What Is A Sinus Infection
A sinus infection, medically known as rhinosinusitis, occurs when your ordinarily air-filled sinuses become filled and blocked with fluid, and your nasal cavities become infected, swollen and inflamed. The infection can be triggered by a virus, like the common cold, or it can be a result of allergies or polyps. Because of the fluid-filled passages, it is easy for bacteria to form and cause the infection.
Most Sinus Infections Dont Require Antibiotics
Ah, . The New England Journal of Medicine published a clinical practice review of acute sinus infections in adults, that is, sinus infections of up to four weeks. 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.
It is this discrepancy that has clinical researchers and public health folks jumping up and down in alarm, because more unnecessary prescriptions for antibiotics mean more side effects and higher bacterial resistance rates. But on the other hand, while 85% of sinus infections improve or clear on their own, theres the 15% that do not. Potential complications are rare, but serious, and include brain infections, even abscesses.
How Different Steroids Work
Before using steroid shots, there are other forms of steroid that can be applied to deal with sinus infection. They are:
When you are first diagnosed, your doctor may try a topical nasal steroid. These are sprayed into the nose and place steroid medication right on inflamed nasal tissues. These can’t always get deep into the sinuses. This is especially true if you have polyps in your nose or sinuses that can block inhaled medications.
Before trying a steroid shot for sinus infection, your doctor may want to try a short course of oral steroids. A “steroid burst” of oral prednisone taken for five to seven days may help to reduce inflammation. It may even help shrink the size of any polyps in the nose and sinuses. This can also help inhaled steroids get where they need to go.
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How Does It Affect Physical Activity
When you have a sinus infection, it causes nasal congestion. This can be problematic when you are attempting any physical activity beyond normal walking. Exerting your energy toward exercise while feeling congested can result in lightheadedness, which can affect your balance and coordination. If you feel any pressure in your chest, its best to avoid sports because this can affect your breathing, putting more pressure on your heart, causing it to work harder. If you do choose to participate in any physical activity while youre suffering from sinusitis, make sure to hydrate properly. Sinus infections can be very dehydrating, which is why it is so important to pay attention to your hydration. Drink plenty of clear liquids in order to keep your nasal discharge thin and clear for proper drainage. While it may be difficult to perform strenuous exercise while youre suffering from chronic sinus infections, light physical activity can be good for you. It can boost the bodys immune system to boost white blood cell production to help fight your illness. It can release endorphins, which can make you feel better. Just remember to keep all physical activity light, such as biking or walking, to avoid dehydration, overexertion, and becoming dizzy.
Causes Of Rhinitis With Exercise
Exercise can cause a runny nose if you have allergic rhinitis or nonallergic rhinitis. Scientists understand allergic rhinitis more than the nonallergic kind.
When you exercise, you are exposed to more allergens because you breathe in a larger amount of air. You breathe deeper and faster, allowing the allergens to enter your body. This is one way exercise can make your symptoms worse.
Between 27% and 74% of athletes are known to have some type of rhinitis.
Nonallergic causes of exercise-induced rhinitis are still a bit of a mystery to scientists. There are several factors that cause a runny nose that are not related to allergies. The main nonallergic causes of exercise-induced rhinitis are the following:
- You may be exposed to irritants like chemical fumes or strong odors that irritate your nasal passages although they do not trigger true allergies. Decreasing your exposure to these irritants can help resolve your chronic rhinitis.
- Emotional-induced rhinitis occurs because of stress and your emotions. A 2014 study revealed that people with higher stress levels experienced more runny noses, coughs, and congestion than people who had less stress.
- Vasomotor rhinitis is a catch-all category of nonallergic rhinitis that is used when the doctor rules out all other forms of rhinitis. It is more common in the elderly than the young.
Other Remedies For Blocked Noses
Breathing exercises can often help to clear a blocked nose, but they dont always suit everybody. Some other options that you can try at home include:
- Using an extra pillow when you sleep and staying in a more upright position during the day to reducing swelling and prevent fluid from building up in your head
- Massaging your sinuses to encourage fluid to move out of them. You can do this by moving your index fingers in small circles along your brow, around your nose, under your eyes and over your cheekbones. Use gentle pressure and work your way outwards from the nose.
- Apply a warm compress such as a wet towel or a warm hot water bottle to your face. It can help to open up your nasal passages.
- Have a warm bath or shower. The warm, wet air should help to loosen up mucus and relieve nasal congestion. You can also use a humidifier in your room to achieve a similar effect.
- Over the counter nasal sprays, saline solutions, mentholated salves and decongestants. You can ask a pharmacist for advice on how to use these treatments.
If your nasal congestion is very severe, it isnt getting better or it keeps coming back, then you can talk to a doctor to find out if theres an underlying issue that needs to be treated.
Donts: What Not To Do With Sinusitis
Of course there are certain activities you should do when you have a sinus infection and things that you should not do when you have a sinus infection. We recommend avoiding the following activities to have a speedy recovery.
- Dont fly in an airplane: The pressure on an airplane can increase the pain in your ears and nasal cavities. If you can avoid it, we suggest not flying when suffering from sinusitis.
- Dont drink alcohol: You shouldnt consume alcohol with a sinus infection. Alcohol dehydrates the body and can cause your nose and nasal cavities to swell when dehydrate, in turn exacerbating your symptoms.
- Dont swim in a pool: chlorine in swimming pools can irritate your nose, especially in higher doses. If suffering from sinusitis, avoiding returning to the pool until youve fully recovered from the infection.
- Dont breathe irritating materials or smoke:avoid breathing in harmful materials or fumes when you have a sinus infection. You should not smoke cigarettes or cigars. And, you should avoid high pollution areas. Try to breathe in clean, fresh air. This will be the best for your sinuses and your recovery.
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Should I Call Out Of Work With A Sinus Infection
By Jessi Cole, January 2, 2019
Winter is a season for sinusitis and sinus infections, and that often means lost productivity, as workers either call in sick or try to power through. It’s difficult to be at your best when you’re suffering from the symptoms of a sinus infection, and your productivity will almost always take a hit as a result. But is it necessary to call out of work, for the sake of your own health as well as that of others?
Know What Youre Dealing With
When you get a sinus infection, what that really means is that you have inflammation and swelling of your sinuses.
The cause can be many things a cold, allergies, nasal polyps, or even non-allergic rhinitis .
Symptoms of a sinus infection include thick nasal discharge, pressure and pain around the eyes and face, headache, nasal obstruction, congestion, post nasal drip, cold symptoms, and fever or cough.
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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.
Treatments For Sinus Infections Other Than Antibiotics
#1: Saline Nasal Wash
Saline nasal wash can be a great way to thin out the mucous in the sinuses enough to clear out the blockage. I recommend starting this early on in the course of the illness to prevent the infection from worsening.
You can even make this at home using 2 cups of water and a 1/2 teaspoon of salt. I would add a 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of baking soda to prevent burning that can occur with use. There are also plenty of over the counter saline nasal sprays that you can purchase. You can use this 4-6 times per day.
Vaporizers are great because they can also thin out the mucous and make you feel a lot better. An easy home remedy, steam is probably the best way to use this treatment. Beware if you are an asthmatic as the steam could cause worsening of the asthma symptoms.
#3: Steroid Nasal Spray
Steroid nasal sprays such as Flonase have been my go to remedy recently and the great news is that they are now over the counter. The general recommendation is to use 1-2 sprays per nostril daily.
But I have found great relief using 2 sprays in each nostril twice daily. At these higher doses it is important to remember that you should use this short term, no more than 5-7 days.
These medications can significantly reduce inflammation allowing the congestion blockage to clear and significantly alleviate symptoms.
Guaifenesin such as Mucinex can certainly break up the mucous, allowing the congestion to clear more quickly.
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How To Get Your Taste Back After A Sinus Infection
David Cuthbertson, MD
Youve been dealing with a nasty sinus infection for a few days. Its a little annoying, but youre pushing through.
Then it happens. Youve been looking forward to your favorite lasagna all week. You sit down to the special meal ready to relish it. But that first bite Oh no! Its flavorless mush! Youve completely lost your taste!
Whats happening? Can a sinus infection cause that? Do you have COVID-19?
If youve ever found yourself wondering how to get your taste back after a sinus infection, look no further.
Blood In Nose Sinus Infection
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Dont Let Allergies Stop You From Exercising
That said, if you are suffering from a runny or congested nose while exercising, its time to stop allowing it to keep you from fitness activities. After all, exercising is extremely important to your overall health and wellbeing. Schedule an appointment with CT Sinus Center to find out how we can help you put down the tissues and pick up your performance. Through our patient-centered philosophy and up-to-date diagnostic tools, our expert physicians will find the right treatment for your specific symptoms. You may even be a candidate for one of our two outpatient procedures, both of which will end your suffering in around an hour:
- Balloon Sinus Dilation, which will reshape your nasal passages, promoting draining and natural healing
- Turbinate Reductions, in which the tissue in the nose that supports the nasal passages is decreased, decreasing the size of the turbinate and quickly increasing airflow
Call 860-BALLOON to schedule an appointment at one of CT Sinus Centers four conveniently-located offices, and let us help you get back on that track and leave your exercise-induced rhinitis in the dust.
Working Out With A Sinus Infection: The Potential Benefits
Does exercise help sinusitis? Why do my sinuses clear when I exercise? Does exercise help sinus pressure? All of these frequently asked questions can be answered with an explanation of the benefits of working out with a sinus infection.
And yes, there are some benefits to working out with a sinus infection. Light exercise can help white blood cell production, increase blood circulation, and give you a little bit of an endorphin boost.
But one of the biggest benefits you can get from working out with a sinus infection is that exercise encourages your body to produce adrenaline. Adrenaline, a hormone that, among other things, can help your blood vessels contract. Contracted blood vessels may help reduce the inflammation and swelling that causes a sinus infection.
In other words, exercising with a sinus infection may help clear your sinuses and reduce some headache-inducing sinus pressure. Granted, working out with sinus pressure probably wont seem like much fun, but a little movement can sometimes go a long way.
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When You Can Run
If your cold is mild and you dont have much congestion, its usually safe to work out.
A good rule of thumb is to consider the location of your symptoms. When your symptoms are located above your neck, you may be able to exercise safely.
But its still a good idea to take it easy. This will help your immune system fight off the cold as you continue being physically active.
You can dial down your running routine by:
- jogging instead of running
- taking brisk walks instead of running
How Can I Prevent Loss Of Taste In The Future
Preventing sinus infections from developing in the first place is the best way to ensure you keep enjoying your meals.
If youre prone to seasonal allergies, make regular sinus irrigation a habit during the seasons that affect you the most.
You may also want to talk to an ENT doctor about treating your allergies more aggressively with prescription allergy medications to prevent the swelling that blocks the sinuses.
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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 initially improving.
- Symptoms lasting more than 10 days without improvement.
- 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
How Long Will It Take To Regain My Sense Of Taste
Because everyone heals at different rates, theres unfortunately no set amount of time in which you can expect to regain your senses of taste and smell. But we do know that the faster you open your sinuses and clear the infection, the faster your healing will occur. With the proper treatment, you could be enjoying that lasagna again within a few days, or it may take up to a few weeks.
Rarely, it can take several months to regain your sense of taste, but this usually results from chronic sinus infections that are harder to treat.
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Working Out With A Sinus Infection: The Potential Drawbacks
While exercising with a sinus infection can have benefits, its important that you dont overdo it. Should your sinus infection have traveled into your chest, all doctors will recommend that you avoid exercise. Your body will benefit more from rest than from a walk.
No matter where in your body your sinus infection is living, its best to avoid activities that require balance. Well get into why below, but for now simply know that when your nasal passages are blocked, you have an increased chance of feeling dizzy.
There are a few other things you should check on before deciding whether or not to exercise. For example, if you have a sinus infection, weather changes may give you more trouble than normal, so its smart to keep an eye on the forecast.
Its also helpful to check in with other symptoms besides your congestion. If you have both a sinus infection and nausea , then its better to avoid any kind of activity so as to not further upset your stomach.
First Things First: Is It Even Safe To Work Out While Sick
If you’re feeling under the weather, exercise may be the last thing you feel like doingand it’s true that when your body’s already under a lot of stress , making it do more work isn’t always a good idea. But in some cases, light to moderate activity may actually help you feel better, Richard Besser, MD, author of Tell Me the Truth, Doctor: Easy-to-Understand Answers to Your Most Confusing and Critical Health Questions, tells Health.
Dr. Besser references the neck rule, which essentially separates the body into two sections: above the neck and below the neck. If your symptoms are above the neckthink: sneezing, sinus pressure, stuffy nosethen breaking a sweat is generally considered safe. Anything below the neck, howeversore throat, cough, vomiting, diarrhea, chills require you to take a few days off and rest up to give your body a fighting chance at whatevers ailing you.
But even with those guidelines, you should still pay attention to how your bodys feelingthat means if you dont really feel like working out with major sinus congestion, dont. And even if you do deicide to get in quick workout with your above the neck symptoms, some exercises are better than others. Here are some of the best workout options to consider for when youre feeling just a little under the weather, but still want to be active.
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