How To Treat Sinus Infections Without Antibiotics
While sinus infections caused by viruses, allergies, or other non-bacterial factors may not require antibiotics, they still cause the same symptoms which make you feel sick.
Symptoms of a sinus infection include:
- Nasal congestion
- Pain or tenderness around the eyes, cheeks, or forehead
- Thick nasal or post-nasal drainage
Taking steps to alleviate your sinusitis symptoms is often the best treatment to lessen your discomfort.
Sinus infection treatment options include:
- Drink plenty of fluids
- Rest, especially the first few days, to help your body fight the infection
- Moisturize the air with a cool-mist vaporizer
- Elevate your head while sleeping to decrease post-nasal drip
- Take warm showers or baths, as steam can soothe your sore throat and loosen mucus
- Gargle with warm salt water for a sore throat
- Use saline nasal spray or nasal irrigation kit to alleviate congestion
- Use over-the-counter treatments, such as nasal drops and sprays or pseudoephedrine pills, as your doctor recommends them
What Not to Do for a Sinus Infection
You should always follow your doctors instructions when you are diagnosed with a sinus infection.
- Ask for antibiotics if your doctor feels they are unnecessary
- Take antibiotics that are prescribed for someone else
- Skip doses of your antibiotics or stop taking your antibiotics early when your doctor prescribes them
- Save antibiotics for the next time you get sick
What Can Happen If A Bacterial Infection Is Left Untreated
An untreated bacterial infection can also put you at risk for developing a life-threatening condition called sepsis. Sepsis occurs when an infection causes an extreme reaction in your body. The bacteria most likely to cause sepsis include Staphylococcus aureus, E. coli, and some types of Streptococcus.
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Symptoms And Treatment For Viral Vs Bacterial Sinusitis
Weve all experienced the common cold symptoms of a runny nose, nasal congestion, and sinus pressure. But sometimes these symptoms can indicate something different: sinusitis, or a sinus infection. Sinusitis can be viral or bacterial. Knowing which one you have can be helpful for treating sinus infection symptoms and helping ensure you feel better fast.
In this article, I will describe the symptoms of both viral and bacterial sinusitis. I will also talk about the causes of each, how theyre diagnosed, and what your treatment options are.
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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:
How Long A Sinus Infection Lasts
While the symptoms youre experiencing wont necessarily help you determine the cause of your infection, the duration of the sinusitis can provide some clues. Often, viral infections dont last that long. If your sinus infection lasts for about a week, its usually due to a virus.
Bacterial sinus infections, on the other hand, can persist for some time. They usually last for 10 days or longer. While viral infections usually start to get better after a few days, bacterial infections tend to get worse over time. Bacteria are usually responsible for cases of chronic sinusitis.
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Is It A Cold Covid
One of the challenging things about recognizing COVID-19 and other illnesses is that they can share some of the same symptoms. Many articles have been written comparing the symptoms of COVID-19 and influenza, as these two illnesses have perhaps the most in common. But many symptoms of COVID-19 also resemble those of a cold or sinus infection . Learn to tell the difference and how to get the right treatment for your illness.
Can Sinus Infection Make You Dizzy
When you have a sinus problem, it is possible that the pressure in your ear can become too great and cause dizziness.The symptoms of this condition vary from person to person but one thing they all share? A sense of imbalance due both efforts needed by their brains inner ears as well as those felt while standing still or walking around without any physical activity!
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Is Your Sinus Infection Acute Or Chronic
A short-term sinus infection is often referred to as acute sinusitis. Most cases of acute sinusitis last about a week, but this type of short-term sinus infection can last up to four weeks. If you suffer from a sinus infection that lasts longer than 12 weeks despite treatment from your doctor, its considered chronic sinusitis.
Tips For Treating Chronic Sinus Infections
No matter the season, having a cold is never convenient. Its even worse when your cold turns into a sinus infection. A sinus infection will stick around long after symptoms of an upper respiratory infection are gone. You might even know its a sinus infection because you get sinus infections frequently. Perhaps your doctor diagnosed your sinus infection after you just couldnt seem to get better. After all, since almost 30 million Americans suffer from sinusitis, your doctor likely treats them a lot.
The question is, when do you need to see a specialist? If your sinus infection just isnt going away, or if you seem to get recurrent sinus infections, it may be time to see an ear, nose, and throat specialist.
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Can Sinuses Make You Dizzy
The inner ear is a really delicate and strategic location for all of your nervous system. When you have an issue with pressure in this area, it can lead to feelings of dizziness or even nausea! A buildup from sinus problems could make someone experience these symptoms as well so if theres something wrong going on at home position-wise then get medical assistance ASAP because time isnt always our friend when dealing directly into issues concerning the head/neck area.
What Is Chronic Sinusitis
Chronic sinusitis is a long-lasting sinus infection that often seems less severe than typical sinusitis and may be less symptomatic. The main issue with this type of sinusitis, however, is that it lasts much longer than normal sinusitis. The symptoms are usually most pronounced during the morning when the nasal drainage and congestion is at its worse. When sinusitis becomes chronic, the cause is usually a chronic infection or allergies.
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Will My Sinusitis Clear Up Without Treatment
Sinusitis is the term for swelling of the sinuses, and it is usually caused by an infection. However, with varying degrees of severity and different causes, sinus infections are not all the same. The types of sinus infection are as follows.
- Viral Viral infections are the most common cause of sinusitis they usually ease up after about a week without the need for treatment.
- Bacterial Bacterial infections are often more persistent, potentially lasting three months. Commonly, medication is required for a persistent bacterial infection.
- Allergic Allergies lead to inflammation and a buildup of mucus, resulting in an infection. Without treating the allergy, you may suffer from recurring sinusitis.
- Fungal Fungal sinusitis is more rare, but often requires treatment with medication
What Treatments Are Available For A Sinus Infection
In mild cases, the best ways to treat a sinus infection are with rest, hydration and anti-inflammatories. Decongestant nasal sprays are also helpful for clearing a blocked nose and improving breathing. If your sinus infection does not improve after about a week, an ENT or allergy doctor may prescribe antihistamines or other medication.
When a sinus infection is caused by allergies, the problems may occur on a seasonal or recurring basis. To address these persistent problems, your allergist will diagnose the allergic triggers and treat them directly. Common treatments include avoidance of the allergen, medication and allergy shots. With better control of your allergies, the chances of experiencing a sinus infection are dramatically reduced.
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Rare Cases Can Turn Serious
Antibiotics also can help ward off rare but potentially dangerous complications that arise when a sinus infection spreads to the eyes or brain, Dr. Sindwani says.
Complications around the eyes are the more common of the two. These complications can cause redness, swelling around the eyes and reduced vision, and even lead to blindness in a severe form known as cavernous sinus thrombosis. Serious cases are immediately treated with IV antibiotics. Patients are usually admitted to the hospital for a CT scan to see if fluid needs to be drained, Dr. Sindwani says.
Also in rare cases, sinus infections in the rear center of ones head can spread into the brain. This can lead to life-threatening conditions like meningitis or brain abscess, Dr. Sindwani says.
Before antibiotics, people would die from sinusitis, he says. But he emphasizes that such complications are unlikely. In most cases, the bacterial infection goes away, especially if you dont have underlying medical problems.
Its important to monitor your symptoms if you suspect a sinus infection. If the condition lingers or worsens, call your doctor.
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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Lingering Sinus Infection Or Chronic Runny Nose
A lingering sinus infection is different from a chronic runny nose. Chronic runny nose typically comes from allergies or other irritants in the air. However, this can turn into an infection over time.
When the sinuses become infected, the allergies, irritants, or viral cold have caused swelling in the nose thats blocked the drainage pathways. Consequently, fluid and mucous accumulate in the sinuses, where it has become infected with bacteria.
If youve been sick more than 10 days and begin to experience other symptoms like facial pressure, headache, and fever, youre dealing with more than a chronic runny nose.
Surgical Treatment For Chronic Sinusitis
Although medical therapy and lifestyle tweaks are the first-line treatment for chronic rhinosinusitis, some people may fail to respond to optimal therapy. In such cases, Ear, Nose Throat and Allergy Specialist performs a surgery to widen up the blocked sinuses and remove any trapped mucus or polyps.
Other situations in which surgery could be considered include:
- When chronic sinusitis symptoms do not respond to the medical treatments listed above, and CT scan of your sinuses reveals complete blockage of one or more sinuses.
- When nasal polyps fail to shrink enough with steroids.
- When a severe deviation of the septum completely blocks your nose or hinders sinus drainage.
- When theres a suspicion of allergic fungal sinusitis. The sinuses in allergic fungal sinusitis get clogged with thick, dense mucus that is hard to remove in any way other than surgery.
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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.
When To Contact A Medical Professional
- Your symptoms last longer than 10 to 14 days or you have a cold that gets worse after 7 days.
- You have a severe headache that is not relieved by over-the-counter pain medicine.
- You have a fever.
- You still have symptoms after taking all of your antibiotics properly.
- You have any changes in your vision during a sinus infection.
A green or yellow discharge does not mean that you definitely have a sinus infection or need antibiotics.
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Do I Need Antibiotics For Every Sinus Infection
Many sinus infections are caused by viruses, the ones that cause the common cold. These types of infections are not cured by antibiotics. Taking an antibiotic for a viral infection unnecessarily puts you at risk for side effects related to the antibiotic. In addition, the overuse of antibiotics can lead to antibiotic resistance, which may make future infections more difficult to treat.
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What Are The Symptoms Of Sinusitis
When a sinus infection results from blocked sinuses, symptoms may include:
- Thick white, yellow, or greenish mucus from your nose or drainage down the back of your throat
- Bad breath from postnasal drip
- Blocked or stuffy nose
These symptoms may be similar to some respiratory viral infections. They may require different treatments.
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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.
What Is Acute Sinusitis
Acute sinusitis is a short-term inflammation of the sinuses, most often including a sinus infection. The sinuses are four paired cavities in the head. They are connected by narrow channels. The sinuses make thin mucus that drains out of the channels of the nose, cleaning the nose. Typically filled with air, the sinuses can become blocked by fluid and swell from irritation. When this happens, they can become infected.
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Omicron Cases Often Start With A Sore Throat Headache And Congestion
Dr. Jorge Moreno said hes seen an influx of COVID-19 cases lately at his outpatient clinic in Connecticut. Most of those patients were vaccinated, he said, so their symptoms tended to be milder and relatively short-lived.
Many patients started out with a dry, scratchy throat that caused sharp pain when they swallowed.
Its a very prominent symptom, said Moreno, an assistant professor of medicine at Yale School of Medicine. Its not like a little tickle in the throat. If theyre reporting it, theyre saying that their throat feels raw.
Sore throats were often coupled with sinus congestion and headache, he added, followed by a cough a day or so later. At a , Ryan Noach, the CEO of Discovery Health, South Africas largest private health insurer, said Omicron patients commonly reported a scratchy throat first, followed by nasal congestion, dry cough, and body aches.
Cough is still part of the symptoms, Moreno said. He added, Its not as bad as it was. Vaccinated people, he continued, dont have those respiratory symptoms as much.
Loss of smell was also relatively rare among Omicron patients.
Ive seen a lot more people reporting fatigue as one of their main symptoms, he said. Theyre young people that typically can push through things. They need rest. They need to sleep. Theyre napping more.
How Long Do Antibiotics Take To Work On Sinus Infections
Often, sinus infections are treated with antibiotics. However, your doctor will determine the best treatment based on the root cause of your sinus infection. If antibiotics are prescribed, you may want to know how long it will be before you start to experience relief from symptoms.
Read on to find out how sinus infections are diagnosed, when your doctor may prescribe antibiotics, and how long it will take antibiotics to take effect.