Types Of Sinus Infection
A sinus infection can appear in four different ways. Each way is based on the timeframe of the infection and how persistent it is. The four types of sinus infection are:
- Acute sinusitis comes on suddenly and lasts less than four weeks.
- Subacute sinusitis comes on like acute sinusitis but resolves within 12 weeks.
- Chronic sinusitis happens when your symptoms persist longer than 12 weeks.
- Recurrent acute sinusitis is when you have four or more acute sinus infections lasting seven days each, in a one-year span.
If your sinus infection lasts for long periods of time without any relief, even with the use of over-the-counter medicine, you should schedule an appointment with your doctor.
How Can I Avoid Future Sinus Infections
Once youve had a nasty sinus infection, you wont want to relive the experience. To help prevent them from occurring again, get your annual flu shot and steer clear of people with colds or the flu. Use your humidifier. Live as healthfully as you can get sufficient sleep, reduce stress and eat a wholesome diet with plenty of whole grains, lean proteins and fruits and vegetables. Avoid exposure to secondhand smoke and if you do smoke, take steps to quit. Last, but not least, always wash your hands.
Ultimately, sinusitis is a painful and revolting nuisance. But approaching them with these smart strategies could save you a world of hurt.
This content originally appeared on Sharecare.com.
Clear Your Sinuses With Saline Spray
Saline nasal spray can rinse your sinuses without chemicals or medication. Its available at most grocery stores and pharmacies, but you can also make a saline nasal spray at home. Boil 8 oz. of water, then let it cool until warm. Add ¼ teaspoon of non-iodized salt and stir until dissolved. If youre experiencing a lot of congestion, increase the salt to ½ teaspoon. Pour the solution into a spray bottle and use it as needed. If your nose is sore and the solution stings, add up to a ½ teaspoon of baking soda. Discard the solution after two days.
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When To Call A Doctor
- Pain in the face or upper teeth.
- Pain extending from the bridge of the nose to the lower eyelid.
- Headache that is not relieved by an over-the-counter pain medicine, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen.
- Nasal discharge that starts out clear and later becomes thick and discoloured .
- Cold symptoms that last longer than 10 days or get worse after the first 7 days.
- Mild or chronic pain in the face that lasts longer than a month, has changed, or has not been checked by a doctor.
- Not feeling any better within 3 to 5 days after starting antibiotics for your sinus infection.
When Do I Need Antibiotics For Sinus Infection
- Oyewale Oyelami
Do I need antibiotics for sinus infection? Using antibiotics to treat a sinus infection depends on what caused the infection- a virus or a bacterium. Doctors wont prescribe an antibiotic if your sinus infection starts because of a virus. So lets dive into this a bit more.
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When Should I Go To Urgent Care
It may be necessary to visit M.D. Express Urgent Care immediately if you experience:
- Sudden and severe pain in the sinus or nasal area
- Sudden worsening of your cold symptoms such as pain, headache, or fever
- Blurred or double vision
- Swelling of the area around your eyes
- Severe pain when tilting your head forward
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What Can I Do
While you wait for your infection to run its course, you can take steps at home to feel better.
Look into nasal sprays. Store-bought saline nasal spray loosens up mucus, temporarily clearing it from your nasal passages. A steroid nasal spray like fluticasone may help tame inflammation, especially if you have underlying allergies. Unsure about using a steroid? Follow package directions and go to your HCP with questions.
Be wary of decongestant nasal sprays, like oxymetazoline . Using them for longer than three days could cause rebound symptoms persistent stuffiness eased only by the spray itself. Dryness and addiction are also possibilities.
Embrace sinus rinses like the neti pot. Many sinus infection veterans swear by nasal irrigation systems, such as plastic squeeze bottles or teakettle-shaped neti pots. These devices are filled with a sterile saline solution and used to flush snot from your sinuses.
Neti pots and their ilk are widely available and typically safe, as long as you handle them properly. Dont use water directly from your tap. Instead use distilled water, a sterile saline solution or water that has been boiled and then cooled.
Try over-the-counter medicines. Experts recommend analgesics including acetaminophen , ibuprofen and aspirin to ease pain, as well as decongestants like pseudoephedrine to alleviate the pressure of congestion.
Finally, you may want to avoid flying or scuba diving, since either can aggravate sinus pain.
Tips For Treating Chronic Sinus Infections
No matter the season, having a cold is never convenient. Its even worse when your cold turns into a sinus infection. A sinus infection will stick around long after symptoms of an upper respiratory infection are gone. You might even know its a sinus infection because you get sinus infections frequently. Perhaps your doctor diagnosed your sinus infection after you just couldnt seem to get better. After all, since almost 30 million Americans suffer from sinusitis, your doctor likely treats them a lot.
The question is, when do you need to see a specialist? If your sinus infection just isnt going away, or if you seem to get recurrent sinus infections, it may be time to see an ear, nose, and throat specialist.
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Lingering Sinus Infection Or Chronic Runny Nose
A lingering sinus infection is different from a chronic runny nose. Chronic runny nose typically comes from allergies or other irritants in the air. However, this can turn into an infection over time.
When the sinuses become infected, the allergies, irritants, or viral cold have caused swelling in the nose thats blocked the drainage pathways. Consequently, fluid and mucous accumulate in the sinuses, where it has become infected with bacteria.
If youve been sick more than 10 days and begin to experience other symptoms like facial pressure, headache, and fever, youre dealing with more than a chronic runny nose.
When To See A Doctor For Asinus Infection
Acute sinusitis often goes away on its own however, there are times when you should see your doctor for sinus infection treatment if self-care doesnt work. You should see a doctor if you still have sinusitis symptoms after a week or if they return more than a few times within a year. You should also see a doctor as soon as possible if the infection worsens. Signs of a worsening sinus infection include:
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How To Use Saline Spray
How To Treat Sinus Infections Without Antibiotics
While sinus infections caused by viruses, allergies, or other non-bacterial factors may not require antibiotics, they still cause the same symptoms which make you feel sick.
Symptoms of a sinus infection include:
- Nasal congestion
- Pain or tenderness around the eyes, cheeks, or forehead
- Thick nasal or post-nasal drainage
Taking steps to alleviate your sinusitis symptoms is often the best treatment to lessen your discomfort.
Sinus infection treatment options include:
- Drink plenty of fluids
- Rest, especially the first few days, to help your body fight the infection
- Moisturize the air with a cool-mist vaporizer
- Elevate your head while sleeping to decrease post-nasal drip
- Take warm showers or baths, as steam can soothe your sore throat and loosen mucus
- Gargle with warm salt water for a sore throat
- Use saline nasal spray or nasal irrigation kit to alleviate congestion
- Use over-the-counter treatments, such as nasal drops and sprays or pseudoephedrine pills, as your doctor recommends them
What Not to Do for a Sinus Infection
You should always follow your doctors instructions when you are diagnosed with a sinus infection.
- Ask for antibiotics if your doctor feels they are unnecessary
- Take antibiotics that are prescribed for someone else
- Skip doses of your antibiotics or stop taking your antibiotics early when your doctor prescribes them
- Save antibiotics for the next time you get sick
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Best In Class Treatment For Sinus Infections
If youre experiencing the symptoms of a sinus infection, the experienced ENT specialists at Chicago ENT can correctly diagnose your symptoms and help you breathe better.
Our team will work together to customize the ideal treatment plan for your needs. Schedule an appointment at Chicago ENT in Chicago, IL, and get the relief from chronic sinus infections you need!
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Sinus Pain & Pressure
One of the more debilitating signs of a sinus infection, notably if its chronic, sinus pain includes headaches, pressure in the cheeks and eyes, and dental pain. It feels as though an invisible force is pressing on your face with a sledgehammer, using an extraordinary amount of pressure. Now try to be productive. A warm compress or inhaling steam from a shower can help with this.
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Can Sinusitis Be Prevented
Simple changes in your lifestyle or home environment can help lower the risk of sinusitis. For example, during the winter, use a humidifier to keep home humidity at 45%50%. This will stop dry air from irritating the sinuses and make them less of a target for infection. Clean your humidifier often to prevent mold growth.
When Does Antibiotic Resistance Occur
Antibiotic resistance occurs in a persons own body and within the community when certain drugs no longer work for a specific type of germ. This can occur when bacteria change in response to exposure to antibiotics so that the antibiotics no longer work efficiently against the bacteria.
Therefore, allergists and other specialists recommend limiting the use of antibiotics unless:
- Symptoms last over seven to 10 days
- Specific symptoms are present
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Whats Happening In Your Sinuses
Your sinuses are bony, air-filled cavities inside your face and skull. A sinus infection, also called rhinosinusitis, is an inflammation of the soft tissues that line the sinuses. This inflammation or swelling can stop your sinuses from draining properly. The buildup can then lead to infection, which causes even more inflammation and pain.
You have four types of sinuses frontal, ethmoid, sphenoid, and maxillary and sinusitis can affect any of them.
Doctors classify the causes of sinusitis this way:
- Anatomical causes such as a deviated septum or enlarged turbinates in your nose
- Inflammatory and infectious causes related to bacterial, viral, and fungal infections, as well as allergies and polyps
- Developmental disorders like cystic fibrosis
- Tumors in the nose and sinuses these can block critical drainage pathways
The underlying cause behind your sinusitis may have implications for how you respond to treatment and which treatment options your doctor recommends.
Risk Factors For Sinusitis
The main risk factor for a sinus infection is having a cold or hay fever, which leads to inflammation and blockage in the sinuses.
Risk for sinusitis is also higher in those with a deviated septum or narrow sinus structure, which allows fluid to more easily get trapped.
If you have a medical condition such as cystic fibrosis or weakened immune system, you also are more likely to develop a sinus infection.
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Treating The Underlying Cause Of Your Sinus Infections
Not only do you need to treat the sinus infection, but the long-lasting cure is to address the underlying conditions that are causing the sinus infections.
These factors increase the risk of sinus infections, which is why your ENT will talk to you about correcting these related concerns:
- Blocked drainage ducts
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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Causes Of The Common Cold Covid
The common cold and COVID-19 are both caused by different viruses. The virus that causes the cold affects the upper respiratory tract, while the novel coronavirus can affect both the upper and lower respiratory tract.
A sinus infection is caused when your sinuses get blocked and fill with fluid, allowing bacteria to grow. The blockage can be due to allergies, nasal polyps, a deviated septum, or a virus like the cold. The infection can cause swelling or inflammation in the sinuses. This can cause several symptoms, many of which are similar to that of a cold.
I Keep Tabs On My Symptoms
Jonathan Overdevest, MD, assistant professor of rhinology and skull base surgery at Columbia University Irving Medical Center in New York, lets time call the shots on how best to treat his sinus infections.
“We all want to find ways to minimize the impact of our symptoms and introduce treatments that will expedite our recovery,” he says. “The challenge lies in knowing what symptoms need higher level care and those that will improve on their own.”
Time becomes an important distinguishing factor in knowing what symptoms may require escalated treatment.
“In general, any perceived sinus infection that’s accompanied by severe symptoms persistently high fever, chills, changes in vision, unrelenting severe headache or outward alteration of appearance would require more urgent physical evaluation,” he says.
For less severe situations, monitor your symptoms to identify whether they’ve persisted for more than a week or were bad, then initially improved, only to get worse again over a period of seven to 10 days. If either of these scenarios holds true, you’re more likely to have an acute bacterial sinus infection that would benefit from a course of antibiotics.
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Do I Have Covid Or A Sinus Infection
Although some of the symptoms are shared, there are several distinct ways to tell if you have covid or a sinus infection.
Its human nature to sometimes think the worst if you experience any symptoms in todays environment but in fact, the common cold, influenza, allergies, and sinus infections share some of the same symptoms as the COVID-19.
Heres how you can tell the difference and when you should consider seeking medical help.
Sinus Infection Treatment Options
While there are effective over-the-counter medications to alleviate the discomfort of nasal infections, prolonged treatment with nasal sprays, decongestants and antihistamines is not the best idea. Remember that some common medications are not recommended for people with high blood pressure, glaucoma or prostate problems. Certain OTC medications also interfere with drugs prescribed for chronic conditions, including rheumatoid arthritis and other immune system disorders.
Your doctor is your best source of information and treatment, especially if your symptoms recur regularly or return within a period of days or weeks. Consulting an allergist is a logical second step if your primary care physician concurs and the signs point to an allergic trigger for your sinus problems.
There are also some herbal remedies that have proven effective in alleviating symptoms. At the very least, if youre inclined to try natural-based remedies, explore the options with your doctor. Even though most medical professionals will warn you against mixing the preparations yourself, herbal mixtures are regularly used in Europe and results have been verified for both acute and chronic infections.
Sinus irrigation and nasal rinses are also commonly recommended, but you should begin them only with professional guidance and monitoring.
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