A More In Depth Explanation Of Sinusitis
Acute sinusitis causes the cavities around your nasal passages to become inflamed and swollen. This interferes with drainage and causes mucus to build up.
With acute sinusitis, it might be difficult to breathe through your nose. The area around your eyes and face might feel swollen, and you might have throbbing facial pain or a headache.
Acute sinusitis is mostly caused by the common cold. Unless a bacterial infection develops, most cases resolve within a week to 10 days.
In most cases, home remedies are all that’s needed to treat acute sinusitis. However, persistent sinusitis can lead to serious infections and other complications. Sinusitis that lasts more than 12 weeks despite medical treatment is called chronic sinusitis.
Find Out How With Our Sinus Self Care E
Here’s what’s inside this 22-page e-book:
The symptoms of sinusitis, standard treatment approaches, and how a Traditional Chinese Medicine approach is different.
The basics of TCM Five Element theory, and why it matters to our health.
Wei qi: the importance of our outer protective layer and easy ways to strengthen it!
Self-care tips for colds & sinusitis with food therapy, herbs and supplements, over-the-counter medications, acupressure, essential oils, and more.
After purchasing, you will receive a download link that expires in 24hrs. Please download the digital product immediately after purchase.
**The information provided on this site is intended for your general knowledge only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment for specific medical conditions. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting with a qualified healthcare provider. Please consult your healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your condition.
Ways To Recognize Serious Signs Of Sinus Infections
The length of the infection is an important determinant of the seriousness of the infection.
I usually consider most infections less than 3 weeks to be viral or inflammation related to congestion. At this point, the best treatment is usually medications that decrease the congestion and inflammation. This in turn will alleviate the symptoms and ultimately cure the illness.
When the illness continues beyond 3 weeks, bacterial infection can begin to develop. Though antibiotics can be considered at this point, other treatments may still be the best answer if they have not yet been given a try.
#2: Mucous Color
I will dispel a myth right here and now. Yellowish/greenish mucous does not necessarily mean the infection is bacterial.
Viruses can cause the same color mucous. The reason for the mucous is generally not the actual bacteria or virus, but the bodys immune response to the intruder.
So dont worry just because you see a colored mucous when you blow your nose. This will also improve as the infection abates.
#3: Sinus Pain
Sinus pain can occur anytime throughout a sinus infection. This is normal and means there is inflammation in the sinuses, as we discussed previously.
However, severe pain, redness over the skin, hardened skin over the sinuses, or even a severe headache are not generally normal and can indicate a bacterial infection.
A fever can be caused by both viruses and bacteria. So how do you differentiate between the two?
Read Also: Why Is My Sinus Pressure So Bad
How To Treat Bacterial Sinus Infection
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.
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.
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 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.
Treating Sinus Infections Without Antibiotics
There are also complications that can develop with dependency on these drugs. The more antibiotics are used the less effective they can become, with possible side effects like dizziness, stomach problems and rashes.
Instead of turning to antibiotics, Alan Conway, M.D., family physician at Mayo Clinic Health System Franciscan Healthcare in Tomah, suggests some alternative methods of treatment. Dr. Conway says, First of all, you should give yourself enough rest. Your body needs the time to fight the infection with full force, especially in the first few days when symptoms are the most severe.
Dr. Conway also says. Watch out for over-the-counter products that contain oxymetazoline. These products may relieve symptoms for a few days, but they can cause congestion if used longer than three days. Instead, use generic pseudoephedrine pills if you are stuffed up for more than three days.
Sinus infections can turn into a bacterial infection, due to the prolonged blockage in the sinus cavity. It is not easy to determine whether the infection is viral or bacterial, considering that the symptoms are the same for both. Even if the infection becomes bacterial, 70% of the time the infection will go away within two weeks without antibiotics.
# # #
Don’t Miss: Tylenol Cold And Sinus Cvs
What Are The Six Types Of Sinusitis And Sinus Infections
Sinusitis may be classified in several ways, based on its duration and the type of inflammation . The term rhinosinusitis is used to imply that both the nose and sinuses are involved and is becoming the preferred term over sinusitis.
- Acute sinus infection usually lasts less than 3-5 days.
- Subacute sinus infection lasts one to three months.
- Chronic sinus infection is greater than three months. Chronic sinusitis may be further sub-classified into chronic sinusitis with or without nasal polyps, or allergic fungal sinusitis.
- Recurrent sinusitis has several sinusitis attacks every year.
There is no medical consensus on the above time periods.
- Infected sinusitis usually is caused by an uncomplicated virus infection. Less frequently, bacterial growth causes sinus infection and fungal sinus infection is very infrequent. Subacute and chronic forms of a sinus infection usually are the result of incomplete treatment of an acute sinus infection.
- Noninfectious sinusitis is caused by irritants and allergic conditions and follows the same general timeline for acute, subacute, and chronic as infectious sinusitis.
When Should You Talk To An Ent About A Sinus Infection
You should schedule a consultation with an ear, nose, and throat doctor if you are experiencing these sinus infection symptoms:
- An infection that lasts longer than 10 days
- Chronic, recurring sinus infections
- Sinus pain and pressure that is disrupting your daily activities
- At-home remedies dont work to relieve your symptoms
- Increase in pain
Family doctors or primary care physicians can help with basic sinus infection treatment by prescribing antibiotics and prescription-strength decongestants. But recurring sinus infections or chronic issues should be addressed by an ear, nose, and throat specialist also known as an otolaryngologist. Depending on your insurance coverage, you might need a referral from your primary care physician before visiting an ENT.
Read Also: How To Get Rid Of Sinus Allergies
Will My Sinus Infection Clear Up On Its Own
The first few weeks of the common cold arent fun, but the acute sinusitis that can pop up afterwards doesnt help either. Sinus congestion and the common cold, unfortunately, go hand in hand. Acute sinusitis frequently is caused by the common cold, but also can be caused by allergies and bacterial and fungal infections.
Sinus infections are caused when the cavities around your nasal passages become inflamed and swollen, which eventually interferes with drainage and causes mucus to build up. This tends to get annoying, because it makes breathing through the nose difficult. It also affects the area around your eyes and face, and can cause a throbbing headache.
When a sinus infection hits, its always worse than what you remembered from the last time you had one. This may give you the idea that you need antibiotics, but most clear up without them. Antibiotics have no effect on viruses and arent recommended within the first week of developing a cold. About 70 percent of sinus infections go away within two weeks without antibiotics.
Consider these other forms of treatments instead of antibiotics:
- Over-the-counter pain relievers. Aspirins, acetaminophen or ibuprofen can help relieve temporary pain.
- Saline nasal spray. This is used to spray into your nose several times a day to rinse your nasal passages. They can help to prevent and treat inflammation.
Antibiotics only will be needed if the infection is severe, recurrent or persistent.
Topics in this Post
Symptoms Of Upper Respiratory Infections In Cats
Runny nose, fatigue, fever, or some swelling may be signs of cat infections. Keep an eye out if your cat is pawing at their face in irritation. If they sneeze or reverse sneeze inhaling nasal discharge into their lungs that can also be a symptom. Note any decrease in appetite as well.
Veterinarians usually require a complete physical examination and a history of behavior changes and appetite before diagnosing infections.
Rhinitis is an inflammation of the nose lining. It has many causes, including infections, allergies, or pressure on other areas in the head. Cat rhinitis can also be caused by infections that affect both nasal passages and sinuses, known as dual infection rhinosinusitis .
DIRS occurs when bacteria get into a cats nasal passage through their mouth or nose and then travel down to infect their sinuses. People find it hard to diagnose because pets may show no outward signs but can still spread infections through sneezing or coughing. If your pet develops symptoms like sneezing, congestion, and discharge, treat infections to prevent secondary illness.
Also Check: Best Probiotic For Sinus Infection
How To Prevent Sinusitis
- Drink a lot, whether it is water or juice. More than two liters a day, especially if the symptoms continue.
- Avoid dust or smoke pollutionbecause this further irritates the nasal cavity.
- I prefer humid places, and To wet the room, you can place water or use special equipment.
- Wet your nose with compresses of hot water. Showers are also recommended because the steam helps release the nasal sinuses.
- Do not use too many inhalers because, in the long run, they will be counterproductive.
- Clean your nose well. You can find some products containing water and salt in the pharmacy.
Sinusitis And Sinus Infections
Most sinus infection medicine ultimately seeks to relieve inflammation around the sinus cavities. This inflammation is most often caused by a virus or bacteria and results in a blockage that prevents mucus from naturally draining out of the sinus cavities. This inflammation results in painful symptoms and the blocked mucus may lead to additional infection. A single sinus infection can last 2 or more weeks.
Patients who suffer from chronic sinusitis often seek relief from a variety of over-the-counter sinus infection medication or prescription antibiotics, such as a sinus infection z pack. Patients may find temporary symptom relief through pharmaceuticals however, these medications often carry a number of undesirable side effects including:
- Drowsiness or insomnia
- Individual complications
Recommended Reading: Ways To Ease Sinus Pain
Types Of Sinus Infections: Chronic Vs Acute
There are four types of sinus infections. These classifications depend on the length and frequency of the infection:
- Acute sinusitis.This type of sinus infection lasts only for a short time, defined by the American Academy of Otolaryngology as less than 4 weeks. This short-term infection is usually part of a cold or other respiratory illness. It may also be caused by a bacterial infection .
- Subacute sinusitis. A subacute sinus infection lasts between 4 and 12 weeks .
- Recurrent acute sinusitis. An acute sinus infection is considered recurrent if the infection returns four or more times within a year, with each infection lasting 7 days or more.
- Chronic sinusitis.Chronic sinus infections last for more than 12 weeks or continue to recur.
Many sinus infection symptoms are common in both acute and chronic forms. Seeing a doctor is the best way to learn if you have an infection, find the cause, and get treatment.
For cases of acute bacterial sinus infections, these symptoms last at least 10 days without improving, or they worsen within 10 days after seeming to improve. In this case, its important to talk with a doctor, such as a general practitioner or an ear, nose, and throat doctor , to get a diagnosis and treatment plan.
Learn more about the symptoms of a sinus infection below.
Acute Subacute And Chronic Bacterial Sinusitis
Bacterial sinusitis can be grouped into the following subtypes based on the duration of symptoms:
- Acute, which lasts for less than four weeks
- Subacute, lasting for between four and 12 weeks
- Chronic, lasting for more than 12 weeks
- Recurrent acute, occurring four or more times a year, for more than seven days, with symptoms resolving completely in between bouts
Read Also: Advil Cold Sinus And Flu
When Antibiotics Are Appropriate Treatment
In addition, antibiotics can be given to those whose symptoms have gotten worse or those who show no improvement after seven days.
If antibiotics are given, a 10- to 14-day course is recommended, according to the practice guidelines. Amoxicillin or amoxicillin clavulanate are typically the first choice for people who are not allergic to penicillin.
Diagnosing A Sinus Infection
Since you cant tell if an infection is viral or bacterial just from looking at the symptoms, your surgeon will most likely run a few tests to diagnose the problem before recommending treatment. Diagnosing the infection can involve imaging to examine the sinuses and a mucus culture. Taking a sample of mucus from the nose or sinuses will help your surgeon determine if a bacteria is to blame and, if so, what type of bacteria is responsible. Knowing the type of bacteria thats causing your infection allows your surgeon to prescribe the type of antibiotic that would be most effective in treating it.
Don’t Miss: The Best Sinus Allergy Medicine
What Tests Diagnose The Cause Of Sinus Infections And Sinusitis
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.
Viral Vs Bacterial Sinus Infection
Viral Sinus Infection
Aside from causing common cold, viruses can cause inflammation in the sinuses. Symptoms like a runny nose and nasal congestion are some of the hallmarks of viruses which can further lead to inflammation of the sinuses. The discomfort from the illness reaches its peak usually on the fourth or fifth day and slowly begins to recede afterwards. It can take anywhere from a week to ten days for the above mentioned nasal symptoms to go away on their own. Improvement in patients with common cold can be seen after that, yet it might take them more time to return to normal.
Bacterial Sinus Infection
Bacterial sinus infection or bacterial sinusitis occurs when drainage of the fluid collected within the sinuses is hampered somehow. This is often observed in common cold which causes an overload of the fluid in the sinuses. Bacteria tend to thrive in the sinus pockets that are wet, moist and filled with fluid. The bacterial growth usually occurs after 10-day duration of the common cold.
Doctors are not able to differentiate between viral or bacterial sinusitis since the diagnosis for both of them is to check the symptoms like nasal congestion, headache, cough, thick post-nasal or nasal drainage, etc. In some cases, the help of other diagnostic tests like cultures or CT scans is taken to reach a definitive diagnosis.
You May Like: What Can Cure A Sinus Infection