sinus infections. These includeS. pneumoniae, H. influenzae, M. catarrhalis, S. pyogenes, S. aureus, and various fungi can cause a sinus infection, as well.

Why do allergies can cause sinus infections? Allergic reactions cause excess histamine and inflammation, which irritate the nose and sinuses. The common cold also causes inflammation and irritation of the nose and sinuses. Once the sinus cavities are irritated and inflamed, they can easily become infected.

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Is It A Sinus Infection Or An Ear Infection

Sometimes, people who experience a feeling of fullness in the ear, muffled hearing and fever attribute these symptoms to a sinus infection. That could be a mistake because the symptoms all together line up more with an ear infection. Each type of infection has different treatments, so having the proper diagnosis is important.

Symptoms of a Sinus Infection

The signs of a sinus infection can include:

  • Fever
  • Sinus pressure behind eyes and cheeks
  • Thick yellow or green mucus dripping from your nose or into the back of your throat
  • Lesser sense of smell
  • Runny, stuffy nose for more than a week
  • Cough
  • Facial pain
  • Pain in the upper teeth
  • Upset stomach, nausea, pain behind the eyes and headaches

Sinus infections occur when the nasal passages get congested. These infections can be tricky to treat and are sometimes chronic. Hearing loss is NOT a symptom of a sinus infection, although your ear may feel full. Sinus infections, as opposed to ear infections, are less frequent in children.

Symptoms of an Ear Infection

Children get ear infections more often than adults do, and muffled hearing is one symptom that both groups may share. In adults, the symptoms can also include:

  • Earache
  • Feeling of fullness in ear
  • Ear drainage
  • Sharp stabbing pain in ear canal
  • Sore throat, stuffy nose or fever

Symptoms among children include muffled hearing, pulling at the ear, ear drainage, restlessness, fever, irritability and crying when lying down. Children can also experience sore throat, stuffy nose or fever.

Clogged Ear: The Sinus

A sinus infection primarily affects your nose, but symptoms can extend to the ears as well. The sinus-ear connection stems from the fact that your sinuses and ears are connected therefore, clogged and congested sinuses also affect the ears.

There are many ways you can help improve your sinus infection and obtain relief in your ears. Below are some tips that can help decongest your sinuses.

  • Use a nasal saline or apply a warm moist washcloth to your nose to add moisture. Humidifiers are also useful to help add moisture to the air and not dry out your nose.
  • Over-the-counter pain medications can help relieve ear pain.
  • Over-the-counter decongestants can help clear out sinus cavities.
  • Avoid extreme temperatures hot or cold weather can worsen sinuses.
  • Keep your head up putting it down applies added pressure.

Sinus-related ear problems can also lead to dizziness. If you experience dizziness due to sinuses, you may want to avoid fast movements as it can increase dizziness. Its also important to drink plenty of water to thin mucus and avoid caffeine, salt, alcohol and tobacco, which alter blood flow and can worsen dizziness.

Related: Sinusitis Vertigo and Dizziness, A Complication of Sinus Infection

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Runny Nose And Postnasal Drip

When you have a sinus infection, you may need to blow your nose often because of nasal discharge, which can be cloudy, green, or yellow. This discharge comes from your infected sinuses and drains into your nasal passages.

The discharge may also bypass your nose and drain down the back of your throat. You may feel a tickle, an itch, or even a sore throat.

This is called postnasal drip, and it may cause you to cough at night when youre lying down to sleep, and in the morning after getting up. It may also cause your voice to sound hoarse.

Symptoms Of An Ear Infection

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The primary symptoms of an ear infection include acute ear pain and hearing loss. You will have the sensation that your hearing is muffled and you may experience referred pain to your throat or fluid in the middle ear.

When youre experiencing an ear infection, you may not necessarily see a change in color in or outside your ears.

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Think You Have A Sinus Infection

Sinus infections can be viral or bacterial in nature. If your symptoms arent improving after 10 days or are getting worse, your infection could be bacterial. A healthcare provider can prescribe antibiotics to clear up the infection.

How do you know if you have a sinus infection and not just a bad head cold? It can be tricky to tell. In general, if youve had a cold for more than a week that wont go away or seems like its getting worse, you could be dealing with a sinus infection.

Common sinus infection symptoms

When Should I Call The Doctor About A Cold Or Sinus Infection

Most colds go away without medical treatment. If you have pain around your face or eyes, along with thick yellow or green nasal discharge for more than a week, check with your doctor. Also call them if you have fever or symptoms that are severe or don’t get better with over-the-counter treatments.

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How An Ent Treats A Sinus Infection

If you have a lingering sinus infection after antibiotics, an ENT doctor often elects to be more aggressive in treatment than a primary care physician. They may prescribe longer courses of antibiotics, stronger medications, or recommend a procedure to open the sinuses.

If you have persistent sinus problems, the sinuses must first be unblocked. Sometimes, thats done through a simple balloon sinuplasty and irrigation. Other times, unblocking the sinuses requires a more aggressive procedure like endoscopic sinus surgery. We opt for this procedure when the sinuses become so blocked, tissue and bone need to be removed to create a wider opening.

If youre dealing with a lingering sinus infection, dont let it progress to a more serious issue. Call your ENT so they can discover whats at the root of your problem and find a treatment to bring you relief.

What Is Sinus Infection

Why Do Humans Get So Many Sinus Infections?

As the name suggests, sinus infection is infection of air-filled cavities in the skull called sinuses. The infection causes inflammation, which is starting point for other problems to occur.

There are several types of sinuses. The name of each type is named according to where its located.

  • Sinuses behind the forehead called frontal sinuses.
  • Behind the nose .
  • Behind the eyes .
  • And behind the cheekbones .
  • These air-filled cavities are lined with mucus membranes. Mucus is produced to help protect your nasal passages and sinuses. It will naturally drain into the nose.

    The inflammation of sinus can cause obstruction and prevent your mucus from draining as well as usual. As a result, there will be more buildups of mucus in your sinus cavity and this can worsen the problem.

    Based on how long it lasts, it is classified into two main categories acute and chronic. Acute means it lasts less than a month . Chronic means it can last more than 3 months .

    In some cases, the problem may last about 4-12 weeks. For such cases, it is called sub-acute. Additionally, there is a condition called recurrent sinusitis. It refers to a condition of when you have several acute sinusitis in 1 year.

    What is the cause? This can vary, but viral infection is often to blame. Many people have sinus infection after a common cold event, for example. The infection can also be caused by bacteria or fungus. Sometimes environmental irritants and allergens can be also the trigger.

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    How Are Sinus Infections Treated

    Many sinus infections caused by a virus will resolve on their own without any treatment with antibiotics, Melinda said. This is important because if you dont need antibiotics, its better not to take them as they can cause side effects and long-term resistance. An infection caused by bacteria, however, will likely require antibiotics.

    Sometimes your health care provider may ask you to take over-the-counter medications to help your symptoms and monitor your condition further.

    Examples of over-the-counter medication include:

    • Saline nasal spray
    • Acetaminophen or ibuprofen for pain relief
    • A warm compress on your nose and forehead to relieve sinus pressure

    Tips To Prevent Sinus Infections

    In order to avoid ear pain and temporary hearing loss due to clogged ears as a result of sinus infections one must prevent sinus infections. Here are some tips to help you prevent sinus infections and avoid the complications associated with it.

    • Control your allergies.
    • Keep hydrated, which keeps mucus thin.
    • Reduce alcohol consumption, which can worsen mucus.
    • Minimize exposure to people with cold or flu.
    • Always wash your hands and avoid germs.
    • Avoid chlorinated swimming pools.
    • Take a nasal spray or decongestant prior to flying.
    • Dont smoke, which can aggravate sinusitis, or quit smoking.

    These tips can better help protect you against sinus infections. If you do develop a sinus infection, begin treatment right away to reduce complications.

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    Mohan Garikiparithi got his degree in medicine from Osmania University . He practiced clinical medicine for over a decade before he shifted his focus to the field of health communications. During his active practice he served as the head of the Dept. of Microbiology in a diagnostic centre in India. On a three-year communications program in Germany, Mohan developed a keen interest in German Medicine , and other alternative systems of medicine. He now advocates treating different medical conditions without the use of traditional drugs. An ardent squash player, Mohan believes in the importance of fitness and wellness.

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    How To Treat A Sinus Infection

    In the case of sinus infections, pain medication is rarely prescribed. Patients will be encouraged to try a sinus rinse using a Neti Pot before moving on to more serious interventions.

    In cases of acute sinusitis, patients may also experience cold-like symptoms. If these symptoms dont get better or appear to get worse after 5-7 days, your doctor may decide to treat the sinus infection with antibiotics along with nasal decongestant, nasal sprays, and saline solution.

    In severe cases of sinus infections, your doctor may decide to prescribe steroids.

    Theres only one thing worse than suffering from a sinus infection or an ear infection: suffering from both at the same time. Unfortunately, anything that causes nasal swelling can cause swelling of the middle ear space because the nose is congested. So cases in which you have a sinus infection and ear infection at the same time can be especially painful.

    When it comes to different infections in the ear, nose, and throat, its easy to get your wires crossed and find that you arent quite sure whats going on in your body.

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