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How Long Is A Sinus Infection Contagious

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How To Blow Your Nose

Sinusitis, Sinus Infection, Deviated Septum | Dr. Daniel Becker | Becker ENT

To clear your nose, first close one nostril and lightly blow through it. Anti-inflammatory drugs may help reduce the swelling around that area which will open up a passage for fluid to escape from inside of you! Lubricating spray also helps loosen dry crusted mucus so we can get rid easiest way possible by blowing harder into our handkerchiefs or tissues until all thats left is relief. A gentle tapping pressure should be applied near where most stockpile collects .

Those With Underlying Medical Conditions May Be At Greater Risk Of Developing A Sinus Infection

Sinus infections are fairly common, affecting more than 30 million Americans each year. However, people with certain underlying medical conditions may experience more frequent and severe cases of sinusitis and chronic sinusitis.

  • Sinus infections can occur as a result of viral infections, such as the cold or flu. Therefore, people with weakened or compromised immune systems may be at a greater risk for developing acute sinusitis.
  • Sinus infections commonly arise due to complications with seasonal allergies, asthma, or other physical issues that can cause blockages in the nose or sinuses. People with these conditions are more likely to develop chronic sinusitis.

When To Go To A Doctor For A Sinus Infection

An untreated sinus infection can turn into a chronic infection, so its important to see the doctor if your symptoms arent improving on their own. We recommend making an appointment with your doctor if:

  • Your symptoms havent improved after two days of at-home treatment
  • You have cold symptoms that last for 10 days
  • You have a fever of 101 degrees Fahrenheit or higher
  • Youre experiencing severe pain in the upper part of your face or your teeth
  • You have facial pain from the bridge of your nose to your lower eyelid
  • You notice thick and discolored mucus
  • You have mild face pain for a month or longer

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How To Avoid Spreading Sinus Infections

Sinusitis can easily develop as a result of a cold or virus, so spreading these illnesses puts other people at risk of developing a sinus infection. Viruses are spread by breathing in small droplets of water in the air, and also by touching surfaces where these bacteria are lingering. A sinus infection caused by a viral infection lasts about seven to 10 days, meaning you can be contagious with the virus for up to two weeks.

You can avoid spreading a cold by wearing a mask while you are sick, covering your mouth when you cough or sneeze, and washing your hands frequently with soap and hot water.

Okay But How Long Does A Sinus Infection Last

Is Sinus Infection Contagious Photograph by Finda TopDoc

Something else you need to know: There are two different types of sinusitis, acute and chronic sinusitis. Essentially, acute sinusitis is anything that lasts less than four weeks, says Dr. Ford, while chronic sinusitis lasts more than 12 weeksbut those are just ballparks.

Typically acute sinusitis resolves by 10 days, but if not, then the possibility of a bacterial infection should be considered, says Dr. Chen. Getting one or 2 sinus infections a year is considered normal. More than 4 should prompt a visit to an ear, nose, and throat surgeon.

However, if you have chronic sinusitis, it can last up to 3 months, and may be caused by environmental factors. Chronic sinusitis may have a number of causes, but the most common cause is allergies, says Dr. Ford. Smoking causes impaired function of the cilia, part of the nasal membranes that remove mucus, and can contribute to developing chronic sinusitis.

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Types Of Sinus Infection

The most common sinus infections are called acute bacterial rhinosinusitis , and they typically last about seven to ten days. Sensitive means its happening right now, while bacterial refers to the inflammation associated with infection. Rhinitis describes swelling in your nasal passages. When evaluating an individual for a sinus infection, their doctor will consider how long symptoms have been present and any other complications like fever or earache these things can signal that there is another underlying condition making them worse than usual which requires immediate attention by your physician.

Sinusitis may also be chronic if youve had multiple bouts of respiratory problems within twelve months or more. This kind of sinus infection lasts much longer.

Subacute sinusitis. Symptoms characterize this type of sinus infection for less than four weeks there may be no fever, and pain levels are generally low.

Recurrent acute bacterial rhinosinusitis . Suppose you have two or more bouts within twelve months. In that case, this can indicate that the problem isnt resolved on its own because your bodys natural defenses cannot fight off the bacteria effectively enough without help from antibiotics, surgery, medications, or just time healing it naturally.

What Are The Stages Of A Sinus Infection


  • Acute sinusitis usually starts with cold-like symptoms such as a runny, stuffy nose and facial pain. It may start suddenly and last 2 to 4 weeks.
  • Subacute sinusitus usually lasts 4 to 12 weeks.
  • Chronic sinusitus symptoms last 12 weeks or longer.
  • Recurrent sinusitis happens several times a year.

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Antibiotics Are Not A Cure

Antibiotics should only be used for specific bacterial infections. Taking antibiotics only when appropriate can help fight antimicrobial resistance. Antibiotics DO NOT work against viruses and cannot be used to treat infections like influenza or COVID-19.

You should also be sure to always take your full course of antibiotics. Dont save them in case you get sick laterantibiotics you take for one infection may not work on another. You should also never share your antibiotics with anyone else or use antibiotics that were not prescribed to you.

How Long Do Antibiotics Take To Work On Sinus Infections

How is a sinus infection different from a cold or flu?

Often, sinus infections are treated with antibiotics. However, your doctor will determine the best treatment based on the root cause of your sinus infection. If antibiotics are prescribed, you may want to know how long it will be before you start to experience relief from symptoms.

Read on to find out how sinus infections are diagnosed, when your doctor may prescribe antibiotics, and how long it will take antibiotics to take effect.

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How Do You Get A Sinus Infection

A sinus infection can develop when there is swelling in the sinus cavities. If the sinuses become too swollen, they can narrow and become obstructedmaking it difficult for mucus to drain. When mucus builds and backs up within sinus passages, it can become infected and voilayou get a sinus infection. The most common cause of a sinus infection is a viral cold.

Like any virus, the virus that causes the common cold is highly contagious. However, thankfully, every cold does not develop into a sinus infection. So while viral sinus infections are caused by cold viruses which are indeed very contagious, the sinus infections that result, are not contagious. If you get a viral sinus infection, it should resolve on its own within two weeks.

You may be thinking, wait I thought the only way to clear up a sinus infection was by taking antibiotics. Nope, not true. Viral sinus infections wont respond to antibiotics. And taking antibiotics when you dont need to can be dangerous and contribute to antibiotic resistance. However, in the case where your sinus infection was spurred by a bacterial infection, antibiotics are exactly what you need to fight the infection.

Are There Different Types Of Sinus Infections

There are many different types of sinus infections, but they all have one thing in common: they are caused by bacteria or viruses and can be very contagious. Some other examples include colds/flu as well as ear infections if an infection spreads from your nose into these areas where theres poor circulation due to being clogged up with mucus and or fluids stagnant stagnancy due to congestion not draining properly on its own/ with the help of gravity downwards facilitating movement aka aided by a bulb syringe aspirator nasal irrigation system cleaning out the passages without needing to lean over in a seated position while tilting your head sideways, inserted into one nostril at a time flushing it out regularly and as needed rinsing off the infected area with lukewarm sterile saline water , using either over-the-counter or prescription medications.

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How Long Does It Take For A Sinus Infection To Go Away Can They Be Cured

A person may be “cured” of a sinus infection when the symptoms stop, usually after about 3 weeks. However, a “cure” often is temporary in some people that either have chronic or recurrent sinus infections. Bacterial sinus infections may benefit from antibiotics , but there is no antibiotic treatment for viral sinusitis.

Do You Need Antibiotics For Sinus Infection

Chronic Mucus Congestion

Most sinus infections dont require antibiotics 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.

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Medications For A Sinus Infection

Sometimes, your sinus infection wont go away without care from your primary care doctor or otolaryngologists . Most bacterial sinus infections can be cured with the help of antibiotic medicines a type of medicine that kills bacteria. Antibiotics will help you feel better after a couple days, but its important to finish the entire amount that your doctor prescribed.

How To Get Rid Of A Sinus Infection

Most sinus infections are viral, and as a result, have to run their course. Most of these can be easily managed by home care, which includes getting plenty of rest, drinking fluids, taking over-the-counter medication and using saline solutions to rinse the sinuses.

If you have questions about how to best manage your sinus infection or sinus infection symptoms, contact our internal medicine physicians in Cary who will be glad to assist you.

If you find that you have continual, chronic infections, you should consider allergy testing and treatment. Often, this allows us to address the underlying problem and dramatically reduce your chances of developing a sinus infection.

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Should I Go To Work With Sinus Infection

Sinus infections can be viral or bacterial. Either way, it’s best to stay home, Wigmore says. Viral sinus infections are often contagious. If you have had symptoms longer than one week, or if you have severe facial pain, teeth/jaw pain, or fever, you may have a bacterial infection and should consult your doctor.

When Do I Really Need Antibiotics For A Sinus Infection

What Is Causing My Long-Term Sinus Infection?

When do I really need antibiotics for a sinus infection? is a question many patients have when suffering from bothersome sinus and allergy problems. While sinus infections can be quite painful, antibiotics often do not help in treating the condition.

Sinus infections affect approximately 37 million people in the U.S. each year and can be caused by:

The majority of sinus infections are viral in nature, and antibiotics do not cure viral infections. Taking antibiotics for viral infections also will not:

  • Keep you from being contagious to others
  • Relieve symptoms or make you feel better

In order to distinguish a bacterial sinus infection from an infection caused by a virus or other contributing factor, your doctor will observe your symptoms and possibly conduct other tests, such as a CT scan or cultures.

Antibiotics are only effective on bacterial infections, and even in cases involving bacteria, the body can often cure itself of mild or moderate infections within a few days.

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How Long Do The Signs And Symptoms Of Sinusitis And Sinus Infections Last

  • Acute sinusitis or sinus infections symptoms and signs last about three weeks if the signs and symptoms go away.
  • Chronic sinusitis or sinus infections usually last about eight weeks or longer.
  • Recurrent sinusitis is acute sinusitis that occurs several times over one year, which may develop into chronic sinusitis.

Types Of Sinus Infections

There are several types of sinus infections, which are classified by duration.

They include the following:

  • Acute infections that last for about 4 or less weeks
  • Subacute infections that last for about 4 12 weeks
  • Chronic infections that last for longer than 12 weeks
  • Recurrent infections that occur several times a year

Additionally, each type of sinus infection has several potential causes, including bacteria, viruses, or fungi.

Some cases of sinusitis occur with only swelling and inflammation due to blockages in the nasal passages or deformities in the sinus cavities. Allergies and chronic exposure to pollutants can also lead to sinus infections.

Sinus infections often feel like a bad cold. It may be difficult for people to distinguish between a cold and a sinus infection. Some of the most common symptoms resemble a cold. These include:

  • pressure in the sinus cavities

Sinus infections caused by bacteria have a few additional symptoms. These symptoms include:

  • pus-like or thick nasal discharge
  • symptoms lasting longer than a week

For most sinus infections, treatment focuses primarily on symptom relief. There are many options available to relieve bothersome symptoms.

These include:

  • nasal irrigation to reduce mucus drainage and remove irritants
  • medicated nasal sprays containing corticosteroids that reduce inflammation
  • oral steroids for more severe infections

In these cases, a doctor may suggest injecting steroids directly into the nasal passages to reduce inflammation.

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How To Stop The Spread

You can prevent spreading sinus infections the same way you would prevent passing along a cold or the flu.

Good hand hygiene is sufficient to dramatically decrease the spread, says Dr. Stern. One should wash their hands after touching or blowing their nose and prior to contacting objects or others to decrease the likelihood of transmission.

Dr. Stern also recommends nasal irrigation with a saline solution. That, he says, is the nasal equivalent of hand-washing.

It also keeps your nasal passages moist, which will help prevent sinusitis. Other ways to do this include using nasal spray throughout the day, using a humidifier at home , drinking plenty of water, inhaling steam , and sleeping with your head elevated to prevent mucus from collecting in your sinuses.

Also make sure youre up to date on your vaccinations, especially the annual flu shot. The influenza virus can also lead to sinus infections.

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What To Do For Chronic Sinusitis

The Signs of Strep Throat

If youre suffering from chronic sinusitis or you are getting frequent sinus infections you should see your doctor, says Dr. Sindwani.

Your doctor will swab your nose to collect mucus. Culturing it in a laboratory will reveal which type of bacteria is causing the infection so the right antibiotic can be prescribed.

Treat early sinus infection symptoms with rest, hydration and over-the-counter sprays and decongestants. But dont look for an antibiotic unless your illness extends beyond a week, he says. Then check in with your doctor for a prescription and let him or her know if your condition worsens.

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Can A Sinus Infection Be Contagious

People often wonder if sinus infections are contagious? The short answer is: No. Sinus infections are typically a result of either a viral, bacterial, or fungal infection and, by themselves, cannot spread from person to person.

However, because sinusitis as doctors like to call it often stems from a contagious viral infection, such as the common cold or influenza, its important to understand that the root of the illness could likely be contagious. Therefore, its important to practice good hygiene and prevent transmission as much as possible.

Additionally, sinusitis is commonly accompanied by several other shared symptoms stemming from the main viral infection, including post nasal drip, sinus pain, and congestion, which helps contribute to the belief that sinusitis is the root condition and that it is spreadable.

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Symptoms Of Bacterial Sinusitis In Children

In children, the symptoms of sinusitis may differ from those in adults. Children may experience:

In general, women are slightly more likely than men to get bacterial sinusitis.

If youâve had a cold or any of the disorders listed above, and youâre concerned that you may have bacterial sinusitis, check out the Ada app for a free symptom assessment.

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What Are The Symptoms Of A Sinus Infection

So if youve ever had a sinus infection before, you know they feel pretty miserable: The more common symptoms are nasal congestion, discolored mucous from the nose, post nasal drainage, facial pain, facial pressure, decreased smell and taste, says Dr. Duyka. Some patients also experience ear pain, upper tooth pain, sore throat, bad breath, and/or cough.

But heres some quick advice: That whole thing about the color of your snot telling you whether or not you have a bacterial or viral infection? Thats a myth, Donald Ford, MD, a family medicine physician at the Cleveland Clinic, tells Health. The green-yellow color of mucus that can develop is a byproduct of our own white blood cells, which we use to fight any kind of infection, viral or bacterial, so we cant tell the cause from the color of the mucus, she says. When mucus is thick and dark it usually suggests some mild dehydration, and you should increase fluid intake and use lots of saline spray to keep the mucus thin.

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