Tips To Help You Feel Better Now
With respiratory symptoms, there are some things you can do to start getting some immediate relief, according to Dr. Buzzard.
The first tip I have is to take make sure you are getting an adequate amount of rest, as well as fluids. Secondly, over-the-counter medicines for cold symptoms can be helpful for symptoms like sore throat, fever, congestion, and cough. Check with your doctor if you have questions about what is safe and effective, says Dr. Buzzard. My third tip is if you are smoking, stop. Smoking will make your symptoms worse and can increase your risk of secondary infections like sinus infections or pneumonia. Finally, if you are getting worse or youve gone longer than a week without feeling better, come in to see us.
If you think you might have a COVID-19, a sinus infection, or another respiratory illness, a visit to one of Physicians Immediate Cares convenient locations in Illinois, Indianaand Wisconsin couldprovide the relief you need. In addition to caring physicians and staff who have been serving patients for more than 30 years, Physicians Immediate Care also offers evening and weekend hours, and no appointment is needed.
If you have any symptoms of COVID-19, please let us know before you arrive so we can keep you safe with our enhanced health and safety protocols.
Care Advice For Sinus Congestion
How A Diagnosis Is Confirmed
To diagnose a sinus infection, a clinical exam by a family doctor, pediatrician or ENT is all that is necessary. Testing through bloodwork or imaging are not required, but they can be helpful to rule out another diagnosis or to determine the origin of the inflammation.
Sinusitis can be classified by how long the infection occurs for, for example:
- Acute, which lasts up to 4 weeks
- Sub-acute, which lasts between 4 and 12 weeks
- Chronic, which lasts for longer than 12 weeks due to resistant microorganisms it can last for several years
Acute sinusitis is the most common type. Sub-acute and chronic sinusitis can occur to people with a history of antibiotic-resistant bacteria .
Chronic sinusitis can also occur in people who have a tendency to accumulate discharge in the sinuses due to abnormalities in the lining or due to illnesses that produce excess mucus .
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Other Remedies For Symptom Relief
Staying hydrated can help thin mucus to ease congestion.
Drinking hot liquids such as tea and broth may help relieve your symptoms. Breathing in moist air may also help relieve the discomfort that comes with nasal congestion. Try breathing in steam from the shower, a bowl of hot water, or a mug of tea.
If your voice is hoarse, rest it by avoiding yelling, whispering, and singing.
Placing a warm compress over the inflamed area can help reduce pressure and provide relief.
damages the natural protective elements of your nose, mouth, throat, and respiratory system.
If you smoke, consider quitting. Ask a doctor if you need help or are interested in quitting. Quitting may help prevent future episodes of both acute and chronic sinusitis.
Wash your hands frequently, especially during cold and flu seasons, to keep your sinuses from becoming irritated or infected by viruses or bacteria on your hands.
Using a humidifier during the cooler, dryer months may also help prevent sinus infections.
Talk with a doctor to see if allergies are causing your sinusitis. If youre allergic to something that causes persistent sinus symptoms, you will likely need to treat your allergies to relieve your sinus infection.
You may need to seek an allergy specialist to determine the cause of the allergy. The specialist may suggest:
- avoiding the allergen
- doing allergic immunotherapy
Keeping your allergies under control can help prevent repeated episodes of sinusitis.
Can You Have Allergies And A Sinus Infection At The Same Time
Its possible to have allergies but not a sinus infection, and its also possible to develop sinus infections without having allergies. However, if you have nasal allergies, youre more likely to develop a sinus infection. Getting your allergies under control can help reduce your risk of recurrent sinus infections.
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Will I Need To Make Lifestyle Changes To Deal With Sinus Infections
If you have indoor allergies it is recommended that you avoid triggersanimal dander and dust mites, for exampleas well as take medications. Smoking is never recommended, but if you do smoke, strongly consider a program to help you quit. Smoke can also trigger allergies and prevent removal of mucous by the nose. No special diet is required, but drinking extra fluids helps to thin nasal secretions.
What Is A Sinus Infection And How Is It Different Than A Cold
Each year, about 31 million people 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 a sinus infection, 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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Treatments For The Common Cold
Though there is no cure for the common cold, available treatments aim at relieving symptoms and improving your personal comfort. These include:
- Pain relievers such as Ibuprofen and acetaminophen, can help reduce the pain that comes with headaches and sore throats while bringing down fevers.
- Cough syrup designed to suppress coughing, or expectorants, can help loosen mucus in the throat.
When your body comes into contact with an allergen, it releases antibodies that warn the rest of your body to neutralize the allergen. The cells then send out histamines and a variety of other chemicals, all of which lead to an allergic reaction.
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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How Long Do Symptoms Last
Typically, a sinus infection clears up within 2 to 3 weeks. COVID-19 lasts for about a week or two depending on its severity and your overall health.
A 2020 study surveyed 270 outpatients with COVID-19. Among them, 175 people reported returning to their usual level of health about 7 days after a positive COVID-19 test.
Some symptoms like cough and loss of smell or taste may linger temporarily after COVID-19. Some people may experience long-haul COVID-19, a group of symptoms that persist in the weeks and months following an infection.
Causes Of The Common Cold Covid
The common cold and COVID-19 are both caused by different viruses. The virus that causes the cold affects the upper respiratory tract, while the novel coronavirus can affect both the upper and lower respiratory tract.
A sinus infection is caused when your sinuses get blocked and fill with fluid, allowing bacteria to grow. The blockage can be due to allergies, nasal polyps, a deviated septum, or a virus like the cold. The infection can cause swelling or inflammation in the sinuses. This can cause several symptoms, many of which are similar to that of a cold.
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You Have Frequent Colds That Can Cause Bacterial Growth
If you spend most of the cold season blowing your nose, you might be one of the many people who get frequent sinus infections from the common cold.
Celebrity plastic surgeon and ear, nose, and throat specialist, Dr. Andrew Ordon told INSIDER that most acute cases of sinus infections are caused by bacterial growth that occurs due to a common cold, which causes sinus inflammation that can block nasal passages.
What Are The Differences
Even though both conditions share similarities such as runny noses, nasal congestion, and sore throats, there are key differences that will help you better diagnose your condition.
Post nasal drip caused by allergies often have accompanying symptoms like sneezing, an itchy nose, and teary/itchy eyes. It is also a seasonal condition that most commonly affects children and young adults.
Post nasal drip induced by a sinus infection is when your nasal cavities become infected, swollen and inflamed by a virus or bacteria. Symptoms include facial pressure or pain around the nose, eyes, forehead and upper jaw. Mucus associated with a sinus infection is usually thicker, cloudy and can have a yellowish or greenish color to it. Sinus infections also may have lingering symptoms long after treatment such as a persistent cough and a sore throat.
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How To Tell If You Have An Actual Sinus Infection
Even though we often say we have a sinus infection even if its just inflammation or an allergic response, there are symptoms of an actual infection that may be treatable with antibiotics. Nasal congestion and pain under the eyes or around the temples are, of course, main symptoms, but others include the loss of the sense of smell, green nasal discharge, mucus dripping down your throat, cough, fever, fatigue, sore throat, and even bad breath.
Sometimes, a sinus infection will clear up without intervention, but if you develop a fever of 100.4 degrees or higher, have your symptoms for 10 or more days, notice that your symptoms are getting worse and are not improved by OTC medications, or you have multiple infections in a years time, you should seek medical treatment as soon as possible.
How Is Each Condition Diagnosed
A common cold can usually be diagnosed with a standard physical examination and a review of symptoms. Your doctor may perform a rhinoscopy if they suspect a sinus infection.
During a rhinoscopy, your doctor will insert an endoscope gently into your nose and sinus cavity so they can look at the lining of your sinuses. An endoscope is a thin tube that has a light at one end and either has a camera or an eyepiece to look through.
If your doctor thinks an allergy is causing your sinus inflammation, they may recommend an allergy skin test to help identify the allergen causing your symptoms.
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Duration Of Sinus Infection
Acute sinusitis causes inflammation and symptoms that often develop quickly and last 7 to 10 days if caused by a viral infection. But the illness can last for up to 4 weeks if it’s caused by a bacterial infection.
Chronic sinusitis lasts for 12 weeks or more. This inflammation can continue for months or years more, and people often describe them as a never-ending cold.
Sinusitis may also be classified as:
- Subacute, in which symptoms last for more than 4 weeks but less than 12 weeks
- Recurrent acute, in which there are at least four acute sinus infection episodes within one year
- Acute exacerbation of chronic rhinosinusitis, in which symptoms worsen in a person with chronic sinusitis
But having symptoms of sinusitis doesnt always mean that you have a sinus infection.
Diagnosis Of Sinus Infection
To diagnose if you have a sinus infection, your doctor will ask about your symptoms and their timeframe, and give you a physical exam.
This exam may include looking in the nose for signs of polyps, conducting a transillumination test to identify inflammation, and tapping the sinus area to detect infections.
If you have a chronic sinus infection, your doctor may conduct additional tests, including:
- Rhinoscopy or nasal endoscopy to inspect your sinuses and see if your membranes are inflamed
- Mucus cultures to determine what is specifically causing your infection
- Allergy tests to determine what allergens may be triggering your chronic or recurrent infections
- CT scan to identify sinus abnormalities, such as polyps or a deviated septum
- MRI scan to see if you have a nasal tumor or fungal infection
If you have a serious fungal sinus infection, your doctor may order a bone biopsy to see if the infection has penetrated your bones.
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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.
How Colds And Sinusitis Develop
The common cold is a viral infection that spreads from person to person through contact with infected objects or in the air. After touching something infected with the virus and then touching your mouth or nose, the virus enters your body.
You may also be more likely to develop a cold if youre around someone with a virus whos coughing and sneezing.
While the common cold is linked to a viral infection, sinusitis may relate to a bacterial infection or allergies. When you make contact with a bacteria, virus, or allergy trigger, the membranes in your sinuses become inflamed, blocking the opening of your sinus cavity and making it difficult to breathe.
Your body also produces more mucus to fight the infection, further limiting your ability to take in air through your nose. This excess mucus can build up inside your sinus cavity and increase your risk for an infection.
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What Are The Different Types Of Sinuses Near The Nose And Eyes
The paranasal sinuses are located in your head near your nose and eyes. They are named after the bones that provide their structure.
- The ethmoidal sinuses are located between your eyes.
- The maxillary sinuses are located below your eyes.
- The sphenoidal sinuses are located behind your eyes.
- The frontal sinuses are located above your eyes.
The biggest sinus cavity is the maxillary cavity, and it is one of the cavities that most often becomes infected.
There are different types of sinusitis:
- Acute bacterial sinusitis: This term refers to a sudden onset of cold symptoms such as runny nose, stuffy nose, and facial pain that does not go away after 10 days, or symptoms that seem to improve but then return and are worse than the initial symptoms . It responds well to antibiotics and decongestants.
- Chronic sinusitis: This term refers to a condition defined by nasal congestion, drainage, facial pain/pressure, and decreased sense of smell for at least 12 weeks.
- Subacute sinusitis: This term is used when the symptoms last four to twelve weeks.
- Recurrent acute sinusitis: This term is used when the symptoms come back four or more times in one year and last less than two weeks each time.