Is A Sinus Infection Contagious To Others
Yes, but only if your sinus infection has been caused by a virus. Potentially you can pass this virus onto someone, which may cause them to develop a cold, which in turn can develop into sinusitis. However if your sinus infection hasnt be caused by a virus but bacteria instead then it’s not contagious.
Some 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 sinus care:
If your symptoms arent improving after one week, its important to see your doctor. If a bacterial infection is suspected, youll probably need to take an antibiotic to clear up the infection and prevent further complications.
If your infections occur more frequently, and your doctor really wants to establish if they are bacterial or viral, your Otolaryngologist or ear, nose and throat doctor can sample the snot from your nose when youre infected and send it to a laboratory to know for sure.
Note: Antibiotics wont help a viral infection, and taking an antibiotic unnecessarily can do more harm than good. You risk possible side effects and increase your chances of developing antibiotic resistance, which can make future infections harder to treat, says Dr. Sindwani. So its important to wait and see how long your symptoms last.
How To Treat A Sinus Infection At Home
Many sinus infections go away on their own. You can try some of these treatments at home to help you manage your symptoms and feel more comfortable.
- Press a warm, moist towel to your face for 5-10 minutes every day. This can help reduce swelling and pain.
- Drink lots of water and other fluids. This can help thin your mucus and reduce congestion.
- Breathe in warm, humid air. Using a humidifier helps, or you can take a hot shower or bath.
- Try clearing your nasal passages with a saline solution . A saline wash helps clear your nasal packages and reduces congestion. You can buy saline drops at your local pharmacy or make your own saline solution at home.
- Over-the-counter pain medicine like Tylenol and Advil can help reduce pain and manage other symptoms, like a fever or headaches.
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When Should I Call My Healthcare Provider About Sinusitis
Though many cases of acute sinusitis can improve with little to no treatment, you should call the doctor if you experience any painful symptoms. An antibiotic may be needed for a bacterial infection.
If you find that your sinuses do not feel better after 10 days, symptoms have gotten worse, or you have symptoms that initially improved and then worsen five to six days later , you should contact your healthcare provider. Symptoms that continue after about four weeks may mean you have subacute or chronic sinusitis. If you develop other types of symptoms, such as severe eye swelling, or you are just not sure what you should do next, call your provider.
If you have facial pain, and you have healthy teeth, you can try things like nasal rinses and warm, wet washcloths on your face to see if you find some relief. If so, and if your symptoms go away in about 10 days, you probably have had acute sinusitis and it has gotten better on its own. If not, and you continue to feel ill after three or four weeks, call your provider.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 06/04/2020.
Causes Of Sinus Infection
There may be several causes of sinus infection. Typically a sinus infection starts from a cold, and develops because the mucus in your sinus does not drain properly and causes an infection in your sinus cavity. Most sinus infections are viral but some are bacterial.
Allergies can also cause a sinus infection. More severe causes included a deviated septum, nasal bone spur, or polyps in your nose. If you have recurrent acute sinusitis, your doctor may run additional tests to rule out a different medical condition causing your sinus infections.
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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:
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 improving.
- Symptoms lasting more than 10 days without getting better.
- 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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What The Treatment For Sinus Infections
In order to eradicate the infection, youll need an antibiotic.
Some people continue to experience a lingering sinus infection even after antibiotics. Sinuses are considered a closed cavity. Removing infection from a closed cavity can require more prolonged antibiotic usage compared to infections that occur in an open cavity .
A sinus infection might require 2-4 weeks of antibiotics plus additional methods to encourage drainage of the sinuses. For a sinus infection to clear completely, we often recommend saline sprays, topical steroid sprays , and decongestants in addition to an antibiotic.
A Less Invasive Intervention For Chronic Sinusitis
Sinusitis that occurs regularly and sticks around for three months or longer is called chronic sinusitis. While surgical repair of the sinuses may be necessary, it often isnt. Thats why the University of Maryland Medical System offers balloon sinuplasty in addition to sinus surgery.
During this procedure, the otolaryngologist inserts a thin flexible tube called a catheter into the nostril and leads it to the affected sinus. A tiny balloon is then expanded in the sinus through the catheter. This immediately opens blocked sinuses and grants relief from sinus infection.
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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 blocked nose
- a reduced sense of smell
- green or yellow mucus from your nose
- a sinus headache
- bad breath
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.
When To Contact A Medical Professional
- Your symptoms last longer than 10 to 14 days or you have a cold that gets worse after 7 days.
- You have a severe headache that is not relieved by over-the-counter pain medicine.
- You have a fever.
- You still have symptoms after taking all of your antibiotics properly.
- You have any changes in your vision during a sinus infection.
A green or yellow discharge does not mean that you definitely have a sinus infection or need antibiotics.
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How Are Bacterial And Viral Sinusitis Diagnosed
Although most cases are viral, its important to appropriately identify whether your sinus infection is viral or bacterial. Differentiating between the two often comes down to the duration and severity of their symptoms. When meeting with a patient who has sinusitis, I first ask about their health history, as well as what their symptoms are and how long theyve had them. More tests arent usually needed, though if a patient has had several bouts of acute sinusitis the following tests might be used:
- CT scan: A CT scan can show more information regarding your sinuses and nasal cavity.
- Nasal endoscopy: A nasal endoscopy is a procedure where a doctor places a thin tube with a camera into the nasal cavity and sinuses. It can show whether a blockage is responsible for the symptoms, such as a tumor or polyp. A culture can show which type of bacteria is causing the infection, and the best antibiotic to treat it.
The Infectious Disease Society of Americas clinical practice guidelines state that a sinus infection is likely bacterial in nature if the following are present:
Did You Know?
Distinguishing an upper respiratory infection from viral sinusitis is challenging. 20-40% of children diagnosed with viral sinusitis most likely just have a URI, according to this study.
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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.
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When A Sinus Infection Goes Untreated
A sinus infection can drag on for weeks or months if you dont talk to a doctor. Sometimes, the infection will clear up on its own. But if the symptoms linger, then you could be facing rare complications from the ongoing infection:
- Eyes: The infection can spread to other parts of the face and affect the eyes. You might notice swelling, redness, and vision disruptions. Severe cases could result in blindness.
- Brain: Its rare, but there are times when the infection spreads to the brain. This problem can cause meningitis or a brain abscess, which can both be life-threatening conditions.
- Treatments: Early sinus infection treatment might include a prescription or minimally-invasive services. If the infection spreads, then it might be necessary for you to have a CT scan and receive IV antibiotics.
- Recurring: Some people notice that the symptoms get better, then quickly return with a vengeance. Chronic sinus issues can result in a need for surgery if not improving with medication.
Most sinus infections dont result in serious complications. But the possibility of an eye or brain infection should be enough to motivate someone to talk to a doctor about the infection.
What Kills A Sinus Infection
A sinus infection, also called sinusitis, occurs when the sinuses become inflamed. The sinuses are cavities in the skull that are connected to the nose. They produce mucus, which drains into the nose.
When the sinuses become blocked or too much mucus is produced, bacteria can grow and cause an infection. Sinus infections can be caused by a virus, bacteria, or fungi. The most common type of sinus infection is viral sinusitis, which is usually caused by a cold or the flu.
Bacterial sinusitis often follows a viral infection and is more likely to cause symptoms such as fever and facial pain. Fungal sinusitis is less common but can occur in people with weakened immune systems.
Sinus infections can be acute, meaning they last for less than four weeks, or chronic, meaning they last for more than 12 weeks. Most sinus infections are acute and resolve on their own without treatment.
However, some people may require medications to clear the infection. These include over-the-counter pain relievers and decongestants, prescription antibiotics, corticosteroids, and antifungal medications. People with chronic sinus infections may also need surgery to remove blockages in the sinuses.
In some cases, home remedies such as nasal irrigation with saline solution can help to reduce symptoms and speed up recovery from a sinus infection. There is no one-size-fits-all answer to the question of what kills a sinus infection, as the best option may depend on the underlying cause of the infection.
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What Kills A Sinus Infection Naturally
A sinus infection, also called sinusitis, is an inflammation of the sinuses. The sinuses are the hollow spaces in your bones that surround your nose. Theyre filled with air and lined with a thin layer of mucus. The job of the mucus is to trap dirt, bacteria, and viruses that enter your body through your nose. The cilia are tiny hairs that line the inside of the sinuses. They help move the mucus towards the throat where it can be swallowed. When you have a cold or allergies, these systems dont work as they should. The result is a buildup of mucus in the sinuses which leads to a sinus infection. There are two types of sinus infections: acute and chronic. Acute sinusitis usually starts with a cold or allergies and then goes away after a week or two. Chronic sinusitis lasts for 12 weeks or longer and can keep coming back . It can be caused by things like allergies, nasal polyps, deviated septum, or other problems that block drainage from the sinuses. Most people with acute sinusitis get better without treatment within 2 weeks time frame. However, if symptoms persist for more than 10 days, then you might require some medication. Antibiotics are prescribed for treating bacterial infections only. If viral infections are suspected then antibiotics will not help. Overuse of antibiotics can lead to resistance so they should be used judiciously.
Some home remedies might provide symptomatic relief like:-
What Is A Sinus Infection
A sinus infection, which is sometimes referred to as sinusitis, occurs when the tissues that line your sinuses become inflamed or swollen. Theyre usually filled with air, but when they become blocked and filled with fluid, an infection can result.
This type of infection can be caused by bacteria or viruses, and in rare cases, by fungi. Although colds, allergies, and anatomical issues such as a deviated septum dont directly cause these infections, they can create blockages that create the right conditions for germs to grow and cause an infection.
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What Are The Different Types Of Sinuses Near The Nose And Eyes
The paranasal sinuses are located in your head near your nose and eyes. They are named after the bones that provide their structure.
- The ethmoidal sinuses are located between your eyes.
- The maxillary sinuses are located below your eyes.
- The sphenoidal sinuses are located behind your eyes.
- The frontal sinuses are located above your eyes.
The biggest sinus cavity is the maxillary cavity, and it is one of the cavities that most often becomes infected.
There are different types of sinusitis:
- Acute bacterial sinusitis: This term refers to a sudden onset of cold symptoms such as runny nose, stuffy nose, and facial pain that does not go away after 10 days, or symptoms that seem to improve but then return and are worse than the initial symptoms . It responds well to antibiotics and decongestants.
- Chronic sinusitis: This term refers to a condition defined by nasal congestion, drainage, facial pain/pressure, and decreased sense of smell for at least 12 weeks.
- Subacute sinusitis: This term is used when the symptoms last four to twelve weeks.
- Recurrent acute sinusitis: This term is used when the symptoms come back four or more times in one year and last less than two weeks each time.
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How Long Does Sinusitis Last
Sinusitis tends to last between two to three weeks*, and the infection usually clears on its own or with the use of over the counter medication. However if your symptoms are severe, getting worse or havent improved after 10 days then you should see your GP. If you also experience frequent episodes of sinusitis, your GP will be able to offer treatment advice, as well as diagnose the condition.
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Common Symptoms Of A Bacterial Sinus Infection
- Same symptoms of a viral sinus infection
- Symptoms start to worsen after 7-10 days
- Fever that lasts multiple days in a row
- Typically requires antibiotics
So, lets go back to the original question: Can you have a sinus infection without a fever? As you can now see, having or not having a fever wont always help you determine if you have a sinus infection.
However, one thing that you can say with more certainty is that you probably have a bacterial sinus infection if you have a fever that lasts multiple days and does not let up.