How To Tell If You Have An Actual Sinus Infection
Even though we often say we have a sinus infection even if its just inflammation or an allergic response, there are symptoms of an actual infection that may be treatable with antibiotics. Nasal congestion and pain under the eyes or around the temples are, of course, main symptoms, but others include the loss of the sense of smell, green nasal discharge, mucus dripping down your throat, cough, fever, fatigue, sore throat, and even bad breath.
Sometimes, a sinus infection will clear up without intervention, but if you develop a fever of 100.4 degrees or higher, have your symptoms for 10 or more days, notice that your symptoms are getting worse and are not improved by OTC medications, or you have multiple infections in a years time, you should seek medical treatment as soon as possible.
Use A Nasal Steroid Spray
Available over the counter, these sprays can help reduce the inflammation that adds to congestion. Sometimes the inflammatory reaction is self-perpetuating, Kern says. The 2015 sinus inflammation and congestion treatment guidelines from the American Academy of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery Foundation advises using local steroid treatments and, if necessary, antibiotics to break the cycle.
And while nasal steroid sprays and saline sprays are both helpful, Kern stresses that other nasal sprays, such as decongestant sprays, can make the problem worse if you rely on them consistently.
What Are The Six Types Of Sinusitis And Sinus Infections
Sinusitis may be classified in several ways, based on its duration and the type of inflammation . The term rhinosinusitis is used to imply that both the nose and sinuses are involved and is becoming the preferred term over sinusitis.
- Acute sinus infection usually lasts less than 3-5 days.
- Subacute sinus infection lasts one to three months.
- Chronic sinus infection is greater than three months. Chronic sinusitis may be further sub-classified into chronic sinusitis with or without nasal polyps, or allergic fungal sinusitis.
- Recurrent sinusitis has several sinusitis attacks every year.
There is no medical consensus on the above time periods.
- Infected sinusitis usually is caused by an uncomplicated virus infection. Less frequently, bacterial growth causes sinus infection and fungal sinus infection is very infrequent. Subacute and chronic forms of a sinus infection usually are the result of incomplete treatment of an acute sinus infection.
- Noninfectious sinusitis is caused by irritants and allergic conditions and follows the same general timeline for acute, subacute, and chronic as infectious sinusitis.
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Sinus Infection Definition And Facts
- Sinusitis or sinus infection is inflammation of the air cavities within the passages of the nose.
- Sinusitis can be caused by infection, allergies, and chemical or particulate irritation of the sinuses.
- The fastest way to get rid of a sinus infection can include medications, home remedies, alternative therapies, and surgery.
- Most people do not spread sinus infections to other people.
- Sinusitis may be classified as acute sinus infection, subacute sinus infection, chronic sinus infection, infected sinusitis, and noninfectious sinusitis.
- Sinusitis signs and symptoms include
Sinus Pain And Pressure
Fluid trapped in the sinuses can fill the sinus cavities, causing intense pain and pressure. The sinuses may be sensitive to the touch. A person may have an urge to sneeze but be unable to do so.
The pain can be in the cheeks, around the eyes and nose, or in the forehead because these areas are where the sinuses are. Bending over may make the pain worse.
Sometimes, the pressure and pain are intense enough to interfere with sleep.
Sinusitis may also cause the tissue in the nose to swell.
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Can I Prevent Sinusitis
There is no sure-fire way to prevent sinusitis. But there are some things that might help.
- Donât smoke, and avoid other people’s smoke.
- Wash your hands often, especially during cold and flu season, and try not to touch your face.
- Stay away from things you know youâre allergic to. Talk to your doctor to see if you need prescription medicines, allergy shots, or other forms of immunotherapy.
If your sinus problems keep coming back, ask your doctor about the pros and cons of surgery to clean and drain the sinuses.
Try Quercetin A Powerful Herb Youve Likely Never Heard Of
Quercetin is a natural plant component found in everything from onions and apples to green tea and red wine. Like many plant ingredients, it is an antioxidant. For sinus problems, quercetin has also been found to stabilize the cells in the body that release histamine the chemical that stimulates mucus secretion in the sinuses.
The Alternative Medicine Review article recommends quercetin as helpful for sinusitis, suggesting a typical oral dose of 400 to 500 mg taken three times per day.
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Use Decongestants But Only Temporarily
You can definitely pop some Sudafed tablets or even spritz some Afrin into your nose, but beware: you cant do this forever.
In an acute infection, a decongestant can be useful, but Afrin can become addicting if used for more than a few days and oral decongestants used regularly can have cardiovascular effects, says Dr. Thompson. These are targeted for short-term use.
Also, FYI, patients with high blood pressure shouldnt use these OTC products, and people who are sensitive to stimulants, like caffeine, might have trouble sleeping when using them, per Dr. Takashima.
Can You Get Rid Of A Sinus Infection Without Antibiotics
Many sinus infections are caused by a virus like the common cold and do not require antibiotics for treatment. If you have mild symptoms, OTC medications may help relieve your symptoms until you feel better. However, consult your healthcare provider if symptoms worsen or do not improve after seven days, or if at any time you have intense/severe pain or pressure, or a high fever.
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Cold And Sinus Infection Symptoms
Because a sinus infection often develops due to a cold, it can be difficult to tell if you have a cold or sinus infection. In general, sinus infections tend to cause more pain, pressure or fullness in the sinuses than a cold does. Symptoms of a sinus infection include:
- Facial pressure, fullness or pain, especially on one side.
- Pain in your teeth.
- Stuffy or runny nose. Nasal discharge may be white, yellow or green.
- Reduced or loss of ability to smell.
- Ear pressure or fullness.
Symptoms of a cold include:
- Stuffy or runny nose. Nasal discharge may be white, yellow or green.
- Post-nasal drip .
- Watery eyes.
- Mild headache or body aches.
How Sinus Infection Is Treated
The treatment for a sinus infection depends on the type of sinusitis and the source of the inflammation or infection. You might feel better with treatment for your symptoms as your sinus infection resolves.
Acute viral sinusitis can usually resolve on its own, acute bacterial sinusitis can usually be cured with antibiotics, and anti-fungal medications might be needed for treating fungal sinusitis, Getting treatment for allergies that might be contributing to an acute or chronic sinus infection can help, and endoscopic surgery may be needed in some cases of chronic sinusitis.
Treatment of chronic sinusitis may complicated, as abnormal tissue blocking the sinus cavities could require surgery.
Verywell / Tim Liedtke
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How Can You Get Rid Of A Sinus Infection
Try these 10 natural remedies for sinus pain relief to help break the sinus pain cycle:
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This article is not medical advice. It is intended for general informational purposes and is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your physician or dial 911.
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Treating Your Sinus Infection
If you think you have a sinus infection, you may need to see your doctor.
âMostly, these acute infections go away on their own or after a simple course of antibiotics,â says ear, nose, and throat specialist Greg Davis, who practices at the University of Washington Medical Center in Seattle.
Davis recommends sinus irrigation for sinus infections. It can help ease your symptoms while you wait for the antibiotics to do their job. Steroids, , and over-the-counter mucus thinners can also ease your discomfort, he says.
See an ear, nose, and throat specialist if your sinus infection doesnât go away after one or two courses of antibiotics, Davis says.
Some people have sinus infections over and over. The only known risk factors, Davis says, are allergies and smoking In rare cases, an acute infection can become chronic if itâs not treated successfully.
If you have chronic infections, and antibiotics and other treatments donât help, you may need sinus surgery, Davis says.
Your doctor will enlarge the small or inflamed and swollen openings of your sinuses, allowing them to drain, and letting you breathe more easily.
What Are The Symptoms Of A Sinus Infection In Adults
Sinus Infection Symptoms
- Sinus pressure behind the eyes and the cheeks.
- A runny, stuffy nose that lasts more than a week.
- A worsening headache.
- Bad breath.
- Thick yellow or green mucus draining from your nose or down the back of your throat
Try these 10 natural remedies for sinus pain relief to help break the sinus pain cycle:
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The Importance Of Seeking Treatment For A Sinus Infection
Chronic sinusitis is a painful condition that causes headaches, toothache, and sinus pressure. Without effective ENT treatment, a chronic sinus infection could last for months, in rare circumstances even causing meningitis or brain abscesses. As symptoms can feel similar to other conditions, getting a diagnosis from your Atlanta ENT doctor or allergist is crucial.
How Is Sinusitis Diagnosed
If you are experiencing pain and pressure that doesn’t clear up within a week to 10 days, it may be time to schedule a doctors appointment. You can visit your primary care physician to be evaluated for a sinus infection.
A sinus infection is usually diagnosed empirically without need for imaging or cultures, explains Lindsey Elmore, Pharm.D., BCPS. A simple medical exam and review of your symptoms should be enough for your doctor to identify a sinus infection. Your doctor will likely check your nose with a light to look for inflammation. He or she also may ask you about any pain youre feeling to see if it traces back to the sinus cavities.
In rare cases, or if you get frequent infections, your doctor may perform other tests to rule out other conditions like a fungal infection. This may include allergy testing, a nasal endoscopy to visually inspect the sinuses, swabbing your nose for a culture of nasal drainage, or lab imagery to scan for abnormalities.
Symptoms may be acute or chronic , and you should seek a doctors help if you have symptoms that last more than 10 days, or are unresolved with over the counter agents as this may be an indication that you have a bacterial sinus infection, says Dr. Elmore.
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Get Your Allergies Under Control
Katie Stavert, 30, of Los Alamos, New Mexico, has already had two procedures to open up her sinuses, but she still needs to take allergy medications and saline solutions if she wants to keep her sinuses clear. Im allergic to everything, she says, but especially sagebrush and trees.
Allergies can definitely contribute to sinus congestion. Jeff Culp, MD, an allergist and assistant professor of medicine at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in Nashville, Tennessee, tells people to figure out whats triggering their allergies, then plan appropriately either by taking allergy medication or avoiding the allergens altogether.
Check If You Have Sinusitis
Symptoms of sinusitis include:
- pain, swelling and tenderness around your cheeks, eyes or forehead
- a blocked nose
- a reduced sense of smell
- green or yellow mucus from your nose
- a sinus headache
- bad breath
Signs of sinusitis in young children may also include irritability, difficulty feeding, and breathing through their mouth.
The sinuses are small, empty spaces behind your cheekbones and forehead that connect to the inside of the nose.
Sinusitis causes the lining of the sinuses to swell up.
This stops mucus draining into your nose and throat properly, making you feel blocked up.
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Ways To Clear Up Sinus Congestion
You dont have to keep living with the symptoms of a sinus infection. Here are eight smart tips from both experts and readers thatll help get you breathing easier in no time.
Sinus congestion may make you feel miserable, but managing it can be easy if you find the right treatment, that is. First, it helps to figure out whats triggering the congestion. You can treat the symptoms, but you are going to be chasing your tail if you dont know whats causing them, says Ian Alexander, MD, an otolaryngologist and founder of the National Sinus Institute, which has clinics in New Mexico and Texas. Common causes include allergies and infections, but your congestion could also be caused by structural problems with your nose and sinuses. Here are some short- and long-term solutions that can help ease congestion and relieve sinusitis symptoms.
What Causes Post Nasal Drip
Post nasal drip occurs when nasal glands either secrete more mucus than normal, or thicker mucus. This can happen for a variety of reasons, including the following:
- A common cold: A common cold causes excess mucus to fill your nose, which often leads to post nasal drip.
- Allergies and irritants in the air: Allergens and other irritants can cause more mucus in your nose, which is linked to postnasal drip.
- Reflux: Post nasal drip is a major symptom of laryngopharyngeal reflux, a condition where stomach acid rises into the throat, Thompson says.
- Sinus infections: Runny and stuffy noses are common symptoms of a sinus infection and can cause post nasal drip.
- Pregnancy: During pregnancy, the increase in hormones can trigger swelling of the nasal glands, causing roughly one-third of women to experience post nasal drip.
- Spicy foods: In response to spiciness, many peoples bodies release extra mucus, which can lead to post nasal drip.
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Yoga Can Help Drain Mucus From Sinus Passageways
If you are in the midst of a sinus infection, a supported yoga pose where your head is elevated will help you feel better without putting too much pressure on your sinuses, says Leslie Kazadi, a certified yoga therapist who teaches around Los Angeles and online at YogisAnonymous.com.
One pose Kazadi suggests is Supported Reclined Cobblers Pose.
How to Try Supported Reclined Cobblers Yoga Pose
Inhale Menthol And Camphor
Another inhaled odor that can help open up sinus passages is menthol, which is an ingredient in popular ointments that are used specifically to treat a stuffy nose. These ointments also contain eucalyptus oil and camphor, which combine with menthol to create a powerful scent that immediately relieves sinus pressure. This ointment can be rubbed on your chest and under your nose to deliver its soothing benefits. Unlike eucalyptus oil, this ointment should not be placed in the mouth.
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Get Your Antibiotics Fast
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. Our 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 easily treat your sinus infection.
When It Comes And When It Goes
If you have allergies, you’ll start feeling symptoms soon after you come into contact with the stuff you’re allergic to. Your symptoms keep up as long as you’re still surrounded by those triggers.
Allergies can happen any time of year. They may be “seasonal,” which means you get them only in the spring or fall. Or they may be year-round. For instance, you might be allergic to pets or mold, which can be a problem no matter the season.
Sinusitis usually happens after you’ve had a cold or allergies. But certain symptoms will keep going, even after your cold goes away. You’ll probably have a stuffy nose and cough for more than a week or two.
You may hear your doctor talk about two kinds of sinusitis: “acute” and “chronic.” There’s a simple way to tell them apart. If your symptoms last less than 4 weeks, it’s acute. If they go on for 3 months or longer, you have chronic sinusitis.
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