How Do You Get Sinusitis
Now that you know the answer to the question, What are the symptoms of sinusitis? you may be wondering how you might have gotten sick in the first place. Frankly, anyone can get a sinus infection. Although the infection part of the sinus infection is caused by bacteria, viruses, or fungi, what creates the breeding ground for these infections can vary.
Sinus infections are not rare, and many people get them for a variety of common reasons, including but not limited to:
There is no sure way to prevent sinusitis entirely, but taking cautionary measures, including washing your hands, staying away from smoke in the environment, and avoiding allergy triggers, can help.
How To Relieve A Head Cold And Head Congestion
If you start to feel bad from nasal swelling or a stuffy nose, you can take steps to improve your symptoms and make yourself more comfortable. Here are some remedies for head congestion. Be sure to talk to your doctor if you have any questions or concerns.
Whether you catch the cold or flu, what your body needs most is rest. Go to bed early, take naps when needed, and dont be afraid to take time off work or keep your children home from school. Not only will this prevent you from overexerting yourself, but it also helps avoid spreading your germs to others.
Drinking lots of fluids is key to helping your immune system function properly, so consume even more than you do when healthy. Water, fruit juices with vitamin C, clear broth or warm lemon water with honey do the best job of keeping you hydrated and loosening congestion. Alcoholic and caffeinated beverages like coffee or soda make dehydration worse, so avoid them until symptoms improve.
Add Moisture to the Air
Though it seems counterproductive, you dont want your nasal passages to dry up. Dry airways can increase nasal swelling that leads to a stuffy nose and nasal congestion. Keep moisture in the air with a cool-mist vaporizer or humidifier be sure to change the water and clean the unit properly. Steam from a shower or a hot cup of tea can also add extra moisture to the nasal passages to help with drainage.
Dont Use Antibiotics to Treat Colds
What Is A Common Cold
It’s an illness caused by many different kinds of viruses, which are tiny infectious particles.
You can’t miss the symptoms:
- Nasal congestion
You may also get a cough and a mild fever. The symptoms usually build, peak, and slowly disappear. Some medications can ease symptoms. For example, may decrease drainage and open the nasal passages. Pain relievers may help with fever and headache. Cough medicine may help, as well.
Colds typically last from a few days to about a week or longer.
Sometimes, a cold may cause swelling in the sinuses, hollow spaces in your skull that are connected to each other. The swelling can prevent the flow of mucus.
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How To Tell The Difference
While both disorders include congestion on their list of symptoms, those with a sinus infection wont experience the other typical symptoms of COVID-19 such as body aches, nausea and shortness of breath.
It is also important to note that you can have both COVID-19 and a sinus infection as they are not mutually exclusive. Remember, what sets COVID-19 apart are the additional hallmark symptoms such as fevers, chills and a greater amount of fatigue. Loss of taste or smell, a common occurrence with COVID-19, is also rare in other types of illnesses and infections.
Is It The Flu Or A Sinus Infection
The fall and winter months are prime times during the year for flu and sinus infections. Five to twenty percent of the US population gets the flu virus each year while 30 million Americans get sinus infections. The problem is that both diseases have similar symptoms which makes it difficult to discern between them, especially in the early stages.
Flu SymptomsFever, body aches and fatigue are symptoms typically experienced with the flu.
- Sore throat & dry, irritating cough
- Fever greater than 102 degrees F
- Flushed color in your face
Facial pain, nasal congestion and postnasal drip are seen with most sinus infections.
Is It the Flu or a Sinus Infection? Quick Answers.Have a fever?The flu causes temperature spikes. Its rare to have a fever with a sinus infection. If you do, the temperature is usually low grade.
Have pain?With a sinus infection, aches are more focused in the facial region. With the flu, muscle aches spread throughout the body.
Have a cough?A cough is possible with the flu and a sinus infection.
Have a sinus congestion or a runny nose?Mucus is the key. Yellowish-greenish mucus typically indicates a sinus infection.
Felt sick for a while?A sinus infection can last for weeks. The flu comes on strong but usually only takes a week to resolve itself. You feel more fatigued with the flu.
How to Treat the Flu
What to Do If You Have a Sinus Infection
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How Is Sinusitis Treated
Doctors may prescribe oral antibiotics to treat sinusitis caused by bacteria. Some doctors may recommend decongestants and antihistamines to help ease symptoms.
Sinusitis caused by a virus usually goes away without medical treatment. Acetaminophen, ibuprofen, and/or warm compresses can help reduce any pain. Over-the-counter saline solution is safe and helps wash the nose and relieve many symptoms caused by allergies, viruses, and bacteria.
Treating A Sinus Infection
Sinus infections are different from colds because they are caused by bacteria growing in blocked sinuses. Because of this, they may improve with antibiotics. Depending on your situation, your doctor may prescribe medication, such as antibiotics, or other drugs that can help relieve your pain and lessen the swelling in your sinuses.
If you feel you may have a sinus infection that is worsening, visit your urgent care clinic or primary care physician as soon as possible. You could receive treatment to help you recover faster.
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How Are Sinus Infections Treated
Many sinus infections caused by a virus will resolve on their own without any treatment with antibiotics, Melinda said. This is important because if you dont need antibiotics, its better not to take them as they can cause side effects and long-term resistance. An infection caused by bacteria, however, will likely require antibiotics.
Sometimes your health care provider may ask you to take over-the-counter medications to help your symptoms and monitor your condition further.
Examples of over-the-counter medication include:
- Saline nasal spray
- Acetaminophen or ibuprofen for pain relief
- A warm compress on your nose and forehead to relieve sinus pressure
How To Tell The Difference Between Covid
Allergy and sinus symptoms can be similar to COVID-19 symptoms. An otolaryngologist explains how to tell them apart and when you should seek treatment.
Allergy season has become more complicated since the COVID-19 pandemic. If you have allergies or sinus problems, you may not be sure how to tell the difference between those symptoms and COVID-19 symptoms. Jessica Southwood, MD, otolaryngologist, offers expert guidance to help you better understand these three conditions.
Since sinus and allergy symptoms and COVID-19 symptoms can seem similar and have some overlap, it is important to familiarize yourself with the differences. That way, you and your provider can manage your health care appropriately.
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When Do You Really Need Antibiotics For That Sinus Infection
- By Monique Tello, MD, MPH, Contributor
It was February, and clinic was teeming with respiratory infections of all kinds: mostly the common cold, but also bronchitis, pneumonia, and sinus infections. The patients were coming in usually thinking that they needed antibiotics for their sinus infection, or another respiratory infection.The first patient on my schedule was a healthcare provider with sinus infection written down as her main issue.* Shed had about two weeks of nasal and sinus congestion which she blamed on a viral upper respiratory infection . Her two young kids had been sick with colds all winter, so she wasnt surprised to have these symptoms, along with endless postnasal drip and a cough.
Her congestion had improved a bit at one point, and she thought that she was finally getting better. But then, the day before her appointment, she awoke with throbbing pain between her eyes, completely blocked nasal passages, and, more concerning to her, green pus oozing from her left tear duct. She had body aches, chills, and extreme fatigue. Do I maybe need antibiotics? she asked.
Doctor’s Notes On Sinus Infection
A sinus infection is an infection of the sinus infection is inflammation of the hollow air cavities within the skull that are connected to the nasal passages. A sinus infection may be acute or may be chronic, meaning it persists over the long term. Viruses that cause common colds may also cause inflamed sinuses, and bacterial infections are also causes of sinusitis. Rarely, fungal infections may cause the condition.
Symptoms and signs of a sinus infection include:
- a headache that may worsen when bending down,
- feelings of pressure or pain in the sinuses, and
- swelling or tenderness of the face.
Other associated symptoms can include:
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If Its A Sinus Infection
When your nasal passages become infected, thats not a cold, thats a sinus infection, which is harder to get over. Viruses, bacteria or even allergies can lead to sinus infections which will hang around for 7 days or more. Sinus infections are sometimes accompanied by a low-grade fever, while colds typically are not. Also, colds generally produce clear mucus, while bacterial infections tend to produce greenish or yellow mucus.
Colds do not usually cause sinus infections but they do offer a breeding ground for them. You touch your nose a lot when youre sick, and each time you do this, you bring more bacteria to the sinuses. Because your sinuses cant drain, the bacteria stay there and grow. So yes, a cold can lead to a sinus infection.
Is It A Sinus Infection A Cold Or Allergies
Your nose is stuffed and your head is pounding. Heres how to tell if a cold, allergies, or a sinus infection is to blame.
A stuffy nose and headache are common symptoms of many illnesses. So how can you tell whether the culprit is a sinus infection, a common cold, or allergies when the symptoms of these three conditions are so similar?
It can sometimes be difficult even for doctors to differentiate, says Alan B. Goldsobel, MD, an allergist at Allergy and Asthma Associates of Northern California and an adjunct associate professor at Stanford University Medical Center in Stanford, California. But there are some key differences that can give you some clues. Get to know more about the symptoms of these three conditions to help you pinpoint the cause of your sinus congestion:
A Sinus Infection
- What it feels like: You can expect a stuffy nose, but also some runny, discolored mucus, Goldsobel explains. You may also experience a sore throat, cough, sneezing, headache, or fatigue. Another sign is a rising temperature: Colds often trigger a fever, he says, but sometimes those fevers are so mild that people think they have allergies instead.
- What triggers it: A virus.
- How long it lasts: People usually fend off the cold virus within seven to 10 days, Baroody says. But if your symptoms have lingered past that window of time, you might have sinusitis. If you suspect you have a sinus infection, you should talk to your doctor.
An Allergic Reaction
Throat Irritation And Cough
As discharge from your sinuses drains down the back of your throat, it can cause irritation, especially over a long period of time. This can lead to a persistent and annoying cough, which can be worse when lying down to sleep or first thing in the morning after getting up from bed.
It can also make sleeping difficult. Sleeping upright or with your head elevated can help reduce the frequency and intensity of your coughing.
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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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Sore Throat And Hoarse Voice
Postnasal drip can leave you with a raw and aching throat. Although it may start as an annoying tickle, it can get worse.
If your infection lasts for a few weeks or more, mucus can irritate and inflame your throat as it drips, resulting in a painful sore throat and hoarse voice. Frequent coughing and throat clearing can make a hoarse voice worse.
Lack Of Smell And Taste
Sinus congestion will often impact your sense of smell. Because breathing through your nose becomes difficult, you wont be able to smell like you usually do. Your sense of smell informs your sense of taste, so while you will most likely be able to tell apart major ingredients, like salty instead of sweet, food will probably taste fairly bland for you while your sinuses are infected.
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Best Ways To Treat A Sinus Infection
If you think you may have a sinus infection, see your doctor right away because you most likely need antibiotics, and the sooner you start, the sooner youll feel better.
Sinus irrigation is also recommended for sinus infections as well for colds. It can help ease your symptoms while you wait for the antibiotics to start working. Steroids, decongestants and over-the-counter mucus thinners can also ease your discomfort.
About Author: Lisa Coon
Lisa Coon is a Writing Coordinator for OSF HealthCare, where she has worked since August 2016. A Peoria native, she is a graduate of Bradley University with a degree in journalism. Previously, she worked as a reporter and editor at several newspapers in Iowa and Illinois.She lives in Groveland with her husband and son. In her free time she likes to cook, bake and read. She freely admits that reality TV is a weakness, and she lives by the quote, The beach is good for the soul.
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How Severe Are The Symptoms
Most sinus infections go away on their own without severe symptoms or complications. If a sinus infection is caused by bacteria, you may need antibiotics.
Many cases of COVID-19 may be mild or moderate. The World Health Organization estimates that
Heres what to do next whether you think that you have a sinus infection or COVID-19.
When To See A Specialist
If your sinus infection does not go away after 1 or even 2 courses of antibiotics, you should see an ear, nose and throat specialist.
Some people get sinus infections over and over (especially people who smoke or have allergies and smoking. If these cases, a recurring infection can become chronic if not treated successfully and sinus surgery may be needed.
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