Sunday, October 2, 2022

How Do Sinus Infections Happen

How Is Sinus Infection Diagnosed

Ask Dr. Mike: What is a sinus infection and how do I treat it?

Diagnosis depends on symptoms and requires an examination of the throat, nose and sinuses. Your allergist will look for:

  • Discolored nasal discharge

If your sinus infection lasts longer than eight weeks, or if standard antibiotic treatment is not working, a sinus CT scan may help your allergist diagnose the problem. Your allergist may examine your nose or sinus openings. The exam uses a long, thin, flexible tube with a tiny camera and a light at one end that is inserted through the nose. It is not painful. Your allergist may give you a light anesthetic nasal spray to make you more comfortable.

Mucus cultures: If your sinus infection is chronic or has not improved after several rounds of antibiotics, a mucus culture may help to determine what is causing the infection. Most mucus samples are taken from the nose. However, it is sometimes necessary to get mucus directly from the sinuses.

Knowing what kind of bacteria is causing the infection can lead to more effective antibiotic therapy. A fungus could also cause your sinus infection. Confirming the presence of fungus is important. Fungal sinus infection needs to be treated with antifungal agents, rather than antibiotics. In addition, some forms of fungal sinus infection allergic fungal sinus infection, for example do not respond to antifungal agents and often require the use of oral steroids.

Are Sinus Infections Contagious

A sinus infection caused by a virus is contagious. When you sneeze or cough, the virus can travel in droplets of moisture through the air. If another person breathes in the virus, they might develop a cold that turns into a sinus infection. In order to limit the spread of sinus infections, remember to cover your nose and mouth when you cough or sneeze. And wash your hands frequently to avoid leaving the virus on objects that you touch.

If your sinus infection is caused by a bacteria or fungus, its not contagious. But you should still wash your hands frequently and cover your nose and mouth when you cough and sneeze.

When Should I Call The Doctor

  • a cold that lasts for more than 710 days without improvement
  • a cold that seems to be getting worse after 7 days of symptoms
  • symptoms of allergies that don’t clear with the usual allergy medicine

Also call if your child shows any other signs of worsening sinusitis, such as:

  • pain or pressure in the cheeks or around the eyes
  • swelling around the eye

Also Check: Is Sinus Congestion A Sign Of Pregnancy

Sinus Headache Vs Migraine

According to the American Migraine Foundation, 50 percent of migraine misdiagnoses start with a person thinking they have sinus headache. Up to 90 percent of people who go to the doctor for sinus headache find out they have migraine instead.

People with migraine may develop symptoms similar to sinusitis, like a runny nose or congestion. Migraine headaches also cause pain along the trigeminal nerve, which interacts with the sinus passages. People experiencing migraine may think this pain is related to the sinuses.

If you dont have any of the symptoms that come specifically with a sinus headache, you may be experiencing a migraine. Migraine is treated differently from sinus headache. Symptoms specific to migraine include:

  • sensitivity to light and sound

If youre experiencing symptoms specific to migraine, youre likely experiencing a migraine attack and not a sinus headache.

Sinusitis directly causes sinus headaches, so they share the same causes and triggers. These include:

  • Viral infection. This is the most common cause of sinusitis and sinus headache. About

Things To Know About A Sinus Infection

Sinus Surgery
  • 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
  • cloudy discolored nasal or postnasal drainage,
  • the feeling of nasal stuffiness,
  • pus-like nasal discharge, and
  • symptoms that persist for longer than a week and that are not responding to over-the-counter nasal medications.
  • Sinus infection is generally diagnosed based on the patient’s history and physical examination.
  • Bacterial sinusitis is usually treated with antibiotics. Early treatment of allergic sinusitis may prevent secondary bacterial sinus infections.
  • Home remedies for sinusitis and sinus infections include over-the-counter medications such as acetaminophen , decongestants, and mucolytics. Nasal irrigation can be accomplished with a Neti-pot or rinse kit .
  • Rare fungal infections of the sinuses are medical emergencies.
  • Complications of a sinus infection that may develop are meningitis, brain abscess, osteomyelitis, and orbital cellulitis.
  • Recommended Reading: Best Nasal Spray For Sinus Infection

    Accurate Sinus Diagnosis And Treatments Is Essential

    The only way to stop recurring sinus infections once and for all is to have an evaluation by a specialist who has the specialized training and experience to accurately diagnose their cause. Once you have an accurate diagnosis, we can discuss the options. The goal is always to provide the patient with all the available options, discuss the advantages and disadvantages of each, and help you find the best treatment plan for you.

    Read Also: Symptoms Of Sinus Congestion And Pressure

    What Is Sinus Infection Symptoms Causes Diagnosis Treatment And Prevention

    Lying behind your eyebrows, behind your cheekbones, and between your eyes are your sinuses air-filled cavities lined with a mucous membrane that filters and humidifies the air you inhale.

    This membrane produces and circulates mucus into your sinus and nasal passages to help remove dust, particles, and microbes from the air that you breathe. Tiny hair-like cells called cilia sweep the mucus to the openings that lead to the back of your throat, allowing it to slide down into your stomach.

    A sinus infection occurs when the sinuses become inflamed and swell up because of a viral, bacterial, or fungal infection. The infection can be acute or chronic .

    Also Check: Sinus Infection Tooth Pain Relief

    What Causes Sinusitis In A Child

    When the sinuses are blocked with discharge, bacteria may start to grow. This leads to a sinus infection or sinusitis.

    The most common bacteria that cause acute sinusitis include:

    • Streptococcus pneumonia

    • Pain or soreness over sinuses

    The symptoms of sinusitis can seem like other health conditions. Make sure your child sees their healthcare provider for a diagnosis.

    When Should I Call The Doctor About A Cold Or Sinus Infection

    Sinusitis, Animation.

    Most colds go away without medical treatment. If you have pain around your face or eyes, along with thick yellow or green nasal discharge for more than a week, check with your doctor. Also call them if you have fever or symptoms that are severe or don’t get better with over-the-counter treatments.

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    Read Also: Will Advil Cold And Sinus Help With Clogged Ears

    What Happens If You Let A Sinus Infection Go Untreated

    Correspondingly, can sinus infections go away on their own?

    sinusgo away on their ownsinussinus

    How do you get rid of a sinus infection naturally?

    Try these 10 natural remedies for sinus pain relief to help break the sinus pain cycle:

  • Flush your nasal passages.
  • Do you need antibiotics for sinusitis?

    AntibioticsAntibiotics

    What Are Complications Of A Sinus Infection Or Sinusitis

    While serious complications do not occur frequently, it is possible for a sinus infection to cause a direct extension of infection into the brain through a sinus wall, creating a life-threatening emergency .

    In addition, other adjacent structures can become infected and develop problems, such as osteomyelitis of bones in the skull and infection around the eye . Rarely, these infections may cause death. The most susceptible individuals to complications are patients with suppressed immune systems, diabetes, and relatively rarely from multiple trauma injuries that may occur in natural disasters.

    Recommended Reading: Can You Take Advil Cold And Sinus With Dayquil

    Inhale Menthol And Camphor

    Another inhaled odor that can help open up sinus passages is menthol, which is an ingredient in popular ointments that are used specifically to treat a stuffy nose. These ointments also contain eucalyptus oil and camphor, which combine with menthol to create a powerful scent that immediately relieves sinus pressure. This ointment can be rubbed on your chest and under your nose to deliver its soothing benefits. Unlike eucalyptus oil, this ointment should not be placed in the mouth.

    Causes And Risk Factors Of Sinus Infection

    Aerosinusitis or Barosinusitis ~ Dr Impo

    The terms “sinus infection” and “sinusitis” are often used interchangeably, but sinusitis simply refers to the inflammation of the sinuses, with or without an infection. The medical term for sinusitis is rhinosinusitis because the illness affects the mucous membranes in both the sinuses and nose.

    Sinus infections ultimately develop because of sinus and nasal blockages that result in sinus inflammation. There are several underlying causes of sinus blockage, including various environmental, anatomical, and genetic factors. But the most common cause of the blockage is inflammation or swelling of the nasal passages because of the common cold or allergies.

    In healthy people, mucosal secretions are always moving and draining into the nasal cavity. But

    when blockage occurs, mucus fails to drain properly, increases in thickness, and fills the sinus spaces.

    The cilia also slow down their sweeping and cleaning, making it even harder for mucus to drain.

    When the mucus is unable to drain, it becomes the perfect medium for microbes to grow out of control and cause an infection.

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    How Can I Prevent Sinusitis

    Some of the home remedies used to treat sinus infections symptoms may help prevent sinusitis. These include rinsing your nose out with salt water and using medications that your provider might suggest, such as allergy medications or steroid nasal sprays.

    You should avoid things you are allergic to, like dust, pollen or smoke, and try to avoid sick people. Wash your hands to reduce your chance of getting a cold or flu.

    Prevention Of Sinus Infection

    A sinus infection is not exactly contagious. But depending on what caused a person’s inflammation, other people may also develop the illness. For example, the common cold and flu are both contagious conditions that can lead to a sinus infection.

    Taking steps to reduce your risk of contracting viral infections can help prevent sinus infections. These include:

    • Practice good hygiene, such as by washing your hands often and covering your mouth when you cough and sneeze
    • Get the recommended vaccinations, such as the flu vaccine and pneumococcal vaccine
    • Keep your distance from people who have upper respiratory infections
    • Take steps to reduce your stress, which affects your immune system
    • Keep your immune system healthy, such as by eating a healthy diet rich in fruits and vegetables

    Other ways to reduce your risk of getting a sinus infection include:

    • Dont smoke cigarettes and try to avoid inhaling secondhand smoke
    • Minimize your exposure to allergens and pollutants, such as by keeping your home windows closed and using a HEPA air conditioner filter, driving with your external vents closed and air conditioner on, and avoiding activities that expose you to pollen like lawn mowing and leaf blowing
    • Moisten the air at home with a humidifier and avoid dry environments
    • Inhale steam or use a saline nasal spray regularly
    • Drink lots of water
    • Irrigate your nasal passages regularly

    Recommended Reading: Can Sinus Infection Cause Bad Smell In Nose

    Why Are Sinuses Susceptible To Infection

    Acute sinusitis often follows the cold virus. The reason for this is not usually the cold virus itself, but the inflammation caused by the cold virus.

    More than 85% of people with colds suffer from inflammation in the sinus cavities. The inflammation and congestion caused by a cold will obstruct the sinuses, creating an environment in the sinus cavities hospitable for bacterial growth, as mucus will not drain and eliminate such pathogens as it would normally. Inflammation and congestion of nasal passages is known as rhinitis, and is such a common precursor to sinusitis that doctors often refer to many cases of sinusitis as rhinosinusitis.

    Recommended Reading: Best Medication To Stop Sinus Drainage

    How Do You Treat And Prevent Them

    Can sinus headache occur without congestion? – Dr. Sreenivasa Murthy T M

    If you suspect you have a sinus infection before you head to the doctor, you can try some at-home and over-the-counter treatment options first, says Dr. Duyka. “Start with conservative management, with nasal irrigation 2-3 times a day,” he says. “You can use nasal steroid sprays such as Flonase, oral decongestants like Sudafed, and intranasal decongestants like Afrin for no more than three days.”

    If those remedies don’t clear things up or at least improve symptoms, you may have to resort to antibiotics. “For most patients, one should wait at least 10 days before starting antibiotics, and the doctor can help determine this,” says Dr. Chen. “Usually the sinusitis lasting less than 10 days is from a virus and antibiotics do not work against viruses.”

    For chronic sinusitis, surgery may be an option. “If the medications alone do not work, then sinus surgery may help to allow topical delivery of medications like topical steroids to the nasal and sinus lining,” adds Dr. Chen.

    As for prevention techniques, Since most sinus infections are caused by viruses, using proper sanitation tips is the best way to prevent getting one. “Like with all viruses, the most effective prevention is careful hand washing,” says Dr. Ford.

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    What Is Sinusitis In Children

    Sinusitis is an infection of the sinuses. These infections often happen after a cold or with allergies. There are 3 types of sinusitis:

    • Short-term . Symptoms of this type of infection last less than 12 weeks and get better with the correct treatment.

    • Long-term . These symptoms last longer than 12 weeks.

    • Recurrent. This means the infection comes back again and again. It means 3 or more episodes of acute sinusitis in a year.

    The sinuses are air-filled spaces near the nose. They are lined with mucous membranes. There are 4 different sinuses:

    • Ethmoid sinus. Located around the bridge of the nose. This sinus is present at birth, and continues to grow.

    • Maxillary sinus. Located around the cheeks. This sinus is also present at birth, and continues to grow.

    • Frontal sinus. Located in the area of the forehead. This sinus does not develop until around age 7.

    • Sphenoid sinus. Located deep behind the nose. This sinus does not develop until the teen years.

    How The Sinus Infection Spreads To The Brain

    Although there are various barriers that protect the brain from various pathogens, sometimes bacteria can pass through. The reason is that the space between the sinuses and the brain is very less making it easy for the pathogens to spread. If the infection spreads and infects the brain, it can lead to swelling, seizures, vomiting and abnormal mental health.

    Hence, for people looking for the answer to the question can sinusitis lead to brain infection- YES, it can. But remember, only in rare instances this occurs. The likelihood of a patient dying from this condition is very low.

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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 its 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

    Sinus Pain And Pressure

    Medicine for headache due to sinus quadrat, chinese drama hu ge

    Fluid trapped in the sinuses can fill the sinus cavities, causing intense pain and pressure. The sinuses may be sensitive to the touch. A person may have an urge to sneeze but be unable to do so.

    The pain can be in the cheeks, around the eyes and nose, or in the forehead because these areas are where the sinuses are. Bending over may make the pain worse.

    Sometimes, the pressure and pain are intense enough to interfere with sleep.

    Sinusitis may also cause the tissue in the nose to swell.

    Also Check: Best Over The Counter Medication For Sinus Congestion

    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.

    Which Children Are At Risk For Sinusitis

    A sinus infection sometimes happens after an upper respiratory infection or common cold. The cold causes swelling that can block the opening of the sinuses. This can cause a sinus infection. Allergies can also lead to sinusitis because of swelling and increased mucus. Other possible conditions that can lead to sinusitis include:

    • Abnormal shape of the nose

    • Infection from a tooth

    • Foreign object in the nose

    • Birth defect with abnormality of the roof of the mouth

    • Problem with stomach acids

    • Cystic fibrosis and immunodeficiency syndromes

    Immune problems or antibody deficiencies are risks for chronic sinus conditions.

    Read Also: Amoxicillin And Prednisone For Sinus Infection

    Is It Possible To Prevent Sinus Infections Or Sinusitis

    Currently, there are no vaccines designed specifically against infectious sinusitis or sinus infections. However, there are vaccines against viruses and bacteria that may cause some infectious sinusitis. Vaccination against pathogens known to cause infectious sinusitis may indirectly reduce or prevent the chance of getting the disease however, no specific studies support this assumption. Fungal vaccines against sinusitis are not available, currently.

    If you are prone to recurrent bouts of a “yearly sinus infection” it may be important to consider allergy testing to see if this is the underlying cause of the recurring problem. Treatment of the allergy may prevent secondary bacterial sinus infections. In addition, sinus infections may be due to other problems such as nasal polyps, tumors, or diseases that obstruct normal mucus flow. Treatment of these underlying causes may prevent recurrent sinus infections.

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