Initial Stages Of A Sinus Infection
In most situations, a sinus infection is a secondary infection that occurs after another illness or health concern. For example, you might have a head cold that develops into a sinus infection because of the congestion. Or, chronic allergies can cause conditions that result in sinus infections.
When a sinus infection occurs, it means that there is swelling, inflammation, and infection in the sinus areas. Typically, sinuses are open cavities filled with air. When drainage is blocked, then an infection can occur.
In the earliest stages of a sinus infection, youll likely feel discomfort and pressure in the sinus areas. Its common to have congestion, which could lead to a blocked sinus making it hard to breathe through one side of your nose.
As the symptoms progress, the pain intensifies. An untreated sinus infection can disrupt every area of your life, making it hard to get through the day because of the pressure and pain.
Is There A Vaccine For Meningitis
Yes, there is a vaccine for several types of bacterial meningitis. Meningococcal meningitis, caused by Neisseria meningitidis, is one version for which vaccines are available. While viral meningitis is more common, bacterial meningitis can be more dangerous if its not diagnosed and treated quickly.
For that reason, the two primary vaccines for meningitis are for bacterial causes. The first vaccine, the meningococcal conjugate vaccine, features a vaccine that targets four of the most common types of bacterial serotypes. It lasts longer and offers greater protection, especially if you maintain booster shots.
The second vaccine, MenB, targets one specific strain, and its protection window is much shorter. Only certain populations are recommended to get this vaccine.
Side effects of a meningitis vaccine include soreness, redness, and burning at the injection site. Some people may experience a low-grade fever for a day or two following the injection. Chills, headache, joint pain, and fatigue are also possible.
How Are These Disorders Transmitted
Some forms of bacterial meningitis and encephalitis are contagious and can be spread through contact with saliva, nasal discharge, feces, or respiratory and throat secretions . For example, people sharing a household, at a day care center, or in a classroom with an infected person can become infected. College students living in dormitoriesin particular, college freshmenhave a higher risk of contracting meningococcal meningitis than college students overall. Children who have not been given routine vaccines are at increased risk of developing certain types of bacterial meningitis.
Because these diseases can occur suddenly and progress rapidly, anyone who is suspected of having either meningitis or encephalitis should immediately contact a doctor or go to the hospital.
Also Check: When To See A Doctor About A Sinus Infection
How Are Meningitis And Encephalitis Diagnosed
Following a physical exam and medical history to review activities of the past several days or weeks , the doctor may order various diagnostic tests to confirm the presence of infection or inflammation. Early diagnosis is vital, as symptoms can appear suddenly and escalate to brain damage, hearing and/or speech loss, blindness, or even death.
Diagnostic tests include:
- A neurological examination involves a series of physical examination tests designed to assess motor and sensory function, nerve function, hearing and speech, vision, coordination and balance, mental status, and changes in mood or behavior.
- Laboratory screening of blood, urine, and body secretions can help detect and identify brain and/or spinal cord infection and determine the presence of antibodies and foreign proteins. Such tests can also rule out metabolic conditions that may have similar symptoms.
- Analysis of the cerebrospinal fluid that surrounds and protects the brain and spinal cord can detect infections in the brain and/or spinal cord, acute and chronic inflammation, and other diseases. A small amount of cerebrospinal fluid is removed by a special needle that is inserted into the lower back and the fluid is tested to detect the presence of bacteria, blood, and viruses. The testing can also measure glucose levels and white blood cells , as well as protein and antibody levels.
Viral Vs Bacterial Meningitis: Which Is Worse
Between viral and bacterial meningitis, viral tends to be less severe and is rarely life-threatening. But both types are still serious and require medical attention, says Dr. Esper.
“With viral meningitis, show up to the hospital, or the emergency department, or to their primary care doctors because the body says to you, ‘This is not your normal flu. This is something that’s bad.’ It’s in your head and you usually go seek care,” says Dr. Esper
Like the name implies, viral meningitis is caused by a virus. According to the Meningitis Research Foundation, the viruses typically responsible for most cases of viral meningitis are enteroviruses , herpes simplex , and varicella zoster .
Antiviral medications can be used to treat specific kinds of viral meningitis. But for the most part, like other viruses, the treatment for viral meningitis largely involves addressing any symptoms or discomfort caused by the illness and time to recover from it.
Most people recover from viral meningitis with no long-term issues , according to the Meningitis Research Foundation. Bacterial meningitis, on the other hand, leaves around 20% of survivors with permanent disabilities, such as deafness or loss of a limb, according to the CDC. And around 10% of cases are deadly, per the Cleveland Clinic, hence why bacterial meningitis is considered worse than viral meningitis.
Don’t Miss: Medicine For Children’s Sinus Infection
What Are The Chances That An Untreated Sinus Infection Would Turn Into Meningitis
Ask U.S. doctors your own question and get educational, text answers â it’s anonymous and free!
Ask U.S. doctors your own question and get educational, text answers â it’s anonymous and free!
HealthTap doctors are based in the U.S., board certified, and available by text or video.
Where Can I Get More Information
For more information on neurological disorders or research programs funded by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, contact the Institute’s Brain Resources and Information Network at:
Office of Communications and Public LiaisonNational Institute of Neurological Disorders and StrokeNational Institutes of HealthBethesda, MD 20892
NINDS health-related material is provided for information purposes only and does not necessarily represent endorsement by or an official position of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke or any other Federal agency. Advice on the treatment or care of an individual patient should be obtained through consultation with a physician who has examined that patient or is familiar with that patient’s medical history.
Also Check: Baz Allergy Asthma And Sinus Center
Complications Of An Untreated Sinus Infection
Most sinus infections will resolve in a week or two. However, there are rare cases of serious and potentially life-threatening complications that may arise. Knowing what the signs and symptoms of these complications can keep a complication from becoming a catastrophe.
The thin sinus walls share a border with the surrounding tissue including the eyes, brain and major nerves and blood vessels. A sinus infection can sometimes spread beyond the border of the sinuses. Read below about the potential rare consequences of an untreated sinus infection.
In rare situations, the failure to treat a sinus infection can lead to a serious complication.
Meningitis Rash Glass Test
Meningococcal meningitis is a form of bacterial meningitis caused by the Neisseria meningitidis bacterium. Meningococcal meningitis can cause a person to develop septicemia, which is an infection of the blood. This form of septicemia is known as meningococcal septicemia, or meningococcemia.
Meningococcal meningitis can cause a rash in about 50% of people with the condition. Meningococcemia can result in a person bleeding into their skin. This causes a certain type of rash to develop within a persons skin, characterized by small, non-raised, purple-reddish lesions. The rash occurs due to bleeding outside the capillaries due to meningococcemia.
A person can test if a rash is from meningococcemia by pressing a glass tumbler against it. If the rash does not disappear, it means a person may have meningococcemia. However, a person should not take the glass test as a diagnosis of meningococcemia, as this form of rash can also result from other conditions.
If a person has a rash that does not disappear when pressed by a glass, they should contact their doctor immediately.
- speech, language, memory, or communication problems
- severe brain damage
usually spreads from person to person.
Common ways that bacterial meningitis can spread include:
available for pneumococcal meningitis. The pneumococcal conjugate vaccine is recommended for children ages 2 years and under and people who have certain medical conditions.
Also Check: How To Beat A Sinus Infection
What Happens If A Sinus Infection Is Left Untreated
A sinus infection can cause a long list of annoying problems, but if left untreated, your symptoms could continue for months on end. And in rare cases, very serious complications can develop.
In this blog, the board-certified physicians at New York ENT explain more about sinus infections and what can happen if theyre left untreated.
What Is Bacterial Meningitis
Like all types of meningitis, bacterial meningitis is an inflammation of the meninges, the membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord, says the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. It happens when bacteria enter the bloodstream and travel to the brain and spinal cord. Bacterial meningitis can also be caused by bacteria that directly infect the meninges through an ear, skull fracture, sinus infection, or surgery, per the Mayo Clinic.
When bacterial meningitis causes the meninges to swell, it can put pressure on the spinal cord and brain, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine. And that can turn into a life-threatening situationfast.
“In the case of bacterial meningitis, getting evaluated promptly and getting proper treatment initiated right away is really critical,”, MD, specialist in neuroinfectious diseases at the Mayo Clinic, tells Health. “It should be considered an emergency because it can actually progress over hours.”
Also Check: How To Relieve Sinus Pressure In Face And Eyes
Killer Sinus Infection How To Tell If Yours Is Viral Or Bacterial
You know the symptoms: nasal congestion, facial pressure, pain, fever, too much mucus. Ugh. Its probably another sinus infection.
But is your infection caused by a virus or bacteria and does it really matter?
It does matter. Doctors treat viral and bacterial sinus infections differently. Here is what you need to know about both kinds of infection and how to treat them.
Viral or bacterial?
Most sinus infections are viral, and most are caused by the virus that causes the common cold. How can you tell, based on symptoms, whether your infection is viral or bacterial?
Normally, you can’t.
Symptoms like bad breath, yellow or green mucus, fever and headache are not reliable signs of a bacterial infection. They can be present with viral infections, too. Even your doctor cant tell if your infection is viral or bacterial based solely on symptoms or an exam.
Instead, your doctor looks at symptom duration to determine the source of your infection. A viral sinus infection will usually start to improve after five to seven days. A bacterial sinus infection will often persist for seven to 10 days or longer, and may actually worsen after seven days.
4 steps you can take
Whether your sinus infection turns out to be viral or bacterial, you can help to ease your symptoms early on with supportive care:
Use saline spray two to three times per day in each nostril.
Drink eight 8-ounce glasses of fluid per day.
Get plenty of rest.
What to do for chronic sinusitis
Sinus Infection Treatment Options
Mild sinus infections can be managed at home using over-the-counter decongestants, sinus rinses, and rest. If the symptoms dont go away after about a week or 10 days, then its time to schedule an appointment with a doctor.
These are some of the treatments used by ENTs for sinus infections:
- Medications: First, the doctor will identify the type of sinus infection, then prescribe an appropriate medication. Common medications include antibiotics, antifungal medications, nasal corticosteroids, or NSAIDs.
- Surgery: If minimally-invasive treatments arent effective in clearing up the infection, then surgery might be recommended. For example, the doctor might use balloon sinuplasty or functional endoscopic sinus surgeryl to open up the sinus passages.
- Underlying Causes: Why are you experiencing frequent sinus infections? A skilled ENT can help with preventive treatments to minimize the risk of recurring infections in the future.
Our team of ear, nose, and throat specialists dedicates the time and attention needed to support your unique health concerns. By designing a custom treatment plan, we help each patient find relief from mild and severe medical concerns.
You May Like: Best Medicine To Take For Sinus Infection
When You Should Worry About A Sinus Infection
Most of us have suffered through a sinus infection, or sinusitis, at some point in our lives. It is no picnic, especially when they linger and nothing you try brings relief.
Sometimes sinus infections linger because you may not be treating them properly, or possibly taking the wrong medication. In rare cases, a lingering sinus infection is a sign of a more serious problem.
Is Your Sinus Infection Bacterial Or Viral
Contrary to what people may think, all sinus infections are not the same, according to the Cleveland Clinic. A sinus infection can be due to a bacterial infection or a viral infection.
A doctor can take a nasal swab culture and send it to the lab for testing it to see if a sinus infection is viral or bacterial. This is usually unnecessary unless a sinus infection lasts longer than 10 days. Viral sinus infections typically clear up within that time frame.
Sinusitis that lasts longer than 10 days may a sign of a bacterial infection, which would necessitate a trip to the doctor. If the doctor determines that the sinusitis is in fact due to a bacterial infection, then antibiotics may be in order.
Don’t Miss: Sphenoid Sinus Infection Neck Pain
A More In Depth Explanation Of Sinusitis
Acute sinusitis causes the cavities around your nasal passages to become inflamed and swollen. This interferes with drainage and causes mucus to build up.
With acute sinusitis, it might be difficult to breathe through your nose. The area around your eyes and face might feel swollen, and you might have throbbing facial pain or a headache.
Acute sinusitis is mostly caused by the common cold. Unless a bacterial infection develops, most cases resolve within a week to 10 days.
In most cases, home remedies are all that’s needed to treat acute sinusitis. However, persistent sinusitis can lead to serious infections and other complications. Sinusitis that lasts more than 12 weeks despite medical treatment is called chronic sinusitis.
What Happens If You Let A Sinus Infection Go Untreated
In most cases, sinus infection goes away on its own. However, if it lingers or keeps rearing its ugly head and you still keep overlooking it, a sinus infection can lead to potentially grave complications.
The possibility for serious health risks stems from the fact that your sinuses are too close to other parts of your body, especially your brain and eyes.
Heres a list of some important complications that can arise as a result of an untreated sinus infection.
Read Also: Best Thing To Take For Sinus Congestion
How Is Meningitis Treated
Most cases of viral meningitis end within 7 to 10 days. Some people might need to be treated in the hospital, although kids usually can recover at home if they’re not too ill. Treatment to ease symptoms includes rest, fluids, and over-the-counter pain medicine.
If bacterial meningitis is diagnosed or even suspected doctors will start intravenous antibiotics as soon as possible. Fluids may be given to replace those lost to fever, sweating, vomiting, and poor appetite.
Ear Infections Can Lead To Meningitis Brain Abscess And Other Neurological Complications
- Loyola University Health System
- While antibiotics have greatly reduced the dangers of ear infections, serious neurological complications, including hearing loss, facial paralysis, meningitis and brain abscess still occur.
While antibiotics have greatly reduced the dangers of ear infections, serious neurological complications, including hearing loss, facial paralysis, meningitis and brain abscess still occur, according to a report in the journal Current Neurology and Neuroscience Reports.
The article was written by Loyola Medicine otolaryngologists Michael Hutz, MD, Dennis Moore, MD, and Andrew Hotaling, MD.
Otitis media occurs when a cold, allergy or upper respiratory infection leads to the accumulation of pus and mucus behind the eardrum, causing ear ache and swelling. In developed countries, about 90 percent of children have at least one episode before school age, usually between the ages of six months and four years. Today, secondary complications from otitis media occur in approximately 1 out of every 2,000 children in developed countries.
The potential seriousness of otitis media was first reported by the Greek physician Hippocrates in 460 B.C. “Acute pain of the ear with continued high fever is to be dreaded for the patient may become delirious and die,” Hippocrates wrote.
Other complications include:
Hearing loss: Permanent hearing loss is rare, occurring in about 2 out of every 10,000 children who have otitis media.
Also Check: Best Medicine For Sinus Pressure And Congestion
What Causes Meningitis And Encephalitis
Infectious causes of meningitis and encephalitis include bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites. For some individuals, environmental exposure , recent travel, or an immunocompromised state are important risk factors. There are also non-infectious causes such as autoimmune/rheumatological diseases and certain medications.
Bacterial meningitis is a rare but potentially fatal disease. Several types of bacteria can first cause an upper respiratory tract infection and then travel through the bloodstream to the brain. The disease can also occur when certain bacteria invade the meninges directly. Bacterial meningitis can cause stroke, hearing loss, and permanent brain damage.
Other forms of bacterial meningitis include Listeria monocytogenes meningitis Escherichia coli meningitis, which is most common in elderly adults and newborns and may be transmitted to a baby through the birth canal and Mycobacterium tuberculosis meningitis, a rare disease that occurs when the bacterium that causes tuberculosis attacks the meninges.
Fungal infections can affect the brain. The most common form of fungal meningitis is caused by the fungus cryptococcus neoformans . Cryptococcal meningitis mostly occurs in immunocompromised individuals such as those with AIDS but can also occur in healthy people. Some of these cases can be slow to develop and smolder for weeks. Although treatable, fungal meningitis often recurs in nearly half of affected persons.