Loss Of Smell And Taste
A side effect of nasal congestion is that you will find it challenging to smell or taste. Again, the swelling is to blame since the scents and aromas you are used to cant reach the top of the nose.
Sometimes, the inflammation presses down on the nervous system, impacting the signal that triggers taste and smell. Allergies and a cold can also cause these symptoms, which is why its vital to speak to a professional ENT doctor if youre concerned.
How To Treat A Cold
If you are dealing with a cold, there are plenty of home remedies that can help bring temporary relief to your symptoms. These include: 9
- Increasing fluid intake: staying hydrated can help soften, thin, and loosen secretions such as mucus and phlegm
- Humidified air: replenish moisture in the air to keep your sinuses from drying out and to enhance drainage of congested upper airways
- Honey: a good anti-inflammatory agent that can help soothe dry and irritated throat caused by the common cold
- Vitamin C: used as a dietary supplement to strengthen your bodys natural defense and immune system to aid recovery
Additionally, you can always look to supplement home remedies with over-the-counter medication. If you suffer from sinus pain, nasal congestion, headaches, or fever, you can trust BENYLIN® Cold & Sinus DAY/NIGHT Tablets for fast and effective relief. You can also look to BENYLIN® Extra Strength Mucus & Phlegm if you suffer from sore throat, body aches, chest congestion, and mucus and phlegm. These medications come in portable and convenient tablets, making it easy to grab, go, and use whenever you need it.
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Nasal Discharge: Cause Treatments And Prevention
What is nasal discharge?
Mucus isnt just a slimy material in your nose it actually has a useful purpose. It traps bacteria, other germs, and debris, and prevents them from entering your lungs.
In some cases, such as when you have a cold or allergies, mucus may flow out of your nose or down your throat. When mucus comes out of your nose, its called nasal discharge. It can also be called post-nasal drip or rhinorrhea.
Although its annoying, nasal discharge is common and usually goes away on its own. But in some cases, its a sign of an underlying health problem that might require medical attention.
There are many potential causes of nasal discharge. Some of the most common include infections and allergies.
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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.
Signs That Indicate You Have A Sinus Infection
A sinus infection occurs when the tissues lining your sinuses become inflamed, swollen, and infected. Also known as sinusitis, a sinus infection shares many of the same symptoms as the common cold and COVID-19, making it difficult for you to determine whether you should treat your condition at home or see your doctor.
Lauren Dethlefs, PA-C, a physician assistant with Healthcare Associates located in McKinney, explains, Acute sinusitis is typically triggered by a cold or allergies and is self-limiting. The sinuses can also become infected with a bacteria leading to a bacterial sinusitis which requires medical treatment. Fungal infections can also lead to sinusitis.
What does a sinus infection feel like, and what are the symptoms of a sinus infection? Continue reading to learn more about determining if you have a sinus infection and about effective treatments.
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What Are The Different Types Of Sinuses Near The Nose And Eyes
The paranasal sinuses are located in your head near your nose and eyes. They are named after the bones that provide their structure.
- The ethmoidal sinuses are located between your eyes.
- The maxillary sinuses are located below your eyes.
- The sphenoidal sinuses are located behind your eyes.
- The frontal sinuses are located above your eyes.
The biggest sinus cavity is the maxillary cavity, and it is one of the cavities that most often becomes infected.
There are different types of sinusitis:
- Acute bacterial sinusitis: This term refers to a sudden onset of cold symptoms such as runny nose, stuffy nose, and facial pain that does not go away after 10 days, or symptoms that seem to improve but then return and are worse than the initial symptoms . It responds well to antibiotics and decongestants.
- Chronic sinusitis: This term refers to a condition defined by nasal congestion, drainage, facial pain/pressure, and decreased sense of smell for at least 12 weeks.
- Subacute sinusitis: This term is used when the symptoms last four to twelve weeks.
- Recurrent acute sinusitis: This term is used when the symptoms come back four or more times in one year and last less than two weeks each time.
Why Do I Have Black Mucus In My Nose
When blood mixes with mucus that is tinged in hue, the end result can be shades of brownish or reddish. And, black mucus in nose areas can also be caused from blood, as it becomes almost black in color when dry, and can create streaks of black color or very dark brown in mucus.
Can a sinus infection cause brown mucus? Nasal congestion and a thick, dark-colored nasal discharge are also common during a sinus infection. When the mucus drips into your throat from the back of your nose, youll notice a foul taste, and you may get bad breath or a cough. What color is phlegm when you
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Sinus Infection Versus Cold: How To Tell The Difference
When it comes to the battle between a sinus infection vs. cold, knowing which one you have is tricky. Dr. Woodard suggests that you consider these questions to tell the difference between the two:
Other symptoms of a sinus infection may include loss of smell and taste, cough, congestion, fever, headache, fatigue or aches in your upper jaw and teeth.
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Discharge From The Nose Or In The Throat
The most noticeable symptom of a sinus infection is the presence of discharge from the nose. This sign is similar to what you would experience with a regular cold or seasonal flu. The mucus from your sinuses may also drip down the back of your throat .
The color of the discharge may help you identify whether youre experiencing a common cold or a sinus infection. The former will often cause nasal mucus that is watery and clear or cloudy. The latter often comes with mucus that has a green or yellow tint. The discoloration is not a product of the bacteria itself. Instead, it is a result of your immune system fighting the infection by increasing white blood cells.
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Sinus Infection Symptoms Vs Covid
COVID-19 shares many of the same symptoms as a sinus infection, making it difficult for you to determine whether you have a sinus infection or COVID.
COVID-19 is a respiratory illness caused by an infectious virus, while a sinus infection results from inflammation of the nasal passages. COVID-19 also has far more symptoms than a sinus infection.
Additional symptoms of COVID-19 include:
- Fever and chills
- Bluish tint to the lips and face
- Loss of smell and/or taste that occurs without congestion
- Pink eye, characterized by irritation, redness, and itching of the eyes puffy eyes eye discharge sensitivity to light
- Gastrointestinal upset
- Chest pain
COVID-19 produces a dry cough without mucus, while a sinus infection produces a wet cough with mucus. COVID-19 and a sinus infection can both cause shortness of breath, though, with a sinus infection, this symptom is usually only present in severe cases.
The pain produced by a sinus infection generally presents in your head, such as throughout your cheeks, brow, and forehead. In contrast, COVID-19 causes all-over body aches, chest pain, and a wide range of gastrointestinal problems.
Cases of acute sinusitis typically last less than four weeks, while chronic sinusitis lasts for at least 12 weeks or longer and recurs often. Symptoms of COVID-19 usually appear within two to 14 days of exposure to the virus and resolve within two weeks.
Birth Of A Sinus Infection
Most people dont give much thought to their sinuses. Yet these little air-filled facial chambers have an important job to do. When you breathe through your nose, your sinuses go to work filtering pollutants, allergens and other irritants. If your sinus cavities are swollen and inflamed due to a cold, mucus can become trapped and create a breeding ground for infection.
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When To Seek Medical Assistance
Most sinus infections will go away on their own. According to Harvard Medical School, about 85% of sinusitis cases will clear up without the use of antibiotics. How can you know that your sinus infection falls into the 15% that need medical intervention?
Seek medical care if you experience a thick, colorful nasal discharge or facial pressure and pain for at least 10 days, or if your symptoms seem to improve then worsen, no matter the time period. Complications from a sinus infection are rare, but when they do occur, they are serious, including brain infections or abscesses.
You should seek immediate medical help if you experience:
- a fever over 102 F
- sudden and severe pain in the face or head
- double vision or trouble seeing
- confusion or problems thinking clearly
- a stiff neck
- shortness of breath
These could be warning signs of a more serious condition, like meningitis.
Other Remedies For Symptom Relief
Staying hydrated can help thin mucus to ease congestion.
Drinking hot liquids such as tea and broth may help relieve your symptoms. Breathing in moist air may also help relieve the discomfort that comes with nasal congestion. Try breathing in steam from the shower, a bowl of hot water, or a mug of tea.
If your voice is hoarse, rest it by avoiding yelling, whispering, and singing.
Placing a warm compress over the inflamed area can help reduce pressure and provide relief.
damages the natural protective elements of your nose, mouth, throat, and respiratory system.
If you smoke, consider quitting. Ask a doctor if you need help or are interested in quitting. Quitting may help prevent future episodes of both acute and chronic sinusitis.
Wash your hands frequently, especially during cold and flu seasons, to keep your sinuses from becoming irritated or infected by viruses or bacteria on your hands.
Using a humidifier during the cooler, dryer months may also help prevent sinus infections.
Talk with a doctor to see if allergies are causing your sinusitis. If youre allergic to something that causes persistent sinus symptoms, you will likely need to treat your allergies to relieve your sinus infection.
You may need to seek an allergy specialist to determine the cause of the allergy. The specialist may suggest:
- avoiding the allergen
- doing allergic immunotherapy
Keeping your allergies under control can help prevent repeated episodes of sinusitis.
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What Causes Chronic Sinus Infection
Multiple factors acting together usually contribute to chronic sinusitis.
People with allergies are more prone to develop chronic sinusitis. About one in five people with chronic sinusitis also have asthma. This is because the linings of your nose and sinuses are in continuation with the linings of your lungs. These people are also likely to have nasal polyps .
A bacterial or viral infection can also trigger the condition. The infection is often low grade. The bacteria confine themselves in stubborn biofilms, making it difficult for your immune system or antibiotics to find and attack them.
An overlap of additional factors such as smoking, environmental pollutants, and deviated septum, further complicate the picture of chronic sinusitis.
It would be more appropriate to say that if youre already prone to allergies and nasal polyps, it becomes easier for harmful bugs, especially fungi to penetrate your sinuses. Likewise, a weak immune system makes you more susceptible to catch bacterial, viral, or fungal sinus infection.
A sinus that is inflamed and swollen can no longer sweep away the excess mucus and harmful agents due to the blockage of tiny hairs that facilitate this function.
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Will I Need To Make Lifestyle Changes To Deal With Sinus Infections
If you have indoor allergies it is recommended that you avoid triggersanimal dander and dust mites, for exampleas well as take medications. Smoking is never recommended, but if you do smoke, strongly consider a program to help you quit. Smoke can also trigger allergies and prevent removal of mucous by the nose. No special diet is required, but drinking extra fluids helps to thin nasal secretions.
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How Do You Stop A Sinus Infection
If your sinus infection and post nasal drip with cough lasts between 7-10 days, you should be okay handling things at home on your own. To relieve post nasal drip and your cough, you can use antihistamines, nasal saline washes, and natural home remedies .
Be very careful with nasal sprays and certain decongestants, though. These treatment methods can end up thickening your mucus and could potentially make your post-nasal drip and cough worse.
That said, if you have a cough after sinus infection, this also shouldnt automatically trigger a doctors appointment. It can sometimes take up to a couple of weeks for a sinus infection cough to go away completely. As long as you notice your other symptoms clearing up , then you should be good to go.
Complications Of Chronic Sinusitis
Some people are troubled by frequent sinus infections, or continuous infection. Chronic sinusitis can linger for weeks or even months at a time. This can sometimes lead to serious complications, including infections in the bones and tissue near to the sinuses. Very rarely this infection can spread to the brain and the fluid around the brain. The person will be very ill and have swelling around the eyes.People with chronic sinusitis may have other problems which affect the nose, throat and ears at the same time, including:
- Middle ear infection and temporary deafness
- Post-nasal drip , which can lead to constant coughing, a sore throat and bad breath.
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How Would Doctors Diagnose A Sinus Infection Vs Covid
The determination as to whether you have COVID or a sinus infection should be made by a doctor. If the doctor suspects COVID-19, he or she will test you for the virus by swabbing your sinus cavity and sending the sample to a lab.
When doctors suspect a sinus infection, they look inside the nose for redness and swelling and will ask you about the color and frequency of your nasal discharge. They will check to see if your face is tender and ask you questions about how long youve been suffering from the illness.
Dr. Chase suggest there are three primary criteria that indicate a sinus infection:
We dont usually diagnose a sinus infection until somebody has been sick for seven to 10 days. Typically, with that youre going to have the classic tenderness in your sinuses, he says. Usually youre going to have a yellow/green runny nose thats pretty consistent throughout the day, and youre going to have a fever. You want to see those three things before you diagnose somebody with a sinus infection.
With COVID-19, the duration of the illness is different, along with the sinus tenderness, and discharge. If youre worried about your symptoms and are suffering from pain, fever, headaches, or any other clinical symptoms, its a good idea to consult your doctor.
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Is There A Right Way To Blow Your Nose
If you have a stuffy nose, trying to force yourself to blow your nose could make it worse. The best thing to do is to blow one side of your nose at a time gently into a tissue. You might want to first use some type of nasal rinse to loosen any material in your nose before blowing. Make sure you dispose of the tissue and then clean your hands with soap and water or an antimicrobial sanitizer.
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