When To Go To The Doctor For A Sinus Infection
Sinusitis belongs to upper respiratory tract infections. It is one of the commonest and a relatively troublesome condition one can have. Yet, it is also one of those infections which patients often attempt to treat at home.
So before you understand when to go to the doctor for a sinus infection, it would be worthwhile to go through a few basic facts about sinuses their infections and how to recognize which sinus is infected.
Diagnosing Upper Respiratory Infection
You may recognize most symptoms of an upper respiratory infection on your own, which may not need to be tested by a doctor. Symptoms of a common cold are often self-managed, but you may need to see your doctor for tests.
Your doctor will take your list of symptoms and your personal and medical history. They may physically examine your throat, tonsils, ears, nose, and lymph nodes to check for redness, swelling, and signs of infection. They may take your temperature and check your blood pressure and pulse.
Your doctor may also swab your throat and nose for a sample of your cells. The sample may be tested to determine the type of bacteria or virus you have. A blood test, x-ray, or a urinalysis may also be done to rule out other issues or check for complications.
Throat Irritation And Cough
As discharge from your sinuses drains down the back of your throat, it can cause irritation, especially over a long period of time. This can lead to a persistent and annoying cough, which can be worse when lying down to sleep or first thing in the morning after getting up from bed.
It can also make sleeping difficult. Sleeping upright or with your head elevated can help reduce the frequency and intensity of your coughing.
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How Can You Tell If You Have Chronic Sinusitis
Does it feel like your sinus infection just wont quit? If you experience at least two of the following for 12 weeks or more even though youve been treated it may be chronic sinusitis:
- A stuffed nose
- Discharge of mucus or postnasal drip
- Pain or pressure in your face
- Problems with smell
Chronic sinus infections can be triggered by colds but are typically caused by long-term inflammation. Sometimes, when treatments to control that inflammation fail, people with chronic sinusitis need surgery to drain their mucus.
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Home Remedies For Sinus Infection:
Uncomplicated acute sinus infection can be treated at home. Or home remedies can also be used along with conventional medical therapy.
Rest Take adequate rest as your body is already working enough to fight infection. Another reason to get good rest is so that you dont spread the infection at your workplace, school or institution.
Water Drink plenty to water to not just stay hydrated but water also helps to flush out toxins from the body making recovery easier.
Steam Inhaling steam decongests your air passages allowing the sinuses to drain easily.
Essential Oil Menthol is a well-known essential oil for blocked sinuses. It can be used along with steam to inhale.
Kitchen Herbs Our kitchen itself can provide the best of natural remedies to fight infections. You can use natural anti-infective and anti-inflammatory herbs like turmeric, ginger, and garlic.
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.
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When To Visit An Ent
You may opt to visit an ENT if your sinus infection symptoms last more than one month. However, when a lingering sinus infection after antibiotics lasts more than 12 weeks, its definitely time to see a specialist.
If your doctor has treated you with antibiotics, saline, steroid sprays, antihistamines, and decongestants and youre still not better, youve entered into a confusing area. You need a thorough exam of your sinus pathways with a fiberoptic scope and a CT scan to properly diagnose the problem.
If at any point youre not sure whats going on and your primary care doctor isnt sure whats causing the symptoms, see an ENT for a more specialized exam.
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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.
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What You Need To Know About Sinus Infections
As the fall months approach, the potential for seasonal allergies, runny noses and sinus infections increases.
Sinus infections happen when fluid builds up in the air-filled pockets in the face. This allows germs to grow. Viruses cause most sinus infections, but bacteria can also be the culprit.
When people say they have sinus pressure, they may mean nasal congestion, Grayson said. Bilateral congestion could mean a person has a viral infection or an allergic reaction. Viral infections dont pick and choose a side.
Grayson adds that people who live in more humid climates like the South tend to suffer more from seasonal allergies because the humidity allows more fungus to grow, and long growing seasons allow for other trees, grasses and weeds. Living in cities can also affect people with allergies due to dust mites.
If your sinus pressure is isolated, you might have a bacterial infection, she said. Thats when you really should go see a doctor. With a virus, you just have to let it run its course.
Some people do get repetitive events, and people who work with small children, such as teachers or day care workers, are more likely to get recurrent viral infections.
Jessica Grayson, M.D.That pesky flu
Treatments For Sinus Infections Other Than Antibiotics
#1: Saline Nasal Wash
Saline nasal wash can be a great way to thin out the mucous in the sinuses enough to clear out the blockage. I recommend starting this early on in the course of the illness to prevent the infection from worsening.
You can even make this at home using 2 cups of water and a 1/2 teaspoon of salt. I would add a 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of baking soda to prevent burning that can occur with use. There are also plenty of over the counter saline nasal sprays that you can purchase. You can use this 4-6 times per day.
Vaporizers are great because they can also thin out the mucous and make you feel a lot better. An easy home remedy, steam is probably the best way to use this treatment. Beware if you are an asthmatic as the steam could cause worsening of the asthma symptoms.
#3: Steroid Nasal Spray
Steroid nasal sprays such as Flonase have been my go to remedy recently and the great news is that they are now over the counter. The general recommendation is to use 1-2 sprays per nostril daily.
But I have found great relief using 2 sprays in each nostril twice daily. At these higher doses it is important to remember that you should use this short term, no more than 5-7 days.
These medications can significantly reduce inflammation allowing the congestion blockage to clear and significantly alleviate symptoms.
Guaifenesin such as Mucinex can certainly break up the mucous, allowing the congestion to clear more quickly.
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Rare Cases Can Turn Serious
Antibiotics also can help ward off rare but potentially dangerous complications that arise when a sinus infection spreads to the eyes or brain, Dr. Sindwani says.
Complications around the eyes are the more common of the two. These complications can cause redness, swelling around the eyes and reduced vision, and even lead to blindness in a severe form known as cavernous sinus thrombosis. Serious cases are immediately treated with IV antibiotics. Patients are usually admitted to the hospital for a CT scan to see if fluid needs to be drained, Dr. Sindwani says.
Also in rare cases, sinus infections in the rear center of ones head can spread into the brain. This can lead to life-threatening conditions like meningitis or brain abscess, Dr. Sindwani says.
Before antibiotics, people would die from sinusitis, he says. But he emphasizes that such complications are unlikely. In most cases, the bacterial infection goes away, especially if you dont have underlying medical problems.
Its important to monitor your symptoms if you suspect a sinus infection. If the condition lingers or worsens, call your doctor.
What Can I Take For A Sinus Infection
For most people, sinusitis should improve on its own over the course of 2 or 3 weeks. To help manage the symptoms of a sinus infection while you are recovering, you can:
- use a salt solution to clear out your nose
- apply a warm pack to the face to help relieve pain and decongest your sinuses
A doctor may advise taking painkillers, such as paracetamol, or another medication, like a nasal spray, to help relieve your symptoms. Speak to a pharmacist or doctor for further guidance before taking any medication.
You should also see a doctor if your sinus infection persists or starts to get worse despite taking these steps. They may recommend steroid nasal sprays or solutions to help with the swelling in your sinuses.
They may prescribe antihistamines if your symptoms are caused by an allergy or antibiotics if they suspect you have a sinus infection caused by bacteria.
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When To Go To The Er For Sinus Infection
When to Go to the ER
A sinus infection comes with loads of awful and draining symptoms. Of course anyone with a sinus infection is uncomfortable, but how do you know when a sinus infection becomes a serious issue? While it is true that most sinus infections clear up on their own in a few days, if left unchecked, a sinus infection can lead to serious medical complications.
What Are The Different Types Of Sinus Infections
Sinusitis is categorized based on how long the condition lasts as well as its frequency:
- Acute sinusitis usually lasts a few weeks, but less than a month. There is a subcategory of acute sinusitis, called recurrent acute sinusitis, which occurs when someone gets four or more sinus infections in a year, with symptoms resolving after each one.
- Subacute sinusitis lasts one to three months.
- Chronic sinusitis lasts three months or more.
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When To Seek Urgent Care For A Sinus Infection
Most minor sinus infections get better on their own without the need for medical treatment. More severe sinus infections, however, require urgent care.
First and most importantly, it is important to seek urgent care for a sinus infection if the symptoms begin to worsen or last for an extended amount of time. In the event you have severe trouble breathing due to your sinus infection, then be sure to come in for a visit as soon as possible to have your sinuses cleared out. Also, keep a close eye on your symptoms and seek medical attention if they do not improve after a week.
Additionally, urgent care is highly encouraged if your child develops a sinus infection as they have less of an ability to fight off the infection quickly. Also, it can be much more challenging to diagnose the cause of the sinus inflammation in children. In some cases, the reason could be due to an underlying allergy that you were not aware about.
When you visit, expect us to thoroughly examine you or your childs symptoms and document any information that is relevant to make a proper diagnosis. It may be helpful for you and your child to make a list of all of the symptoms that you or your child has been experiencing, any medications that are currently being taken and any allergies that may exist. Also, consider any questions you may want to ask the doctor at your visit.
Should I Go To Urgent Care For A Sinus Infection
Should I Go to Urgent Care for a Sinus Infection?
Everyone has had a sinus infection at some point. They come with plenty of facial pain, nasal drainage, headaches. However, most people dont know what they should do when they come down with one. Should I go to urgent care? Should I tough it out at home? Do I need to see an ear, nose, and throat specialist?
Answering those questions isnt as difficult as it sounds. In fact, you can almost surely cross seeing a specialist off your list. Though it might not feel like it at the time, a sinus infection is a fairly common illness that affects tens of millions of adults each year. With that being said, some sinus infections can be treated effectively at home while others might need to be treated by a professional.
How to Tell if You Have a Sinus Infection
Inside your skull, there are several pockets of air. These are called your sinuses and help with a variety of things in daily life. For example, they keep your head from being too heavy. However, they are also prone to infection when fluid backs up into them and allows germs to take over. This leads to sinuses that are clogged by thick mucus that causes the various symptoms of a sinus infection.
How to Treat a Sinus Infection at Home
When to Seek Medical Care for a Sinus Infection
Not everyone who has a sinus infection will need to seek medical care. However, there are some times when home remedies simply arent enough.
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What Are The Symptoms Of A Sinus Infection
When should I go to the doctor for a sinus infection? Can a sinus infection go away on its own? Sinus infections can occasionally go away on their own. However, if your sinus infection is caused by bacteria, you will likely need antibiotics. If you have a viral sinus infection, then you dont need antibiotics, which you will need to get from …
When Do You Really Need Antibiotics For That Sinus Infection
- By Monique Tello, MD, MPH, Contributor
It was February, and clinic was teeming with respiratory infections of all kinds: mostly the common cold, but also bronchitis, pneumonia, and sinus infections. The patients were coming in usually thinking that they needed antibiotics for their sinus infection, or another respiratory infection.The first patient on my schedule was a healthcare provider with sinus infection written down as her main issue.* Shed had about two weeks of nasal and sinus congestion which she blamed on a viral upper respiratory infection . Her two young kids had been sick with colds all winter, so she wasnt surprised to have these symptoms, along with endless postnasal drip and a cough.
Her congestion had improved a bit at one point, and she thought that she was finally getting better. But then, the day before her appointment, she awoke with throbbing pain between her eyes, completely blocked nasal passages, and, more concerning to her, green pus oozing from her left tear duct. She had body aches, chills, and extreme fatigue.
Signs Of A Sinus Infection
One of the most common sinus infection symptoms is feeling pain on your forehead, upper jaw, between your eyes, and your neck. Another sign of sinus infection is that you produce a thick, colored nasal secretion. Your secretion will either be yellowish, white, greenish or tinged with blood.
Your inflamed sinuses will also restrict how well you breathe. It will affect your sense of taste and smell. Not only that, but it will also affect how you talk, making you sound more stuffy.
You will experience a lot of irritation in your throat, making you cough more than normal. It could get worse when you lie down and when you wake up.
You should wait at least 7 to 10 days before going to your doctor. If most symptoms dont disappear for a week or two, its best you go to your doctor immediately. Note that OTC medications wont help in relieving the pain from sinus infections.