Using The Right Water During Saline Rinses
When using saline nasal rinses, tap water should always be boiled and then allowed to cool to ensure cleanliness distilled water or premixed solutions could also be used instead of regular tap water.
Other home remedies for sinus infections include:
- Drinking fluids: Drinking lots of fluids helps loosen and thin mucus. Avoid beverages that are caffeinated and alcoholic beverages that can dehydrate the body, which could thicken mucus.
- Breathing steam: Warm water is best . You can breathe in steam from either a bowl or shower.
- Humidifying the air: Use a cool air vaporizer or humidifier,particularly at night while sleeping.
- Avoiding environmental substances: Avoid tobacco smoke and chlorinated water that can dry up the mucus membranes and exacerbate symptoms.
- Implementing treatment measures: At the first sign of infection, use antihistamines and employ regular nasal rinses.
What Is A Sinus Infection And How Is It Different Than A Cold
Each year, about 31 million Americans experience sinus infectionsalso called sinusitiswhich are usually caused by germs growing in the sinuses, the hollow cavities found behind the nose, eyes, brows and cheekbones.
Most often, viruses cause sinus infections, but bacterial infections can cause sinusitis too, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Typically, a bacterial or viral infection causes mucous membranes in the sinuses to swell and block the tiny openings into the sinuses, which interferes with their ability to drain. The trapped mucus allows bacteria to breed, causing pain and pressure in the head and face.
While colds, which are also caused by viruses, can lead to sinus infections, a cold is not due to a buildup of germs in the sinus cavities. Its also important to note that while antibiotics can be helpful for those with sinus infections, they are useless when it comes to fighting cold viruses.
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How Is Sinusitis Diagnosed
Often, your healthcare provider can diagnosis sinusitis based on your symptoms and a physical exam. Sometimes other tests are done. These may include:
Cultures from the nose
Sinus computed tomography . This imaging method uses X-rays and computer technology to make images of the body.
Your healthcare provider will figure out the best care based on:
How old you are
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What Are The Sinuses How Many Do We Have
A sinus is a hollow, air-filled cavity. For the purposes of this article, a sinus will refer to those hollow cavities that are in the skull and connected to the nasal airway by a narrow hole in the bone . Normally all sinuses are open to the nasal airway through an ostium. Humans have four pair of these cavities each referred to as the:
The four pairs of sinuses are often described as a unit and termed the paranasal sinuses. The cells of the inner lining of each sinus are mucus-secreting cells, epithelial cells, and some cells that are part of the immune system .
Functions of the sinuses include humidifying and warming inspired air, insulation of surrounding structures , increasing voice resonance, and as buffers against facial trauma. The sinuses decrease the weight of the skull. If the inflammation hinders the clearance of mucous or blocks the natural ostium, the inflammation may progress into a bacterial infection.
What Are The Sinuses
The sinuses are hollow, interconnected spaces inside your skull. They extend across your forehead, behind your nose, between your eyes and under your cheekbones. Sinus walls have a layer of mucus that traps bacteria and keeps the air inside moist.
Sinuses need to drain frequently. If theres a blockage or inflammation, the sinuses dont work like they should.
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Overview Of Sinus Testing And Treatment
The Providence Clinic is a regional leader in Ear, Nose & Throat services, having sinus specialist doctors available for quality treatment of sinus infections and sinus nasal congestion issues in Morristown, Hamblen County, and the surrounding areas of East Tennessee. If your life is impacted by sinus or nasal problems, such as a sinusitis, allergies, or other nasal illness, don’t hesitate to give us a call for quality care and treatments.
We want our patients to make informed and educated decisions about sinus infections and congestion, including understanding more about nose and sinus testing and treatment and sinus infection signs and symptoms. We offer a friendly expert staff to help understand the illness and prepare a treatment plan, and many sinusitis treatment procedures can be performed in our state-of-the-art medical facility in Morristown, TN. Should a treatment plan require it, we are also capable of performing sinus infection surgery to help solve our patients’ nasal issues.
When Do Symptoms First Appear
The symptoms of a sinus infection often come on suddenly. COVID-19 symptoms can develop more gradually 2 to 14 days after exposure to SARS-CoV-2.
Viruses that cause a cold or flu tend to circulate in the fall and winter months. COVID-19 can occur any time of the year. While a sinus infection could develop following COVID-19, this hasnt yet been reported by research.
A sinus infection can also occur after exposure to allergens or irritants, such as pollen, pet dander, and cigarette smoke. If you have allergies or were recently around an irritant, you may be at risk for a sinus infection.
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How Can You Treat Nasal Discharge
Your recommended treatment plan will depend on the underlying cause of your nasal discharge. In many cases, you can take steps to relieve your symptoms using simple home remedies. In some cases, your doctor may recommend medications or other treatments.
If a cold or flu is causing your nasal discharge, your treatment options may be limited. In most cases, your body will recover on its own. You should be sure to get plenty of rest and drink lots of fluids. Over-the-counter medications may help relieve some of your symptoms. If your flu symptoms are severe, your doctor might prescribe you an antiviral medication. This may reduce the time it takes for you to heal.
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.
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When To See The Doctor For Sinus Infection
Symptoms that last more than 10 days without improvement and are worsening after you started to improve is cause for concern. If you have symptoms like severe headache or facial pain and a fever that lasts longer than three to four days, you should seek immediate medical care. Your doctor will be able to help diagnose the underlying cause of your symptoms and will provide an active plan of treatment.
While sinus infections are common, they can also be life-threatening. If a sinus infection becomes severe and goes untreated, it can spread to the brain.
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 hasnt cleared up properly, but most often the exact cause of chronic sinusitis isnt 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. Its 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.
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About Author: David Pruitt
David Pruitt is a writer for the Marketing & Communications division of OSF HealthCare. He has a bachelors of journalism from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville and worked as a reporter before joining OSF HealthCare in 2014. An avid golfer and fisherman, David was born and raised Alton, Illinois, which is where he currently resides with his son, James.
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What Is Yale Medicines Approach To Treating Sinus Conditions
Our multidisciplinary team, including pulmonary, allergy and immunology experts, allows us to effectively identify causes of sinusitis and develop personalized plans for treatment. Yale Medicine provides cutting-edge medical and surgical therapies, including clinical trials, to optimize treatment of sinusitis.
Sometimes, sinusitis is the result of a more systemic disease, and our experience in identifying these rare causes allows us to provide the most complete and thorough workup, Dr. Manes says.
We understand that the symptoms of sinusitis can make your feel lousy and interfere with your daily activities. Our goal is to help you breathe easier and get back to your life.
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Is There A Way To Determine If You Have Sinusitis Or Covid
Typically, the loss of sense of smell associated with a sinus infection is going to be accompanied by more significant symptoms such as facial pain/pressure. COVID-19 symptoms tend to have more fatigue, cough, shortness of breath and may have gastrointestinal symptoms, too. Because symptoms can overlap, I recommend discussing your condition with your physician and/or getting tested if you think youve got COVID-19. If you get a COVID-19 test, remember to mask up and stay away from others until you get your test results. Its always better to be safe than sorry.
When To Use Antibiotics For Sinusitis
Though most cases of viral and bacterial sinusitis clear up quickly on their own, some dont. Some last longer than a week with no signs of getting better. They can cause a fever that lasts for a few days, severe facial pain or forehead headaches, or symptoms that get worse after they seem to improve.
In those cases, dont wait for the infection to heal on its own. Seek medical attention. If your primary care provider suspects a bacterial sinus infection, you will likely receive an antibiotic prescription. Remember to avoid antibiotics in the early days of an infection. Excessive antibiotic use can reduce the effectiveness of antibiotics in the future. The American College of Allergy, Asthma, & Immunology recommends you only take antibiotics if symptoms last longer than a week. In the meantime, allow your immune system to do its job.
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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
- Stiff neck
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Sinus Infection Treatment At Home
It isnt possible for you to tell at home if sinusitis is caused by a bacteria, virus or fungus, but there are some steps you can take to help relieve sinus infections symptoms. They include:
Moisturizing the room air with a humidifier or vaporizer
Increasing your fluid intake to ensure you are well hydrated
Using saline sprays or nasal irrigations
Using nasal spray decongestants for 2 or 3 days at the most
Applying warm compresses to your face to help relieve pain and pressure
Sleeping with your head elevated. If sleeping on a pile of pillows isnt comfortable, place blocks under the two legs at the head of your bed to elevate it.
Taking over-the-counter pain relievers, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen
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Is A Sinus Infection Contagious
How Will I Know if I Have a Sinus Infection?
The majority of doctors think that most people do not transmit sinus infections except in rare instances, and conclude that sinus infections are not contagious.
Sinus infections usually begin with the symptoms of a cold , and then develop into pain and pressure in the sinus cavities. About 7 to 10 days after initial cold-like symptoms other symptoms develop that suggest you may have a sinus infection. Sinus infection symptoms include
- a yellowish-greenish nasal discharge that may have an odor,
- bad breath,
- pressure in the sinuses, and
Which Types Of Doctors Treat Sinusitis And Sinus Infections
- Many sinus infections can be treated by your primary care physician or an Internal Medicine doctor.
- However, it is not unusual to consult an ENT specialist, infectious disease specialist, or an allergist or immunologist.
- With some complex sinus infections, a surgeon who specializes in sinus surgery may be necessary to consult.
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Can I Prevent Fungal Sinusitis
You may not be able to prevent a fungal sinus infection. If youre at a higher risk for fungal sinus infections, talk to your provider. They may recommend regular checkups to monitor your health and treat infections quickly. Talk to your provider if you:
- Have had a fungal sinus infection in the past.
- Have a health condition that weakens your immune system.
- Take immunosuppressant drugs or are getting chemotherapy treatments for cancer.
When To Contact A Medical Professional
- Your symptoms last longer than 10 to 14 days or you have a cold that gets worse after 7 days.
- You have a severe headache that is not relieved by over-the-counter pain medicine.
- You have a fever.
- You still have symptoms after taking all of your antibiotics properly.
- You have any changes in your vision during a sinus infection.
A green or yellow discharge does not mean that you definitely have a sinus infection or need antibiotics.
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Will Sinus Infection Show On Blood Test
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This remedy works for all types of bacterial and fungal sinus infections*.
Benefits of Using The Sinus Doctor Remedy:
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Sinus Mucous Cleared Instantly
When Should I Go See The Doctor About A Sinus Infection
It is pretty easy to care for most sinus conditions on your own. However, if you continue to have symptoms that concern you or if your infections continue to happen, your primary care doctor might suggest you see a specialist. This could also happen if your CT scan shows something that does not look right.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Sinusitis, or swelling of the tissues of the sinus cavities, is a common condition with many causes, including viruses and bacteria, nasal polyps or allergies. Signs and symptoms may including facial pressure, fever and tiredness. You can treat symptoms at home by resting, taking over-the-counter products and increasing your fluid intake. Make sure you contact your healthcare provider if symptoms do not improve, if sinusitis happens often or if you have any symptom that worries you.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 06/04/2020.