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.
Physician Diagnosis Of Sinusitis
Physicians can conduct several tests to confirm a diagnosis of sinusitis.5 They may use transillumination, in which a light is placed against the sinus to see signs of infection. They may employ nasal endoscopy or rhinoscopy, in which a fiberoptic scope is used to directly visualize the sinus cavities. CT scanning of the sinuses allows the physician to view the bones and tissues of the sinuses, and an MRI can visualize tumors or fungal infections. The physician may also simply tap the area overlying the sinuses to locate sites of infection.
Several conditions mimic sinus infection, including the common cold, influenza, nasal polyposis, sarcoidosis, neoplasia, acquired and congenital immuno-deficiency, allergic and nonallergic rhinitis, Wegeners granulomatosis, and fungal infection.1 To identify these, physicians might check the nostrils for nasal polyps and recommend such examinations as allergy testing, blood tests for HIV and/or immune status, sweat chloride analysis or blood work for cystic fibrosis, nasal ciliary function tests, nasal cytology, and nasal culture.2,4
Fever And Pain Reducers
If you have a fever and/or pain, take two acetaminophen tablets. After four hours, if you still have pain or fever, take two ibuprofen tablets. You can rotate these every four hours.
Valdez said it is very important to be careful when combining all these medicines to make sure you are not doubling up on a single agent. “Some of these medications may contain a lower dose of any of the above mentioned agents, so check the labels carefully.”
Remember those agents are: acetaminophen or ibuprofen for fever/pain, dextromethorphan for cough and pseudoephedrine or phenylephrine and guaifenesin for decongestants and expectorants.
Lastly, Valdez said to keep the following in mind:
- If you have a fever, do not go into work or school you should be fever free for 24 hours.
- Rest is the best medicine. Let the virus run its course if your body is run down it will take it longer to fight off the infection.
- To prevent sinus infections, get a flu shot , wash your hands often and cover your cough and sneeze.
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Dry Sinus Remedies In Fall And Winter
In our region of Pennsylvania, winter can either be a magical season of snow, gift-giving, and general good cheer, and it can also lead to an attack on the sinuses in the form of headaches, nosebleeds, and sore, dry noses.
The sinuses are hollow spaces within the bones of your skull, located around the cheekbones, forehead, between the eyes, and behind your nose. Healthy, happy sinuses are lined with a moist mucus membrane. Unhappy, dry sinuses are dehydrated, which makes them irritated and inflamed, leading to symptoms such as:
- Sinus headaches
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Discharge From The Nose Or In The Throat
The most noticeable symptom of a sinus infection is the presence of discharge from the nose. This sign is similar to what you would experience with a regular cold or seasonal flu. The mucus from your sinuses may also drip down the back of your throat .
The color of the discharge may help you identify whether youre experiencing a common cold or a sinus infection. The former will often cause nasal mucus that is watery and clear or cloudy. The latter often comes with mucus that has a green or yellow tint. The discoloration is not a product of the bacteria itself. Instead, it is a result of your immune system fighting the infection by increasing white blood cells.
Catch Some Zs With Balloon Sinuplasty
Answering the question, Why are my sinuses worse at night? isnt always easy, and addressing your symptoms might take a multipronged approach. If youve lost more nights than you can count to sinus problems caused by sinusitis, allergies, sinusitis and sleep apnea, sinus problems and snoring, nasal polyps or even a deviated septum, it may be time to consider balloon sinuplasty.
As mentioned previously, balloon sinuplasty is a minimally invasive, in-office procedure that takes less than 20 minutes and provides long-lasting sinus relief. During the procedure, your doctor inserts tiny balloons into your sinus cavities via your nasal passages. When these balloons are expanded, healthy drainage is restored.
Dr. Napoleon G. Bequer of Sinus Solutions of South Florida, a leading Florida ENT, has performed balloon sinuplasty on thousands of Tampa and West Palm Beach-area patients. Hes given them the opportunity to take their life back from chronic sinus problems.
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Sinus Infection Home Remedies Recommended By A Doctor
Philip Scolaro, MD
You probably dont give too much thought to your ability to breathe through your nose until you wake up with a sinus infection and that ability is gone!
Sinus infections, sometimes called acute sinusitis, can steal your joy pretty quickly.
A lot of viruses start with nasal symptoms. If you have a scratchy throat, congestion, and a runny nose, youve probably got a virus on your hands.
How Can I Avoid Future Sinus Infections
Once youve had a nasty sinus infection, you wont want to relive the experience. To help prevent them from occurring again, get your annual flu shot and steer clear of people with colds or the flu. Use your humidifier. Live as healthfully as you can get sufficient sleep, reduce stress and eat a wholesome diet with plenty of whole grains, lean proteins and fruits and vegetables. Avoid exposure to secondhand smoke and if you do smoke, take steps to quit. Last, but not least, always wash your hands.
Ultimately, sinusitis is a painful and revolting nuisance. But approaching them with these smart strategies could save you a world of hurt.
This content originally appeared on Sharecare.com.
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When Should I Call My Healthcare Provider About Sinusitis
Though many cases of acute sinusitis can improve with little to no treatment, you should call the doctor if you experience any painful symptoms. An antibiotic may be needed for a bacterial infection.
If you find that your sinuses do not feel better after 10 days, symptoms have gotten worse, or you have symptoms that initially improved and then worsen five to six days later , you should contact your healthcare provider. Symptoms that continue after about four weeks may mean you have subacute or chronic sinusitis. If you develop other types of symptoms, such as severe eye swelling, or you are just not sure what you should do next, call your provider.
If you have facial pain, and you have healthy teeth, you can try things like nasal rinses and warm, wet washcloths on your face to see if you find some relief. If so, and if your symptoms go away in about 10 days, you probably have had acute sinusitis and it has gotten better on its own. If not, and you continue to feel ill after three or four weeks, call your provider.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 06/04/2020.
When Its Time To See A Doctor
Make an appointment to see your doctor if you experience sinus infection symptoms of fever, facial pain, congestion, or nasal discharge that last longer than ten days or that keep coming back.
Dethlefs says you should see a medical provider, If nasal drainage changes from clear to thick and yellow. If fever spikes and persists more than 24-48 hours or symptoms arent adequately treated with OTC therapies.
Fever represents a rare symptom of a sinus infection, indicating you have another illness or underlying condition. Your doctor can perform an evaluation and the necessary testing to identify and treat the root cause of your symptoms.
Reviewed for medical accuracy by
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Avoid Sinus Pain Triggers
“One of the most important things to avoid is over-the-counter nasal decongestant sprays. They may give some fast relief, but after a few days they make sinus pressure and nasal congestion much worse,” warns Das. Some other things you can do to prevent sinus pain include avoiding alcohol, which can aggravate sinus pain and congestion cleaning your humidifier to avoid fungal allergies washing your bedding in hot water to decrease allergy exposure and avoiding swimming, diving, or flying when you have sinusitis, a common cold, or nasal allergy.
Treatment Of Sinus Congestion
- Viral Sinus Infection. Nasal washes with saline. Antibiotics are not helpful.
- Bacterial Sinus Infection. Antibiotics by mouth.
- Allergic Sinus Reaction. Treatment of the nasal allergy with allergy medicines also often helps the sinus symptoms.
- All Thick Nasal Drainage. Nasal secretions need treatment with nasal saline when they block the nose. Also, treat if they make breathing through the nose hard. If breathing is noisy, it may mean the dried mucus is farther back. Nasal saline rinses can remove it.
Can You Have A Sinus Infection And Not Know It
Most patients have several signs and symptoms at the same time. Others may have some symptoms that are intermittent most do not have all symptoms at once. The signs and symptoms of a sinus infection or sinusitis include the following: Headache due to pressure in partially or completely blocked sinuses.
Can Sinus Infection Last A Month
With chronic sinusitis, the tissues inside your sinuses become inflamed and blocked for a long period of time due to swelling and mucus buildup. Acute sinusitis only happens for a short time , but chronic sinusitis can last for months. Sinusitis is considered chronic after at least 12 weeks of symptoms.
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Hum Your Way To Sinus Pain Relief
“Some people report that humming for one hour improves sinus pain,” says Das. Researchers in Sweden have found that humming can keep your sinuses clear. How could that be possible? Humming may increase both airflow through your sinuses and the level of nitric oxide in your sinuses. The combination of nitric oxide and airflow may reduce your risk of sinusitis. So if you have a common cold or allergies, want to prevent a sinus infection, and know a happy tune that you don’t mind hearing for an hour, you may want to try a little humming.
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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When Should I Call The Doctor
- a cold that lasts for more than 710 days without improvement
- a cold that seems to be getting worse after 7 days of symptoms
- symptoms of allergies that don’t clear with the usual allergy medicine
Also call if your child shows any other signs of worsening sinusitis, such as:
- pain or pressure in the cheeks or around the eyes
- swelling around the eye
How To Treat Your Dry Sinuses During The Winter
The winter months, while beautiful, often force us to stay indoors. While there isnt anything wrong with hibernating during the winter season, it can bring about some unpleasant ENT symptoms. Sore throats, headaches, nosebleeds, sinus pressure, and other uncomfortable symptoms are often experienced during the winter, but its not always from the cold. Your symptoms can also be the result of dry sinuses. When you experience dry sinuses, your nasal passages dont have that protective layer of mucus to help defend against viruses, bacteria, and fungi. Without mucus to help protect you from these unwanted invaders, you become more susceptible to sinus infections. Luckily, you can effectively treat a dry nose before it becomes a problem with these helpful dry nose remedies.
The winter months can really dry out your skin and sinuses, leaving you susceptible to uncomfortable symptoms, but there are steps to take to help remedy this. If you want to find relief this winter from dry nostrils, try out these handy dry nose remedies.
While your home may be warm and cozy, the dry air from your heating system may be a huge contributor to your dry sinuses. Dry, forced air can eliminate the moisture in the air, which can make your sinuses dry. To help combat this, purchase a humidifier, and ensure that your humidity levels are between 30 and 50%.
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Is Black Snot Bad
Unless youre a smoker or use certain types of illegal drugs, black snot may be a symptom of a severe fungal infection. There are four common types of fungal infections including:
Even if you are a smoker or use illicit drugs, if you are experiencing black mucus, you should call your doctor to rule out any serious diagnosis.
Sinus Pain Has A Variety Of Causes
If your head is throbbing and you feel pressure around your eyes, cheeks, or forehead, you could have a sinus headache. “Many factors can cause a sinus headache,” says Subinoy Das, MD, chief executive officer and interim medical director for the U.S. Institute for Advanced Sinus Care and Research in Columbus, Ohio. The most important factor is swelling of the lining of the nose and sinuses, causing pressure and pain on in the face and head.
Symptoms of sinus pain and headache include pain associated with congestion from a common cold or allergies pain around your eyes, forehead, or over your teeth pain that is worse in the morning and pain that gets worse when you bend over. Some of the more natural methods of relieving sinus pain that reduce swelling, thin mucus secretions, and improve sinus drainage are often very helpful.
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Sinus Infection Symptoms Vs Covid
COVID-19 shares many of the same symptoms as a sinus infection, making it difficult for you to determine whether you have a sinus infection or COVID.
COVID-19 is a respiratory illness caused by an infectious virus, while a sinus infection results from inflammation of the nasal passages. COVID-19 also has far more symptoms than a sinus infection.
Additional symptoms of COVID-19 include:
- Fever and chills
- Bluish tint to the lips and face
- Loss of smell and/or taste that occurs without congestion
- Pink eye, characterized by irritation, redness, and itching of the eyes puffy eyes eye discharge sensitivity to light
- Gastrointestinal upset
- Chest pain
COVID-19 produces a dry cough without mucus, while a sinus infection produces a wet cough with mucus. COVID-19 and a sinus infection can both cause shortness of breath, though, with a sinus infection, this symptom is usually only present in severe cases.
The pain produced by a sinus infection generally presents in your head, such as throughout your cheeks, brow, and forehead. In contrast, COVID-19 causes all-over body aches, chest pain, and a wide range of gastrointestinal problems.
Cases of acute sinusitis typically last less than four weeks, while chronic sinusitis lasts for at least 12 weeks or longer and recurs often. Symptoms of COVID-19 usually appear within two to 14 days of exposure to the virus and resolve within two weeks.
What Can I Do
While you wait for your infection to run its course, you can take steps at home to feel better.
Look into nasal sprays. Store-bought saline nasal spray loosens up mucus, temporarily clearing it from your nasal passages. A steroid nasal spray like fluticasone may help tame inflammation, especially if you have underlying allergies. Unsure about using a steroid? Follow package directions and go to your HCP with questions.
Be wary of decongestant nasal sprays, like oxymetazoline . Using them for longer than three days could cause rebound symptoms persistent stuffiness eased only by the spray itself. Dryness and addiction are also possibilities.
Embrace sinus rinses like the neti pot. Many sinus infection veterans swear by nasal irrigation systems, such as plastic squeeze bottles or teakettle-shaped neti pots. These devices are filled with a sterile saline solution and used to flush snot from your sinuses.
Neti pots and their ilk are widely available and typically safe, as long as you handle them properly. Dont use water directly from your tap. Instead use distilled water, a sterile saline solution or water that has been boiled and then cooled.
Try over-the-counter medicines. Experts recommend analgesics including acetaminophen , ibuprofen and aspirin to ease pain, as well as decongestants like pseudoephedrine to alleviate the pressure of congestion.
Finally, you may want to avoid flying or scuba diving, since either can aggravate sinus pain.
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