What Is A Sinus Infection Or Sinusitis
Inflammation of the air cavities within the passages of the nose is referred to as sinusitis. Sinusitis can be caused by infection , but also can be caused by allergy and chemical irritation of the sinuses. A sinus infection occurs when a virus, bacterium, or fungus grows within a sinus.
Sinusitis is one of the more common conditions that can afflict people throughout their lives. Sinusitis commonly occurs when environmental pollens irritate the nasal passages, such as with hay fever. Sinusitis can also result from irritants, such as chemicals or the use and/or abuse of over-the-counter nasal sprays, and illegal substances that may be snorted or inhaled through the nose. About 30 million adults have sinusitis. Colds differ from sinusitis and are only caused by viruses and last about seven to 10 days while sinusitis may have many different causes , and usually last longer with more pronounced and variable symptoms.
What Causes Postnasal Drip
- Certain medications, including some for birth control and blood pressure
- Deviated septum, which is the crooked placement of the wall that separates the two nostrils, or some other problem with the structure of the nose that affects the sinuses
- Changing weather, cold temperatures, or really dry air
- Certain foods
- Fumes from chemicals, perfumes, cleaning products, smoke, or other irritants
Sometimes the problem is not that you’re producing too much mucus, but that it’s not being cleared away. Swallowing problems can cause a buildup of liquids in the throat, which can feel like postnasal drip. These problems can sometimes occur with age, a blockage, or conditions such as gastroesophageal reflux disease, also known as GERD.
Which Medications Open The Sinuses Will Antibiotics Cure Sinus Infections
Medications that Cure Sinus Infections
The goal in treating sinus infections is to eliminate bacteria from the sinus cavities with antibiotics. This helps prevent complications, relieve symptoms, and reduce the risk of chronic sinusitis.
- In acute, uncomplicated sinus infections, a synthetic penicillin, for example, amoxicillin , which is prescribed to most people to cure acute sinus infections. Amoxicilin is effective against the ususal causes of sinus infections, and is inexpensive. The most common side effects of amoxicillin include allergic reactions and an upset stomach.
- People allergic to penicillin can take a sulfur-containing antibiotic called trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole or TMP/SMX . Sulfa drugs are not recommended for people who are allergic to sulfur.
- People who have several episodes, or partially treated acute sinusitis or those who have chronic sinusitis may become resistant to amoxicillin and TMP/SMX. Synthetic penicillins and cephalosporins such as amoxicillin/clavulanate , cefuroxime , and loracarbef can cure most sinus infections.
- Eventually, overuse of these “broad-spectrum” antibiotics may lead to organisms evolving that can resist even the most potent antibiotics available. Simpler antibiotics, for example, amoxicillin, should be used first and taken for the entire duration .
Medications to Keep the Sinuses Open
OTC Steroid Nasal Sprays
Steroids are potent inhibitors of inflammation.
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How Are Upper Respiratory Infections Diagnosed
Your healthcare provider may diagnose the infection based on a physical exam and your symptoms. Theyll look in your nose, ears and throat and listen to your chest to examine your breathing. You often dont need other tests.
If your provider is concerned you may have a lung infection or another infection, you may need a:
- Sputum test, when you cough up some sputum for examination.
Check If You Have Sinusitis
Symptoms of sinusitis include:
- pain, swelling and tenderness around your cheeks, eyes or forehead
- a blocked nose
- a reduced sense of smell
- green or yellow mucus from your nose
- a sinus headache
- bad breath
Signs of sinusitis in young children may also include irritability, difficulty feeding, and breathing through their mouth.
The sinuses are small, empty spaces behind your cheekbones and forehead that connect to the inside of the nose.
Sinusitis causes the lining of the sinuses to swell up.
This stops mucus draining into your nose and throat properly, making you feel blocked up.
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Persistent Sore Throats In Children
Children are more susceptible to conditions or viruses that can cause chronic sore throat symptoms, such as the common cold and other viral or bacterial infections. Usually, children are more prone to tonsillitis, which can cause severe throat pain, although this can affect people of any age. The best treatment for children with a chronic sore throat will depend on whether the source of the issue is a bacterial infection, a viral infection, or underlying allergies.
Treatment Of Sinus Congestion
- Viral Sinus Infection. Nasal washes with saline. Antibiotics are not helpful.
- Bacterial Sinus Infection. Antibiotics by mouth.
- Allergic Sinus Reaction. Treatment of the nasal allergy with allergy medicines also often helps the sinus symptoms.
- All Thick Nasal Drainage. Nasal secretions need treatment with nasal saline when they block the nose. Also, treat if they make breathing through the nose hard. If breathing is noisy, it may mean the dried mucus is farther back. Nasal saline rinses can remove it.
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Whos At Risk For Upper Respiratory Infections
These infections are common, and anyone can catch one. Yet certain groups of people are more at risk of catching infections. Children are at a high risk since they are often with other children who may be carrying a virus. Children may also wash their hands less frequently than adults. Plus, theyre more likely to put their fingers in their eyes, nose and mouth, allowing the germs to spread easily.
People who have heart or lung problems are also at higher risk of getting an upper respiratory infection. Those who have weak immune systems may get more severe infections.
How Long Do Sinus Infections Or Sinusitis Last
Sinusitis or sinus infections usually clear up if treated early and appropriately. Aside from those who develop complications, the outlook for acute sinusitis is good. People may develop chronic sinusitis or have recurrent attacks of acute sinusitis if they have allergic or structural causes for their sinusitis.
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When You Have A Sore Throat With A Headache
Sore throats and headaches are common symptoms of the flu. A sore throat is usually a sign that you have a bacterial infection which can be caused by the flu virus, adenovirus, or strep. Headaches can be due to fluid loss from fever, menstruation, dehydration, muscle tension, or sinusitis.
When you have a sore throat along with a headache, it is important to take note of the symptoms and see if there are any other symptoms that need to be taken care of. Soreness and tenderness in the throat can often accompany a headache, and can often be caused by postnasal drip. If these symptoms persist, call your doctor right away. Other symptoms that may need attention include sore eyes, nasal congestion, excessive exhaustion or fever.
There is a myriad of symptoms that can accompany a sore throat. When you have a sore throat with a headache, it could be because of the sinus pressure from the sore throat, or it may be due to an ear infection. You will also experience pain when swallowing and your voice may sound hoarse. In addition, your nose may run during this time.
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 Tests Diagnose Sinus Infections And Sinusitis
The diagnosis of a sinus infection is made based on a medical history assessment and a physical examination. Adequately distinguishing sinusitis from a simple upper respiratory infection or a common cold is important.
- Usually, sinusitis caused by bacteria will need antibiotic treatment to cure the infection.
- Upper respiratory tract infections and colds are viral illnesses so antibiotics have no benefit, and it may cause antibiotic resistance, which limits your body’s ability to cure future infections.
CT scan: In most cases, diagnosing acute sinusitis requires no testing. When testing is indicated, a CT scan will clearly depict all the paranasal sinuses, the nasal passages, and the surrounding structures. A CT scan may indicate a sinus infection if any of these conditions is present:
- Air-fluid levels in one or more sinuses
- Total blockage in one or more sinuses
- Thickening of the inner lining of the sinuses
- Mucosal thickening can occur in people without symptoms of sinusitis. CT scan findings must be correlated with a person’s symptoms and physical examination findings to diagnose a sinus infection.
Ultrasound: Another noninvasive diagnostic tool is ultrasound. The procedure is fast, reliable, and less expensive than a CT scan, although the results are not as detailed.
If your symptoms symptoms persist despite therapy, you may need a referral to an otolaryngologist or ENT . The doctor may:
Attention For Throat Pain
Theres no denying the discomfort that comes with a scratchy throat. Its time to visit our office when your pain is accompanied by specific symptoms, including:
- Difficulty turning your head
- A fever over 101 degrees F
- Pain that impedes sleeping, talking, or eating
- Pus on the tonsils
These symptoms may indicate a strep infection that can be easily detected with a throat swab. If the test comes back positive, our staff will prescribe antibiotics. If you dont have a serious infection, youll be given relief from your symptoms so you can finally rest and recover.
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What Does A Sore Throat From Post
Have you ever asked yourself where sinus drainage goes? Knowing how sinuses drain is critical to understanding why having post-nasal drip feels like it does.
Typically, your sinuses drain through your nose and your throat. The sinus drainage that goes down your throat is typically so thin and watery that you dont even notice it.
When you get sick, however, your sinus drainage system can go awry. For example, if youre congested, your sinuses are no longer draining through your nose. And typically, the mucus created when youre ill is thicker than usual. All of that combines so that more mucus that average and thicker mucus that average is making its way down your throat. As a result, post-nasal drip has its own set of symptoms.
Post-nasal drip symptoms include:
- Nausea from excess mucus draining into the stomach
- Cough, typically worse at night.
If youre not sick frequently, it may be difficult for you to tell the difference between a sore throat caused by post-nasal drip or, say, a sore throat from mold exposure. But if you are suffering from sinusitis, its a safe bet that your sore throat is likely caused by post-nasal drip.
How Can Sinus Infections Or Sinusitis Be Prevented
Prevention of a sinus infection depends upon its cause.
- Avoid contracting upper respiratory tract infections. Maintain strict hand washing habits and avoid people who are suffering from a cold or the flu.
- Obtaining the flu vaccination yearly will help to prevent the flu and subsequent infection of the upper respiratory tract.
- In some studies, zinc carbonate lozenges have been shown to reduce the duration of many cold symptoms.
- Stress reduction and a diet rich in antioxidants, especially fresh, dark-colored fruits and vegetables, may help strengthen the immune system.
- Plan for seasonal allergy attacks.
- If a sinus infection is caused by seasonal or environmental allergies, avoiding allergens is very important. If avoidance is not an option, either OTC or prescription medication may be helpful. OTC antihistamines or decongestant nasal sprays can be used for an acute attack.
- People who have seasonal allergies may benefit from nonsedating prescription antihistamines during allergy-season.
- Avoid spending long periods outdoors during allergy season. Close the windows to the house and use air conditioning to filter out allergens when possible. Humidifiers may also be helpful.
- Allergy shots, also called immunotherapy, may be effective in reducing or eliminating sinusitis due to allergies. An allergist administers shots regularly for 3 to 5 years, which often produces a reduction or complete remission of allergy symptoms for years.
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Warm Liquids And Certain Foods
Warm liquids such as tea and coffee can greatly help soothe a sore throat. But its important to remember to limit your caffeine intake and to stay hydrated. If you are going to drink warm liquids, non-caffeinated tea with honey is a great option. Eating certain foods, including spicy foods, can also help break up your congestion, which may temporarily help reduce post-nasal drip.
Can Allergies Cause A Sore Throat
Allergiesare frequently the underlying source of sore throat symptoms. When allergens floating in the air trigger a histamine reaction, the bodys response often leads to inflammation and irritation of the throat or pharynx. If you are diagnosed with a sore throat as a result of allergies, this can also be termed pharyngitis.
Other common symptoms that go alongside a sore throat from allergies include dry throat, trouble swallowing, stuffy or runny nose, sneezing, and itchy eyes or throat. Since many of these symptoms can also be associated with other causes, an allergy test will be the best way to determine if this is the true source of your sore throat issues. One sign that allergies may be the root cause is the sore throat persisting beyond a week and becoming a chronic problem. In this case you should see a doctor and discuss any potential for allergies.
Some of the most common allergies that cause sore throat symptoms are:
- Smoke or Pollution
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/11drink Lots Of Fluids
Drinking enough fluids can prevent dehydration and also thin mucus. Water is your best bet when it comes to staying well hydrated. Though you can also sip other things like juices and teas.
You can try honey and lemon tea as it can help break congestion and can also ease a sore throat. Hot soups can also promote nasal drainage and make breathing easier.
One must avoid alcohol if they have a cold as consuming alcohol can lead to dehydration.
Runny Nose And Postnasal Drip
When you have a sinus infection, you may need to blow your nose often because of nasal discharge, which can be cloudy, green, or yellow. This discharge comes from your infected sinuses and drains into your nasal passages.
The discharge may also bypass your nose and drain down the back of your throat. You may feel a tickle, an itch, or even a sore throat.
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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.
Remedies For A Sore Throat From Sinus Issues
Treating sinus issues can be an effective way to treat the symptom of a sore throat if this is the underlying cause of your discomfort. The best treatment to relieve a sore throat from sinus issues will depend on the specific sinus or nasal problem the patient is dealing with. In addition to asking questions about your symptoms, an experienced ENT doctor will often completely examine the nose and airways with an endoscopy to determine the reason for obstruction, drainage or inflammation. After a diagnosis has been made, a treatment plan can be developed to match the sinus problem at hand.
If chronic sinusitis is the underlying source of your sore throat, you may need to take action to reduce the swelling and draining that can stem from this infection. One of the best ways to treat the infection and ensure it doesnt come back is a balloon sinuplasty procedure. In this procedure the sinus openings are enlarged, allowing the airways to open and the infection to clear. Larger sinus openings allow the sinuses to drain properly, resulting in fewer problems or symptoms like sore throat in the future.
Deviated Septum and Other Nasal Issues
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