How Do You Get Rid Of A Sinus Infection
Sinusitis symptoms are notoriously unbearable. Finding relief from the congestion, sinus pain, and sore runny nose can be difficult and uncomfortable.
In many cases, people turn to natural remedies and/or over-the-counter treatments to help relieve their physical discomforts, such as headaches, congestion, and mucus build-up.
In more serious cases, its good to consult a physician to discuss prescription options, such as corticosteroids, antibiotics, or antifungal medicines. These medications are often delivered intranasally , with the use of a nasal nebulizer device.
Nasal washing or irrigation with saline or a common over the counter nasal safe medicine can help reduce the excess mucus build-up and relieve other symptoms of post nasal drip, such as hacking and coughing.
Using compounding pharmacies to compound a sinus medication specifically for your needs, incorporating soothing ingredients to eliminate dry nose, can be very effective, especially when delivered appropriately to the infected and irritated areas.
Your Sinusitis Wont Go Away Heres What You Need To Know
Sinusitis also known as a sinus infection is, for the most part, a bacterial infection caused by inflammation of the sinuses. Chronic and recurring long-lasting sinusitis can render you incapacitated and quickly eat up your sick days.
But when your sinusitis wont go away, what options do you have? This guide walks you through how to identify a sinus infection, what happens if you ignore it, how to treat your chronic sinusitis, and more.
What Is Chronic Sinus Infection
Chronic sinusitis is a long-standing inflammation of your sinuses that lasts for 12 weeks or longer at a time. Sinusitis is also known as rhinosinusitis . So, we use the two terms interchangeably. When inflamed, nasal passages and sinuses become swollen and blocked. Chronic sinusitis interferes with the normal drainage of the mucus. Too much mucus builds up in your nose and sinuses, making them stuffy.
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A Previous Nasal Fracture
Nasal bones are the most commonly broken bones in the body. Sometimes they heal well on their own, or they seem as if they did. Over time, you may experience signs or symptoms that the nose didnt heal as well as youd hoped. In fact, your previously fractured nose may have set in a crooked position. Or, the break may have been worse than you knew, leading to fractures deeper in the sinus cavities that didnt heal well.
Anyone who has broken their nose in the past is at higher risk for chronic sinus infections, so make sure to mention your nasal fracture history when you make an appointment with our office.
Find Relief From Sinus Infections At Kaplan Sinus Relief
At Kaplan Sinus Relief, we help people breath better every day with a variety of sinusitis treatment options, including balloon sinuplasty. We are here to answer questions like, Can you have a sinus infection without a fever? and more.
Whether you need to end all that snoring, repair a deviated septum, or end recurring sinusitis complications, we can help.
Give us a call today at 713-766-1818 or schedule an appointment online.
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How Long Should It Take For A Bad Sinus Infection To Go Away
Before we delve into what to do when your sinusitis wont go away, lets figure out whether you have a sinus infection in the first place. The symptoms shared between the common cold, chronic sinusitis, and chronic allergies, are similar making it rather difficult to deduce which culprit is causing your sinus issues.
One major differentiator, however, is time. A cold should go away within a week. If your cold lasts longer than 7-10 days, its likely that your cold has either turned into a bacterial sinus infection, or you actually had a sinus infection from the very beginning. Whatever the case, if your symptoms persist for more than a week, its best to see a doctor.
Once your doctor determines treatment, your sinus infection symptoms should begin to subside within a few days.
What Happens If A Sinus Infection Is Left Untreated
For some lucky people, sinus infections may go away if left untreated. Rest and hydration will certainly help with this.
For others, however, sinusitis wont go away until you seek treatment. If this is the case, a sinus infection left untreated may cause further complications .
When sinusitis spreads to areas around the eyes, you may experience redness and swelling, which can reduce vision. The most severe form of sinusitis reaching the eye is called cavernous sinus thrombosis and can actually cause blindness. It is treated by antibiotics and drainage of sinus fluids.
Sinusitis that reaches the brain may cause meningitis and brain abscesses.
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What Questions Should I Ask My Doctor
When To Seek Medical Care
See a doctor if you have:
- Severe symptoms, such as severe headache or facial pain.
- Symptoms that get worse after initially improving.
- Symptoms lasting more than 10 days without improvement.
- Fever longer than 3-4 days.
You should also seek medical care if you have had multiple sinus infections in the past year.
This list is not all-inclusive. Please see a doctor for any symptom that is severe or concerning.
Other conditions can cause symptoms similar to a sinus infection, including:
- Seasonal allergies
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Excessive Inflammation Of The Nasal Passages
Contrary to what most people think, the sinuses consist of far more space than just the nasal passages and behind the cheekbones. There are four sets of sinuses located in the head, and all of these drain mucus through the nasal passages, which act as one of the bodys sinus exit points. Your throat also acts as a drain for the sinuses. This is why people with sinusitis often experience discomfort in the throat, resulting from post-nasal drip.
If the nasal passages become inflamed, they get stopped up and the body has a hard time draining all of that backed up, infected, and often thickened mucus. This exacerbates the sinus infection, causing it to settle in even more.
There are several things you can do to relieve and reverse swollen and sensitive sinus passages:
Dr. Hester may prescribe a corticosteroid nasal spray or even an oral steroid to provide more immediate and dramatic inflammation relief. These meds should be used as directed. NEVER use corticosteroid nasal sprays or oral steroids for longer than advised. You can wind up doing more harm than good. If the sinus symptoms persist, contact your doctor to schedule a follow-up appointment.
Sore Throat And Hoarse Voice
Postnasal drip can leave you with a raw and aching throat. Although it may start as an annoying tickle, it can get worse.
If your infection lasts for a few weeks or more, mucus can irritate and inflame your throat as it drips, resulting in a painful sore throat and hoarse voice. Frequent coughing and throat clearing can make a hoarse voice worse.
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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.
Why Is My Snot Red
Higher concentrations of blood in the nose will turn your mucus red. As with pink snot, this is usually caused by a hit to the nose, blowing too hard, or breathing in dry air. It could also be a nosebleed.
To prevent dry nasal or sinus cavities try:
- Applying Aquaphor or Vaseline to the inside of your nose
- Using a Neti pot with sterilized saltwater
- Blowing your nose gently
- Using a humidifier
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Treatment Options For A Sinus Infection
If your symptoms become a severe cause for concern , you may need to visit our urgent care for additional treatment. Upon entering our urgent care facility, the first thing we will do is an assessment. There are several common tactics performed to try and diagnose a sinus infection, which include a detailed examination into your nasal passageways.
After diagnosis, there are several treatment options available, and the exact treatment method decided upon is based mainly upon the cause of the infection. In the event the sinus infection is caused by a bacterial infection, it can be treated with antibiotics, which is often the most successful method used. However, antibiotics do not work for viral infections. Instead, antiviral medications are likely to be given for viral infections such as the cold.
One of the main reasons for sinus inflammation is allergies, which is a condition where the immune system rejects a substance it deems harmful. If allergies are determined to be the cause of the sinus inflammation, a steroid spray can be prescribed. The nasal spray should help reduce the severity of the reaction, which ultimately allows the sinus inflammation to stay at a tolerable level.
Regardless of the medical treatment that is given for the sinus infection, there are over-the-counter medications that can also be taken to help deal with the symptoms, which include:
- Pain relievers
When Do I Really Need Antibiotics For A Sinus Infection
When do I really need antibiotics for a sinus infection? is a question many patients have when suffering from bothersome sinus and allergy problems. While sinus infections can be quite painful, antibiotics often do not help in treating the condition.
Sinus infections affect approximately 37 million people in the U.S. each year and can be caused by:
- Nasal polyps or deviated septum causing nasal obstruction
The majority of sinus infections are viral in nature, and antibiotics do not cure viral infections. Taking antibiotics for viral infections also will not:
- Keep you from being contagious to others
- Relieve symptoms or make you feel better
In order to distinguish a bacterial sinus infection from an infection caused by a virus or other contributing factor, your doctor will observe your symptoms and possibly conduct other tests, such as a CT scan or cultures.
Antibiotics are only effective on bacterial infections, and even in cases involving bacteria, the body can often cure itself of mild or moderate infections within a few days.
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If You Think You Have A Sinus Infection
If you feel you are experiencing sinus infection symptoms, make an appointment with your PartnerMD physician, and do not attempt to treat symptoms on your own. While you may initially be recommended OTC treatments, only your doctor can accurately diagnose your symptoms, and prescribe the right treatment for relief.
Have a question about your sinus infection symptoms? Contact us today to see if a relationship with a concierge doctor could be beneficial.
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Lingering Sinus Infection Or Chronic Runny Nose
A lingering sinus infection is different from a chronic runny nose. Chronic runny nose typically comes from allergies or other irritants in the air. However, this can turn into an infection over time.
When the sinuses become infected, the allergies, irritants, or viral cold have caused swelling in the nose thats blocked the drainage pathways. Consequently, fluid and mucous accumulate in the sinuses, where it has become infected with bacteria.
If youve been sick more than 10 days and begin to experience other symptoms like facial pressure, headache, and fever, youre dealing with more than a chronic runny nose.
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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.
How Do You Treat A Sinus Infection
When it comes to colds and regular, short-term, one-off sinus infections, you should be okay with over-the-counter medication coupled with plenty of rest and relaxation. As we mentioned earlier, however, if you have a bacterial sinus infection, you may need antibiotics.
Its important to remember that untreated sinus infections can cause more issues later down the line. These issues can negatively impact your sense of smell, eyesight, and even your brain. In other words, if your sinus infection does last more than 7-10 days, dont hesitate to visit your doctor. Its worth it in the long run.
However, one-time sinus infections vs. frequent, unrelenting sinus infections are what differentiates acute and chronic sinusitis.
Chronic sinusitis can last a few months and become a recurring theme in your life. If this is the case, you could end up requiring professional treatment such as balloon sinuplasty.
Balloon sinuplasty is a minimally-invasive procedure that takes less than 20 minutes. During this procedure, a tiny, endoscopic is inflated within your nasal passage. This process opens up your passages and allows for better drainage and long-lasting relief from sinusitis complications.
How To Treat A Sinus Infection At Home
In the first two weeks of a sinus infection, patients may use saline sprays, over-the-counter steroid sprays like Flonase, and over-the-counter decongestants.
After 10 days, if the drainage is still colored, an antibiotic is likely necessary. Theres no homeopathic alternative to antibiotics. However, saline spray, topical steroid sprays, and decongestants work well with antibiotics to clear most infections.
Anatomy Of The Paranasal Sinuses
The paranasal sinuses comprise four pairs of sinuses that surround the nose and drain into the nasal cavity by way of narrow channels called ostia . Mucus leaving the frontal and maxillary sinuses drains through the ethmoid sinuses , so a backup in the ethmoids is likely to clog the other two types of sinuses. The sphenoid sinuses are located deep in the skull, behind the eyes. Sinusitis develops when one or more sinuses become blocked.
There are millions of bacteria in our noses, and most of the time, they’re harmless. Even when a few creep into the sinuses, they don’t cause trouble, as long as they keep draining into the nose along with mucus. But if sinus drainage is blocked, glands in the sinuses continue to produce mucus, and the resulting pool of backed-up mucus provides what Dr. Metson calls “the perfect culture medium.” The bacteria grow out of control, causing infection, and the immune system kicks off an inflammatory response. The result: swelling, which causes and facial pain mucus buildup, which produces congestion and an influx of white blood cells to fight the bacteria, which thickens the mucus and may tint it yellow or green. Other symptoms include loss of smell or taste, cough, bad breath, fever, toothache, and fullness in the ears.
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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.
Get The Sinus Infection Treatment You Need At Kaplan Sinus Relief
Balloon sinuplasty is a minimally invasive and effective way to treat your underlying sinus issues and can deliver lasting relief in less than 20 minutes. Dr. Kaplan can help treat your chronic sinusitis and infections and get you feeling better again in no time.
Request an appointment to see if balloon sinuplasty is the right treatment option for you.
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