The Surprising Connection Between Sinus Infections And Ear Infections
Its 2018, and the Texas weather still cant make up its mind. The fluctuations in temperature, air pressure, and air moisture are causing sinus misery from Galveston to Conroe. As if dealing with one type of infection isnt hard enough, sinus infections and ear infections can often occur at the same time. Read on to understand the relationship between these two pain-causing companions.
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.
Untreated Sinus Infection Risks
Sinus infections often start to improve on their own after about 10 days. If your symptoms last longer without improving or if they worsen, a doctor may need to treat the underlying cause of the infection.
If a sinus infection affects a sinus cavity close to the brain, it can spread to the brain if left untreated. Though rare, an infection can also pass into the eye socket and cause vision changes or blindness. These types of infections are more common in kids.
While uncommon, a serious fungal sinus infection left untreated may pass into the bones.
Make an appointment with a doctor if you have severe symptoms, or if the following symptoms last longer than 10 days or keep coming back:
- facial pain
Because the cause of your sinus infection can affect your treatment options, its important to see a doctor for a diagnosis. The Healthline FindCare tool can provide options in your area if youre looking for a doctor.
If you believe you have chronic or recurring sinusitis, consider asking for a referral to an otolaryngologist, also known as an ear, nose, and throat specialist. You may need imaging and other tests to determine the cause of your symptoms.
An ENT specialist can take a culture of nose drainage to better understand the cause of an infection. The ENT specialist can also examine the sinuses more closely and look for any problem in the structure of the nasal passages that could lead to chronic sinus problems.
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Do I Have Acute Sinusitis
If youre wondering, is acute sinusitis contagious? you need to determine if youre actually suffering from acute sinusitis, first. Spring can make it difficult to diagnose sinus-related ailments, since pollen and other allergens are especially abundant at that time of year.
Sinus infections and acute sinusitis typically cause some of these unique symptoms:
- Drainage of thick mucus, usually yellowish or greenish in color
- Nasal congestion that makes it difficult to breathe through your nose
- Pain and swelling in the cheeks, eyes, nose, and/or forehead
- Dental pain and jaw pain
- Slight cough from mucus build-up
If youre experiencing these symptoms for several days or more, you may have acute sinusitis.
Is It A Sinus Infection Or Cold
It can be difficult to tell the difference between a sinus infection and a cold as the symptoms can be very similar. Sinus infections often develop after a cold.
Sinusitis tends to last longer than a cold. Cold symptoms tend to get steadily worse, peaking at 35 days, then gradually get better. Sinus infections may last 10 days or more.
Some symptoms are more likely to be caused by sinusitis than a cold, including:
- swelling of the tissue in the nose
- green discharge from the nose
- a swollen or tender face
Unlike a cold, sinusitis can become chronic, which means it lasts longer than eight weeks. Chronic sinusitis causes swelling and irritation in the sinuses and usually develops after a person has had acute sinusitis. Sometimes the symptoms go away and then come back again.
Ongoing sinus symptoms even if they get better and then come back may indicate chronic sinusitis.
Sinus infections often go away on their own without medical treatment. There are, however, some things a person can do at home to relieve the bothersome symptoms.
To treat sinusitis symptoms with home remedies , try:
Avoid using decongestants on a long-term basis without talking to a doctor first because they can make congestion worse if used for too long.
- symptoms last longer than 10 days with no improvement
- fever lasts longer than 3-4 days
- the pain is very intense
- a person with a suspected sinus infection has a drugs that suppress the immune system, or organ failure
Will Sinus Infection Clear On Its Own
Sinusitis often develops after a cold or viral infection. Most sinus infections improve on their own, but sometimes they develop into a bacterial infection swelling, inflammation, and mucus production caused by the cold can lead to blockage in the nasal passages, which may encourage the growth of bacteria.
What Happens If You Let A Sinus Infection Go Untreated
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Correspondingly, can sinus infections go away on their own?
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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:
Do you need antibiotics for sinusitis?
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How Do Sinus Infections Spread
Sinusitis generally spreads in the same way a cold or flu does.
Particles and droplets containing viruses become airborne after a person coughs or sneezes, and those germs then spread to others.
These viruses can also be passed by physical touch. Surfaces like doorknobs can become a carrier for a virus if a sick person touches it before a healthy person does.
Thats why actions like washing hands with soap and water, covering your mouth when you cough or sneeze, and avoiding close contact with infected people are important in avoiding getting sick.
But even with the most stringent precautions, sinusitis is common enough that infections still spread fairly easily.
How long are sinus infections contagious? When caused by a viral infection, a person will generally feel symptoms for 7-10 days.
In these cases, they will be contagious with the underlying virus for two weeks, from a few days before they have symptoms until after the symptoms are gone.
Allergic sinusitis, and bacterial sinus infections that occur after a virus, are not contagious to others.
How Do You Know If A Sinus Infection Is Serious
When a Sinus Infection May Be Dangerous Swelling. If you experience swelling around your eyes, this can be a red flag for severe sinusitis. Pain. When there is excessive pain in your eyes, ears, head or throat, you likely have a severe sinus infection. Fever. Feeling Disoriented. A Persistent Infection.
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What Happens If A Sinus Infection Is Left Untreated
A sinus infection can cause a long list of annoying problems, but if left untreated, your symptoms could continue for months on end. And in rare cases, very serious complications can develop.
In this blog, the board-certified physicians at New York ENT explain more about sinus infections and what can happen if theyre left untreated.
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
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How Long Does It Take For A Sinus Infection To Go Away Can They Be Cured
A person may be “cured” of a sinus infection when the symptoms stop, usually after about 3 weeks. However, a “cure” often is temporary in some people that either have chronic or recurrent sinus infections. Bacterial sinus infections may benefit from antibiotics , but there is no antibiotic treatment for viral sinusitis.
How Long Does It Take For A Sinus Infection To Go Away With Antibiotics
A viral sinus infection can develop into a bacterial infection, which typically lasts longer than 10 days. Patients will usually respond to antibiotics within two to three days after a bacterial sinus infection is diagnosed and treated. After that, sinus infections can resolve anywhere between seven and 14 days.
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How Long Does It Take For Acute Sinusitis To Go Away
Acute sinusitis should run its course in seven to ten days. Left untreated, recovery timeframes can up to two weeks or even longer. As mentioned previously, attempts to tough out your sinus infection may even lead to a contagious upper respiratory infection, strep throat, the flu or other chronic sinusitis complications. Long story short? Its better to nip this illness in the bud.
Runny Nose And Postnasal Drip
When you have a sinus infection, you may need to blow your nose often because of nasal discharge, which can be cloudy, green, or yellow. This discharge comes from your infected sinuses and drains into your nasal passages.
The discharge may also bypass your nose and drain down the back of your throat. You may feel a tickle, an itch, or even a sore throat.
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When Should You See A Doctor About Your Sinus Infection
Most sinus infections stay viral and resolve on their own. But if home remedies arent helping, if your drainage turns yellow or green, or if your sinus infection sticks around for more than a week or 10 days, it might be time to give your ENT doctor a call.
Still have more questions about whether your sinus infection is contagious? Not sure if youre dealing with a viral or bacterial infection? Contact ENT Associates of Lubbock today, and we can help you figure out your next steps!
Can Sinusitis Make You Feel Ill
Sinusitis causes a lot of mucus production, and a person may find they are unable to clear the sinuses no matter how often they blow their nose. Fighting a sinus infection demands energy from the body, so it is common to feel fatigued. Some people feel exhausted because they cannot breathe easily or are in pain.
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Complications Of An Untreated Sinus Infection
Most sinus infections will resolve in a week or two. However, there are rare cases of serious and potentially life-threatening complications that may arise. Knowing what the signs and symptoms of these complications can keep a complication from becoming a catastrophe.
The thin sinus walls share a border with the surrounding tissue including the eyes, brain and major nerves and blood vessels. A sinus infection can sometimes spread beyond the border of the sinuses. Read below about the potential rare consequences of an untreated sinus infection.
In rare situations, the failure to treat a sinus infection can lead to a serious complication.
Treatment For Persistent Sinus Infections And Ear Infections
Having a sinus infection is never pleasant, especially if it leads to an ear infection. Luckily, Kaplan Sinus Relief is here to help with all of your sinus issues. Dr. Kaplan uses an innovative treatment named Balloon Sinuplasty to clear your sinus passageways by inserting and inflating a small balloon.
A minimally invasive procedure, Balloon Sinuplastys success rate is incredibly high. This treatment is painless, requires minimal recovery time, and requires only local anesthesia. Patients can often resume their daily activities within two days of the procedure. Balloon Sinuplasty is an effective treatment for all who suffer from the difficulty of sinus infections.
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Are Sinus Infections Contagious Through Kissing
I wouldnt recommend kissing someone when you have a sinus infection. The actual sinus infection is not contagious but the underlying cause may be contagious, Dr. Varghese explains.
You can easily transfer the virus, bacteria, or fungi that caused your sinusitis to another person when you come into such close contact with them. Although that person may not develop a sinus infection, they can certainly become ill.
Describing A Sinus Infection By Location
Each of your sinuses has a different name. You can describe a sinus infection according to which sinuses are affected.
For example, if your congestion is in your frontal sinuses, you have a frontal sinus infection. The frontal sinuses are directly behind the lower forehead.
You have four sets of sinuses, called paranasal sinuses, in four areas around your nose:
- frontal sinuses behind your lower forehead
- maxillary sinuses behind your cheekbones
- ethmoid sinuses between your eyes
- sphenoid sinuses deep behind your nose
A sinus infection can block any combination of these sinuses.
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Those With Underlying Medical Conditions May Be At Greater Risk Of Developing A Sinus Infection
Sinus infections are fairly common, affecting more than 30 million Americans each year. However, people with certain underlying medical conditions may experience more frequent and severe cases of sinusitis and chronic sinusitis.
- Sinus infections can occur as a result of viral infections, such as the cold or flu. Therefore, people with weakened or compromised immune systems may be at a greater risk for developing acute sinusitis.
- Sinus infections commonly arise due to complications with seasonal allergies, asthma, or other physical issues that can cause blockages in the nose or sinuses. People with these conditions are more likely to develop chronic sinusitis.
What Causes Sinus Infections And Are They Contagious
The most common cause I see for a sinus infection is from a viral infection. Other common causes include bacterial infections and allergies Dr. Varghese explains.
A virus, bacteria, or fungus can cause a sinus infection. Generally, acute sinus infections stem from viral colds, while chronic sinusitis typically results from a bacterial infection, nasal growths, or allergies. Sinus infections can develop from many different causes. The cause of a sinus infection can be contagious, depending on what it is.
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Reduced Or Complete Loss Of The Sense Of Smell
Untreated sinus infection can diminish or completely deprive you of your sense of smell . This can be due to inflammation and blockage of your nasal passages, or damage to the olfactory nerve.
Though the loss of smell from a sinus infection is often transient, it can be permanent in severe cases, wreaking havoc on the quality of your life and overall wellbeing.
Eye Signs And Symptoms
An infection in the sinuses can sometimes spread to the eye structures and cause a variety of signs and symptoms, depending on which tissues are involved. Profound swelling, typically affecting one eye, is a characteristic symptom. Eyelid swelling is often so severe that the affected eye can barely be opened. Other signs and symptoms that suggest eye-related complications of a sinus infection include:
- Swelling of the white portion of the eye
- Pus drainage from the involved eye
- Redness of the eye and/or eyelid
- Protrusion of the affected eyeball
- Pain with eye movement
- Inability to move the affected eyeball
- An infection in the sinuses can sometimes spread to the eye structures and cause a variety of signs and symptoms, depending on which tissues are involved.
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What If My Sinus Infection Doesnt Go Away With Antibiotics
If your sinus infection just wont go away or keeps coming back, it may be time to see an ear, nose, and throat specialist. An ENT treats conditions of the ear, nose, throat, head, face, and neck. It may be time to see an ENT if: Youve completed several courses of antibiotics without success.
Teen Dies After Sinus Infection: How To Tell If You Have Complications
Imaging shows sinusitis of the maxillary sinus and the right meatus.
Yes, your sinuses are next to some pretty important parts of your body such as your eyes, skull, and brain. Yes, a sinus infection can occasionally spread to these areas and thus have more serious complications. And, yes, on rare occasions, these complications can be life threatening, like what reportedly happened in Michigan to a 13-year-old boy, who died after his sinus infection had apparently spread to his brain, according to Jason Duaine Hahn, writing for People.
The article in People related the tragic story of how an eighth-grader began having headaches and cold symptoms, which progressed to “migraines” and then to a swollen face with loss of muscle movement on the left side of his face and eventually to blood clots and strokes. As Hahn related, the teen eventually passed away from complications of the infection.
Indeed, this is a stark reminder of how fragile life can be and how seemingly simple health problems can quickly mushroom into much more complicated ones, even if you are young and otherwise healthy. However, this does not mean that you should freak out just because you have a sinus infection and begin popping antibiotics like they are chocolate-covered potato chips. Not only are antibiotics useless against viruses, which cause many sinus infections, but such medications can also select for antibiotic-resistant bacteria, which are much nastier and more difficult to treat.
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