The Right Way To Treat A Sinus Infection
5 min Read Time
Your head is throbbing, especially around your eyes. You cant stop coughing, and for some reason, your breath is terrible. Blowing your nose is a mess.
Bad news: You could have a sinus infection. Most frequently triggered by the common cold, over 30 million American adults are diagnosed with sinusitis yearly.
So, what exactly are sinus infections? How can you tell if you have one? And holy cow how can you feel better as quickly as possible?
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Ways To Recognize Serious Signs Of Sinus Infections
The length of the infection is an important determinant of the seriousness of the infection.
I usually consider most infections less than 3 weeks to be viral or inflammation related to congestion. At this point, the best treatment is usually medications that decrease the congestion and inflammation. This in turn will alleviate the symptoms and ultimately cure the illness.
When the illness continues beyond 3 weeks, bacterial infection can begin to develop. Though antibiotics can be considered at this point, other treatments may still be the best answer if they have not yet been given a try.
#2: Mucous Color
I will dispel a myth right here and now. Yellowish/greenish mucous does not necessarily mean the infection is bacterial.
Viruses can cause the same color mucous. The reason for the mucous is generally not the actual bacteria or virus, but the bodys immune response to the intruder.
So dont worry just because you see a colored mucous when you blow your nose. This will also improve as the infection abates.
#3: Sinus Pain
Sinus pain can occur anytime throughout a sinus infection. This is normal and means there is inflammation in the sinuses, as we discussed previously.
However, severe pain, redness over the skin, hardened skin over the sinuses, or even a severe headache are not generally normal and can indicate a bacterial infection.
A fever can be caused by both viruses and bacteria. So how do you differentiate between the two?
Taking Germs Down: How It Works
Your white blood cells lock on to the germs in order to absorb or destroy them. They have antibodies that latch onto the germs.
Experience makes your immune system stronger. The first time your body comes into contact with a certain type of germ, your immune response may take a while. You might need several days to make and use all the germ-fighting parts you need to get rid of your infection. It takes time to hack the germÃ¢s code and destroy it.
If you come across that same germ later on, your body will remember and fight it off faster, so you can get over the infection and feel better. Mission accomplished!
PubMed Health: Ã¢The Immune System,Ã¢ Ã¢What are the organs of the immune system?Ã¢ Ã¢How does the immune system work?Ã¢
Johns Hopkins Medicine: Ã¢Immune System.Ã¢
Cystic Fibrosis Foundation: Ã¢Respiratory: What You Should Know About Germs.Ã¢
Merck Manual: Ã¢Defenses Against Infection,Ã¢ Ã¢Overview of the Immune System.Ã¢
American Academy of Family Physicians: Ã¢Childhood Vaccines: What They Are and Why Your Child Needs Them.Ã¢
University of Rochester Medical Center: Ã¢What Are White Blood Cells?Ã¢
CDC: Ã¢Understanding How Vaccines Work.Ã¢
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Should You Treat A Sinus Infection With Antibiotics
Over the past few months Ive seen patient after patient drag themselves to the clinic with coughing, sneezing, headaches and green or yellow nasal discharge, sometimes accompanied by ear and tooth pain. Some people with infection may experience fevers, chills or night sweats signs that the body is fighting a virus or bacteria. These are symptoms I expect as a primary care doctor especially during the spring seasons. They are the telltale signs of sinusitis. But if that sums up symptoms you have, do you need antibiotics? The question may be more complicated than you think.
Each year, more than 30 million Americans endure sinusitis an inflammation of sinus spaces surrounding the nose that makes it difficult to drain fluid that normally flows through the sinuses. Much like a detective weighing clues, us health providers use symptom severity and duration to determine the cause of a patients sickness.
The World Health Organization has called antibiotic resistance one of the biggest threats to global health, saying misuse of antibiotics in humans and animals is accelerating the process.
At a health professionals discretion, antibiotics can be prescribed if a person appears very sick or has any underlying chronic disease that may make them prone to becoming sicker.
Left: With spring comes sinus infections. And many questions from my patients about how to best to treat them. Photo by Michael Heim / EyeEm and Getty Images
Signs And Symptoms Of Sinus Infection Or Sinusitis
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Using The Right Water During Saline Rinses
When using saline nasal rinses, tap water should always be boiled and then allowed to cool to ensure cleanliness distilled water or premixed solutions could also be used instead of regular tap water.
Other home remedies for sinus infections include:
- Drinking fluids: Drinking lots of fluids helps loosen and thin mucus. Avoid beverages that are caffeinated and alcoholic beverages that can dehydrate the body, which could thicken mucus.
- Breathing steam: Warm water is best . You can breathe in steam from either a bowl or shower.
- Humidifying the air: Use a cool air vaporizer or humidifier,particularly at night while sleeping.
- Avoiding environmental substances: Avoid tobacco smoke and chlorinated water that can dry up the mucus membranes and exacerbate symptoms.
- Implementing treatment measures: At the first sign of infection, use antihistamines and employ regular nasal rinses.
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Tips On How To Treat Bacterial Infection Without Antibiotics
Bacteria are single-cell microscopic organisms living nearly everywhere. They live in every location and climate on our earth. Some of them are airborne while others live in soil or water. Bacteria live both inside and on plants, people, and animals. Although the word bacteria comes with a negative connotation, they actually perform a lot of vital functions for the organisms and in the environment. For instance, plants need bacteria available in the soil to grow. However, a bacterial infection is often a proliferation of the harmful strain of bacteria inside or on the human body. When it comes to bacterial infection on the skin, there are many types of bacteria infecting the human skin. Bacterial infections could lead to many conditions. Infections happen because the bacteria break into the human body and develop on the skin.
To treat the bacterial infection on skin without antibiotics, you first need to define symptoms of bacteria and risk factors of this condition. This entry made by TrueRemedies.com will expose to you all of such things.
A doctor might use the presence of a few other symptoms like body aches or a fever, the duration of the illness, and specific lab tests to help determine if an ailment is because of a bacteria, virus, or other disease or pathogen process.
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Natural Remedies For Strep Throat Without Antibiotics
If you say no to antibiotics, and here we will show you some home remedies to treat your strep throat. In fact, antibiotics have their downsides, so natural remedies are preferred in most cases. Keep up with the article and lets find out the best way to make this bacterial infection go away on its own.
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.
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What Are The Different Types Of Sinus Infections
Most sinus infections are caused by viruses, and theyll usually go away on their own. In fact, if the infection doesnt clear up after a week to 10 days, it can be an indication that its caused by bacteria. It may have started as a bacterial infection, or a viral infection may develop into a bacterial infection after your sinuses become filled with fluid and bacteria then forms.
If you have sinus infections that seem to clear up only to shortly return, you probably have a bacterial infection. Thick, dark, or greenish-yellow nasal discharge is another indication, but your doctor can perform tests to verify the type of infection if needed.
Sinus infections can also be classified as acute or chronic. Acute infections usually start suddenly with symptoms such as a runny, stuffy nose and facial pain and can last up to four weeks. Chronic sinusitis occurs when your infection persists for at least 12 weeks despite attempts to treat it.
In the short term, a sinus infection can cause a long list of symptoms, including the following:
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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What If You Want To Treat The Sinus Infection Without Antibiotics
Ive been extraordinarily lucky.
I havent personally been plagued with sinus infections. But my husband James, and my co-author Dr. Paul Thomas, and lots of people I know frequently get them.
I asked these good folks for recommendations for the best ways to treat sinus infection without antibiotics.
Lets talk about those treatment options for sinus infections without antibiotics. Then, lets talk about how to drill down to the root causes of sinus infections. After we figure that out, those sinus infections can stop ruining your life.
Here we go.
How To Get Rid Of A Sinus Infection: Try These Methods Today
Sinus infections can really lower your quality of life, especially if they occur often. So if youre looking for how to get rid of a sinus infection, try these methods to see if they work for you.
While surgery can be effective, its also quite invasive. If you live or work in the Scottsdale/Phoenix Metro area, please give the Sinus & Allergy Wellness Center a call today for an appointment to learn more. The Phoenix area specialty sinus clinic offers an alternate method thats both quicker, in-office, less expensive, and more effective. Call 480-567-7098 to learn more about this method of treating sinusitis and see if you are a candidate!
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Drinking Liquids Help Ease Sinus Pain And Loosens Congestion
Staying hydrated keeps your sinuses moist so you feel better, and it also decreases the thickness of sinus mucus so it flows out more easily, Del Signore says.
Everyone is guilty of not drinking enough water, he says, recommending people get from six to eight 8-ounces glasses every day.
Steer clear of too many caffeinated or alcoholic drinks, which can cause dehydration.
Can Sinus Infections Be Prevented
In principle, you have to avoid things that irritate the nose to prevent sinusitis, such as cigarette smoke.
In addition, it is essential to wash your hands frequently to prevent the sinuses from being infected by viruses and bacteria that are on your hands.
Some allergies can cause persistent sinus symptoms. In that case, you should go to an allergy specialist to tell you what is the proper treatment for you.
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How To Get Rid Of A Sinus Infection Naturally
Sinus sufferers who want real relief without pharmaceutical side effects have discovered that natural home remedies for sinus infections are safe and highly effective. These solutions target the underlying inflammation, promote natural sinus drainage, and help prevent additional infections.
The safest and most effective natural solutions involve the use of water in the form of liquid, vapor, or mist. Water penetrates the blockage allowing mucus to drain naturally so that the sinuses can begin the healing process. These solutions have the added benefit of helping to reduce the intensity and duration of sinus symptoms and improving quality of life.
When Do We Need Antibiotics For Sinus Infection
Antibiotics are not needed for many sinus infections, but your doctor can decide if you need an antibiotic. You doctor may recommend antibiotics if:
Most sinus infections usually get better on their own without antibiotics. When antibiotics arent needed, they wont help you, and their side effects could still cause harm. Side effects can range from minor issues, like a rash, to very serious health problems, such as antibiotic-resistant infections and C. diff infection, which causes diarrhea that can lead to severe colon damage and death.
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How To Get Rid Of A Sinus Infection Without Antibiotics
This article was medically reviewed by . Dr. Litza is a board certified Family Medicine Physician in Wisconsin. She is a practicing Physician and taught as a Clinical Professor for 13 years, after receiving her MD from the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Medicine and Public Health in 1998.There are 20 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been viewed 85,329 times.
Sinusitis is an inflammation of paranasal sinuses most commonly due to an infection, underlying allergy or various autoimmune processes. The sinuses are small cavities in the skull that are normally filled with air. Sinusitis is an inflammation of the tissue that lines these cavities. In some cases, the swelling of this tissue blocks off the entry of the sinuses, trapping mucus and air inside them. This can cause pain in the cheeks, runny nose, and headache over the forehead region sometimes, it may lead to a secondary bacterial infection.XTrustworthy SourceCleveland ClinicEducational website from one of the world’s leading hospitalsGo to source Acute sinusitis resolves in 4 weeks whereas chronic sinusitis goes beyond 12 weeks and may keep on recurring for years. However, in most cases, sinusitis can be easily treated even without antibiotics.XTrustworthy SourceCleveland ClinicEducational website from one of the world’s leading hospitalsGo to source
How Long Does A Sinus Infection Last
How long does a sinus infection last? There are several possible answers. Some cases are mild and can be treated at home with warm, compressive socks and a saline rinse. Others are more severe and require antibiotics to get rid of the bacteria. If youre unsure, talk to your doctor. Usually, the symptoms of acute sinusitis improve without treatment, but some people may need antibiotics.
If the sinus infection is caused by bacteria, the maximum treatment can last four to six weeks. The duration of medical treatment depends on how severe the infection is. In many cases, antibiotics are needed. Continued use of antibiotics can help clear up the condition and avoid complications. However, it is important to continue the antibiotics until the symptoms go away. Even after youve stopped taking the antibiotics, you may still experience some mild pain and difficulty breathing.
Acute sinusitis lasts less than four weeks and chronic sinusitis lasts for more than 12 weeks. An acute bacterial infection usually resolves within 10 days, and if it doesnt, its likely that a bacterial infection is the culprit. One to two bouts of sinusitis a year is normal, but more than four in a year is a reason to visit an ear, nose, and throat surgeon.
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When To See A Doctor
Remember, acute sinusitis can last for several weeks. Give your body a chance to fight it off, using self-care techniques and getting plenty of rest.
If your symptoms start to improveeven if it seems to take a whilethen let it be. Be patient. Your body is slowly, but surely, doing what it needs to do to fight the infection.
However, if your sinusitis symptoms get worse despite proper self-care if theyre accompanied by high fever, a lot of facial swelling, and green or foul-smelling nasal discharge and if these progressively worsening symptoms persist for longer than 10 days, its time to see your doctor.
In these cases, an antibiotic may be warranted because the infection has gotten out of control.
On a final note, be sure to take probiotic supplements while on antibiotics. While important and often lifesaving, antibiotics have a downsidethey also kill beneficial bacteria along with the pathogenic.
Probiotics help ensure you continue to have friendly bugs in your system. Take your probiotics several hours apart from your antibiotics, as the antibiotics could negate their effects.Take good care.