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When Sinus Infections Dont Go Away
Sinus infections are a common problem for most of us, particularly when the seasons change. You know the symptoms: postnasal drainage, stuffy nose, pressure around your eyes and forehead, and nasal discharge. Sometimes it comes with a sore throat, fever, or earache. Typically, youre miserable for a few days or a week, and then youre back to normal. But sometimes that sinus infection just wont go away.
What Is The Treatment For Chronic Sinus Infection
When it comes to treating chronic sinusitis, theres no one-size-fits-all solution. While several treatment options are available, what works for one person may not be appropriate for the other. Hence, we tailor the treatment to each individuals needs, symptoms, and whether or not other conditions are also at play.
The goals of treating chronic sinusitis are to address the allergic causes, minimize inflammation, promote free sinus drainage, and eradicate the infection .
Here are a few potential treatment options for chronic sinusitis. We will likely try out a combination of two or more of these options to see what works best for you.
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Hum Your Way To Sinus Pain Relief
âSome people report that humming for one hour improves sinus pain,â 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 donât mind hearing for an hour, you may want to try a little humming.
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How Is Sinusitis Diagnosed
Your healthcare provider will ask you a lot of questions in order to develop a detailed medical history and find out about your symptoms. They will also do a physical examination. During the exam, your care provider will check your ears, nose and throat for any swelling, draining or blockage. An endoscope may be used to look inside the nose. In some cases, you might be referred to an ear, nose and throat specialist. If you needed an imaging exam, your provider would order a computed tomography scan.
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Initial Stages Of A Sinus Infection
In most situations, a sinus infection is a secondary infection that occurs after another illness or health concern. For example, you might have a head cold that develops into a sinus infection because of the congestion. Or, chronic allergies can cause conditions that result in sinus infections.
When a sinus infection occurs, it means that there is swelling, inflammation, and infection in the sinus areas. Typically, sinuses are open cavities filled with air. When drainage is blocked, then an infection can occur.
In the earliest stages of a sinus infection, youll likely feel discomfort and pressure in the sinus areas. Its common to have congestion, which could lead to a blocked sinus making it hard to breathe through one side of your nose.
As the symptoms progress, the pain intensifies. An untreated sinus infection can disrupt every area of your life, making it hard to get through the day because of the pressure and pain.
If You Think You Have A Sinus Infection
If you feel you are experiencing sinus infection symptoms, make an appointment with your PartnerMD physician, and do not attempt to treat symptoms on your own. While you may initially be recommended OTC treatments, only your doctor can accurately diagnose your symptoms, and prescribe the right treatment for relief.
Have a question about your sinus infection symptoms? Contact us today to see if a relationship with a concierge doctor could be beneficial.
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Richmond, VA 23230
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Pain Or Pressure In Your Sinuses
Facial pain is a common symptom of sinusitis. You have several different sinuses above and below your eyes, as well as behind your nose. Any of these air-filled cavities can hurt when you have a sinus infection.
Inflammation and swelling can cause your sinuses to ache with dull pressure. This is because inflammation may alter the typical path of mucus from the nose to the back of the throat.
You may feel pain in:
- on either side of your nose
- in your upper jaws and teeth
- between your eyes
This may lead to a headache. Headaches caused by sinus infections can occur where the sinuses are or in other places.
What Happens When A Sinus Infection Goes Untreated
Although it may seem like it, your sinuses are not just contributing to your infections. They have many other functions like regulating air temperature, producing mucus to fight infections, and assist in communication. The sinuses are very important to your overall health and contribute to many different bodily functions.
Many sufferers are able to let their body clear up the infection on its own. They can suffer through their symptoms for a few days or even a week with only over-the-counter medication and feel better fairly soon. When sinus infections wonât seem to go away or continue to return, there may be a more serious problem going on. These particularly painful infections are known as chronic sinusitis and they need more attention and care than just over-the-counter medications.
Frequent sinus infections have been known to take a toll on all aspects of sufferersâ lives. When headaches, congestion, fatigue, facial pain, bad breath and much more continue, it can contribute to other serious issues such as:
- Relationship problems
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Things To Know About Sinus Infections In Children
How to tell if your child has a sinus infection
If your child has a cold that just wont go away, he may have a sinus infection . Children with respiratory allergies can even end up with a sinus infection without being sick first. Its likely your child has sinusitis if he has some combination of these symptoms:
Nasal congestion that persists for ten days or more
Thick yellow or green nasal discharge
A cough during the day that gets worse at night
Swelling around the nose and eyes that almost looks like a shiner
Pain in the jaw or behind the forehead or nose
An ongoing low-grade fever
How a cold or allergy can turn into sinusitis
With a little anatomy lesson, youll see how easy it is for a sinus infection to begin.
The sinuses are air-filled cavities above and below your eyes and on either side of your nose. When you have a cold or allergies, the normally thin lining of the sinuses swells. If the swelling blocks the passages between the sinuses and the nose, problems arise.
The sinuses are warm, wet, and dark, making them a good place for bacteria to grow. When enough bacteria have accumulated, you have a sinus infection.
How to treat sinusitis
Your child will need to take antibiotics, probably for two to three weeks. If the symptoms dont go away by then, or if they improve for a short time and then recur, the doctor may suggest trying a different antibiotic. With luck, youll find one that works.
What to do about repeated sinus infections
Sinusitis Is Not A Regular Cold But Colds Can Cause Sinusitis
Your sinuses, which are hollow spaces in the bones around your nose, are lined with mucus that traps bacteria, dust and allergens and drains out through your nose.
When your sinuses become inflamed due to a cold, mucus cant drain, so it builds up and can lead to sinusitis, which can be viral or bacterial.
Sinusitis is inflammation of the lining of the sinuses, which leads to swelling that can cause obstruction and an accumulation of mucus, says Dr. Hur, an assistant professor of clinical otolaryngology head and neck surgery at the Keck School of Medicine of USC.
Sinusitis can be caused by allergies, nasal polyps, infections or a weakened immune system from medications or illness, he says.
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Can A Sinus Infection Last For Months
Sinusitis wont go away at the drop of a hat. It tends to linger and, if left untreated, it can last for months. Again, its best to take a trip to your doctors office if your symptoms last longer than one week.
Note that there is a chance that long-term sinus issues may be caused by allergens. If this is the case, then your sinus symptoms will likely last until you can escape the allergen or have the allergies treated.
How To Get A Diagnosis
If you have symptoms that suggest chronic sinusitis, it’s best to make an appointment with a doctor as soon as possible especially if you experience symptoms that point to a spreading infection, such as:
- Worsening symptoms
- Severe symptoms such as a severe headache, pain around your face, or a high fever
- Difficulty seeing or blurred vision
Note: In some rare cases, chronic sinusitis can cause serious complications, such as blindness and meningitis.
Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and how long you’ve had them. They’ll also examine your face, ears, nose, throat, and chest for signs of swelling and tenderness.
To confirm a diagnosis of chronic sinusitis, your doctor may recommend some tests, including:
- Aeroallergen allergy testing: This can help your doctors identify any allergens irritating your sinuses.
- CT scan: This imaging test can help detect any swelling, fluid collection, or inflammation in your sinuses.
- Nasal endoscopy: This test allows your doctor to look into your sinuses for signs of swelling and inflammation. They can also take a sample of the fluids for a culture to identify any bacteria present.
- Sinus biopsy: If there is any tissue or mass in your sinuses, your doctor may take a small portion of it to determine the cause and best treatments.
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When To Seek Medical Care
See a doctor if you have:
- Severe symptoms, such as severe headache or facial pain.
- Symptoms that get worse after improving.
- Symptoms lasting more than 10 days without getting better.
- Fever longer than 3-4 days.
You should also seek medical care if you have had multiple sinus infections in the past year.
This list is not all-inclusive. Please see a doctor for any symptom that is severe or concerning.
Other conditions can cause symptoms similar to a sinus infection, including:
- Seasonal allergies
Is Online Care An Option
Absolutely! Sinus infections are easy to diagnose and treat safely through an online or video interview. When you see a doctor or nurse practitioner through an online or video visit, youll be asked the same questions as you would if you were in person. They can also prescribe medication and set up a treatment plan to help get you feeling better right away.
When its time to see someone for your sinusitis symptoms, consider Virtuwell.com our online clinic thats available day and night. Our certified nurse practitioners diagnose and treat more sinus infections than any other condition.
If you want to see your primary care doctor, you can set up a primary care appointment. And if you dont want to leave the house, you can make it a video visit.
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Antibiotic Treatment For Bacterial Sinusitis
Antibiotic treatment is usually only needed if the infection does not improve within 7-10 days, the person has another medical condition which may affect recovery, or if:
- Severe pain is present
- Swelling at the front of the head, cheeks or around the eyes occurs
- Nasal discharge contains blood
- High fever is present
These are indications that the bacterial infection is severe. Antibiotic treatment is usually prescribed for about 10 days, but shorter courses may be as effective, depending on the bacteria involved. The choice of which antibiotic to use will be based on which bacteria the treating physician thinks are likely to be involved in the infection.
How Do You Know If Your Sinus Infection Is Getting Better
Lets say you do have a fever and thick, yellowish mucus. Odds are its a sinus infection. But how do you know whether or not its a bacterial sinus infection?If youre on day 3 or 4 of an infection, it will be difficult to ascertain what kind of infection you have on your own.
However, if youre somewhere between day 7 and day 11, this is what you should be on the lookout for:
- Fever is completely gone or noticeably improving
- Your congestion and discharge is obviously lessening
- You dont feel as fatigued as you did a few days ago
The theme here is obvious improvement. If your situation is improving, then you probably have a viral sinus infection and do not need antibiotics. If your situation is not improving , schedule an appointment with your doctor.
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Common Symptoms Of A Bacterial Sinus Infection
- Same symptoms of a viral sinus infection
- Symptoms start to worsen after 7-10 days
- Fever that lasts multiple days in a row
- Typically requires antibiotics
So, lets go back to the original question: Can you have a sinus infection without a fever? As you can now see, having or not having a fever wont always help you determine if you have a sinus infection.
However, one thing that you can say with more certainty is that you probably have a bacterial sinus infection if you have a fever that lasts multiple days and does not let up.
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When Should I Call My Healthcare Provider About Sinusitis
While many people successfully manage their sinusitis symptoms on their own, immediate medical treatment is necessary when the following occur:
- Fever of 102 or higher
- Sudden or severe pain in the head or face
- Swelling or redness around the eyes
- Cognitive difficulties like confusion or lethargy
- Vision changes, i.e., blurriness or seeing double
Its also recommended to see an ENT or sinus doctor for any symptoms that last 10 days or longer or worsen after showing signs of improvement.
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Sinusitis May Require A Call To Your Doctor
Although many sinus infections go away on their own, you may need to see a doctor if:
- You have severe symptoms from the beginning
- You start to get better but then feel worse again
- Have symptoms that last more than 10 days
You should seek care from a doctor if sinusitis impacts your quality of life and hasnt improved with over-the-counter treatments, Dr. Hur says.
How To Treat A Sinus Infection
You know how to treat a cold, but this seems like something else. That runny nose, facial pain, headache and sore throat just wont go away and you may also have bad breath and a cough. You go to the primary care provider and learn its not a cold its a sinus infection. What does that mean and how do you treat it?
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What Are The Different Types Of Sinuses Near The Nose And Eyes
The paranasal sinuses are located in your head near your nose and eyes. They are named after the bones that provide their structure.
- The ethmoidal sinuses are located between your eyes.
- The maxillary sinuses are located below your eyes.
- The sphenoidal sinuses are located behind your eyes.
- The frontal sinuses are located above your eyes.
The biggest sinus cavity is the maxillary cavity, and it is one of the cavities that most often becomes infected.
There are different types of sinusitis:
- Acute bacterial sinusitis: This term refers to a sudden onset of cold symptoms such as runny nose, stuffy nose, and facial pain that does not go away after 10 days, or symptoms that seem to improve but then return and are worse than the initial symptoms . It responds well to antibiotics and decongestants.
- Chronic sinusitis: This term refers to a condition defined by nasal congestion, drainage, facial pain/pressure, and decreased sense of smell for at least 12 weeks.
- Subacute sinusitis: This term is used when the symptoms last four to twelve weeks.
- Recurrent acute sinusitis: This term is used when the symptoms come back four or more times in one year and last less than two weeks each time.
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You Can Lessen Your Chances Of Sinusitis
Prevention for a sinus infection often starts with preventing the cold that might lead to it: Wash your hands, avoid people who are sick, and keep your body in good shape by eating healthy.
You can also help keep sinuses moist by using a humidifier and drinking plenty of fluids. In addition, control allergies and avoid smoking and secondhand smoke.
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