Should You Visit A Specialist
If your sinus infection just wont go away or keeps coming back, it may be time to see an ear, nose, and throat specialist. An ENT treats conditions of the ear, nose, throat, head, face, and neck. It may be time to see an ENT if:
- Youve completed several courses of antibiotics without success
- Your doctor suspects nasal polyps or another blockage of the nasal cavity
- You have chronic sinusitis that lasts longer than 12 weeks
Living with a sinus infection is miserable and living with a sinus infection for weeks on end is worse. Contact your doctor or an ENT to get the treatment you need.
Signs Of A Sinus Infection
A sinus infection is something you want to deal with right away to prevent it from escalating. However, its not easy to discern between the different symptoms and what they mean. After all, an infection manifests itself in a similar way to the flu or a cold, so you cant always act decisively.
With that in mind, here are some signs you have a sinus infection and should see an ear, nose and throat doctor.
Types Of Sinus Infections: Chronic Vs Acute
There are four types of sinus infections. These classifications depend on the length and frequency of the infection:
- Acute sinusitis.This type of sinus infection lasts only for a short time, defined by the American Academy of Otolaryngology as less than 4 weeks. This short-term infection is usually part of a cold or other respiratory illness. It may also be caused by a bacterial infection .
- Subacute sinusitis. A subacute sinus infection lasts between 4 and 12 weeks .
- Recurrent acute sinusitis. An acute sinus infection is considered recurrent if the infection returns four or more times within a year, with each infection lasting 7 days or more.
- Chronic sinusitis.Chronic sinus infections last for more than 12 weeks or continue to recur.
Many sinus infection symptoms are common in both acute and chronic forms. Seeing a doctor is the best way to learn if you have an infection, find the cause, and get treatment.
For cases of acute bacterial sinus infections, these symptoms last at least 10 days without improving, or they worsen within 10 days after seeming to improve. In this case, its important to talk with a doctor, such as a general practitioner or an ear, nose, and throat doctor , to get a diagnosis and treatment plan.
Learn more about the symptoms of a sinus infection below.
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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 hasnât cleared up properly, but most often the exact cause of chronic sinusitis isnât 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. Itâs 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.
How You Can Treat Sinusitis Yourself
You can often treat mild sinusitis without seeing a GP by:
- getting plenty of rest
- taking painkillers, such as paracetamol or ibuprofen
- avoiding allergic triggers and not smoking
- cleaning your nose with a salt water solution to ease congestion
If you have a high temperature or you do not feel well enough to do your normal activities, try to stay at home and avoid contact with other people until you feel better.
You do not need to use all of the solution, but make a fresh solution each time you clean your nose.
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Diagnosis Of Sinus Infection
To diagnose if you have a sinus infection, your doctor will ask about your symptoms and their timeframe, and give you a physical exam.
This exam may include looking in the nose for signs of polyps, conducting a transillumination test to identify inflammation, and tapping the sinus area to detect infections.
If you have a chronic sinus infection, your doctor may conduct additional tests, including:
- Rhinoscopy or nasal endoscopy to inspect your sinuses and see if your membranes are inflamed
- Mucus cultures to determine what is specifically causing your infection
- Allergy tests to determine what allergens may be triggering your chronic or recurrent infections
- CT scan to identify sinus abnormalities, such as polyps or a deviated septum
- MRI scan to see if you have a nasal tumor or fungal infection
If you have a serious fungal sinus infection, your doctor may order a bone biopsy to see if the infection has penetrated your bones.
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How To Treat A Sinus Infection At Home
You can effectively treat sinus infections at home with over-the-counter medicines or one or more home remedies.
Dethlefs recommends, Drink plenty of water, use Vicks vapor rub on chest and bottoms of feet, rest and sleep and humidifier. One thing I like to do when my family is sick is boil water on the stove and melt Vicks vapor rub in it. Then pour solution in ice cube trays and freeze. Add 1-2 ice cubs to bottom of shower.
OTC medicines that may improve symptoms of a sinus infection include:
- Nasal decongestant sprays help reduce swelling in the nasal passages to promote drainage flow from the sinuses. This sinus infection treatment should only be used for three to four days to reduce the risk of rebound congestion.
- Nasal corticosteroid sprays help reduce swelling and inflammation in the nasal passages without causing rebound congestion.
- Antihistamines remain particularly helpful for those whose nasal passages become inflamed and swollen due to seasonal allergies.
- Nasal saline washes and rinses help clear mucus from the nasal passages to promote easier breathing.
Your doctor may also prescribe antibiotics if OTC medicines fail to relieve your symptoms within seven to 10 days. Antibiotics are usually only prescribed as a last-resort treatment for sinus infections due to the risk of overuse, which may lead to other difficult-to-treat infections.
Home remedies for sinus infection include:
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What Is Fungal Sinusitis
Fungal sinusitis is a sinus infection that results from a fungus. Several types of fungal sinus infections cause similar symptoms. These may include nasal congestion and sinus pain .
Providers treat most cases of fungal sinusitis with sinus surgery, and extreme forms may require additional anti-fungal treatment. But people with healthy immune systems may not need treatment. Some fungal sinus infections clear up without intervention.
People who have conditions that weaken the immune system are much more likely to get fungal sinusitis. They also have a higher risk of complications. Some types of fungal sinusitis can destroy the lining of the nose, spread to the brain and lead to death.
When To Call Your Healthcare Provider
- Your symptoms are severe or they are getting worse after seven days.
- Your headache is severe and over-the-counter pain relievers donât put a dent in it.
- You are running a fever of 100.4 degrees or more.
- You finished a course of prescribed antibiotics, but you still have symptoms.
If you have been having frequent bouts of sinusitis, you should see your healthcare provider to get a full diagnosis and check for problems that might be contributing to your episodes.
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Why Do I Suddenly Have Sinus Problems
Acute sinus infections come on suddenly. They can be caused by a virus or bacteria. An acute sinus infection caused by a virus is the most common type of a sinus infection, and it typically clears up on its own.
Can air conditioning dry out your sinuses?
Dry air affects the sinuses because it damages the cilia that filter out the bacteria and debris in the mucus membrane lining the nasal and sinus cavities. The air can also become especially dry if you are exposed to air conditioning, wood burning stoves or forced-air heating.
When Antibiotics Are In Order
The main reason to prescribe antibiotics is for patient comfort, Dr. Sindwani says. The medical field used to be more convinced than it is today than untreated sinusitis would inevitably become a chronic issue, he says.
We dont think that way as much, he says. We dont know that an untreated acute sinusitis, if left untreated, will grumble along and cause people to have a chronic sinus infection.
Some people think thats two separate things, with chronic sinusitis more likely due to underlying issues like allergies or immune problems.
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What Home Remedies Help Soothe Sinus Infection Or Sinusitis Symptoms
Sinus infections caused by viruses can use home treatments such as pain and fever medications , decongestants, and mucolytics. In addition, some health care professionals suggest nasal irrigation or a sinus rinse solution to help relieve symptoms of sinus infections, even chronic sinusitis symptoms. This irrigation is accomplished with a âNeti-Potâ or a sinus rinse kit . The last reference of this article shows a video of a sinus rinse procedure. In 2012, the FDA issued a warning about the use of Neti-Pots. The FDA cautions people not to use untreated tap water for rinsing, as contaminated tap water rinses lead to two deaths.
Bacterial and fungal sinus infections usually require antibiotic or antifungal therapy so home treatments without them are often not successful. However, some authors suggest home treatments may reduce symptoms after medical therapy has begun some healthcare professionals recommend nasal irrigation after sinus surgery.
Signs You Have A Sinus Infection
Posted in Nose | January 14, 2022
Are you experiencing pressure around your nose, forehead, and eyes? Does your face feel like its overly full?
These are some of the more common signs of having a sinus infection. Your sinuses are tiny, empty spaces that connect the inside of your nose.
Theyre found behind your forehead and cheekbones. When you have a sinus infection, the lining of your sinuses swells up. The swelling of the lining of your sinuses prevents mucus from draining down your throat and nose properly. Factors that increase your risk of developing a sinus infection are:
Other telltale signs of a sinus infection include:
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All Symptoms Point To A Sinus Infection
Sinus headache behind the eyes check. Sinus cavity pain check. Congested nasal passages check. Even when all signs suggest that you have a sinus infection, its still a good idea to reach out to a medical provider who can help determine if your infection is viral or bacterial.
Viral sinus infections are most common, and usually stem from a viral infection like the common cold. If your infection is viral in nature, antibiotics wont help because they dont, and cant, attack viruses. Instead, treatment includes a blend of over-the-counter medications, in a safe dosage and combination, to help bring relief while your immune system fights the virus.
Bacterial infections are also likely to follow a viral cold that evolves into a bacterial infection within the sinus passages. Bacterial sinusitis is less common overall, but more likely if your symptoms continue to worsen and stick around for more than 10 days. Treatment for a bacterial sinus infection often includes an antibiotic.
For either type of infection, reducing the pain and pressure are the key to getting you back to 100%.
How Is Sinusitis Treated
Sinusitis is treated in several ways, each depending on how severe the case of sinusitis is.
A simple sinusitis infection is treated with:
- Drinking fluids .
If symptoms of sinusitis don’t improve after 10 days, your doctor may prescribe:
- Oral or topical decongestants.
- Prescription intranasal steroid sprays. .
Long-term sinusitis may be treated by focusing on the underlying condition . This is usually treated with:
- Intranasal steroid sprays.
- Topical antihistamine sprays or oral pills.
- Leukotriene antagonists to reduce swelling and allergy symptoms.
- Rinsing the nose with saline solutions that might also contain other types of medication.
When sinusitis isn’t controlled by one of the above treatments, a CT scan is used to take a better look at your sinuses. Depending on the results, surgery may be needed to correct structural problems in your sinuses. This is most likely to happen if you have polyps and/or a fungal infection.
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Overuse Of Nasal Products
While it’s true that nasal decongestant sprays relieve congestionâthey constrict the blood vessels in the noseâyou should avoid prolonged use of over-the-counter nasal sprays, as they can make your symptoms worse if not used as directed.
If you use sprays for an extended period of time, you can become less sensitive to their effects so that your nose becomes swollen again, a condition known as rebound nasal congestion, says Dr. Bains.
As a result, prolonged use of OTC nasal sprays can lead to dependency, adds Dr. Hueston, who recommends that people who use sprays to treat cold symptoms stop after four or five days.
Children And Sinus Infections
Unfortunately, there is no age minimum for sinus infections, and they are more difficult to detect and diagnose in children. As with adult cases, be suspicious if a runny nose or a cough lasts more than a couple of days, if a child seems lethargic, stops eating or drinking, sleeps restlessly or complains of frequent headaches.
Teach your children the benefits of proper hygiene and be prudent during flu and cold season and watchful when the pollen count or pollution index are high. As with other respiratory problems, the sinuses can be affected by environmental factors, by smoke and sometimes by strong odors.
Armed with a normal measure of knowledge and concern, you should feel confident in your ability to deal with the signs and symptoms of sinus infections, and to find effective advice and treatment if you suspect thatâs what ails you or your family.
Contact Houston ENT today at 649-7000 if you feel you or a loved one is suffering from a sinus infection!
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How You Can Find Relief
Its important to review your sinusitis symptoms and how long youve been having them with a physician. Teladoc doctors can help you determine the possible cause of your symptoms, especially if youre concerned you may have COVID-19. If your sinus problems are caused by allergies, there are strategies and medications that can help bring relief. While bothersome mucus is often an effect of a viral infection, a bacterial infection can develop after a virus has taken hold. In this case, oral antibiotics can help with healing.
Regardless of whats causing all this congestion, try to put the to-do list aside and get some rest. If youre having pain, you can take an over-the-counter pain reliever like acetaminophen or ibuprofen. Petroleum jelly can soothe a sore nose on the outside, while nasal drops or a nasal irrigation device can help flush out nasal passages on the inside. Treat and blow each nostril separately, Dr. Hood says.
Also, dont forget about all that mucus youre losing: Moisture should play a key role in your return to good health. Drink plenty of liquids like water, juice, warm broth or soup, Dr. Hood says, and use a cool-mist humidifier to soothe the airways, especially when sleeping. Steam from hot showers can help reduce inflammation and make breathing easier. Also try a warm compress on the nose, cheekbones or forehead for relief from sinusitis symptoms, he adds.
What Are The Symptoms Of Chronic Sinusitis
Symptoms of chronic sinusitis may include:
- Tenderness or pressure in the face .
- Post nasal drip .
- Nasal discharge or a stuffy nose.
- Toothache, ear pain and/or headache.
- Loss of the senses of taste and smell.
The combination of symptoms and the fact that they last for such a long period of time can make you miserable. You’ll probably have trouble sleeping through the night and may have dark circles under your eyes.
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Why You Keep Getting Sinus Infections + Exactly What To Do About It
Throbbing pressure in your head, a congested nose, Kleenex for days nobody thinks sinus infections are a breeze, and yet they affect a whopping 29.4 million of us. But go to a doctor, and what do you get? Cures like over-the-counter sinus medications, pharmaceutical antibiotics, and steroids, all with side effects that can be as bad or worse than the infection itself. Sure, sometimes these medications might be necessary, but the truth is that these mainstream options are over-prescribed and often, they dont have any effect on the actual progression and healing of the infection.
So what does a health-conscious sufferer do about the pressure, pain, congestion, fatigue, and all-around discomfort of a sinus infection? Stop them from happening, thats what! The best way to do this is to discover the most common causes of these infections, so you can correct the underlying problem, rather than just masking the uncomfortable symptoms. Here are the causes, and what you can do about them right now:
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