How To Prevent A Sinus Infection
Prevention is really the key, she said. Staying healthy by drinking plenty of fluids, getting adequate rest, decreasing stress and washing your hands are all good preventive steps.
Make sure you get recommended vaccines such as the flu vaccine. Also, dont smoke and avoid secondhand smoke. And avoid close contract with others who have colds or other upper respiratory infections, Melinda said.
When To Contact A Medical Professional
- Your symptoms last longer than 10 to 14 days or you have a cold that gets worse after 7 days.
- You have a severe headache that is not relieved by over-the-counter pain medicine.
- You have a fever.
- You still have symptoms after taking all of your antibiotics properly.
- You have any changes in your vision during a sinus infection.
A green or yellow discharge does not mean that you definitely have a sinus infection or need antibiotics.
Recommended Reading: How To Test For Sinus Infection At Home
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.
You May Like: Over The Counter Yeast Infection Meds
Surgical Treatment For Chronic Sinusitis
Although medical therapy and lifestyle tweaks are the first-line treatment for chronic rhinosinusitis, some people may fail to respond to optimal therapy. In such cases, Ear, Nose Throat and Allergy Specialist performs a surgery to widen up the blocked sinuses and remove any trapped mucus or polyps.
Other situations in which surgery could be considered include:
- When chronic sinusitis symptoms do not respond to the medical treatments listed above, and CT scan of your sinuses reveals complete blockage of one or more sinuses.
- When nasal polyps fail to shrink enough with steroids.
- When a severe deviation of the septum completely blocks your nose or hinders sinus drainage.
- When theres a suspicion of allergic fungal sinusitis. The sinuses in allergic fungal sinusitis get clogged with thick, dense mucus that is hard to remove in any way other than surgery.
What Is The Function Of The Sinuses
The human skull contains four major pairs of hollow air-filled cavities called sinuses. These are connected to the space between the nostrils and the nasal passage . Sinuses help insulate the skull, reduce its weight, and allow the voice to resonate within it. The four major pairs of sinuses are:
The sinuses contain defenses against viruses and bacteria . The sinuses are covered with a mucous layer and cells that contain tiny hairs on their surface that help trap and propel bacteria and pollutants outward.
Acute sinusitis typically lasts less than eight weeks or occurs no more than three times per year with each episode lasting no longer than 10 days. Medications are generally effective against acute sinusitis. Successful treatment counteracts damage done to the mucous lining of the sinuses and surrounding bone of the skull.
Chronic or recurring sinusitis lasts longer than eight weeks or occurs more than four times per year, with symptoms usually lasting more than 20 days.
Read Also: Get Rid Of Sinus Infection At Home
What You Should Do
Dr. Sedaghat recommends that you treat colds symptomatically. I tell my patients do whatever makes them feel better. Pain relievers like acetaminophen and ibuprofen can help. Home remedies that can improve nasal symptoms include saltwater rinses for the nose, Dr. Sedaghat suggests. He also points out that maintaining a healthy diet and drinking plenty of fluids can help keep your energy levels up.
Sinus infections are treated the same way as a cold. If bacteria cause the infection, antibiotics are an option. But many bacterial sinus infections get better on their own.
All Symptoms Point To A Sinus Infection
Sinus headache behind the eyes check. Sinus cavity pain check. Congested nasal passages check. Even when all signs suggest that you have a sinus infection, its still a good idea to reach out to a medical provider who can help determine if your infection is viral or bacterial.
Viral sinus infections are most common, and usually stem from a viral infection like the common cold. If your infection is viral in nature, antibiotics wont help because they dont, and cant, attack viruses. Instead, treatment includes a blend of over-the-counter medications, in a safe dosage and combination, to help bring relief while your immune system fights the virus.
Bacterial infections are also likely to follow a viral cold that evolves into a bacterial infection within the sinus passages. Bacterial sinusitis is less common overall, but more likely if your symptoms continue to worsen and stick around for more than 10 days. Treatment for a bacterial sinus infection often includes an antibiotic.
For either type of infection, reducing the pain and pressure are the key to getting you back to 100%.
What Are Symptoms And Treatment
Typically, youll have facial pain/pressure, headaches, nasal drainage and congestion, decreased or loss of sense of smell, tooth pain and sore throat. Treatment depends on the cause but can include medications to decrease inflammation and treat the infection. Sometimes rinsing out your sinuses can help. At home this can be done by using a nasal saline solution or Neti pot. In severe cases, you may need to be treated by an ear, nose and throat doctor.
What Are The Symptoms Of A Sinus Infection
So if youâve 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 hereâs some quick advice: That whole thing about the color of your snot telling you whether or not you have a bacterial or viral infection? Thatâs a myth, Donald Ford, MD, a family medicine physician at the Cleveland Clinic, tells Health. âThe 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,â 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.
Recommended Reading: Alka Seltzer Plus Sinus Congestion And Cough
Don’t Miss: Over The Counter Yeast Infection Male
Are Sinus Infections Contagious
A sinus infection caused by a virus is contagious. When you sneeze or cough, the virus can travel in droplets of moisture through the air. If another person breathes in the virus, they might develop a cold that turns into a sinus infection. In order to limit the spread of sinus infections, remember to cover your nose and mouth when you cough or sneeze. And wash your hands frequently to avoid leaving the virus on objects that you touch.
If your sinus infection is caused by a bacteria or fungus, its not contagious. But you should still wash your hands frequently and cover your nose and mouth when you cough and sneeze.
When Do Symptoms First Appear
The symptoms of a sinus infection often come on suddenly. COVID-19 symptoms can develop more gradually 2 to 14 days after exposure to SARS-CoV-2.
Viruses that cause a cold or flu tend to circulate in the fall and winter months. COVID-19 can occur any time of the year. While a sinus infection could develop following COVID-19, this hasnt yet been reported by research.
A sinus infection can also occur after exposure to allergens or irritants, such as pollen, pet dander, and cigarette smoke. If you have allergies or were recently around an irritant, you may be at risk for a sinus infection.
A More In Depth Explanation Of Sinusitis
Acute sinusitis causes the cavities around your nasal passages to become inflamed and swollen. This interferes with drainage and causes mucus to build up.
With acute sinusitis, it might be difficult to breathe through your nose. The area around your eyes and face might feel swollen, and you might have throbbing facial pain or a headache.
Acute sinusitis is mostly caused by the common cold. Unless a bacterial infection develops, most cases resolve within a week to 10 days.
In most cases, home remedies are all thatâs needed to treat acute sinusitis. However, persistent sinusitis can lead to serious infections and other complications. Sinusitis that lasts more than 12 weeks despite medical treatment is called chronic sinusitis.
Read Also: How Long A Sinus Infection Last
Runny Nose And Postnasal Drip
When you have a sinus infection, you may need to blow your nose often because of nasal discharge, which can be cloudy, green, or yellow. This discharge comes from your infected sinuses and drains into your nasal passages.
The discharge may also bypass your nose and drain down the back of your throat. You may feel a tickle, an itch, or even a sore throat.
Also Check: Doxycycline Dosage For Sinus Infection In Adults
What Causes Loss Of Taste And Smell How To Get It Back
Colds, sinus infections, and general congestion are the most common causes of temporary loss of smell. In most cases, your sense of smell will return as the congestion clears up. While this is the most common culprit behind the loss of taste and smell there are plenty of other conditions too that can lead to this problem.
- Radiation therapy
- Over-exposure to certain chemicals
As the flu or cold clears up, your sense of smell and taste should return within a few days. You must remember that some viral infections could cause permanent damage to your sense of taste. It is a grave condition, and you must consult your primary care doctor if your sense of taste and smell does not return even after you have recovered from the cold or flu.
How Can You Treat Nasal Discharge
Your recommended treatment plan will depend on the underlying cause of your nasal discharge. In many cases, you can take steps to relieve your symptoms using simple home remedies. In some cases, your doctor may recommend medications or other treatments.
If a cold or flu is causing your nasal discharge, your treatment options may be limited. In most cases, your body will recover on its own. You should be sure to get plenty of rest and drink lots of fluids. Over-the-counter medications may help relieve some of your symptoms. If your flu symptoms are severe, your doctor might prescribe you an antiviral medication. This may reduce the time it takes for you to heal.
Read Also: How To Know If It’s A Sinus Infection
Other Remedies For Symptom Relief
Staying hydrated can help thin mucus to ease congestion.
Drinking hot liquids such as tea and broth may help relieve your symptoms. Breathing in moist air may also help relieve the discomfort that comes with nasal congestion. Try breathing in steam from the shower, a bowl of hot water, or a mug of tea.
If your voice is hoarse, rest it by avoiding yelling, whispering, and singing.
Placing a warm compress over the inflamed area can help reduce pressure and provide relief.
damages the natural protective elements of your nose, mouth, throat, and respiratory system.
If you smoke, consider quitting. Ask a doctor if you need help or are interested in quitting. Quitting may help prevent future episodes of both acute and chronic sinusitis.
Wash your hands frequently, especially during cold and flu seasons, to keep your sinuses from becoming irritated or infected by viruses or bacteria on your hands.
Using a humidifier during the cooler, dryer months may also help prevent sinus infections.
Talk with a doctor to see if allergies are causing your sinusitis. If youre allergic to something that causes persistent sinus symptoms, you will likely need to treat your allergies to relieve your sinus infection.
You may need to seek an allergy specialist to determine the cause of the allergy. The specialist may suggest:
- avoiding the allergen
- doing allergic immunotherapy
Keeping your allergies under control can help prevent repeated episodes of sinusitis.
Can You Have A Sinus Infection For Years
Sinusitis symptoms that last for more than 12 weeks could be chronic sinusitis. In addition to frequent head colds, your risk for chronic sinusitis also goes up if you have allergies. “Chronic sinusitis can be caused by an allergy, virus, fungus, or bacteria and can go on for months or even years,” says Dr.
Read Also: Do Ear Drops Help With Ear Infections
How To Tell The Difference And What To Do About It
Its no fun coping with the stuffy, dripping head congestion of a winter bug. But how do you know if youre fighting a common cold or a sinus infection? The symptoms can overlap, and it can be hard to tell the difference, says Dr. Ahmad Sedaghat, an otolaryngologist with Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary.
Dont Miss: Bath To Help Yeast Infection
When Does Antibiotic Resistance Occur
Antibiotic resistance occurs in a persons own body and within the community when certain drugs no longer work for a specific type of germ. This can occur when bacteria change in response to exposure to antibiotics so that the antibiotics no longer work efficiently against the bacteria.
Unfortunately, itâs hard to know if a sinus infection is bacterial, viral, or has other causes based on symptoms alone. Because viral sinus infections tend to improve in 5 to 7 days, healthcare providers will usually only prescribe antibiotics if your symptoms go on for longer than this. A sinus infection that persists for longer than a week or continues to get worse during this time period is more likely to be bacterial.
Therefore, allergists and other specialists recommend limiting the use of antibiotics unless:
- Symptoms last over seven to 10 days
- A fever is present
Recommended Reading: Infection Control Software For Hospitals
Complications Of Sinus Infection
Sinus inflammation can spread to the bones and soft tissues of the face and eyes. This can cause:
- Cellulitis of the face or around the eyes
- Abscesses of the eyes
Left intreated, sinus infections can also lead to serious intracranial complications, including blood clots within the cavernous sinus, pus between the skulls and dura mater , and meningitis.
Is Fresh Air Good For Sinus Infection
When the air you breathe is too dry, the mucus in your nose and sinuses won’t flow properly and your sinuses won’t drain as well as they should. Congestion can then lead to sinus pain and sinusitis. Sinusitis experts agree that adding humidity to the air with a humidifier is generally good for sinus health.
Don’t Miss: Yeast Infection Treatment While Breastfeeding
How To Treat A Sinus Infection At Home
Many sinus infections go away on their own. You can try some of these treatments at home to help you manage your symptoms and feel more comfortable.
- Press a warm, moist towel to your face for 5-10 minutes every day. This can help reduce swelling and pain.
- Drink lots of water and other fluids. This can help thin your mucus and reduce congestion.
- Breathe in warm, humid air. Using a humidifier helps, or you can take a hot shower or bath.
- Try clearing your nasal passages with a saline solution . A saline wash helps clear your nasal packages and reduces congestion. You can buy saline drops at your local pharmacy or make your own saline solution at home.
- Over-the-counter pain medicine like Tylenol and Advil can help reduce pain and manage other symptoms, like a fever or headaches.
Types Of Viral Sinus Infection
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.
You May Like: Bacterial Infection In Dogs Treatment
What Is A Sinus Infection
A sinus infection, medically known as sinusitis or rhinosinusitis, occurs when your nasal cavities become infected, swollen, and inflamed. Fluid buildup in the sinuses can cause germs to grow, leading to a sinus infection.
Sinusitis is usually caused by a virus and often lasts even after other upper respiratory symptoms are gone. In some cases, bacteria or, rarely, fungus may cause a sinus infection.
How Is Sinusitis Treated
Sinusitis is treated in several ways, each depending on how severe the case of sinusitis is.
A simple sinusitis infection is treated with:
- Drinking fluids .
If symptoms of sinusitis don’t improve after 10 days, your doctor may prescribe:
- Oral or topical decongestants.
- Prescription intranasal steroid sprays. .
Long-term sinusitis may be treated by focusing on the underlying condition . This is usually treated with:
- Intranasal steroid sprays.
- Topical antihistamine sprays or oral pills.
- Leukotriene antagonists to reduce swelling and allergy symptoms.
- Rinsing the nose with saline solutions that might also contain other types of medication.
When sinusitis isn’t controlled by one of the above treatments, a CT scan is used to take a better look at your sinuses. Depending on the results, surgery may be needed to correct structural problems in your sinuses. This is most likely to happen if you have polyps and/or a fungal infection.
Also Check: Sinus Infection Lower Tooth Pain