A sinus infection can be classified as acute or chronic. Acute sinus infections, which are usually caused by viruses, are typically short-lived and go away on their own. Chronic sinus infections, caused by bacteria, can last for months or even years.
Chronic sinus infections can worsen if you don’t get the proper treatment, which may include antibiotics or nasal sprays. Symptoms of acute sinus infections include:
- A stuffy or runny nose
- Sinus pain or pressure
- A cough
Sinus infection symptoms also differ based on your age. Children and teens may not have any symptoms. In older adults, symptoms can include:
- A headache
- A sore throat
- Coughing up blood
The most common symptom of a sinus infection is a runny nose. Other common symptoms include:
- Pain or pressure in the sinus area
- Nasal congestion
What causes a sinus infection?
There are many things that can cause a sinus infection. These include:
- Nasal polyps
- Allergic reactions
- A deviated septum
- Allergic reactions to vaccines
- Allergic reactions to pollen
Bacteria can be passed through contact with infected objects, such as:
- Nose tissue
- Nose discharge
- Nasal irrigation
- Eye drops
- Sneezy children
Bacteria that cause sinus infections include:
- Streptococcus pneumoniae
- Haemophilus influenzae
- Staphylococcus aureus
- Moraxella catarrhalis
- E. coli
Viruses that can cause sinus infections include:
- Parainfluenza virus
- Influenza virus
- Human metapneumovirus
- Epstein-Barr virus
Other types of viruses that can cause sinus infections include:
- Human parechovirus
- Other viruses
Allergies can also cause sinus infections. These include:
- Allergy to pollen
- Allergy to dust mites
- Allergy to animal dander
Allergies are typically caused by the immune system overreacting to something in the environment. Often, this is a food allergen, such as milk, eggs, or shellfish.
Allergies can lead to sinus infections. Symptoms include:
- Runny nose
- Post-nasal drip
- Itchy or watery eyes
What is the long-term outlook for someone with a sinus infection?
Although sinus infections can be treated, they can last for weeks or even months. This means that it may take a few months to feel better.
It’s important that you treat your sinus infection and get it treated as soon as possible. You’ll likely need to take antibiotics or nasal sprays in order to help your infection go away.
If you have a sinus infection, you should see your doctor to make sure that it goes away. It’s important to keep your doctor up to date on any symptoms you’re having. This can help them determine whether it’s safe for you to continue with your treatment.
If you have a sinus infection, you may be able to take over-the-counter (OTC) pain relievers to help you feel better. If you’re having trouble breathing, you should see your doctor right away.
How can a sinus infection be prevented?
It’s not always possible to prevent sinus infections. However, if you’re exposed to a sinus infection, you can take certain steps to help prevent future infections.
- Avoiding contact with people who have colds or other infections.
- Washing your hands before and after any contact with someone who has a sinus infection.
- Washing your hands often for at least 20 seconds after using the bathroom.
- Covering your mouth and nose when you sneeze or cough.
- Getting a nasal steroid spray to help reduce inflammation.
- Eating a balanced diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
How is a sinus infection diagnosed?
It’s important to see your doctor if you have symptoms of a sinus infection. They can help determine whether you have a sinus infection or another condition, such as allergies or another type of infection.
Your doctor may use one or more of the following tests to help diagnose a sinus infection:
- Prenatal tests
- Nasal, sinus, and chest X-rays
- CT scan
How is a sinus infection treated?
Treatment will depend on the type of sinus infection.
Your doctor will likely prescribe antibiotics, nasal sprays, or a combination of the two. They may also suggest that you see a specialist, such as an ear, nose, and throat (ENT) specialist, who specializes in sinus infections.
If you have a sinus infection, it’s important to keep your doctor up to date on your symptoms. This can help them determine whether it’s safe for you to continue with your treatment.
Allergy to pollen
If you’re allergic to pollen, you should see an allergist. An allergist can recommend alternative ways to manage your allergy and treat your symptoms.
If you’re allergic to pollen, you can reduce your allergy symptoms by making sure to:
- Maintain a healthy diet
- Avoid pollen exposure
- Avoid activities that may trigger symptoms
- Get a yearly flu vaccine
- Avoid using an air conditioner indoors
Allergy to dust mites
If you’re allergic to dust mites, you should see an allergist. An allergist can recommend alternative ways to manage your allergy and treat your symptoms.
If you’re allergic, you can reduce your allergy symptoms by making sure to:
- Maintain a healthy air filter
- Avoid dust mite exposure
Allergy to animal dander
If you’re allergy to animal dander, you should see an allergist. An allergist can recommend alternative ways to manage your allergy and treat your symptoms.
If you’re allergy to animal dander, you can reduce your allergy symptoms by making sure to:
- Maintain a healthy air conditioner intake
- Avoid contact with animal dander
- Avoid contact with dust mites
Allergy to mold
If you’re allergy to mold, you should see an allergist. An allergist can recommend alternative ways to manage your allergy and treat your symptoms.
Sinus infections can cause a variety of symptoms, including a runny nose. Some symptoms, such as a runny nose and sinus headache, can be caused by an allergy.
If you have symptoms of a sinus infection, it’s important to see your doctor. They can help determine whether you have a sinus infection or another condition. They can also prescribe treatment to help get your symptoms under control
Images by Freepik
Generated by AI