Is It A Cold Covid
One of the challenging things about recognizing COVID-19 and other illnesses is that they can share some of the same symptoms. Many articles have been written comparing the symptoms of COVID-19 and influenza, as these two illnesses have perhaps the most in common. But many symptoms of COVID-19 also resemble those of a cold or sinus infection . Learn to tell the difference and how to get the right treatment for your illness.
Inhale Diffused Eucalyptus Oil
Eucalyptus oil has a strong odor that often helps patients find instant relief from sinusitis. Research has found that cineole, the main ingredient in eucalyptus oil, helps people recover from sinus infections more quickly than those who dont use eucalyptus oil. You can inhale eucalyptus oil through a diffuser, or rub some on your temples and chest to open your breathing passages. You can even use food-grade eucalyptus oil and place a drop on the roof of your mouth.
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What Is Bacterial Sinusitis
Bacterial sinusitis is a bacterial infection of the paranasal sinuses, the hollow spaces in the bones of the face around the nose. Sinusitis is a very common problem, affecting approximately one in every eight American adults annually. Almost 30 million people seek medical help for sinusitis in the USA every year.
Bacterial sinusitis involves inflammation of the mucous membrane lining of the sinuses, and is caused by a bacterial infection. There are four pairs of paranasal sinuses which are located below, above, between and behind the eye sockets â the maxillary sinuses, frontal sinuses, ethmoid sinuses and sphenoidal sinuses. The maxillary sinuses are the largest of these, and are most often affected by sinusitis. However, sinusitis can affect any or all of the paranasal sinuses. Because sinusitis often occurs along with rhinitis, inflammation of the mucous membrane in the nose, it is sometimes known as rhinosinusitis.
Bacterial sinusitis often follows a viral infection, such as a cold or the flu. Viral infections can cause the mucosal lining of the sinuses to swell. In healthy sinuses, mucus drains into the nasal cavity via small holes, known as ostia. Swelling of the mucus membranes in the nose or sinus cavities can block these holes, preventing mucus from draining out of the sinuses. Bacteria colonize the undrained mucus, which can lead to bacterial sinusitis.
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What Does Chronic Sinusitis Treatment Involve
If you have frequent sinus infections or have been dealing with disruptive symptoms for 12 weeks or longer, its best to visit an ear, nose and throat doctor for specialized treatment. Unlike the average sinus infection that usually develops from a cold, chronic sinusitis may require a more diverse and long-term treatment plan.
Talk with your doctor to learn what treatment options may be best for you. A few common treatment approaches that might be discussed include:
How Do I Prevent Acute Sinusitis
Do not smoke. Smoking is not good for you or for people around you, since this can cause mucous to become clogged in the nose/sinuses. Avoid being around second-hand smoke, as well as other triggers like animal dander, dust, mold and pollen. Take pains to prevent sinus and other infections by:
- Washing your hands well before and after eating and after using the bathroom.
- Staying away from sick people.
- Treating your allergies, possibly with nasal steroid therapy or immunotherapy .
- Keeping your body and your immune system in good shape by eating well and staying hydrated.
- Using a humidifier if your house is dry or an air purifier. Make sure to clean your equipment regularly.
- Irrigating your nose when necessary with a saline rinse.
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How Should I Treat My Sinus Infection
A mild, one-time infection should be handled much differently than a sinus infection that wonât go away or keeps coming back. But, even mild infections can become more serious as time goes on, and for the best results, they should be monitored and treated by an ENT. A minor sinus infection treatment may consist of:
- At home remedies: Many are searching for ânatural cures for sinus infectionâ. At home remedies are often not successful at getting to the root of the problem, but they may be helpful in easing the severity of your symptoms. Sufferers have found that warm compresses and humidifiers are very helpful.
- Antibiotics: Sinus infection antibiotics can only be successful when patients are suffering with a bacterial infection. In order to understand what kind of infection you may have, it is important to contact your ENT so they can prescribe you antibiotics when appropriate.
- Sinus Medication: Sinus infection medication may consist of nasal sprays, decongestants, and more. They are helpful to ease the symptoms but are not a long-term solution to chronic sinusitis.
For more severe infections, or chronic sinusitis, many sufferers have tried at home remedies, antibiotics and infection medications with no luck. When this is the case, patients may have to turn to more permanent solutions:
How Long Should It Take For A Bad Sinus Infection To Go Away
Before we delve into what to do when your sinusitis wont go away, lets figure out whether you have a sinus infection in the first place. The symptoms shared between the common cold, chronic sinusitis, and chronic allergies, are similar making it rather difficult to deduce which culprit is causing your sinus issues.
One major differentiator, however, is time. A cold should go away within a week. If your cold lasts longer than 7-10 days, its likely that your cold has either turned into a bacterial sinus infection, or you actually had a sinus infection from the very beginning. Whatever the case, if your symptoms persist for more than a week, its best to see a doctor.
Once your doctor determines treatment, your sinus infection symptoms should begin to subside within a few days.
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Eucalyptus Oil For Sinus Headache Treatment
The cineole component present in Eucalyptus oil holds anti-inflammatory properties which reduce the inflammation. Eucalyptus is also rich in decongestion properties which reduce the mucus production which reduces the congestion in the sinus cavities.
Process 2: With Carrier Oil
- Dilute few drops of eucalyptus oil in 2 teaspoons of coconut oil or olive oil.
- Rub the mixture gently on sinus regions which include areas around nose, forehead and cheeks to get relief from the sinus pressure and headache.
Tip: Take a clean handkerchief or cotton pad and pour few drops of eucalyptus oil on it. Smell the eucalyptus placing the handkerchief near the nose. You can smell it throughout the day whenever required.
Reduced Or Complete Loss Of The Sense Of Smell
Untreated sinus infection can diminish or completely deprive you of your sense of smell . This can be due to inflammation and blockage of your nasal passages, or damage to the olfactory nerve.
Though the loss of smell from a sinus infection is often transient, it can be permanent in severe cases, wreaking havoc on the quality of your life and overall wellbeing.
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What Is Acute Sinusitis
Acute sinusitis is a short-term inflammation of the sinuses, most often including a sinus infection. The sinuses are four paired cavities in the head. They are connected by narrow channels. The sinuses make thin mucus that drains out of the channels of the nose, cleaning the nose. Typically filled with air, the sinuses can become blocked by fluid and swell from irritation. When this happens, they can become infected.
Whats The Best Way To Get Sinus Pressure Relief
Over-the-counter options include nasal decongestants and nasal steroid sprays. Some people try saline spray and nasal irrigation to find relief. Others stick with over-the-counter pain relievers to manage pain and fever symptoms. Drinking plenty of fluids, applying warm compresses to the sinus area, light facial massage and vaporizer use can also keep congestion moving on the way out.
This is a very complex problem and depending on the severity and the level of inflammation there are a host of diagnostic exams and tests to be performed before a true diagnosis can be made so that a treatment plan can be formulated, Winarsky says.
As such, there is no silver bullet or one pill to take that can alleviate all the symptoms.
While a sinus infection can go away on its own, it is a good idea to make an appointment with your doctorespecially if you seem to be getting a lot of sinus infections. Also, nasal discharge, fever, congestion or pain that lasts more than 10 days warrants a trip to see your physician.
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How You Can Treat Sinusitis Yourself
You can often treat mild sinusitis without seeing a GP by:
- getting plenty of rest
- taking painkillers, such as paracetamol or ibuprofen
- avoiding allergic triggers and not smoking
- cleaning your nose with a salt water solution to ease congestion
If you have a high temperature or you do not feel well enough to do your normal activities, try to stay at home and avoid contact with other people until you feel better.
You do not need to use all of the solution, but make a fresh solution each time you clean your nose.
What Happens If You Let A Sinus Infection Go Untreated
A sinus infection might start with annoying, inconvenient symptoms: congestion, discomfort, and sinus pressure. But dont assume these symptoms will go away on their own.
If left untreated, sinus infections can result in ongoing pain and discomfort that lasts for months. Sometimes, an untreated sinus infection can lead to serious complications that could have been prevented with early interventions.
The key to avoiding severe complications from an untreated sinus infection is to talk to an ENT as soon as possible. When you can see that the symptoms are lingering, then it might be time to book an appointment for a diagnosis and treatment plan.
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How To Treat A Cold Vs A Sinus Infection
Theres no medication cure or vaccine for the common cold. Instead, treatment should focus on managing symptoms.
Congestion can often be relieved by using a saline spray in each nostril a couple of times a day. A nasal decongestant, such as oxymetazoline , may also be helpful. But you shouldnt use it for more than three days.
If you have a headache, or body aches and pains, you may take acetaminophen or ibuprofen for pain relief.
For a sinus infection, saline or decongestant nasal spray may help with congestion. You may also be prescribed a corticosteroid, usually in a nasal spray form. A pill form may be necessary in certain cases in order to help reduce severely inflamed sinuses.
If your doctor thinks you may have a bacterial infection, you may be prescribed a course of antibiotic therapy. This should be taken exactly as prescribed and for the duration recommended by your doctor.
Stopping a course of antibiotics too soon can allow an infection to linger and for symptoms to develop again.
For both a sinus infection and a common cold, stay hydrated and get plenty of rest.
Risk Of Unnecessary Antibiotics For Sinus Infections
Taking unnecessary antibiotics for a sinus infection is not only ineffectual, but can actually be harmful to the patient. Risks of taking unneeded antibiotics include:
- Increased chance of getting an antibiotic-resistant infection at a later time
- Destruction of healthy stomach bacteria, which can allow harmful bacteria to grow
- Possible side effects, such as upset stomach, rash, or dizziness
- Allergic reaction
According to studies conducted by the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology , 60-70% of patients with sinus infections fully recover without the use of antibiotics. Additional research shows that almost 90% of U.S. adults diagnosed with acute sinusitis are prescribed antibiotics.
This overuse of antibiotics for sinus infections, as well as other conditions, can lead to antibiotic resistance, a state in which bacteria change over time as a reaction to antibiotic treatment, in order to survive and multiply, thus making the antibiotics less effective.
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Over The Counter Medications
For help alleviating sinus pressure and pain, try ibuprofen and a decongestant. Some medications include a combination of pain reliever and decongestant.
Mild antihistamines like Claritin and Allegra are helpful in moderation. Strong antihistamines like Benadryl are often way too drying. Be careful not to take antihistamines too often.
Even though you want your nose to stop running, too many antihistamines can make it more likely that youll get sinus infections in the future.
Drugs like Mucinex and Flonase can also be helpful in thinning the mucus in your nose and sinuses.
If you use Afrin, make sure you stop after three days. Though it can seem like a miracle drug, using it more than three days in a row can lead to something called rebound congestion. In other words, when you stop using the Afrin after continuous use, your nose becomes more congested than it was in the first place!
But Sometimes Antibiotics For Sinus Infections Are Needed
So how does one judge when it is appropriate to prescribe antibiotics for a sinus infection? There are several sets of official guidelines, which are all similar. When a patient has thick, colorful nasal discharge and/or facial pressure or pain for at least 10 days, they meet criteria for antibiotic treatment. If a patient has had those symptoms, but the symptoms seemed to start improving and then got worse again, then even if its been less than 10 days, they meet criteria for antibiotic treatment.
The authors, however, also suggest that doctors discuss watchful waiting with patients and explain that most sinus infections clear up on their own in one to two weeks, and its a safe option to hold off on antibiotics. The symptoms can then be treated with a cocktail of over-the-counter medications and supportive care, like nasal saline irrigation, nasal steroid sprays, decongestants, and pain medications.
Of course, many patients expect and demand antibiotics for sinus infections, and even those who are open to watchful waiting may hear about the rare but possible complications of things like, oh, brain abscess, and opt to treat.
In the case of my patient above, she met criteria for treatment. She weighed the watchful waiting option against the potential risks of antibiotics for her sinus infection, and chose the prescription. I can tell you from very close follow-up that she improved quickly, though in truth, we will never really know if she would have gotten better anyway.
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How Are Bacterial And Viral Sinusitis Diagnosed
Although most cases are viral, its important to appropriately identify whether your sinus infection is viral or bacterial. Differentiating between the two often comes down to the duration and severity of their symptoms. When meeting with a patient who has sinusitis, I first ask about their health history, as well as what their symptoms are and how long theyve had them. More tests arent usually needed, though if a patient has had several bouts of acute sinusitis the following tests might be used:
- CT scan: A CT scan can show more information regarding your sinuses and nasal cavity.
- Nasal endoscopy: A nasal endoscopy is a procedure where a doctor places a thin tube with a camera into the nasal cavity and sinuses. It can show whether a blockage is responsible for the symptoms, such as a tumor or polyp. A culture can show which type of bacteria is causing the infection, and the best antibiotic to treat it.
The Infectious Disease Society of Americas clinical practice guidelines state that a sinus infection is likely bacterial in nature if the following are present:
Did You Know?
Distinguishing an upper respiratory infection from viral sinusitis is challenging. 20-40% of children diagnosed with viral sinusitis most likely just have a URI, according to this study.
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Most Sinus Infections Dont Require Antibiotics
Ah, sinus infections. The New England Journal of Medicine published a clinical practice review of acute sinus infections in adults, that is, sinus infections of up to four weeks. The need for an updated review was likely spurred by the disconcerting fact that while the vast majority of acute sinus infections will improve or even clear on their own without antibiotics within one to two weeks, most end up being treated with antibiotics.
It is this discrepancy that has clinical researchers and public health folks jumping up and down in alarm, because more unnecessary prescriptions for antibiotics mean more side effects and higher bacterial resistance rates. But on the other hand, while 85% of sinus infections improve or clear on their own, theres the 15% that do not. Potential complications are rare, but serious, and include brain infections, even abscesses.
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Antibiotic Treatment For Bacterial Sinusitis
Antibiotic treatment is usually only needed if the infection does not improve within 7-10 days, the person has another medical condition which may affect recovery, or if:
- Severe pain is present
- Swelling at the front of the head, cheeks or around the eyes occurs
- Nasal discharge contains blood
- High fever is present
These are indications that the bacterial infection is severe. Antibiotic treatment is usually prescribed for about 10 days, but shorter courses may be as effective, depending on the bacteria involved. The choice of which antibiotic to use will be based on which bacteria the treating physician thinks are likely to be involved in the infection.