What Can I Do To Find Relief From A Sinus Infection
- Place a warm compress over your face to help relieve pressure.
- Breathe in steam by placing a towel over your head and leaning over a bowl or sink full of hot water to allow the steam to relieve congestion. WARNING: Make sure that the water is not too hot because steam can cause burns.
- Rinse the sinuses. Dr. Takashima recommends using the squeeze bottle over the neti pot for effective nasal irrigation.
- Keep the nasal passages moist by using a saline nasal spray.
- Use a humidifier to add moisture to the air.
Sinus Infection Vs Cold Vs Covid
The symptoms of a sinus infection, common cold, and COVID-19 illness can overlap, but these illnesses are not the same. A sinus infection is concentrated in the sinuses, and it is often caused by bacteria or viruses. The common cold and COVID-19 are caused by viruses. The common cold typically affects the upper respiratory tract, while COVID-19 can affect the upper and lower respiratory tract. In some cases, the common cold or COVID-19 may lead to a sinus infection.
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.
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Dont Settle For Chronic Sinus And Nasal Problems
If youre living with long-term unexplained congestion, difficulty breathing through your nose, or facial pressure — maybe even a dampened sense of smell — that seriously affects your daily quality of life, it doesnt have to be that way. Dukes sinus specialists offer advanced options that can provide the relief you need.
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:
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.
Conditions causing your chronic infections may include:
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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
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.
Nasal Discharge: Cause Treatments And Prevention
What is nasal discharge?
Mucus isnt just a slimy material in your nose it actually has a useful purpose. It traps bacteria, other germs, and debris, and prevents them from entering your lungs.
In some cases, such as when you have a cold or allergies, mucus may flow out of your nose or down your throat. When mucus comes out of your nose, its called nasal discharge. It can also be called post-nasal drip or rhinorrhea.
Although its annoying, nasal discharge is common and usually goes away on its own. But in some cases, its a sign of an underlying health problem that might require medical attention.
There are many potential causes of nasal discharge. Some of the most common include infections and allergies.
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When A Sinus Infection May Be Dangerous
A sinus infection occurs when the tissue lining in your sinus cavity becomes swollen or inflamed. When your sinuses are blocked, they become a breeding ground for bacteria and viruses that can lead to an infection. Thats why its best to visit your doctor at the first signs of a sinus infection. Otherwise, it could lead to a chronic condition. Heres how to know if your sinus infection has developed into something more dangerous:
What Is Chronic Sinusitis
Sinusitis is characterized by inflammation in your sinuses. It is considered chronic when it lasts for over 12 weeks. General sinusitis usually occurs as the result of an infection and can be cleared up with antibiotics. However, when the condition is chronic, antibiotics usually do not help since bacteria is often not the culprit.
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How Can You Tell If You Have Chronic Sinusitis
Does it feel like your sinus infection just wont quit? If you experience at least two of the following for 12 weeks or more even though youve been treated it may be chronic sinusitis:
- Discharge of mucus or postnasal drip
- Pain or pressure in your face
- Problems with smell
Chronic sinus infections can be triggered by colds but are typically caused by long-term inflammation. Sometimes, when treatments to control that inflammation fail, people with chronic sinusitis need surgery to drain their mucus.
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How Can I Prevent A Sinus Infection
One of the best ways to prevent chronic sinusitis is to avoid the initial infection. Follow these tips:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for a least 20 seconds, especially when coming into contact with commonly used surfaces. If soap and water are not available, use a hand sanitizer.
- Avoid anyone with a cold, flu or other respiratory illness.
- Stop smoking or avoid secondhand smoke.
If you have a sinus infection, stay home, if you can. Remember to practice the following safety measure so that you avoid making others sick:
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You Want Additional Treatment Options
When all the treatments dont seem to be helping, you need some options and an ENT specialist will be able to provide that care. Maybe you have been on antibiotics for a while, and although sometimes they can help, there are times they dont.
A specialist may prescribe a combination of treatments. They can determine if the infection is bacterial or instead an uncontrolled inflammation which may require other care.
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Sore Throat And Hoarse Voice
Postnasal drip can leave you with a raw and aching throat. Although it may start as an annoying tickle, it can get worse.
If your infection lasts for a few weeks or more, mucus can irritate and inflame your throat as it drips, resulting in a painful sore throat and hoarse voice. Frequent coughing and throat clearing can make a hoarse voice worse.
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.
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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.
Most Importantly Get Medical Help If Theres A Problem
Most sinus infections are harmless, but see a doctor if symptoms get worse after 10 days or symptoms seem to worsen after improving. In those cases, the infection may be serious enough to warrant prescription medications or other treatments. Certain symptoms, such as high or persistent fever, eye pain, vision changes, facial pain, and headache, are potential signs of a severe infection. Healthcare professionals are the best source to determine if a sinus infection is nothing to worry about or something to take seriously.
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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:
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.
Common Symptoms Of Sinus Pain
Urgent Care Forest Hill doctors identified the following earliest signs of a potential sinus problem:
- Pain or pressure in the eyes and cheekbones
- Swelling of the face
Acute sinus pain usually occurs at least three times a year and lasts for about 10 days to two months. A chronic sinus problem, however, recurs more than four times a year and lasts over two months.
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What Are The Treatment Options
Sinusitis is treated differently based on the cause. Most cases of acute sinusitis, about 98 percent, are caused by a virus, not bacteria, and should not be treated with antibiotics. Acute viral sinusitis may be treated using pain relievers such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen, steroid nasal sprays, or salt water irrigation in the nose. These treatments are also good options for acute bacterial sinusitis. Most people get better naturally from acute bacterial sinusitis, called watchful waiting, but some patients with acute bacterial sinusitis may get better faster with an antibiotic.
Chronic sinusitis is treated differently than acute sinusitis. Because chronic sinusitis is caused more by inflammation than infection, the treatments for chronic sinusitis aim to control the inflammation. Salt water nasal irrigation and/or nasal steroid sprays are the main treatments for the symptoms of chronic sinusitis. Antibiotics may sometimes be helpful but not always.
Other factors, including allergies, nasal polyps, asthma, and problems with the bodys ability to fight infections, can go along with sinusitis and make it worse unless they are also treated.
X-rays or CT scans of the sinuses are not necessary to diagnose uncomplicated sinusitis if you have the symptoms of sinusitis . If your doctor suspects a complication or if you have repeated episodes or prolonged sinus symptoms, a CT scan of your sinuses may be needed.
I Use The Quadrupedal Position
“If my facial pain or pressure is intense, I sometimes put my head towards the floor while on my hands and knees,” Dr. Kamat says. This is what’s called a quadrupedal position .
“The position of the cheek sinus opening is high along the nasal wall and known to be poor for natural or passive drainage due to gravity,” Dr. Kamat says. “In this position, the opening is better able to drain, and has been shown to reduce the duration of a sinus infection.”
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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 Is Acute Sinusitis And How Is It Treated
Acute sinusitis is short-term sinus inflammation, which is usually caused by an infection. Symptoms include sinus pain and congestion, discoloured mucus and fever. Acute sinusitis is most often caused by a self-limiting viral infection. If a bacterial infection is present, antibiotic treatment is required. In rare cases, an untreated bacterial sinus infection could cause serious complications.
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What Is An Otolaryngologist
An Otolaryngologist is a physician trained in the medical and surgical care of head and neck disorders. Commonly referred to as an ear, nose and throat doctor, an Otolaryngologist must complete 4 years of medical school and then at least 5 years of head and neck surgical and medical residency training to be eligible for the American Board of Otolaryngology exam. To become board certified, the otolaryngologist must pass a written examination as well as a rigorous oral exam. Board Certified Otolaryngologists have demonstrated the required competency in otology , rhinology , allergy, head and neck surgery , pediatric ear, nose and throat disorders, laryngology and facial plastic surgery. Otolaryngologists serve as community resources for public health issues including hearing impairment, oral and skin cancer prevention, obstructive sleep apnea and air quality.
Nose And Sinus Diseases We Diagnose And Treat
Our physicians at the Weill Cornell Medicine Ear, Nose and Throat Department are committed to providing the highest-quality nose and sinus disease care, offering solutions tailored to each patient. Our physicians are leaders in the field, using the latest diagnostic equipment and minimally invasive procedures to address your sinus and nasal problems, including:
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How Are Sinus Infections Treated
The best treatment or treatments for chronic sinus problems depend on the underlying cause of the problem. Some treatments prescribed often include:
- Broad spectrum oral antibiotics
- Allergy medications
- Over-the-counter or prescription decongestants
Only a qualified doctor can determine the best course of treatment. Ongoing evaluation and adaptation of the treatment plan are required for long-term success.
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