Monday, June 27, 2022

What To Do When You Get Sinus Infection

Sore Throat And Hoarse Voice

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

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.

What Is The Treatment For Sinusitis

The first step to treat sinusitis is to unblock the nasal passages. This helps proper drainage of the sinuses. Draining the sinuses helps flush out a bacterial infection. If you have a bacterial infection, your doctor will also prescribe an antibiotic to fight it.

Here are a few common treatment options for sinusitis:

Nasal irrigation or steam inhalation. To irrigate your sinuses, you rinse your nose with warm salt water using a neti pot or a special rinse bottle. Steam inhalation involves breathing hot steam through your nose for 10 to 15 minutes, three to four times a day.

Nasal steroids. Sprays help decrease swelling. Use your nasal spray properly to avoid side effects. Read the directions carefully to avoid problems.

Antibiotics. Your doctor may prescribe a course of antibiotics to fight a bacterial infection.

Oral steroids. These are given for severe chronic sinusitis. These are powerful medicines with major side effects. These medicines are usually only prescribed when other medicines failed.

If your chronic sinusitis symptoms will not go away with these treatments, you may be a candidate for sinus surgery. Conventional sinus surgery is also known as functional endoscopic sinus surgery. A less-invasive option that uses a balloon catheter is called balloon sinuplasty. Both surgeries open up blocked sinuses, restoring normal sinus drainage and may temporarily help reduce symptoms.

Whats The Main Difference Between Sinus Infection And Covid

The main difference between COVID and a sinus infection is what causes them. A sinus infection is caused by inflammation of the sinuses and often follows a cold or allergy flare-up. COVID-19 is only caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

The information in this article is current as of the date listed, which means newer information may be available when you read this. For the most recent updates on COVID-19, visit our coronavirus news page.

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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.

How Do Healthcare Providers Diagnose Fungal Sinusitis

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To diagnose a fungal sinus infection, your provider will do a physical exam. They will ask about your symptoms, health history and medications. Then, your provider may remove some mucus or tissue from your sinuses and send it to a lab. The lab tests for fungus.

Your provider may also order a CT scan. This imaging study uses X-rays and a computer to see detailed images of your sinuses. It helps your provider locate the infection or check for a fungal ball. It also helps them develop an effective treatment plan.

An endoscopy can also help your provider diagnose and evaluate a fungal sinus infection. During this procedure, your provider inserts a long, thin tube with a camera into your nose. The camera shows images of your nose and sinuses. Your provider views these images on a monitor.

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Duration Of Sinus Infection

Acute sinusitis causes inflammation and symptoms that often develop quickly and last 7 to 10 days if caused by a viral infection. But the illness can last for up to 4 weeks if it’s caused by a bacterial infection.

Chronic sinusitis lasts for 12 weeks or more. This inflammation can continue for months or years more, and people often describe them as a never-ending cold.

Sinusitis may also be classified as:

  • Subacute, in which symptoms last for more than 4 weeks but less than 12 weeks
  • Recurrent acute, in which there are at least four acute sinus infection episodes within one year
  • Acute exacerbation of chronic rhinosinusitis, in which symptoms worsen in a person with chronic sinusitis

But having symptoms of sinusitis doesnt always mean that you have a sinus infection.

How Coughing And Sinus Infections Are Related To Each Other

When you experience excess mucus draining into your throat, this is actually known as post nasal drip, and it is just one of the many cold symptoms also associated with chronic sinus infections. Post nasal drip doesnt just cause coughing, though. It can also bring about a sore throat, a hoarse voice, nausea, and even bad breath.

But why exactly does post nasal drip during a sinus infection lead to coughing? Well, imagine mucus running down your throat. Is your throat irritated? Probably. Do you feel a tickling sensation? Most likely. All of these sensations can trigger a reaction that reaction is coughing.

Unfortunately, all the nose blowing and coughing that youll continue to do as a result of the mucus drainage will only lead to more mucus and more irritation. This is why its important to understand the best way to stop a sinus infection and relieve post nasal drip.

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Ways To Recognize Serious Signs Of Sinus Infections

#1: Duration

The length of the infection is an important determinant of the seriousness of the infection.

I usually consider most infections less than 3 weeks to be viral or inflammation related to congestion. At this point, the best treatment is usually medications that decrease the congestion and inflammation. This in turn will alleviate the symptoms and ultimately cure the illness.

When the illness continues beyond 3 weeks, bacterial infection can begin to develop. Though antibiotics can be considered at this point, other treatments may still be the best answer if they have not yet been given a try.

#2: Mucous Color

I will dispel a myth right here and now. Yellowish/greenish mucous does not necessarily mean the infection is bacterial.

Viruses can cause the same color mucous. The reason for the mucous is generally not the actual bacteria or virus, but the bodys immune response to the intruder.

So dont worry just because you see a colored mucous when you blow your nose. This will also improve as the infection abates.

#3: Sinus Pain

Sinus pain can occur anytime throughout a sinus infection. This is normal and means there is inflammation in the sinuses, as we discussed previously.

However, severe pain, redness over the skin, hardened skin over the sinuses, or even a severe headache are not generally normal and can indicate a bacterial infection.

#4: Fever

A fever can be caused by both viruses and bacteria. So how do you differentiate between the two?

What Causes Chronic Sinus Infection

SINUS INFECTION or SINUSITIS-(BEST WAYS TO PREVENT AND TREAT)

Multiple factors acting together usually contribute to chronic sinusitis.

People with allergies are more prone to develop chronic sinusitis. About one in five people with chronic sinusitis also have asthma. This is because the linings of your nose and sinuses are in continuation with the linings of your lungs. These people are also likely to have nasal polyps .

A bacterial or viral infection can also trigger the condition. The infection is often low grade. The bacteria confine themselves in stubborn biofilms, making it difficult for your immune system or antibiotics to find and attack them.

An overlap of additional factors such as smoking, environmental pollutants, and deviated septum, further complicate the picture of chronic sinusitis.

It would be more appropriate to say that if youre already prone to allergies and nasal polyps, it becomes easier for harmful bugs, especially fungi to penetrate your sinuses. Likewise, a weak immune system makes you more susceptible to catch bacterial, viral, or fungal sinus infection.

A sinus that is inflamed and swollen can no longer sweep away the excess mucus and harmful agents due to the blockage of tiny hairs that facilitate this function.

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What Are The Common Medications To Treat Sinus Infection

The primary six types of medications and surgery used for treating sinus infections include:

They help in reducing swelling, pressure, and congestion of mucus in the nasal passages. Usually used as nasal sprays, such as Afrin Nasal Spray and oral pills like Sudafed. These medications should be taken as prescribed by the doctor and for a maximum of three days.

Tylenol and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs: Over-the-counter pain relievers may help reduce symptoms associated with a sinus infection. It helps relieve pain, swelling, and fever. However, these should not be taken for longer periods.

Antibiotics: Antibiotics are usually not necessary for sinus infections, but physicians may prescribe one if they suspect a bacterial infection is the cause of sinusitis. Generic antibiotics like amoxicillin or cefdinir can be used to stop the growth of or kill bacteria to resolve a sinus infection. Other popular antibiotics prescribed for sinus infections include Zithromax or . Common side effects of antibiotics include nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.

Steroids:Corticosteroids can improve sinus drainage by reducing inflammation of the sinuses. Doctors typically only prescribe steroids for severe sinus infections. The most common steroids used for sinus infection treatment are prednisone and Medrol . Prolonged use of steroids can cause disruptions in the bodyâs hormone levels, so they should only be taken as advised.

How To Tell The Difference

While both disorders include congestion on their list of symptoms, those with a sinus infection wont experience the other typical symptoms of COVID-19 such as body aches, nausea and shortness of breath.

It is also important to note that you can have both COVID-19 and a sinus infection as they are not mutually exclusive. Remember, what sets COVID-19 apart are the additional hallmark symptoms such as fevers, chills and a greater amount of fatigue. Loss of taste or smell, a common occurrence with COVID-19, is also rare in other types of illnesses and infections.

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Diagnosis Of Sinus Infection

To diagnose if you have a sinus infection, your doctor will ask about your symptoms and their timeframe, and give you a physical exam.

This exam may include looking in the nose for signs of polyps, conducting a transillumination test to identify inflammation, and tapping the sinus area to detect infections.

If you have a chronic sinus infection, your doctor may conduct additional tests, including:

  • Rhinoscopy or nasal endoscopy to inspect your sinuses and see if your membranes are inflamed
  • Mucus cultures to determine what is specifically causing your infection
  • Allergy tests to determine what allergens may be triggering your chronic or recurrent infections
  • CT scan to identify sinus abnormalities, such as polyps or a deviated septum
  • MRI scan to see if you have a nasal tumor or fungal infection

If you have a serious fungal sinus infection, your doctor may order a bone biopsy to see if the infection has penetrated your bones.

What Can I Do To Find Relief From A Sinus Infection

5 Signs You Have a Sinus Infection (And How to Get Rid of It)
  • Place a warm compress over your face to help relieve pressure.
  • Breathe in steam by placing a towel over your head and leaning over a bowl or sink full of hot water to allow the steam to relieve congestion. WARNING: Make sure that the water is not too hot because steam can cause burns.
  • Rinse the sinuses. Dr. Takashima recommends using the squeeze bottle over the neti pot for effective nasal irrigation.
  • Keep the nasal passages moist by using a saline nasal spray.
  • Rest.
  • Use a humidifier to add moisture to the air.

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How Can You Tell The Difference Between Chronic Sinusitis And Other Issues Like Migraine Headaches

You probably cant tell the difference between all of these things. So, in cases where you have a constant headache, or facial pain, or tooth pain, you should call your healthcare provider to get a diagnosis. This is especially true if you have tried different therapies and have not been able to find relief. Your primary healthcare provider might even find it difficult to diagnose you properly and might suggest you see a specialist. This would be an otolaryngologist, commonly called an ear, nose and throat doctor.

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.

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How To Cure Chronic Sinusitis And Sinus Headaches Permanently

Chronic sinusitis and sinus headaches can have a significant impact on your health and wellbeing. It can be difficult to get on with your usual routine when youre in pain or suffering from serious congestion. You can also feel very upset and hopeless when it seems that the problem keeps coming back. What can you do to cure sinus problems permanently?

Symptoms Of A Sinus Infection

How to Treat a Sinus Infection Naturally

The primary symptoms of a sinus infection could be initially mistaken for the common cold, including a stuffed up nose and a decrease in your senses of taste and smell. However, other symptoms such as pain or pressure around the sinuses, achy teeth, and thick yellow or green mucus indicate that your cold has progressed into a sinus infection. Additionally, cold symptoms that last longer than a week may be a sign you have sinusitis. Other symptoms associated with a sinus infection include:

  • Headache
  • Phlegm-producing cough or a cough that gets worse at night

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How Can I Tell If I Have A Sinus Infection Cold Or Nasal Allergy

It can be difficult to tell the difference between a cold, allergies, and a sinus infection. The common cold typically builds, peaks, and slowly disappears. It lasts a few days to a week. A cold can transform into a sinus infection. Nasal allergy is inflammation of the nose due to irritating particles . Symptoms of a nasal allergy can include sneezing, itchy nose and eyes, congestion, runny nose, and post nasal drip . Sinusitis and allergy symptoms can happen at the same time as a common cold.

If you are fighting off a cold and develop symptoms of a sinus infection or nasal allergy, see your healthcare provider. You will be asked to describe your symptoms and medical history.

Sinus Infection Vs Covid

Some sinus infection and COVID-19 symptoms may overlap. Both illnesses can cause a fever, headaches, nasal congestion, fatigue or a sore throat. Symptoms unique to COVID-19 include body aches, nausea, shortness of breath and vomiting. Learn the difference between the cold, flu and COVID-19 based on your symptoms.

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What Causes Fungal Sinusitis

Several types of fungi can cause a sinus infection. Most fungal sinus infections result from mold or yeast. Tiny fungi can enter the sinuses when someone breaths them in.

Many types of fungus live on or inside the body all the time. Theyre usually only dangerous to people who have a weakened immune system.

Complications Of Chronic Sinusitis

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Some people are troubled by frequent sinus infections, or continuous infection. Chronic sinusitis can linger for weeks or even months at a time. This can sometimes lead to serious complications, including infections in the bones and tissue near to the sinuses. Very rarely this infection can spread to the brain and the fluid around the brain. The person will be very ill and have swelling around the eyes.People with chronic sinusitis may have other problems which affect the nose, throat and ears at the same time, including:

  • Middle ear infection and temporary deafness
  • Post-nasal drip , which can lead to constant coughing, a sore throat and bad breath.

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Symptoms Of Bacterial Sinus Infection

As per the guidelines, a sinus infection is more likely to be bacterial than viral if any of the following conditions are present.

  • No clinical improvement occurs in the symptoms even after the passage of at least 10 days.
  • The severity of the symptoms is quite high, including facial pain, nasal discharge and a fever in excess of 102°F which remains for at least 4 days on the trot at the start of the illness.
  • Worsening of the symptoms is characterized by the development of a new headache or fever or increase in the amount of nasal discharge, usually after a viral infection of the upper respiratory tract that has remained for 6 days and had seemed to improve initially.

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