How Should I Treat My Sinus Infection
A mild, one-time infection should be handled much differently than a sinus infection that wonât go away or keeps coming back. But, even mild infections can become more serious as time goes on, and for the best results, they should be monitored and treated by an ENT. A minor sinus infection treatment may consist of:
- At home remedies: Many are searching for ânatural cures for sinus infectionâ. At home remedies are often not successful at getting to the root of the problem, but they may be helpful in easing the severity of your symptoms. Sufferers have found that warm compresses and humidifiers are very helpful.
- Antibiotics: Sinus infection antibiotics can only be successful when patients are suffering with a bacterial infection. In order to understand what kind of infection you may have, it is important to contact your ENT so they can prescribe you antibiotics when appropriate.
- Sinus Medication: Sinus infection medication may consist of nasal sprays, decongestants, and more. They are helpful to ease the symptoms but are not a long-term solution to chronic sinusitis.
For more severe infections, or chronic sinusitis, many sufferers have tried at home remedies, antibiotics and infection medications with no luck. When this is the case, patients may have to turn to more permanent solutions:
Physician Diagnosis Of Sinusitis
Physicians can conduct several tests to confirm a diagnosis of sinusitis.5 They may use transillumination, in which a light is placed against the sinus to see signs of infection. They may employ nasal endoscopy or rhinoscopy, in which a fiberoptic scope is used to directly visualize the sinus cavities. CT scanning of the sinuses allows the physician to view the bones and tissues of the sinuses, and an MRI can visualize tumors or fungal infections. The physician may also simply tap the area overlying the sinuses to locate sites of infection.
Several conditions mimic sinus infection, including the common cold, influenza, nasal polyposis, sarcoidosis, neoplasia, acquired and congenital immuno-deficiency, allergic and nonallergic rhinitis, Wegeners granulomatosis, and fungal infection.1 To identify these, physicians might check the nostrils for nasal polyps and recommend such examinations as allergy testing, blood tests for HIV and/or immune status, sweat chloride analysis or blood work for cystic fibrosis, nasal ciliary function tests, nasal cytology, and nasal culture.2,4
Steroid Or Corticosteroid Sprays
These sprays shrink swelling in the nasal passages. Some steroid sprays are available over the counter. Others require a prescription from a doctor.
In some people, steroid sprays can slightly improve congestion but are not effective for everyone. Steroid sprays can also cause side effects, such as headaches and nosebleeds.
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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.
How Do I Prevent Chronic Sinusitis
You may be able to prevent infections and chronic sinusitis if you:
- Treat the underlying conditions behind chronic sinusitis, like asthma and allergies.
- Avoid allergens such as animal dander, dust, pollen, smoke and mold that trigger swelling in the sinuses.
- Quit smoking if you do smoke and avoid any secondhand smoke.
- Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water.
- Rinse your nasal passages with saline solution, either purchased or with a neti pot.
- Eat healthy foods, stay hydrated and exercise regularly to stay healthy overall.
- Use a humidifier to keep nasal tissues moist.
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Untreated Sinus Infection Risks
Sinus infections often start to improve on their own after about 10 days. If your symptoms last longer without improving or if they worsen, a doctor may need to treat the underlying cause of the infection.
If a sinus infection affects a sinus cavity close to the brain, it can spread to the brain if left untreated. Though rare, an infection can also pass into the eye socket and cause vision changes or blindness. These types of infections are more common in kids.
While uncommon, a serious fungal sinus infection left untreated may pass into the bones.
Make an appointment with a doctor if you have severe symptoms, or if the following symptoms last longer than 10 days or keep coming back:
- facial pain
Because the cause of your sinus infection can affect your treatment options, its important to see a doctor for a diagnosis. The Healthline FindCare tool can provide options in your area if youre looking for a doctor.
If you believe you have chronic or recurring sinusitis, consider asking for a referral to an otolaryngologist, also known as an ear, nose, and throat specialist. You may need imaging and other tests to determine the cause of your symptoms.
An ENT specialist can take a culture of nose drainage to better understand the cause of an infection. The ENT specialist can also examine the sinuses more closely and look for any problem in the structure of the nasal passages that could lead to chronic sinus problems.
Can Sinusitis Be Prevented
Simple changes in your lifestyle or home environment can help lower the risk of sinusitis. For example, during the winter, use a humidifier to keep home humidity at 45%50%. This will stop dry air from irritating the sinuses and make them less of a target for infection. Clean your humidifier often to prevent mold growth.
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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.
How Is Chronic Sinusitis Diagnosed
Chronic sinusitis is diagnosed when symptoms of a sinus infection have continued for more than 12 weeks. In some cases, your doctor may use an endoscope .
In very few cases, your provider might order a biopsy to see if the infection has spread. Biopsies involve taking tissue or bone samples to example under the microscope.
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Fast Facts On Cold And Sinusitis Symptoms
- Sinusitis is an infection of the spaces behind the nose.
- Sinusitis symptoms can last for 4 weeks or longer, whereas a cold will generally resolve far more quickly.
- Medicinal or surgical treatment may be required to cure sinusitis, but a cold cannot be treated.
- a headache
- swelling around the eyes
If a child is still sick after 14 days, or if the temperature rises further or continues for more than 3 days despite treatment with acetaminophen, they should see a pediatrician.
A child might have chronic sinusitis if symptoms continue for longer than months. Children with chronic sinusitis should visit a pediatric ear, nose, and throat doctor to find out about other treatment options.
Often, a sinus infection will get better without treatment. The following treatments can help people feel better while their body recovers.
How Is Sinusitis Spread
You can get it the same way you get cold and flu — by breathing it in or passing it from your hands to your mouth after touching something. Viruses get in the air after someone who is sick sneezes or coughs. They also can be passed on when someone shakes hands with someone who is sick or touches a doorknob or anything else the sick person has touched.
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Scar Tissue In The Sinus Cavities
Previous injuries, anatomic defects from birth, or previous sinus injections can all cause scar tissue to build up in the sinuses. This blocks the cavities from functioning and draining properly, which can trap irritants in the cavity. Recurrent sinus infections can continue causing more scar tissue, further compounding the problem.
If Dr. Hester notices that scar tissue is impacting sinus function, he may recommend endoscopic sinus surgery to clear the tissue away.
Signs You Suffer From Chronic Sinusitis
Common signs of chronic sinusitis include:
Suffering from two or more of these symptoms typically indicates you have chronic sinusitis.
Chronic sinusitis and acute sinusitis are often confused because they share similar signs and symptoms. The main difference is that acute sinusitis is temporary and often associated with a cold. If you suffer from chronic sinusitis, the signs and symptoms listed above could potentially last at least 12 weeks.
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You Have Nasal Allergies That Are Causing Your Nasal Tissue To Swell
Millions of Americans deal with nasal allergies each year. Ordon said that allergens can cause nasal tissue to swell, causing sinus infections. He recommended talking to your doctor about how to manage your allergies and keep sinus inflammation at bay.
According to Daneshrad, treatment can be as simple as avoidance of the offending allergen, such as avoiding cats, taking allergy pills or nasal sprays, or it may require allergy testing and allergy immunotherapy .
Constant Sinus Infections: What Do I Do
Millions of people around the world may find themselves asking this question over and over again. You have a sinus infection and use nasal sprays or other medication to relieve your symptoms until it subsides, only to be disappointed when it comes right back after just a week or two of relief. This painful pattern can turn your everyday life into absolute misery and make even the simplest of things feel difficult and tiring.
Sinus pressure and pain leads to headaches, congestion that makes it difficult to breathe, and sleepless nights. These are just a few of the painful outcomes that recurring sinus infections may bring to its most severe sufferers. Not only does sinus pain make you feel terrible, reduce productivity, and make you miss out on lifeâs biggest moments, it can also contribute to other serious health problems. Sinus pain should not come and go as it pleases, it’s time to take back control from your sinuses.
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Accurate Sinus Diagnosis And Treatments Is Essential
The only way to stop recurring sinus infections once and for all is to have an evaluation by a specialist who has the specialized training and experience to accurately diagnose their cause. Once you have an accurate diagnosis, we can discuss the options. The goal is always to provide the patient with all the available options, discuss the advantages and disadvantages of each, and help you find the best treatment plan for you.
Sinusitis Wont Go Away Consider Balloon Sinuplasty
Whether this is your first bout with sinusitis that wont go away or you experience sinus infections on a regular basis, you should know that getting rid of sinusitis is well within reach.
At Sinus Solutions of South Florida, Dr. Napoleon G. Bequer has provided hundreds of patients with relief from chronic sinusitis using the balloon sinuplasty procedure. So if you have sinusitis that wont go away, contact us online, call us at 561-790-7744, or take our sinus quiz today to see if youre a viable candidate for balloon sinuplasty.
Why You Keep Getting Sinus Infections + Exactly What To Do About It
Throbbing pressure in your head, a congested nose, Kleenex for days nobody thinks sinus infections are a breeze, and yet they affect a whopping 29.4 million of us. But go to a doctor, and what do you get? Cures like over-the-counter sinus medications, pharmaceutical antibiotics, and steroids, all with side effects that can be as bad or worse than the infection itself. Sure, sometimes these medications might be necessary, but the truth is that these mainstream options are over-prescribed and often, they dont have any effect on the actual progression and healing of the infection.
So what does a health-conscious sufferer do about the pressure, pain, congestion, fatigue, and all-around discomfort of a sinus infection? Stop them from happening, thats what! The best way to do this is to discover the most common causes of these infections, so you can correct the underlying problem, rather than just masking the uncomfortable symptoms. Here are the causes, and what you can do about them right now:
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You Have Frequent Colds That Can Cause Bacterial Growth
If you spend most of the cold season blowing your nose, you might be one of the many people who get frequent sinus infections from the common cold.
Celebrity plastic surgeon and ear, nose, and throat specialist, Dr. Andrew Ordon told INSIDER that most acute cases of sinus infections are caused by bacterial growth that occurs due to a common cold, which causes sinus inflammation that can block nasal passages.
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How Do I Treat Chronic Sinusitis
Chronic sinusitis is much more difficult to treat than acute bacterial sinusitis. You may have been sick for months and may have received several courses of antibiotics. Over time, the bacteria become immune to the antibiotics, and you may become allergic to certain antibiotics. Steroids tend to be the most helpful medicine for chronic sinusitis, as they reduce the swelling that causes nasal and sinus blockage. Despite aggressive medical management, many patients with chronic sinusitis require surgical cleaning of their sinuses. New techniques such as balloon sinus dilation make it possible to wash out the sinuses under local anesthesia in the office. Most patients have very little pain and return to work the day after balloon dilation.
Treating Your Sinus Infection At Scottsdale Sinus And Allergy:
At Scottsdale Sinus and Allergy, our team is dedicated to finding the right treatment for all of our patientsâ sinus infection needs. No one should have to feel the miserable symptoms that chronic sinus infections bring. Our team of experts understand that all patients are different and require a unique treatment plan.
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Can It Be Cured What Are The Treatment Options
Chronic sinusitis is more likely to be a “multifactorial” disease which means there are more likely to be allergy issues, inflammatory issues, anatomical problems, polyps, and possibly other factors. With this in mind, patients and doctors should take a broader view of a potential treatment plan.
In short, chronic sinusitis can be cured but is likely to require some sort of ongoing medical treatment or plan.
To find out if a patient has chronic sinusitis, a doctor will first have to do a diagnostic work-up. Because of the multifactorial nature of the problem, they often have to look for anatomical and inflammation issues. This means testing with endoscopy, allergy testing, CT scans, and sometimes cultures if there is chronic pus flow that does not stop with antibiotics.
If the patient has significant allergies, an allergy management plan becomes very important: nasal steroid sprays, antihistamine pills, and allergy shots. If there are persistent or resistant bacteria, there may be long-term antibiotic treatments. Inflammation, which can be caused by irritants, allergens, fungus, or viruses, may require steroids to encourage draining. In some cases, the patient may consider sinus surgery to fully treat their chronic sinusitis.
Trying to find the main cause of chronic sinusitis is the challenge faced by doctors and patients alike. Some people are simply prone to chronic infections. Others have allergies so severe that polyps develop, creating further issues.
Will A Sinus Infection Go Away Untreated
The human body is an amazing collection of complex systems that work together to keep you healthy. The sinus cavities may not get a lot of attention, but they play a critical role in some of the most important bodily functions. They help you communicate through speech or song, they regulate air temperature and humidity to assist in breathing, they also produce and drain mucus to fight infection. The sinuses work together with other systems in the ear, nose, and throat to keep your body at peak performance.
When these systems are working properly, they are able to effectively prevent and fight against bacteria, fungus, and viral infections. Because of these self-healing properties, the body is able to clear up most sinus infections on its own. Researchers estimate that more than 75% of sinus infections will improve or clear on their own within 7 – 10 days. However, for those sinus infections that are frequent or lasting, the long-term health implications are serious. Major health complications are not common, but could include abscesses or brain infections.
Even if you avoid these rare complications, standard symptoms can have devastating consequences for your quality of life. Headaches, facial pain, congestion, fatigue, sleep loss, drainage, and bad breath may seem ânormalâ to someone suffering from a sinus infection, but they can cause havoc in areas such as:
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