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.
Treatments Your Physician May Prescribe
If appropriate, your doctor may prescribe over-the-counter medications described above. Decongestants can be particularly helpful in sinus headache.For more difficult allergies, medications that decrease secretion formation may be prescribed. Steroid nasal sprays can also be used effectively. For severe allergies, your doctor may refer you to an allergy specialist for other desensitizing therapies.Your doctor may order a CT or MRI scan of the sinuses to determine the extent of a bacterial infection, if present. If your doctor suspects a bacterial infection, he/she may prescribe antibiotics. Many sinus infections are caused by viruses that the body can effectively eliminate with time, which do not require antibiotics. Different agents designed to kill fungus or other organisms may be prescribed depending on your medical history. Additionally, some of the fluids draining from you sinus may be taken to identify the infection.Other headache syndromes, such as migraine or cluster headache, can mimic sinus headache. Your doctor will discuss these possibilities and advise you accordingly.
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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How Do You Treat A Sinus Infection Or A Cold
For most people, there are some preventive measures that can help stave off a sinus infection, or, if one occurs, help relieve symptoms, William Marshall, MD, an infectious disease specialist at the Mayo Clinic, tells Health. He recommends the same things “mothers recommend for a cold,” like rest, drinking lots of fluids, breathing steam, and irrigating the sinuses with saline spray or a neti pot, a container used to rinse the sinuses with saline solution.
Over-the-counter decongestants can also be helpful, but Dr. Marshall says they should not be used for more than three days because some products can exacerbate congestion and raise patients’ blood pressure and heart rate.
Bacterial sinus infections typically last for about 14 days, but the use of antibiotics speeds up the recovery process by up to five days. Still, according to Dr. Bhattacharyya, about 70% of sinus infections resolve on their own, and many patients, like Lord, prefer to let them run their course.
“Antibiotics mainly help to speed up the healing process,” Dr. Bhattacharyya says. “But before antibiotics were around, people weren’t dropping dead of sinus infectionsand they still aren’t.”
If left untreated, however, sinusitis can cause permanent damage to the sinuses and, in very rare cases, can lead to meningitis, Dr. Marshall says. If patients miss work or other activities due to sinus infections, or if their symptoms recur frequently, they should see a doctor for evaluation.
What Are The Types Of Face Pain
The exact type of pain you feel will depend on the cause. A dull, throbbing pain on one side of your face or around your mouth is generally due to problems within the mouth, such as a toothache, cavity, or abscess. If you experience this type of pain, contact your dentist.
The pain associated with sinusitis feels like pressure or an aching pain across the front of the cheekbones and underneath the eyes. Abscesses and ulcers will often throb at the site of the sore. Headaches and injuries can feel like a stabbing sensation or can throb and ache.
Because there are many causes of facial pain, talk to your doctor if you experience pain thats unexplainable or unbearable.
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How A Sinus Infection Is Diagnosed
The diagnosis of a sinus infection is usually based on symptoms and a physical exam. If your symptoms don’t improve with treatment, you may need X-rays or a CT scan. Sometimes a sample of sinus fluid may be taken for microscopic exam and culture .
Though not all sinus infections require treatment, early diagnosis and treatment can help you feel better sooner and potentially prevent the infection from progressing.
An Antibiotic Isnt Always The Answer
Although antibiotics are often the go-to treatment for all sinus infections, theyre effective in treating only bacterial infections.
Research published in Annals of Family Medicine found that bacteria cause around 1 in 3 sinus infections, yet the majority of sinusitis sufferers are prescribed antibiotics. That sort of unnecessary antibiotic use is more than just pointless its one of the leading contributors to antibiotic-resistant infections, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Probably 7 in 10 people with a sinus infection who seek treatment from their doctor are prescribed an antibiotic and shouldnt be, Iloreta says.
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Complications Of Sinus Infection
Sinus inflammation can spread to the bones and soft tissues of the face and eyes. This can cause:
- Cellulitis of the face or around the eyes
- Abscesses of the eyes
Left intreated, sinus infections can also lead to serious intracranial complications, including blood clots within the cavernous sinus, pus between the skulls and dura mater , and meningitis.
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Allergies Vs Sinus Infection
Allergies can develop at any point in your life. While allergies tend to come up during childhood, its possible to develop allergies to new substances as an adult.
This type of reaction is caused by a negative response to a substance. Your immune system responds by releasing a chemical called histamine, which can then cause symptoms such as headache, sneezing, and congestion. Its also possible to feel foggy and develop a skin rash.
Severe allergies can lead to a cold-like condition called allergic rhinitis. With allergic rhinitis, you can have the above symptoms as well as itchy eyes. This itchiness is one of the key distinguishing factors between allergies and sinusitis.
A sinus infection, on the other hand, occurs when your nasal passages become inflamed. Sinusitis is most often caused by viruses. When the nasal cavity gets inflamed, mucus builds up and gets stuck, further compounding the problem.
Along with nasal congestion and headache, sinusitis causes pain around your cheeks and eyes. Sinus infections also cause thick, discolored mucus, and bad breath.
Compare the following symptoms to see if you have allergies or a possible sinus infection. Its also possible to have both conditions at the same time.
Are Sinus Headaches And Migraines Related
So, do sinus and breathing problemscause migraines? Probably not, but it seems these conditions could be related somehow. If you want relief, youâll need the right diagnosis and, if you have more than one condition, to consider treatment for each separately, even when theyâre happening at the same time.
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Symptoms Of A Sinus Headache
Forehead Pain: There might be pain in your forehead or in the top of your nose and upper cheek area. The pain might feel achier and deep, not sharp. Pressure: With the buildup of mucus in your sinuses, you might feel pressure in your nose and face. Fatigue: Most people will feel very tired when they have a headache cause by their sinuses. Postnasal Drip: Postnasal drainage will drip down the back of your throat. This might cause coughing and can give you a sore throat that could be worse after lying down for extended periods of time. Tooth and Jaw Pain: The roots of your teeth are located very close to your sinuses. In some cases, sinus problems might come from dental infections spreading to them. Tenderness: For some sufferers, there might be increased tenderness in the skin and bones around the affected sinuses.
Prevention And Treatment Of Sinus Headaches
The best way to prevent a sinus headache is to avoid a sinus infection. The CDC recommends washing your hands frequently, getting a flu shot, avoiding close contact with people who are sick, not smoking, and using a clean humidifier to moisten the air.
By humidifying the air, you can decrease sinus pressure, which should translate into decreased incidence of headaches, says Kiran Rajneesh, MBBS, a neurologist and pain medicine specialist at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center in Columbus.
Dr. Rajneesh also suggests drinking a lot of water. Hydrating is important because it can help keep the mucus thin and loose, which can decrease infection and irritation, he says.
Over-the-counter pain relievers such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen can help relieve a sinus headache. A nasal spray either a decongestant or a steroid spray may help as well, according to Michigan Medicine. Keep in mind that overuse of nasal sprays can further irritate the sinuses, leading to what is known as rebound congestion.
If you have a history of high blood pressure or heart problems, talk to your doctor before using oral decongestants .
A neti pot, which looks like a little teapot with a long spout, may be used to flush out nasal passages to improve congested sinuses, says Rajneesh.
There are times when you should seek medical help for possible sinus infection. According to the CDC, you should see a doctor if any of the following is true:
Additional reporting by Becky Upham.
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How Is Sinus Headache Prevented
If you have reoccurring headaches as a symptom of sinusitis or seasonal allergies, you may need to consider prescription medication to manage the condition.
Lifestyle changes to reduce congestion, like avoiding allergens and incorporating aerobic exercise into your routine, might decrease how many headaches you get.
In cases of chronic sinusitis, a nasal surgery like a balloon sinuplasty might be the only way to stop getting more sinus headaches.
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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
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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.
The Weird Causes Of Sinus Infections
Did you know that sinus inflammation is a common complication of allergies or any viral, fungal, or bacterial infections?
Even a pinched nerve in your back can cause systemic inflammation .
Technically, nasal congestion produces swelling in the sinus cavity, obstructing drainage and causing mucus to stagnate. A perfect breeding ground for infection.
To your health and happiness,
This article discusses the differences between COVID-19 and sinus infections. It also details the overlapping symptoms of the two, when to see your healthcare provider, and the latest approved treatments for COVID-19.
Verywell / Jessica Olah
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Common Colds And Sinus Infections
A viral infection associated with the common cold is the most common cause of sinus infections .
This virus may jump to other people, causing a cold that may also develop into viral sinusitis.
In only 0.5 to 2 percent of cases do people develop bacterial sinusitis , which is typically a complication of viral sinusitis. Bacterial sinusitis is not contagious.
In rare cases, fungi can cause a sinus infection, particularly if a person has a fungal allergy. But fungal sinusitis generally does not affect people with healthy immune systems.
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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What Should You Eat When You Have A Sinus Infection
Vitamins and minerals Colorful fruits and vegetables like apricots, cantaloupe, strawberries, red and green peppers, kale, parsley and broccoli get high praise from the scientists working on sinus healers world-wide. They contain lots of vitamin C which is known to fend off colds, allergies and sinus infections.
Causes And Risk Factors Of Sinus Infection
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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Sinus Infection Treatment In Will County And Dupage County Illinois
If youre experiencing symptoms of sinusitis, the experts at Oak Brook Allergists can help you find relief especially if you have chronic sinusitis. Our allergy and immunology physicians and specially-trained assistants work together to provide you with the relief you need.
Make an appointment today by calling 574-0460, or you may request an appointment online.
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
- Inflammation and congestion in the nose from allergies
- Structural issues that narrow the drainage pathways
- Nasal polyps
- Recurring illnesses, such as a cold or flu
- Exposure to cigarette smoke
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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.