Diagnostic Approach To Acute Sinusitis
You should describe to your provider all of your symptoms, such as nasal discharge and specific pain in the face and head, including eye and tooth pain.
The provider will evaluate your symptoms and take a thorough medical history, including:
- Any history of allergies, asthma, or headaches.
- Recent upper respiratory infections and how long they lasted.
- History of sinusitis episodes that did not respond to antibiotic treatment.
- Exposure to cigarette smoke or other environmental pollutants.
- Recent air travel.
Imaging tests are not usually needed to diagnose acute sinusitis.
CT scanning is the best method for viewing the paranasal sinuses. However, CT scans are not recommended for most cases of uncomplicated acute bacterial sinusitis. They are only recommended for acute sinusitis if there is a severe infection, complications, or a high risk for complications, especially those that may affect the eyes or central nervous system.
CT scans can be useful for diagnosing chronic or recurrent acute sinusitis and for planning operations. They show inflammation and swelling and the extent of the infection, including in deeply hidden air chambers that x-rays and nasal endoscopy may miss. They may also detect fungal infections.
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 To Get Rid Of A Sinus Infection: Try These Methods Today
Sinus infections can really lower your quality of life, especially if they occur often. So if you’re looking for how to get rid of a sinus infection, try these methods to see if they work for you.
While surgery can be effective, it’s also quite invasive. If you live or work in the Scottsdale/Phoenix Metro area, please give the Sinus & Allergy Wellness Center a call today for an appointment to learn more. The Phoenix area specialty sinus clinic offers an alternate method that’s both quicker, in-office, less expensive, and more effective. Call 480-567-7098 to learn more about this method of treating sinusitis and see if you are a candidate!
You May Like: Antibiotic Cream For Ear Infection
How Do You Get Rid Of A Sinus Infection
Sinusitis symptoms are notoriously unbearable. Finding relief from the congestion, sinus pain, and sore runny nose can be difficult and uncomfortable.
In many cases, people turn to natural remedies and/or over-the-counter treatments to help relieve their physical discomforts, such as headaches, congestion, and mucus build-up.
In more serious cases, its good to consult a physician to discuss prescription options, such as corticosteroids, antibiotics, or antifungal medicines. These medications are often delivered intranasally , with the use of a nasal nebulizer device.
Nasal washing or irrigation with saline or a common over the counter nasal safe medicine can help reduce the excess mucus build-up and relieve other symptoms of post nasal drip, such as hacking and coughing.
Using compounding pharmacies to compound a sinus medication specifically for your needs, incorporating soothing ingredients to eliminate dry nose, can be very effective, especially when delivered appropriately to the infected and irritated areas.
How Can I Prevent Sinusitis
Some of the home remedies used to treat sinus infections symptoms may help prevent sinusitis. These include rinsing your nose out with salt water and using medications that your provider might suggest, such as allergy medications or steroid nasal sprays.
You should avoid things you are allergic to, like dust, pollen or smoke, and try to avoid sick people. Wash your hands to reduce your chance of getting a cold or flu.
Don’t Miss: Why Do I Smell Infection In My Nose
How To Get Relief From Sinusitis
If youve ever struggled to find relief from a sinus infection, youre not alone. Its a condition that impacts over 30 million Americans a year. In the US alone, sinusitis accounts for roughly 70 million days of decreased activity each year.
And, it seems that everyone is looking for a quick fix so they can get on with their daily activities. That being said…
The Right Way To Treat A Sinus Infection
5 min Read Time
Your head is throbbing, especially around your eyes. You cant stop coughing, and for some reason, your breath is terrible. Blowing your nose is a mess.
Bad news: You could have a sinus infection. Most frequently triggered by the common cold, over 30 million American adults are diagnosed with sinusitis yearly.
So, what exactly are sinus infections? How can you tell if you have one? And holy cow how can you feel better as quickly as possible?
Read Also: Can A Sinus Infection Cause A Earache
You May Like: Can You Use Keflex For Tooth Infection
Home Remedies To Treat Sinus Infections Without Prescription Antibiotics
Sinus infections are otherwise known as that annoying sickness that plagues your life for days at a time. But theres a solution, well there has always been a solution. However, there are home remedies that can rid your body of the garbage that is tormenting your sinuses.
There are a number of common symptoms for sinus infections including facial tenderness, pain, pressure, headaches, nasal stiffness, discolored nasal discharge, sore throat, cough, and fever. If you have been experiencing any of these symptoms you may be suffering from a sinus infection.
Here are 4 of the best sinus infection natural treatments. Dont wait around in doctors offices all day waiting to hear what you already know.
Treat your sinuses with this antibiotic, antiviral and anti-inflammatory spice. You may have used this for cooking and what not but you can also use it to clear your sinus infection. Turmeric is very good for congestion because it has an active compound called curcumin that can help heal swelling in your sinus cavity, as well as clear your airways.
Mix turmeric powder in a glass of warm water and gargle it a few times a day for a few days. Or you can try and mix a teaspoon of turmeric powder with a glass of milk and a little honey, drink this daily for about a week.
Use any of these sinus infection natural treatments to get rid of infections that have been holding you back.
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.
Read Also: Urinary Tract Infection Smells Like
What Is Sinus Infection Symptoms Causes Diagnosis Treatment And Prevention
Lying behind your eyebrows, behind your cheekbones, and between your eyes are your sinuses air-filled cavities lined with a mucous membrane that filters and humidifies the air you inhale.
This membrane produces and circulates mucus into your sinus and nasal passages to help remove dust, particles, and microbes from the air that you breathe. Tiny hair-like cells called cilia sweep the mucus to the openings that lead to the back of your throat, allowing it to slide down into your stomach.
A sinus infection occurs when the sinuses become inflamed and swell up because of a viral, bacterial, or fungal infection. The infection can be acute or chronic .
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.
Don’t Miss: How Do They Check For Kidney Infection
Structural Abnormalities Of The Nasal Passage
Structural abnormalities in the nose can cause a blockage, thereby increasing the risk for chronic sinusitis. These abnormalities include:
- Polyps in the nasal passage that block mucus drainage and may restrict airflow. Polyps can result from previous sinus infections that caused overgrowth of the nasal membrane.
- Enlarged adenoids can lead to sinusitis.
Adenoids are masses of tissue located high on the posterior wall of the pharynx. They are made up of lymphatic tissue, which trap and destroy germs in the air that enter the nasopharynx.
- Cleft palate.
- Deviated septum
- Other obstructive anatomic variants such as extra air cells adjacent to sinus openings.
How Is Sinus Infection Diagnosed
Diagnosis depends on symptoms and requires an examination of the throat, nose and sinuses. Your allergist will look for:
- Discolored nasal discharge
- Bad Breath
If your sinus infection lasts longer than eight weeks, or if standard antibiotic treatment is not working, a sinus CT scan may help your allergist diagnose the problem. Your allergist may examine your nose or sinus openings. The exam uses a long, thin, flexible tube with a tiny camera and a light at one end that is inserted through the nose. It is not painful. Your allergist may give you a light anesthetic nasal spray to make you more comfortable.
Mucus cultures: If your sinus infection is chronic or has not improved after several rounds of antibiotics, a mucus culture may help to determine what is causing the infection. Most mucus samples are taken from the nose. However, it is sometimes necessary to get mucus directly from the sinuses.
Knowing what kind of bacteria is causing the infection can lead to more effective antibiotic therapy. A fungus could also cause your sinus infection. Confirming the presence of fungus is important. Fungal sinus infection needs to be treated with antifungal agents, rather than antibiotics. In addition, some forms of fungal sinus infection allergic fungal sinus infection, for example do not respond to antifungal agents and often require the use of oral steroids.
Read Also: How To Cure Infection Without Antibiotics
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.
Prevention Of Sinus Infection
A sinus infection is not exactly contagious. But depending on what caused a personâs inflammation, other people may also develop the illness. For example, the common cold and flu are both contagious conditions that can lead to a sinus infection.
Taking steps to reduce your risk of contracting viral infections can help prevent sinus infections. These include:
- Practice good hygiene, such as by washing your hands often and covering your mouth when you cough and sneeze
- Get the recommended vaccinations, such as the flu vaccine and pneumococcal vaccine
- Keep your distance from people who have upper respiratory infections
- Take steps to reduce your stress, which affects your immune system
- Keep your immune system healthy, such as by eating a healthy diet rich in fruits and vegetables
Other ways to reduce your risk of getting a sinus infection include:
- Dont smoke cigarettes and try to avoid inhaling secondhand smoke
- Minimize your exposure to allergens and pollutants, such as by keeping your home windows closed and using a HEPA air conditioner filter, driving with your external vents closed and air conditioner on, and avoiding activities that expose you to pollen like lawn mowing and leaf blowing
- Moisten the air at home with a humidifier and avoid dry environments
- Inhale steam or use a saline nasal spray regularly
- Drink lots of water
- Irrigate your nasal passages regularly
Also Check: How To Fight A Tooth Infection Without Antibiotics
What Happens If You Let A Sinus Infection Go Untreated
A sinus infection that is left untreated can not only make life miserable it may develop into chronic sinusitis. If an infection isnt cared for properly, it could also result in some potentially serious complications. These types of issues are rare but they can occur:
If left untreated, sinus infections could potentially spread to the eyes, causing redness, irritation, and/or swelling. In severe cases, sufferers may experience reduced, blurry, or a complete loss of vision.
- Severe sinusitis may need to be treated with antibiotics administered through an IV.
- A CT scan may be required to determine the seriousness of the infection.
- In very rare cases, brain abscesses or meningitis may result from a severe and untreated sinus infection.
What Is A Sinus Infection
The sinuses, or sinus cavities, are hollow spaces that air flows through within the bones surrounding the nose. A sinus infection or sinusitis occurs when your nasal cavities become swollen and inflamed. Normally, your sinuses are filled with air. When sinuses become blocked and filled with fluid, germs can grow and cause an infection.
How long do sinus infections last? Well, that depends on what type of sinus infection you have. Acute sinusitis can last over two weeks even with appropriate treatment. If your sinus infection lasts longer than 10 to 14 days, then youre more likely to have bacterial sinusitis. Chronic sinusitis lasts much longer at least 12 weeks! Chronic sinusitis with polyps is an inflammation of the sinuses that lasts 12 weeks or longer and is associated with having nasal polyps. Other forms of chronic sinusitis are associated with allergies or a deviated septum and also last 12 weeks or longer.
How can you tell what type of sinus infection you have? Your doctor wont be able to tell you if your sinus infection is bacterial or viral based on symptoms or an exam alone. The best way to tell the root of a sinus infection is symptom duration. If its a viral sinus infection, it should start to improve after five to seven days. On the other hand, a bacterial infection often lasts seven to 10 days or even longer and the infection can get worse after seven days.
Read Also: Clotrimazole On Penile Yeast Infections
Untreated Sinus Infection Risks
Sinus infections often start to improve on their own after about 10 days. If your symptoms last longer without improving or if they worsen, a doctor may need to treat the underlying cause of the infection.
If a sinus infection affects a sinus cavity close to the brain, it can spread to the brain if left untreated. Though rare, an infection can also pass into the eye socket and cause vision changes or blindness. These types of infections are more common in kids.
While uncommon, a serious fungal sinus infection left untreated may pass into the bones.
Make an appointment with a doctor if you have severe symptoms, or if the following symptoms last longer than 10 days or keep coming back:
- facial pain
Because the cause of your sinus infection can affect your treatment options, its important to see a doctor for a diagnosis. The Healthline FindCare tool can provide options in your area if youre looking for a doctor.
If you believe you have chronic or recurring sinusitis, consider asking for a referral to an otolaryngologist, also known as an ear, nose, and throat specialist. You may need imaging and other tests to determine the cause of your symptoms.
An ENT specialist can take a culture of nose drainage to better understand the cause of an infection. The ENT specialist can also examine the sinuses more closely and look for any problem in the structure of the nasal passages that could lead to chronic sinus problems.