What Are the Signs of a Sinus Infection?
Feel like you have a cold that never ends? It could be a sinus infection. Medically referred to as sinusitis, sinus infections involve inflammation of sinus tissue. About 35 million Americans are diagnosed with a sinus infection each year so it’s safe to say it’s a pretty common condition. There are 4 known types:
Starts out with cold-like symptoms and lasts 2-4 weeks.
Continued cold-like symptoms for 4-12 weeks.
Involves persistent cold-like symptoms with the addition of nasal obstructions, nasal pus, or discolored drainage. Lasts more than 12 weeks.
A reoccurring sinus infection that happens several times a year.
Signs that May Indicate a Sinus Infection
Sinusitis symptoms are similar to that of colds and allergies which is why they often get dismissed at first. Signs of sinus infections include:
- Runny nose
- Bad breath
- Postnasal drip
- Facial pain
- Pressure in sinus region
- Stuffy nose
- Throat irritation
- Loss of smell
In rare cases, an untreated sinus infection can lead to more serious symptoms and conditions such as:
- A brain abscess
- A bone infection
- Orbital cellulitis
Causes of a Sinus Infection
When fluid builds up in your sinus cavities, germs now have a breeding ground to grow. This is essentially what causes a sinus infection. But there are certain risk factors that allow this to occur. The following conditions can lead to sinus blockages:
- Viral infections (such as colds)
- Bacterial infections
- Fungal infections
- Structural problems (Such as nasal polyps or a deviated septum)
- Immune deficiencies that prevent your body from fighting infection
Sinus Infection Treatment Options
Before self-treating your sinusitis, visit your primary care physician or sinus doctor to get a diagnosis. They will determine the cause of your sinus infection and help you find relief. Treatment could involve:
- Over-the-counter pain medications for headaches, sore throats, and facial pain
- Decongestants and expectorants to loosen mucus and facilitate breathing
- Nasal sprays and nasal irrigation kits to clear nasal passages
- Antibiotics to fight bacterial infections
- Antifungals for rare fungal infections
- Steroids for more stubborn cases
However, the best medicine is prevention. You can practice these things to avoid getting sinusitis altogether:
- Clean your hands and stay away from sick people to avoid infections
- Keep up with vaccines such as the flu and pneumococcal vaccines
- Make healthy choices and don’t smoke
- Use a clean humidifier and air purifier to improve air quality
- Take allergy medication during allergy seasons
Get the Relief You Need By Scheduling an Appointment With Breathe Clear
When the sniffles just don’t stop, it’s time to visit the medical professionals at Breathe Clear Institute. Equipped with an arsenal of knowledge, treatment plans, and medical devices, Breathe Clear is prepared to tackle your sinusitis. And we understand that medicine isn’t a one-size-fits-all practice, which is why we take a customized, holistic approach. From non-invasive to surgical, our ENT services are tailored to meet your specific needs. Sinus infections can lead to more serious medical complications if left untreated so make your appointment today!