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How Long Does A Viral Sinus Infection Last

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How Long Does Viral Sinusitis Last

What Is Causing My Long-Term Sinus Infection?

In most cases, viral sinus infections resolve on their own within 10 to 14 days. Antibiotics are ineffective against viral infections. However, there are several things you may do at home to alleviate your symptoms: Consume lots of fluids. This will help flush out your nasal passages and get rid of any feeling of congestion that you might be experiencing.

Take anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen or naproxen. If necessary, see your doctor to learn how to use these medications safely.

Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth. This is important because bacteria can grow in contaminated water and pour into your eyes causing pain and redness. The same thing can happen if you breathe in bacteria through your nose.

Wear disposable gloves when around others, especially children. This is helpful in preventing the spread of infection from one person to another.

Get adequate rest and relaxation. This will help you recover more quickly from what has become a very exhausting process.

Viral sinusitis can cause many problems for people, especially adults. If you are an adult and feel like you need to see a doctor about your viral sinusitis, call your primary care physician first. They will be able to help determine if you need further evaluation by an ear, nose, and throat specialist or not.

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How Long Will A Sinus Infection Typically Last

The duration of sinusitis can vary from a week to years, depending on whether you have acute or chronic sinusitis. Often a viral infection can progress so that it becomes a bacterial infection, extending the amount of time it lasts.

Effective, early treatment can help improve the chances that your sinus infection will be shorter-lasting.

Some Steps You Can Take

Whether your sinus infection turns out to be viral or bacterial, you can help to ease your symptoms early on with supportive sinus care:

  • Use saline spray two to three times per day in each nostril.
  • Use a nasal decongestant such as Afrin®, but not longer than three days.
  • Drink eight 8-ounce glasses of fluid per day.
  • Get plenty of rest.
  • Take an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen to help relieve the swelling of your sinuses.
  • If your symptoms arent improving after one week, its important to see your doctor. If a bacterial infection is suspected, youll probably need to take an antibiotic to clear up the infection and prevent further complications.

    If your infections occur more frequently, and your doctor really wants to establish if they are bacterial or viral, your Otolaryngologist or ear, nose and throat doctor can sample the snot from your nose when youre infected and send it to a laboratory to know for sure.

    Note: Antibiotics wont help a viral infection, and taking an antibiotic unnecessarily can do more harm than good. You risk possible side effects and increase your chances of developing antibiotic resistance, which can make future infections harder to treat, says Dr. Sindwani. So its important to wait and see how long your symptoms last.

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    Soothing Measures And Pain Medications

    People with viral throat infections that cause significant pain may benefit from soothing measures and/or pain medications.

    • Soothing measures: These include sipping on cold or warm drinks, eating cold desserts, or gargling with salt water.
    • Over-the-counter painkillers: These include acetaminophen or NSAIDS such as ibuprofen .
    • Additional topical pain relief: There are a number of over-the-counter tablets or sprays that contain substances such as menthol, dyclonine, benzocaine, or hexylresorcinol, among others, that provide topical pain relief. These may be tried in adults but are generally not recommended for children.

    How Long Does A Viral Sinus Infection Last

    Sinus headache remedy

    After five to seven days, a viral sinus infection will normally begin to improve. A bacterial sinus infection will often last seven to ten days or more, and may worsen after seven days. You can do the following steps:

    Practice good hygiene. Keep your hands clean by washing them regularly with soap and water or using hand sanitizer. Don’t share objects that have been in someone else’s mouth, such as needles or toothbrushes.

    Avoid people who are sick. Stay away from others if you feel ill. This will help prevent spreading viruses around the office or school.

    Cover your cough. Coughing is an important part of getting rid of respiratory infections, but it can also be dangerous if you don’t wash your hands afterwards. Use a tissue or homemade cough drop under your tongue to avoid spreading germs.

    Stay home when you’re sick. Follow local health guidelines for staying home when you have a fever or feeling sick. Your body needs time to recover too!

    Get vaccinated. Get vaccinated every year against the three main types of pneumonia: pneumococcal, influenza virus and tetanus/diphtheria . Pneumonia is one of the leading causes of death among children under five years old.

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    How K Health Can Help

    Before you get treatment, you first need to know if you have viral or bacterial sinusitis. Did you know you can get affordable primary care with the K Health app? Download K to check your symptoms, explore conditions and treatments, and if needed text with a doctor in minutes. K Healths AI-powered app is HIPAA compliant and based on 20 years of clinical data.

    How Is Sinusitis Spread

    You can get it the same way you get cold and flu by breathing it in or passing it from your hands to your mouth after touching something. Viruses get in the air after someone who is sick sneezes or coughs. They also can be passed on when someone shakes hands with someone who is sick or touches a doorknob or anything else the sick person has touched.

    To keep from getting a virus, wash your hands often with soap and water. Try not to touch your eyes, nose, and mouth. Try to avoid people you have cold- and flu-like symptoms.

    If you have sinusitis, cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze, and wash your hands to avoid making anyone sick.

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    Two Types Of Sinus Infections

    Determining how long your sinus infection will last is dependent on what type you are experiencing. Acute sinusitis lasts for less than four weeks. Chronic sinusitis can last for more than 12 weeks.

    The majority of sinus infection sufferers will see their symptoms start to resolve after about 10 days. While one to two infections a year is considering normal, more than four requires medical attention.

    If you are experiencing chronic sinusitis with a single infection lasting three months at a time, there may be other factors to consider. Environmental factors such as smoking or allergies are common causes of developing chronic sinusitis.

    Types Of Viral Sinus Infection

    Sinusitis – Symptoms and treatment Sinus Infection, Chronic sinusitis

    A viral sinus infection is most often caused by a common cold, which can infect the lining of the ear, nose, and throat, and inflame the sinuses. There are more than a hundred different viruses that cause colds, the most common of which are rhinoviruses. Some other viruses that can cause sinus infections can include influenza viruses and parainfluenza viruses. Viruses, especially cold viruses, can change the mucus in the nose and cause nasal tissues to swell, blocking the sinuses.

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    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.

    Cold Symptoms In Children

    While cold symptoms are similar in children and adults, some additional symptoms in children include:

    • difficulty breastfeeding or taking a bottle

    Although most children will get better within a couple weeks, you should keep an eye out for possible complications. These include:

    • Ear infection. Look for signs of ear pain such as ear rubbing or scratching and increased irritability.
    • Sinus infection.Signs to look out for include congestion and nasal discharge that continues for more than 10 days, facial pain, and possibly a fever.
    • Chest infection. Check for signs that indicate difficulty breathing such as wheezing, rapid breathing, or nostril widening.

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    How To Treat A Sinus Infection At Home

    In the first two weeks of a sinus infection, patients may use saline sprays, over-the-counter steroid sprays like Flonase, and over-the-counter decongestants.

    After 10 days, if the drainage is still colored, an antibiotic is likely necessary. Theres no homeopathic alternative to antibiotics. However, saline spray, topical steroid sprays, and decongestants work well with antibiotics to clear most infections.

    When To Visit An Ent

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    You may opt to visit an ENT if your sinus infection symptoms last more than one month. However, when a lingering sinus infection after antibiotics lasts more than 12 weeks, its definitely time to see a specialist.

    If your doctor has treated you with antibiotics, saline, steroid sprays, antihistamines, and decongestants and youre still not better, youve entered into a confusing area. You need a thorough exam of your sinus pathways with a fiberoptic scope and a CT scan to properly diagnose the problem.

    If at any point youre not sure whats going on and your primary care doctor isnt sure whats causing the symptoms, see an ENT for a more specialized exam.

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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.

  • Boil a pint of water, then leave it to cool.
  • Mix 1 teaspoon of salt and 1 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda into the water.
  • Wash your hands.
  • Stand over a sink, cup the palm of 1 hand and pour a small amount of the solution into it.
  • Sniff the water into 1 nostril at a time. Breathe through your mouth and allow the water to pour back into the sink. Try not to let the water go down the back of your throat.
  • Repeat the first 5 steps up to 3 times a day until your nose feels more comfortable.
  • You do not need to use all of the solution, but make a fresh solution each time you clean your nose.

    Killer Sinus Infection How To Tell If Yours Is Viral Or Bacterial

    You know the symptoms: nasal congestion, facial pressure, pain, fever, too much mucus. Ugh. Its probably another sinus infection.

    But is your infection caused by a virus or bacteria and does it really matter?

    It does matter. Doctors treat viral and bacterial sinus infections differently. Here is what you need to know about both kinds of infection and how to treat them.

    Viral or bacterial?

    Most sinus infections are viral, and most are caused by the virus that causes the common cold. How can you tell, based on symptoms, whether your infection is viral or bacterial?

    Normally, you can’t.

    Symptoms like bad breath, yellow or green mucus, fever and headache are not reliable signs of a bacterial infection. They can be present with viral infections, too. Even your doctor cant tell if your infection is viral or bacterial based solely on symptoms or an exam.

    Instead, your doctor looks at symptom duration to determine the source of your infection. A viral sinus infection will usually start to improve after five to seven days. A bacterial sinus infection will often persist for seven to 10 days or longer, and may actually worsen after seven days.

    4 steps you can take

    Whether your sinus infection turns out to be viral or bacterial, you can help to ease your symptoms early on with supportive care:

  • Use saline spray two to three times per day in each nostril.

  • Drink eight 8-ounce glasses of fluid per day.

  • Get plenty of rest.

  • What to do for chronic sinusitis

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    Duration Of A Sinus Infection

    The two different types of sinus infections are acute and chronic. Acute sinus infections typically last 10 days to a few weeks. Chronic sinus infections, however, can last 12 or more weeks. In many cases, acute sinusitis is associated with a respiratory infection. In comparison, chronic sinusitis is often caused by environmental factors including allergies or smoking.

    When a patient has one or two sinus infections a year, it is considered to be normal. Patients who experience more than four sinus infections annually should schedule an appointment with an ear, nose, and throat surgeon to determine if there are other underlying causes.

    How An Ent Treats A Sinus Infection

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    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.

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    Symptoms And Treatment For Viral Vs Bacterial Sinusitis

    Weve all experienced the common cold symptoms of a runny nose, nasal congestion, and sinus pressure. But sometimes these symptoms can indicate something different: sinusitis, or a sinus infection. Sinusitis can be viral or bacterial. Knowing which one you have can be helpful for treating sinus infection symptoms and helping ensure you feel better fast.

    In this article, I will describe the symptoms of both viral and bacterial sinusitis. I will also talk about the causes of each, how theyre diagnosed, and what your treatment options are.

    How Long Do Symptoms Last

    Typically, a sinus infection clears up within 2 to 3 weeks. COVID-19 lasts for about a week or two depending on its severity and your overall health.

    A 2020 study surveyed 270 outpatients with COVID-19. Among them, 175 people reported returning to their usual level of health about 7 days after a positive COVID-19 test.

    Some symptoms like cough and loss of smell or taste may linger temporarily after COVID-19. Some people may experience long-haul COVID-19, a group of symptoms that persist in the weeks and months following an infection.

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    Whats A Sinus Infection Again

    So, a sinus infection is technically called sinusitis, and its basically the term for when your sinuses are inflamed, according to the US National Library of Medicine . As for what those sinuses are, exactly, theyre pockets in the face next to the nose that are typically full of air, Philip Chen, MD, otolaryngologist with UT Health San Antonio, tells Health.These pockets have a lining of mucosa that helps keep the sinus healthy, which is what becomes inflamed when the sinuses are infected.

    Another type of sinus infection, rhinosinusitis, occurs when the lining of the sinus cavities ar swollen, along with the lining of the nasal cavity, says Dr. Chen.

    As for what causes a sinus infection, its typically a condition that blocks the sinuses, like a viral upper respiratory tract infection , or allergies, Landon Duyka, MD, otolaryngologist at Northwestern Medicine Lake Forest Hospital, tells ?Health. The blockage ultimately allows for an infection to develop and progress within the sinuses.

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    Fast Facts On Sinusitis

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    Sinus infections are classed as acute or chronic:

    • acute sinus infection only lasts for a short time and is often part of a cold or allergy
    • chronic sinus infection lasts more than 12 weeks and may reoccur

    A sinus infection, whether chronic or acute, normally consists of the following symptoms:

    Facial pain or pressure

    Pain is a common symptom in sinusitis. A person may feel the pain around their eyes, under their eyes, on their forehead, and around their nose. The roots of the teeth project into the floor of the maxillary sinus, which can cause a person to feel pain in their teeth.

    Sinus pain can also feel like a generalized headache. The pain is often described as throbbing, and it may get worse when a person strains or bends down.

    Nasal discharge

    Nasal discharge is prominent in sinusitis as the mucous membrane of the nose and sinuses are attached. The drainage may be cloudy or colored green or yellow, blood-tinged, thick, and foul-smelling.

    This increase in discharge is why people need to blow their nose more often. If the discharge trickles down the throat, it may cause an unpleasant taste in the mouth and an itching sensation at the back of the throat this is referred to as a post-nasal drip.

    Cough and sore throat

    The trickle of fluid can irritate the throat and produce a cough. When an individual lies down at night, there is an increase in the flow of fluid down the back of the throat, which can make the cough worse.

    Nasal congestion

    Viral sinusitis

    Bacterial sinusitis

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