Treatments For Chronic Sinusitis
If your sinusitis lasts for longer than 12 weeks and does not respond to treatment, you can begin to feel hopeless that you will ever get relief. Unlike many sinus infections, chronic sinusitis is generally not caused by a bacterial infection and therefore does not respond to traditional treatments like antibiotics.
Many medical professionals now believe that chronic sinusitis is a condition similar to asthma and allergies and, therefore, requires very different treatment from a standard sinus infection. Treatment options may include:
When Should You See A Doctor About Your Sinus Infection
Most sinus infections stay viral and resolve on their own. But if home remedies arent helping, if your drainage turns yellow or green, or if your sinus infection sticks around for more than a week or 10 days, it might be time to give your ENT doctor a call.
Still have more questions about whether your sinus infection is contagious? Not sure if youre dealing with a viral or bacterial infection? Contact ENT Associates of Lubbock today, and we can help you figure out your next steps!
How Long Can A Sinus Infection Last If Not Treated
If you dont see a doctor for treatment, how long will it take a sinus infection to go away?
Depending on which type of sinus infection you have, a sinus infection can last anywhere from 10 days to 3 months. Its best to see a medical provider for treatment if you can., Dr. Varghese says.
Most acute sinus infections last about 10 days, while chronic sinusitis lasts longer than 12 weeks.
Viral sinus infections typically improve after about seven to 10 days, but mild symptoms may last longer than that. Bacterial sinusitis, on the other hand, may actually get worse after the seven-day mark and can persist without improvement for 10 days to a few weeks.
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Types Of Chronic Sinusitis Or Chronic Sinus Infections
While acute sinusitis often involves an infection, chronic sinusitis does not. Sometimes, the long-term illness is caused by an infection that hasn’t cleared up properly, but most often the exact cause of chronic sinusitis isn’t known.
But clinicians may categorize chronic sinusitis into one of three types depending on the features present.
The most common type of the illness, chronic sinusitis without nasal polyposis, involves swelling and inflammation of the mucous membranes by various non-polyp factors, such as allergies or irritation and infections.
Chronic sinusitis with nasal polyposis, on the other hand, involves nasal polyps that are large enough to clog the sinus. It’s not always clear why some people develop these polyps and others dont.
In chronic sinusitis with fungal allergy, people experience a strong allergic reaction to fungi in the air, which causes their mucous membranes to produce a thick, dense mucus.
Are Sinus Infections Contagious A Doctor Weighs In
It depends on what caused the infection in the first place.
If youve got a stuffy nose, seemingly endless drainage, and swollen sinuses, theres a slew of usual suspects that could be making you miserablefrom seasonal allergies to the common cold. But if this uniquely terrible discomfort and facial pressure is all-too-familiar, a sinus infection is likely at the top of your list.
Every year, 31 million of us get a sinus infection, a.k.a. sinusitis, and we shell out more than $1 billion on over-the-counter meds to make them go away, per the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology . Because sinus infections feel a lot like other respiratory illnesses , its understandable if youre wondering whether or not you could pass on a sinus infection to someone else.
So, are sinus infections contagious? And if so, how can you keep yours to yourself? Read on for the answers, with expert insight from an ear, nose, and throat specialist.
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So What Should I Do If I Have A Sinus Infection
The toughest thing is to determine what exactly has caused your sinus infection. And even if the initial cause was not due to viral infection, you may have concurrent symptoms if you happen to catch a virus later on. Often, you dont know the exact reason.
This is why the best thing to do is rest, let your body recover, and maintain good hygiene so that you dont risk passing any potential infection to someone else.
And this means washing your hands regularly, not touching any discharge or mucus, and not touching your mouth, eyes, and nose. Avoid making contact with surfaces commonly shared between people, such as doorknobs or countertops. If contact is necessary, sanitize them after use.
When To See A Doctor
Any person who experiences pain and pressure in the sinuses for longer than a week should seek medical attention. They should also address a persistent fever or a cough if they do not get better over time.
A doctor will perform an assessment of a person with these symptoms. Part of the assessment will be determining any history of sinus infections in the individual, as well as doing a physical examination.
A doctor will look for the following signs of sinus infections:
- swelling of nasal passages and tissues
- redness in the nasal passages
- bad breath
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For Cases Lasting 7 To 10 Days
Most cases of sinusitis last 7 to 10 days and present only mild symptoms, and the condition will typically improve without the need for a doctors visit. In these cases, its simple enough to simply treat the symptoms to make these 7 to 10 days easier to manage.
Antihistamines are the go-to medications for combating allergies, especially runny noses caused by allergies. Why is that, though? Well, the cells in the body release histamine to trigger acute inflammatory responses. So, when allergies result in inflammation, an antihistamine can reduce the bodys inflammatory response.
Antihistamines might not always help, though. In some cases, antihistamines can result in mucus drying up too muchhardened, thick mucus is much harder to pass from the body.
Available over-the-counter antihistamines include:
OTC Pain Relievers and Fever Reducers
When pain and fever strike, common OTC medications like acetaminophen and ibuprofen may help. Since ibuprofen is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug , it may work better for sinus infections.
However, not everyone can take ibuprofen, such as those who are on blood thinners. Conversely, people with severe liver problems should not take acetaminophen. So, its always important to ask a doctor which OTC drug they think is best for a patients specific situation.
How To Clear A Stuffy Nose While Sleeping
To start, take a small breath in followed by blowing out just enough air so that you can hold it for thirty seconds. Then close your mouth tightly and nod up-and down while trying not to breathe through pursed lips until finally letting all of those extra bubbles go with an audible pop! This will help clear up any nasal congestion due from fluid build up which may cause allergy symptoms such as sneezing or irritability making these easier transitions at school might even make friends come back around again .
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When To See A Doctor About A Sinus Infection
On the other hand, a secondary acute bacterial infection may develop, so it’s advised that you see a doctor if your symptoms last more than 10 days or if your symptoms initially improve but then worsen again within the first 7 days.
See a doctor immediately if you experience:
- A persistent fever higher than 102 degrees F
- Changes in vision, including double vision
- Symptoms that are not relieved with over-the-counter medicines
- Multiple infections within the past year
- Sudden, severe pain in the face or head
- Swelling or redness around the eyes
- Stiff neck
Types Of Sinus Infections
There are several types of sinus infections, which are classified by duration.
They include the following:
- Acute infections that last for about 4 or less weeks
- Subacute infections that last for about 4 12 weeks
- Chronic infections that last for longer than 12 weeks
- Recurrent infections that occur several times a year
Additionally, each type of sinus infection has several potential causes, including bacteria, viruses, or fungi.
Some cases of sinusitis occur with only swelling and inflammation due to blockages in the nasal passages or deformities in the sinus cavities. Allergies and chronic exposure to pollutants can also lead to sinus infections.
Sinus infections often feel like a bad cold. It may be difficult for people to distinguish between a cold and a sinus infection. Some of the most common symptoms resemble a cold. These include:
- pressure in the sinus cavities
Sinus infections caused by bacteria have a few additional symptoms. These symptoms include:
- pus-like or thick nasal discharge
- symptoms lasting longer than a week
- facial pain
For most sinus infections, treatment focuses primarily on symptom relief. There are many options available to relieve bothersome symptoms.
- nasal irrigation to reduce mucus drainage and remove irritants
- medicated nasal sprays containing corticosteroids that reduce inflammation
- oral steroids for more severe infections
Some of the most common over-the-counter treatments to help treat sinus infections include:
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How To Tell The Difference Between Covid
Allergy and sinus symptoms can be similar to COVID-19 symptoms. An otolaryngologist explains how to tell them apart and when you should seek treatment.
Allergy season has become more complicated since the COVID-19 pandemic. If you have allergies or sinus problems, you may not be sure how to tell the difference between those symptoms and COVID-19 symptoms. Jessica Southwood, MD, otolaryngologist, offers expert guidance to help you better understand these three conditions.
Since sinus and allergy symptoms and COVID-19 symptoms can seem similar and have some overlap, it is important to familiarize yourself with the differences. That way, you and your provider can manage your health care appropriately.
How Do You Get A Sinus Infection
A sinus infection can develop when there is swelling in the sinus cavities. If the sinuses become too swollen, they can narrow and become obstructedmaking it difficult for mucus to drain. When mucus builds and backs up within sinus passages, it can become infected and voilayou get a sinus infection. The most common cause of a sinus infection is a viral cold.
Like any virus, the virus that causes the common cold is highly contagious. However, thankfully, every cold does not develop into a sinus infection. So while viral sinus infections are caused by cold viruses which are indeed very contagious, the sinus infections that result, are not contagious. If you get a viral sinus infection, it should resolve on its own within two weeks.
You may be thinking, wait I thought the only way to clear up a sinus infection was by taking antibiotics. Nope, not true. Viral sinus infections wont respond to antibiotics. And taking antibiotics when you dont need to can be dangerous and contribute to antibiotic resistance. However, in the case where your sinus infection was spurred by a bacterial infection, antibiotics are exactly what you need to fight the infection.
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How Long Are You Contagious With A Sinus Infection
People with a sinus infection may be contagious for up to two weeks. This is because the virus can also pass along through contact, but its less likely that bacteria will cause this type of onset than in other cases where there are no symptoms present or only minor ones such as headache and dizziness which would go away on their own within days anyway without treatment from medication prescribed specifically for those conditions like a derm Noroxin .
When Should You See A Doctor For Chronic Sinusitis
Chronic sinusitis can be a frustrating, painful condition, affecting your overall quality of life. It is important that you get a correct diagnosis and the best course of treatment to alleviate your symptoms. If you believe youre suffering from chronic sinusitis, Dr. Zadeh can help. As a board-certified ear, nose and throat specialist, he has access to the most advanced, innovative treatments for chronic sinusitis. At the Los Angeles Sinus Institute, you can expect high-quality care and a treatment that brings you relief at last.
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Get Sinus Infection Treatment Online
No one likes being sick, and having a sinus infection can be very uncomfortable. Getting antibiotics as fast as possible is crucial to healing and is made possible with PlushCare.
PlushCare online doctors can diagnose your sinus infection, write a prescription, and send it to your local pharmacy in 15 minutes. PlushCare can help you effectively, quickly, and efficiently treat your sinus infection.
Click here to book an appointment with a doctor.
First Know What Youre Dealing With: A Sinus Infection Simply Means That Your Sinuses Are Inflamed Or Infected
Behind the upper bones of your face, youve got a set of four sinuses around your noseand the same kind of tissue that lines your nose also lines your sinuses. Just as allergies or a bad cold can irritate your nasal passages and give you a stuffy nose, they can also cause one or more of your sinuses to puff up.
When this happens, your sinuses cant drain as well as they usually do and mucus gets clogged up in there, building up sometimes painful pressure and providing a home for germs to multiply and in turn potentially lead to an infection, explains Inna Husain, MD, an ENT and assistant professor of otolaryngology at Rush Medical College in Chicago, Illinois.
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What Happens In Your Body During A Sinus Infection
One in seven adults will be diagnosed with a sinus infection in any given year. But do we really know what our sinuses are?
Sinuses are air-filled spaces inside the skull that produce a light coating of mucus, which drains through the nose. Theyre supposed to stay open and aerated, but sometimes their outflow tract can become blocked. When this happens, the mucus gets backed up and becomes trapped in the sinuses.
What Are The Symptoms Of Chronic Sinusitis
Your sinus cavities are the hollow cavities within cheeks, sides of the nose, and behind the nose and forehead. These cavities are usually clear and filled with air. There is a thin, mucosal lining in the sinus cavities to keep them moist and functioning. When this lining becomes irritated and inflamed as a result of bacteria, fungi, or a virus, the condition is called sinusitis.
There are several symptoms we will look for when examining you to determine if you suffer from chronic sinusitis. For an infection to be classified as chronic sinusitis, there must be inflammation of the nasal passages as well as at least two of the following symptoms:
- Thick, discolored mucus draining from the nose and/or down the back of the throat
- Nasal congestion which can cause difficulty breathing through the nose
- Tenderness, swelling, pain, or pressure around the nose, cheeks, eyes, or forehead
- Possible reduction in the sense of smell
You may also experience:
- Aching in the jaw or teeth
- Sore throat
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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
Related Conditions And Causes Of Sinus Infections
Colds, allergies, and sinus infections can cause similar symptoms, including stuffiness and headache. What’s more, both colds and allergies can cause sinus inflammation. So how can you tell the difference between these illnesses?
The truth is, even doctors can sometimes have difficulty differentiating among colds, allergies, and sinus infections. But the illnesses do present differently.
A hallmark sign that you have a sinus infection is that the illness is, as you’d expect, severely affecting your sinuses. Both colds and allergies can cause congestion and runny nose, but sinus infections typically cause an aching sensation and pressure in the face, including in the ears and teeth.
Additionally, postnasal drop, reduced sense of smell, and halitosis are typically associated with sinus infections.
The mucus associated with a sinus infection is usually green or yellow, though color alone isn’t enough to determine the cause of your nasal distress, as there are many reasons your nasal discharge may not be clear.
Both allergies and colds can cause sneezing, a symptom not typically seen in sinus infections. Allergies never cause fever, which is seen in both colds and sinus infections.
And if your symptoms last more than 10 days, you most likely don’t have a cold.
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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.
Know When To See A Doctor
While most sinus infections will resolve themselves within a couple weeks without medical intervention, it is important to know when your sinus issues have escalated to the point that you should see a doctor.
You should call or see a doctor immediately if you experience:
- A fever over 102°F
- Double vision or difficulty seeing
- Swelling around the eyes
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