Sunday, May 19, 2024

How Are Sinus Infections Spread

About Author: Lisa Coon

Is sinusitis dangerous?Can Sinus infections spread to the brain?-Dr.Harihara Murthy| Doctors’ Circle

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.

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.

When To See A Healthcare Provider

Most of the time sinusitis will resolve in 10 days or less without the need to see your healthcare provider for treatment or a prescription. If you have been dealing with your symptoms for 10 days to two weeks and your symptoms are not improving, it is time to consider contacting your healthcare provider.

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How Long Do The Signs And Symptoms Of Sinusitis And Sinus Infections Last

  • Acute sinusitis or sinus infections symptoms and signs last about three weeks if the signs and symptoms go away.
  • Chronic sinusitis or sinus infections usually last about eight weeks or longer.
  • Recurrent sinusitis is acute sinusitis that occurs several times over one year, which may develop into chronic sinusitis.

Favorite Resources For Finding A Specialist

Is a Sinus Infection Contagious? [Infographic]

Through research, education, and advocacy, the American Rhinologic Society is devoted to serving patients with nose, sinus, and skull base disorders. Their website provides a valuable search tool to find a doctor, as well as links to other medical societies and resources that are useful for patients.

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How Can You Keep From Spreading A Sinus Infection

Try incorporating these common sense practices to keep from spreading your sinus infection.

  • Wash your hands! This seems basic, but it always bears repeating. Handwashing really is the best way to prevent the spread of germs! Be sure to wash with soap and water before handling food, after using the restroom, and especially after blowing your nose or touching your face.
  • Cover your cough! Feeling a tickle in your throat? Turn away from those around you and cough into the crook of your elbow. This prevents germs from getting all over your hands while still stopping droplets from spreading.
  • Stay home when possible. Even though it takes pretty close contact to spread a sinus infection, staying home and getting rest can help you get back to your normal routine as soon as possible.
  • Get better faster. Try using home remedies like over-the-counter medications or a neti pot to help speed up your recovery. In fact, one study in children showed that nasal irrigation was almost as helpful as antibiotics in clearing up sinus infections!

Chronic Sinus Infection Treatment

Chronic sinus infections typically have a more mysterious cause than acute infections people with chronic sinus infections often require life-long treatment to keep symptoms at bay.

In addition to the options above, treatment for chronic sinus infections may include:

  • Lifestyle changes, such as quitting smoking and changing home or work conditions to reduce exposure to environmental toxins and allergens, such as dust mites, pet dander, or cockroaches
  • Oral steroids
  • Leukotriene modifiers, which reduce inflammation through a different mechanism than steroids
  • Surgery to reopen sinuses affected by issues like nasal polyps and deviated septum

Recent research suggests other treatment options may also exist for chronic sinus infections, including:

  • Nasal probiotics of the beneficial bacteria lactobacilli
  • The drug dupilumab, derived from a human antibody, which the Food and Drug Administration approved to treat chronic sinus infections with nasal polyps in 2019
  • A regime combining oral and intranasal corticosteroid irrigations

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Viral Sinus Infections: Contagious

Acute sinusitis caused by a virus or viral infection is often considered contagious. Interestingly, however, the sinusitis itself isnt whats causing you to be contagious. The culprit is, in fact, a virus, such as the one that causes the common cold. These viruses, such as rhinoviruses, influenza A, and influenza B, cause your body to respond with acute sinusitis, a symptom of a larger problem.

The symptoms of acute sinusitis caused by a viral sinus infection often last a week to ten days. During this time, its possible for the virus to spread from one person to another. The most common type of transmission occurs via hand-to-hand contact. Simple precautions such as hand washing can easily prevent the virus and acute sinusitis from spreading.

When Should You Visit The Doctor

Mother speaks after son almost dies when sinus infection spreads to brain

You might notice the need for a consultation only when the symptoms get worse. It is quite common that people get confused between a common cold and a sinus infection. However, there can be situations when you should seek immediate medical care. Unfamiliar symptoms like double vision or problem seeing, confusion, persistent pain and headache, redness and swelling around the eye, stiff neck problem, and a swollen forehead are alarming. If you experience some or a combination of these symptoms, you might need immediate medical consultation. Also, watch for the symptoms that last for more than 12 weeks. Some people might notice a recurrence of sinus infections multiple times in a year. Such incidents should be addressed immediately.

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Regardless Of Whether Your Sinus Infection Is Contagious Youll Treat It The Same Way

Most sinus infections are pretty good at clearing up on their own, so all youll need for the next few days is some good ol self-care . On your next CVS run, snag a saline nasal spray to dial down swelling, a good OTC decongestant , andif youre super stuffed upa neti pot to mechanically wash out mucus with warm salt water, suggests Dr. Husain. Just do not share your nasal spray or neti pot with anyone .

To ease the pain from sinus pressure, press a warm compress to your face or breathe in lots of steam from a hot mug or shower for 10 to 15 minutes, three to four times a day.

If its been 10 days and youre still suffering from the same symptoms, call up your doctor to schedule an appointment, as you may have a bacterial sinus infectionwhich will require a prescription for a course of antibiotics, says Dr. Husain.

Related Conditions And Causes Of Sinus Infections

Colds, allergies, and sinus infections can cause similar symptoms, including stuffiness and headache. What’s more, both colds and allergies can cause sinus inflammation. So how can you tell the difference between these illnesses?

The truth is, even doctors can sometimes have difficulty differentiating among colds, allergies, and sinus infections. But the illnesses do present differently.

A hallmark sign that you have a sinus infection is that the illness is, as you’d expect, severely affecting your sinuses. Both colds and allergies can cause congestion and runny nose, but sinus infections typically cause an aching sensation and pressure in the face, including in the ears and teeth.

Additionally, postnasal drop, reduced sense of smell, and halitosis are typically associated with sinus infections.

The mucus associated with a sinus infection is usually green or yellow, though color alone isn’t enough to determine the cause of your nasal distress, as there are many reasons your nasal discharge may not be clear.

Both allergies and colds can cause sneezing, a symptom not typically seen in sinus infections. Allergies never cause fever, which is seen in both colds and sinus infections.

And if your symptoms last more than 10 days, you most likely don’t have a cold.

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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.

What Happens If You Let A Sinus Infection Go Untreated

Are Sinus Infections Contagious?

In most cases, sinus infection goes away on its own. However, if it lingers or keeps rearing its ugly head and you still keep overlooking it, a sinus infection can lead to potentially grave complications.

The possibility for serious health risks stems from the fact that your sinuses are too close to other parts of your body, especially your brain and eyes.

Heres a list of some important complications that can arise as a result of an untreated sinus infection.

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Upper Respiratory Infections: Contagious

Is acute sinusitis contagious? It may not be at first, but left untreated acute sinusitis can become an upper respiratory infection, which can be highly contagious. Hand-to-hand contact, sneezing and coughing can quickly spread the infection.

An upper respiratory infection occurs when the mucus in your sinus cavities drains and collects in your esophagus. This drainage causes even more discomfort and further limits your ability to breathe.

Are Sinus Infections Contagious Can This Help Preventing The Spread

When we come across anyone having sinus symptoms, suddenly what pops up in mind is, what if I catch it? Whether it is your family or a dear friend, we are all worried about contracting sinusitis from someone with the symptoms. We keep a distance, I am not sure about everyone, but I do. After all, who would be fond of sneezing, coughing, and wheezing all the time!


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Symptoms Of Bacterial Sinus Infection

As per the guidelines, a sinus infection is more likely to be bacterial than viral if any of the following conditions are present.

  • No clinical improvement occurs in the symptoms even after the passage of at least 10 days.
  • The severity of the symptoms is quite high, including facial pain, nasal discharge and a fever in excess of 102°F which remains for at least 4 days on the trot at the start of the illness.
  • Worsening of the symptoms is characterized by the development of a new headache or fever or increase in the amount of nasal discharge, usually after a viral infection of the upper respiratory tract that has remained for 6 days and had seemed to improve initially.

Sinus Infection Definition And Facts

Sinus Infections: Symptoms may be more than just allergies
  • Sinusitis or sinus infection is inflammation of the air cavities within the passages of the nose.
  • Sinusitis can be caused by infection, allergies, and chemical or particulate irritation of the sinuses.
  • The fastest way to get rid of a sinus infection can include medications, home remedies, alternative therapies, and surgery.
  • Most people do not spread sinus infections to other people.
  • Sinusitis may be classified as acute sinus infection, subacute sinus infection, chronic sinus infection, infected sinusitis, and noninfectious sinusitis.
  • Sinusitis signs and symptoms include

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Are Sinus Infections Contagious No But An Underlying Virus Can Be

  • Sinus infections are not contagious.
  • However, if your sinus infection is caused by a virus, that virus can be contagious and if it spreads to someone else, they will be at a higher risk of getting a sinus infection, too.
  • Here’s how you can recognize and treat a sinus infection in order to reduce risk and prevent the spread of any contagious illness.
  • Visit Insider’s Health Reference library for more advice.

Sinus infections affect about 31 million Americans a year, according to the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology .

If your sinus infection is caused by a virus, that virus may be contagious, but not the sinus infection itself. If your sinus infection is caused by bacteria or allergies, you likely won’t be contagious at all.

Here’s what you need to know about the common causes of sinus infections, how to treat them, and how to reduce your risk of getting one.

Acute Sinusitis Vs Chronic Sinusitis

Not all sinus infections progress the same way. The length and severity of your symptoms can vary. When symptoms develop and resolve quickly, within 7 10 days, this is called acute sinusitis. If symptoms last for several weeks or continue to return frequently, this is called chronic sinusitis. Acute sinusitis commonly develops from a cold, while chronic sinusitis typically stems from an underlying cause such as bacterial infection, allergies, or nasal polyps.

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Can Sinus Infections Last So Long

The answer to this question is not definite as there are mainly two types of sinus infections- acute and chronic. Your infection is termed acute when it lasts from ten days to eight weeks. However, a chronic sinus infection can last even longer than that. It can persist for long, show some improvement during medication, and can return bad after stopping medications. Chronic sinus infection can affect your quality of life as it can persist for even months. Acute and chronic sinus infections can be caused either by viruses or bacteria.

What Tests Diagnose The Cause Of Sinus Infections And Sinusitis

Sinus Infection Cough

Sinus infection is most often diagnosed based on the history and examination of a doctor. Because plain X-ray studies of the sinuses may be misleading and procedures such as CT and MRI scans, which are much more sensitive in their ability to diagnose a sinus infection, are so expensive and not available in most doctors’ offices, most sinus infections are initially diagnosed and treated based on clinical findings on examination. These physical findings may include:

  • redness and swelling of the nasal passages,
  • purulent drainage from the nasal passages ,
  • tenderness to percussion over the cheeks or forehead region of the sinuses, and
  • swelling about the eyes and cheeks.

Occasionally, nasal secretions are examined for secreted cells that may help differentiate between infectious and allergic sinusitis. Infectious sinusitis may show specialized cells of infection while allergic sinusitis may show specialized white blood cells of allergy . Physicians prescribe antibiotics if the bacterial infection is suspected. Antibiotics are not effective against viral infections many physicians then treat the symptoms.

In addition, both rigid and flexible endoscopy has been used to obtain diagnostic material from sinuses. These procedures are usually done by an otolaryngologist under topical and local anesthesia. Occasionally, there may be a need to sedate the patient. Some investigators suggest that endoscopy specimens are comparable to those obtained by needle puncture.

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Is Sinus Infection Contagious

A sinus infection is an inflammation of the sinuses and nasal cavity.

There are two types of sinus infections:

  • Has a sudden onset
  • Lasts less than eight weeks, or
  • Happens no more than three times per year, with each occurrence lasting 10 days or less
  • Chronic sinusitis
  • Lasts long-term – longer than eight weeks, or
  • Happens more than four times yearly, and symptoms last more than 20 days
  • When To Seek Medical Care

    See a doctor if you have:

    • Severe symptoms, such as severe headache or facial pain.
    • Symptoms that get worse after initially improving.
    • Symptoms lasting more than 10 days without improvement.
    • Fever longer than 3-4 days.

    You should also seek medical care if you have had multiple sinus infections in the past year.

    This list is not all-inclusive. Please see a doctor for any symptom that is severe or concerning.

    Other conditions can cause symptoms similar to a sinus infection, including:

    • Seasonal allergies
    • Colds

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    How To Treat Bacterial Sinus Infection

  • Take a Rest and Keep Hydrated
  • Taking rest and consuming plenty of fluids are highly effective natural remedies for a sinus infection and need to be used in case of both viral and bacterial sinus infections.

  • Relieve Your Congestion
  • Congestion in the sinuses can be reduced by trying the following steps:

    • Applying a moist and warm washcloth to the face several times throughout the day.
    • Drinking a good amount of fluids for thinning the mucus.
    • Inhaling steam for 2 to 4 times a day.
    • Spraying with a nasal saline many times throughout the day.
    • Using a humidifier.
    • Using a Neti pot for flushing the sinuses.
    • Note: The use of OTC spray nasal decongestants should be done very carefully. They are helpful in the beginning but continuous use can worsen nasal stuffiness.
  • Ease the Sinus Pressure or Pain
  • Use the following self-care methods for easing sinus pressure or pain:

    • Don’t board an airplane if you are congested.
    • Refrain from bending forwards and avoid sudden temperature changes.
    • Make use of ibuprofen or acetaminophen.
  • Antibiotics
  • Antibiotics can be required for treating a bacterial sinus infectionas they can fight the bacteria that have grown inside the sinuses.

    Antibiotics should be prescribed for adults for preventing serious complications or speeding up the recovery process only if the diagnosis confirms that the patient is suffering from an acute bacterial sinus infection.Antibiotic treatment becomes necessary for adults if the following symptoms are observed.

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