Thursday, June 20, 2024

What To Do When Sinus Infection

How Is Sinusitis Treated

Ask Dr. Mike: What is a sinus infection and how do I treat it?

Doctors may prescribe oral antibiotics to treat sinusitis caused by bacteria. Some doctors may recommend decongestants and antihistamines to help ease symptoms.

Sinusitis caused by a virus usually goes away without medical treatment. Acetaminophen, ibuprofen, and/or warm compresses can help reduce any pain. Over-the-counter saline solution is safe and helps wash the nose and relieve many symptoms caused by allergies, viruses, and bacteria.

Loss Of Taste And Smell: How To Get Your Sense Of Taste & Smell Back After A Sinus Infection

July 23, 2021 Written by: Michael Menachof Categories: Nose, Sinus

Dr. Menachof, MD, has specialized in conditions around the head, throat, ear, nose, neck and face for over 20 years, and was the first to bring sublingual allergy drops to Colorado in 2005. He has been recognized as a Fellow by multiple academies, named one of Americas Top Facial Plastic Surgeons continually since 2003 and is featured in multiple national publications.

Experiencing a loss of taste or smell? Learn more about what causes it and how to get your senses back after a sinus infection.

Have you ever noticed that a certain food didnt taste as good as it used to? Or that a once pungent smell didnt bother you as much? Maybe you took a whiff of those spring flowers and smelled nothing! While certainly alarming, this is most likely a result of a very common condition called anosmia, or the loss of your sense of smell.

Since our smell and taste buds are so closely linked, any conditions or irritants that cause swelling in the nasal passages can lead to a loss of smell and therefore taste. While typically just a temporary nuisance, loss of smell can also pose a dangerous threat, as your sense of smell is responsible for alerting you to dangers like gas leaks, rotten food, or fire. And because it affects your sense of taste, it can also lead to loss of interest in eating that results in unwanted weight loss and malnutrition.

How Is Sinusitis Diagnosed

Your healthcare provider will ask you a lot of questions in order to develop a detailed medical history and find out about your symptoms. They will also do a physical examination. During the exam, your care provider will check your ears, nose and throat for any swelling, draining or blockage. An endoscope may be used to look inside the nose. In some cases, you might be referred to an ear, nose and throat specialist. If you needed an imaging exam, your provider would order a computed tomography scan.

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What Causes Acute Sinusitis

Your chances of developing acute sinusitis are highest right after a common cold or upper respiratory illness when the conditions inside the nasal passages are ripe for inflammation. The longer inflammation is present, the thicker mucus becomes, causing it to become trapped inside the membranes. Proper mucus drainage no longer occurs. As these conditions persist, they provide the perfect breeding ground for bacteria accumulation, pressure buildup and sinus infections.

What Are The Risk Factors For Acute Sinusitis

Sinus Infection Treatment Online

Theres no rhyme or reason for why some people are more vulnerable to acute sinusitis than others. However, there are some risk factors that elevate the chances of infection.

  • Smoke, mold, and airborne irritants

Essentially any condition that causes inflammation to the moist membranes inside the nose and sinuses and impair sinus drainage increases the risk of having sinus problems including acute sinusitis as well as chronic sinusitis.

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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.

Treatments From Your Gp

See your GP if your symptoms are severe, don’t start to improve within 7 to 10 days, or are getting worse. They may recommend additional treatment with corticosteroid drops or sprays, or antibiotics.

If these treatments don’t help, you GP may refer you to an ear, nose and throat specialist for an assessment and to discuss whether surgery is a suitable option.

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How Can I Prevent A Sinus Infection

One of the best ways to prevent chronic sinusitis is to avoid the initial infection. Follow these tips:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for a least 20 seconds, especially when coming into contact with commonly used surfaces. If soap and water are not available, use a hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid anyone with a cold, flu or other respiratory illness.
  • Stop smoking or avoid secondhand smoke.

If you have a sinus infection, stay home, if you can. Remember to practice the following safety measure so that you avoid making others sick:

Sinus Pain And Pressure

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Fluid trapped in the sinuses can fill the sinus cavities, causing intense pain and pressure. The sinuses may be sensitive to the touch. A person may have an urge to sneeze but be unable to do so.

The pain can be in the cheeks, around the eyes and nose, or in the forehead because these areas are where the sinuses are. Bending over may make the pain worse.

Sometimes, the pressure and pain are intense enough to interfere with sleep.

Sinusitis may also cause the tissue in the nose to swell.

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Check If You Have Sinusitis

Sinusitis is common after a cold or flu.

Symptoms of sinusitis include:

  • pain, swelling and tenderness around your cheeks, eyes or forehead
  • a reduced sense of smell
  • green or yellow mucus from your nose
  • a sinus headache

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.

Isnt Loss Of Smell Or Taste An Early Symptom Of Covid

There are still studies underway but so far experiencing a loss of smell and/or taste is a potential indication of having COVID-19 as a recent study shows . It can occur suddenly and with varying timelines for when your senses will return back to normal. Its also not uncommon for upper respiratory infections such as the common cold or flu to affect our senses of taste and smell.

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I Lost My Sense Of Smell: Do I Have Covid

Do I have COVID-19 or is it something else? This question has probably crossed your mind a time or two or maybe even 20. COVID-19 symptoms can be so similar to other conditions, its not unusual to search your symptoms to see if you need to be tested.

One COVID-19 symptom thats frequently Googled: smell loss.

There are actually a variety of reasons other than COVID-19 why someone may lose their sense of smell, says Bobby Tajudeen, MD, director of rhinology, sinus surgery and skull base surgery at Rush University Medical Center. It can be due to nasal or sinus inflammation, or other viral infections distinct from COVID-19. And it can even occur as a result of some neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimers or dementia or vitamin deficiencies. Rarely tumors can present with smell loss.

So how do you know if its COVID-19 or something else thats keeping you from enjoying the fragrant scent of your Christmas tree or the aroma of freshly baked holiday treats? And when should you see a specialist for smell loss?

Tajudeen says that while smell loss from congestion or common viral infections and COVID-19-related smell loss may feel the same on the surface, whats happening internally and how the symptoms present themselves is actually very different.

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Corticosteroid Drops Or Sprays

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Corticosteroids, also known as steroids, are a group of medications that can help to reduce inflammation.

If you have persistent symptoms of sinusitis, your GP may prescribe steroid nasal drops or sprays to help reduce the swelling in your sinuses. These may need to be used for several months.

Possible side effects include nasal irritation, a sore throat and nosebleeds.

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Antibiotics And Sinus Infections

When a sinus infection hits, it seems worse than what you remembered from the last time you had one. This may give you the idea that you need antibiotics, but most clear up without them. Antibiotics have no effect on viruses and aren’t recommended within the first week of developing a cold. About 70% of sinus infections go away within two weeks without antibiotics.

Consider these other forms of treatments instead of antibiotics:

  • These medications are available for over-the-counter purchase. Be careful to only take these medications for a few days at most, as they can cause the return of more severe congestions.
  • Over-the-counter pain relievers Aspirins, acetaminophen or ibuprofen can help relieve temporary pain.
  • Saline nasal spray This is used to spray into your nose several times a day to rinse your nasal passages. It can help to prevent and treat inflammation.

Antibiotics only will be needed if the infection is severe, recurrent or persistent.

The likelihood of bacterial infection increases when:

  • Symptoms last seven days or more, particularly when symptoms initially improve and then worsen.
  • Mucus is thick and yellow or green in color.
  • There is facial or sinus tenderness, particularly if it’s worse on one side of the face.
  • Pain is present in the upper teeth and is worse on one side of the face.

If the infection becomes severe, recurrent or persistent, contact your provider.

Causes For Sinus Infection In Babies

Sinus infection is generally seen after a cold, an allergic inflammation, or upper respiratory infection . However, Mayo Clinics Allergic Diseases Research Laboratory researcher, Dr. David Sherris, says that the cause of chronic sinusitis has not been known so far.

Our studies indicate that fungus is likely the cause of nearly all of these problems. And it is not an allergic reaction, but an immune reaction, Dr. Sherries adds.

According to her team, the primary cause of chronic sinusitis is the reaction of the immune system to fungi. The researchers studied 210 patients and found 40 different kinds of fungi in their mucus .

  • The URI causes nasal passage inflammation that blocks the opening of the paranasal sinuses, eventually leading to an infection. Viral sinusitis accompanies cold. However, sinusitis can also happen due to bacterial infections. The most common bacteria that cause acute sinusitis are :
    • Secondhand smoking
    • Foreign objects stuck in the nose

    Pediatric sinusitis cannot be diagnosed easily at home as the symptoms are general and often overlap with the symptoms of common cold and allergy. Thus, to get the right diagnosis, prompt pediatric consultation is necessary.

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    What Is Acute Sinusitis

    Acute sinusitis occurs when the lining of the sinuses and nasal airways become inflamed and swollen for several weeks at a time. Normally acute sinus infections resolve within four weeks with or without medical intervention. For severe cases, antibiotics will help. But for subacute sinusitis, symptoms can last from 4 weeks up to three months. Sinus infections that last longer than 12 weeks are what is known as chronic sinusitis and require definitive treatment. Without proper medical attention, the infection can spread and cause life-threatening complications.

    Functional Endoscopic Sinus Surgery

    Treatment for sinus infections

    Functional endoscopic sinus surgery or FESS is another approach your doctor may recommend to treat chronic sinusitis.

    An ear, nose, and throat surgeon will use a special tool with a lighted camera on the end to visualize the inside of your nose.

    They will then use small instruments to remove excess tissue, nasal polyps, or nasal cysts to widen your sinuses.

    Your ENT surgeon will perform the procedure under anesthesia. They may use general anesthesia or conscious sedation .

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    Complications Of Sinus Infection

    Sinus inflammation can spread to the bones and soft tissues of the face and eyes. This can cause:

    • Cellulitis of the face or around the eyes
    • Abscesses of the eyes

    Left untreated, sinus infections can also lead to serious intracranial complications, including blood clots within the cavernous sinus, pus between the skulls and dura mater , and meningitis.

    Common Colds And Sinus Infections

    A viral infection associated with the common cold is the most common cause of sinus infections .

    This virus may jump to other people, causing a cold that may also develop into viral sinusitis.

    In only 0.5 to 2 percent of cases do people develop bacterial sinusitis , which is typically a complication of viral sinusitis. Bacterial sinusitis is not contagious.

    In some cases, fungi can cause a sinus infection, particularly if a person has a fungal allergy. But invasive fungal sinusitis generally does not affect people with healthy immune systems.

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    When Should I Call My Healthcare Provider About Sinusitis

    While many people successfully manage their sinusitis symptoms on their own, immediate medical treatment is necessary when the following occur:

    • Fever of 102 or higher
    • Sudden or severe pain in the head or face
    • Swelling or redness around the eyes
    • Cognitive difficulties like confusion or lethargy
    • Vision changes, i.e., blurriness or seeing double

    Its also recommended to see an ENT or sinus doctor for any symptoms that last 10 days or longer or worsen after showing signs of improvement.

    Favorite Resources For Finding A Specialist

    Sinus Infection Symptoms

    Through research, education, and advocacy, the American Rhinologic Society is devoted to serving patients with nose, sinus, and skull base disorders. Their website provides a valuable search tool to find a doctor, as well as links to other medical societies and resources that are useful for patients.

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    Tips From A Dental Hygienist

    Metallic taste and sinus infections can negatively affect your overall quality of life. As a Registered Dental Hygienist, I would like to share some tips with you! As always, if you have any health concerns or questions, consult with your healthcare professionals.

    Do not regularly drink sugary beverages. Sipping on high sugar beverages will significantly increase your risk for cavities as well as other oral health infections.

    Moreover, make sure you are visiting your dentist regularly for routine check-ups and cleanings to stay on top of your oral health. Poor oral health not only effects your mouth but it may also affect your overall systemic health.

    It is crucial to be aware of your metallic taste symptoms, especially if you have chronic sinus infections.

    Why Does My Sneeze Smell Like Ammonia

    If you smell ammonia when you sneeze, you could have a serious issue, such as a liver or kidney problem. A doctors visit can help narrow down the source and help you get the treatment you need.

    It is important to be in tune with our bodies, as they can sometimes give us subtle clues regarding our health that can be identified before a problem develops into something more substantial, CEENTA ENT DoctorChristopher Tebbit, MD, said.

    If you are concerned about what you smell when you sneeze, dont hesitate to make an appointment with a CEENTA ENT doctor.

    This blog is for informational purposes only. For specific medical questions, please consult your physician. Dr. Tebbit practices in our Belmont office. To make an appointment with him or any of our ENT doctors, call 704-295-3000. You can also schedule an appointment online or through myCEENTAchart.

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    How Do You Drain Severe Sinus Infection

  • Drink fluids. Water or juice will help dilute mucous secretions and promote drainage. …
  • Moisten your sinus cavities. Drape a towel over your head as you breathe in the vapor from a bowl of hot water. …
  • Apply warm compresses to your face. …
  • Rinse your nasal passages. …
  • How Is Sinus Infection Diagnosed

    How to Tell If You Have a Sinus Infection

    Diagnosis depends on symptoms and requires an examination of the throat, nose and sinuses. Your allergist will look for:

    • Discolored nasal discharge

    If your sinus infection lasts longer than eight weeks, or if standard antibiotic treatment is not working, a sinus CT scan may help your allergist diagnose the problem. Your allergist may examine your nose or sinus openings. The exam uses a long, thin, flexible tube with a tiny camera and a light at one end that is inserted through the nose. It is not painful. Your allergist may give you a light anesthetic nasal spray to make you more comfortable.

    Mucus cultures: If your sinus infection is chronic or has not improved after several rounds of antibiotics, a mucus culture may help to determine what is causing the infection. Most mucus samples are taken from the nose. However, it is sometimes necessary to get mucus directly from the sinuses.

    Knowing what kind of bacteria is causing the infection can lead to more effective antibiotic therapy. A fungus could also cause your sinus infection. Confirming the presence of fungus is important. Fungal sinus infection needs to be treated with antifungal agents, rather than antibiotics. In addition, some forms of fungal sinus infection allergic fungal sinus infection, for example do not respond to antifungal agents and often require the use of oral steroids.

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