When A Sinus Infection Wont Go Away
While its true that sinus infections sometimes clear on their own, antibiotics can sometimes shorten their duration.
Talk with your doctor if your symptoms dont subside within 10 days or if you have persistent fevers, facial swelling or neck stiffness. As with colds, make sure you hit the sheets and get enough rest and drink your H2O. Proper hydration and nasal irrigation can ease sinus infection symptoms.
How To Distinguish Between Viral And Bacterial Sinusitis
Viral and bacterial sinus infections may be very similar symptomatically, and a sinus infection that begins as viral can develop into bacterial sinusitis. Much of the time, you can determine if a sinus infection is bacterial, by answering the below questions:
Has the sinus infection lasted for 10 or more days, without any improvement?
For the first three to four days of the infection, did you experience postnasal drip, face tenderness, and a high fever ?
After a cold which lasts five to six days and seems to get better, do symptoms start to get worse, with new face pain or headache, fever, and worsening postnasal drip or stuffiness?
If the answer is yes to one or more of these questionsyour sinus infection may be bacterial.
How Do Healthcare Providers Diagnose Fungal Sinusitis
To diagnose a fungal sinus infection, your provider will do a physical exam. They will ask about your symptoms, health history and medications. Then, your provider may remove some mucus or tissue from your sinuses and send it to a lab. The lab tests for fungus.
Your provider may also order a CT scan. This imaging study uses X-rays and a computer to see detailed images of your sinuses. It helps your provider locate the infection or check for a fungal ball. It also helps them develop an effective treatment plan.
An endoscopy can also help your provider diagnose and evaluate a fungal sinus infection. During this procedure, your provider inserts a long, thin tube with a camera into your nose. The camera shows images of your nose and sinuses. Your provider views these images on a monitor.
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What Decongestants And Nasal Sprays Soothe Or Cure Sinus Infections Or Sinusitis
Taking decongestants and mucolytics orally may be helpful in assisting drainage of sinus infection.
The treatment of chronic forms of sinus infection requires longer courses of medications, such as Augmentin, and may require a sinus drainage procedure. This drainage typically requires a surgical operation to open the blocked sinus under general anesthesia. In general, antihistamines should be avoided unless it is felt that the sinusitis sinus infection is due to allergies, such as from pollens, dander, or other environmental causes.
It is likely that the use of a topical nasal steroid spray will help reduce swelling in the allergic individual without the drying that is caused by using antihistamines although both are occasionally used. Oral steroids may be prescribed to reduce acute inflammation and to help with chronic inflammation in cases with or without polyps and in allergic fungal sinusitis.
In many people, allergic sinusitis develops first, and later, bacterial infection occurs. For these individuals, early treatment of allergic sinusitis may prevent the development of secondary bacterial sinusitis.
In rare instances or in natural disasters, fungal infections may develop in debilitated people. Death rates of 50%-85% have been reported for patients with these sinus infections. Treatment relies on early diagnosis followed by immediate surgical debridement, antifungal drugs, , and stabilizing any underlying health problem such as diabetes.
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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What Your Doctor Needs To Know
To find out if youâve got more than a bad cold, you need to learn the cause of your symptoms. Your doctor can help you figure out whether you have sinusitis or something else.
Tell your doctor how long youâve had sinus symptoms, and whether theyâve gotten worse or stayed the same. If youâve had them for less than 10 days and theyâre not getting worse, you probably have a viral infection. It will likely go away on its own.
Over-the-counter treatments like saline sprays, acetaminophen, or ibuprofen may help ease symptoms along the way. might reduce the swelling and inflammation temporarily. If you use them, read the directions carefully and only use as directed. Using nasal decongestant sprays for more than a few days could make the congestion worse.
Favorite Resources For Finding A Specialist
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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Sinus Infection Definition And Facts
- 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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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 that’s 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!
How Long Do Symptoms Last
Typically, a sinus infection clears up within 2 to 3 weeks. COVID-19 lasts for about a week or two depending on its severity and your overall health.
A 2020 study surveyed 270 outpatients with COVID-19. Among them, 175 people reported returning to their usual level of health about 7 days after a positive COVID-19 test.
Some symptoms like cough and loss of smell or taste may linger temporarily after COVID-19. Some people may experience long-haul COVID-19, a group of symptoms that persist in the weeks and months following an infection.
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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.
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 “Neti-Pot” 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.
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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 don’t 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.
Why Do Poor Habits Cause Bad Breath
If you don’t brush and floss teeth daily, food particles can remain in your mouth, promoting bacterial growth between teeth, around the gums, and on the tongue. This causes bad breath. Inflammation of the gums from poor dental hygiene can also cause bad breath.
In addition, odor-causing bacteria and food particles can cause bad breath if dentures are not properly cleaned.
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What Is A Sinus Infection
A sinus infection, medically known as sinusitis or rhinosinusitis, occurs when your nasal cavities become infected, swollen, and inflamed. Fluid buildup in the sinuses can cause germs to grow, leading to a sinus infection.
Sinusitis is usually caused by a virus and often lasts even after other upper respiratory symptoms are gone. In some cases, bacteria or, rarely, fungus may cause a sinus infection.
Nasal Polyp Causes And Risk Factors
Nobody really knows what causes nasal polyps, or why they happen in some people, but don’t happen in others. Some experts believe it may have something to do with the immune system or the chemical makeup in the lining of your nose and sinuses. But we need more research.
Anyone can get nasal polyps, but they’re most common in adults over age 40 and are twice as likely to affect men as women. Children under age 10 rarely get them. If they do, a doctor will check for signs of cystic fibrosis.
Nasal polyps are linked to allergic rhinitis, asthma, aspirin allergy, sinus infections, acute and chronic infections, something stuck in the nose, and cystic fibrosis. But many times, the cause is unknown. Sometimes, people get them before they develop asthma or sinusitis.
Some experts think that symptoms of allergies — including a runny nose, sneezing, and itching — make some people more likely to get nasal polyps. But the allergy connection is controversial. Other researchers think that sinus infections are to blame.
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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 hasn’t cleared up properly, but most often the exact cause of chronic sinusitis isn’t 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. It’s 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 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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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.
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.
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When To See A Doctor About A Sinus Infection
On the other hand, a secondary acute bacterial infection may develop, so it’s advised that you see a doctor if your symptoms last more than 10 days or if your symptoms initially improve but then worsen again within the first 7 days.
See a doctor immediately if you experience:
- A persistent fever higher than 102 degrees F
- Changes in vision, including double vision
- Symptoms that are not relieved with over-the-counter medicines
- Multiple infections within the past year
- Sudden, severe pain in the face or head
- Swelling or redness around the eyes
- Stiff neck