How To Identify And Treat
Let’s talk about sinus. What often begins as a sniffle and a slightly blocked nose can quickly become an irritating drip down your throat and a literal pain in your head. Unfortunately, no amount of blowing your nose helps to clear it. Instead, your sinus passages continue to fill up, and the exterior of your nose gets irritated from all the rubbing and blowing.
It’s not the only part of your body that’s a little raw. If you’re experiencing post-nasal drip, your throat will begin to hurt, and your voice can become hoarse. So how do you prevent sinusitis?
In this article, we’re going to explain what causes a sinus infection, how to identify and treat it, and when to seek help from a medical professional.
Read the full article or Use the quick links to jump ahead.
- What is sinus?
- How do you get a sinus infection?
- How long does a sinus infection last?
- When should you see a doctor?
- Sinus infection symptoms vs Covid symptoms
- Sinus infection vs allergies
- What is the fastest way to get rid of a sinus infection?
- What are the signs of a sinus infection getting better?
What is sinus?
Sinusitis, otherwise known as sinus, is a condition where the nasal cavities or sinus cavities surrounding the eyes, nose and forehead become inflamed, swollen or blocked. If left untreated, this can lead to a sinus or, worse, an upper respiratory infection.
How do you get a sinus infection?
Typically, a sinus infection occurs as a result of bacteria or a virus in the nasal passages. It can be acute or chronic.
Allergies tend to cause a chronic sinus infection. You could be allergic to external allergies such as dust and pollen or have an allergy to wheat, gluten, or dairy.
But if your sinus isn’t related to an allergy, the best way to prevent a sinus infection is to wash your hands frequently, especially during colds and flu season.
When people sneeze or cough, the bacteria become airborne and land on surfaces. If you touch these surfaces and then touch your face, you introduce the bacteria into your immune system. As a result, you get a sinus infection which might not clear up as quickly as you’d like it to.
How long does a sinus infection last?
It depends on the type of sinus infection. Someone suffering from a cold or an upper respiratory infection might experience acute sinusitis. This usually clears within four weeks.
Subacute sinusitis resulting from seasonal allergies or bacteria can last up to three months.
And chronic sinusitis can last for 12 or more weeks. If you’re suffering from chronic sinusitis, you’ll likely experience head pain, infected discharge usually green or yellow, and congestion.
So how do you know when to call your doctor?
When should you see a doctor?
If your sinus infection does not clear within 10 days, you should see a doctor. If your symptoms worsen and you experience shortness of breath shortly after developing a sinus infection, book a doctor’s appointment immediately. You can find the details of all Welwitschia Hospital’s resident and visiting doctors here.
Sinus infection symptoms vs Covid symptoms
Are the symptoms of a sinus infection the same as Covid-19?
While there are some similarities between sinus infection symptoms and Covid-19, there are ways to tell them apart. Most notably, sinus congestion can be quite painful. But to be sure, it’s best to arrange a doctor’s appointment and get assessed.
The symptoms of a sinus infection include:
- A runny nose
- A stuffy or blocked nose making it tough to breathe through the nose
- Mucous in the throat
- A feeling of mucus running down the back of the throat
- Bad breath
- Sore cheekbones and forehead or facial pain
- A sore or raw throat
- A phlegmy cough
- Feeling tired
Covid-19, in comparison, exhibits the following symptoms:
- Loss of taste and smell
- A tight cough
- A fever
- Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
- A sore throat
- Body aches
- Nausea or vomiting
Sinus infection vs allergies
An allergy is an autoimmune response to allergens such as dust, pet hair, and pollen. Histamine is released into your body, causing excessive sneezing, an itchy nose, ears and back of your throat, and watery eyes. Usually, taking an antihistamine can clear this up quickly.
On the other hand, a sinus infection occurs when your nasal passages become infected because of a virus. You’ll experience headaches, facial pain, and discoloured mucus, and you’ll likely need an antibiotic to clear up the infection.
What is the fastest way to get rid of a sinus infection?
Antibiotics are the quickest way to treat a sinus infection. Your doctor will prescribe an antibiotic like Augmentin if over-the-counter medications such as a nasal spray or Sinutab pills haven’t cleared the infection. In chronic cases, your doctor may prescribe steroids such as Cortizone to help clear your infection.
Common side effects of taking antibiotics for a prolonged period include yeast infections, constipation, and stomach irritability such as an ulcer. So taking a probiotic to offset the bad side effects of the antibiotic is advised. You can, however, clear sinusitis using home remedies.
Home remedies to help resolve sinusitus
- Try using saline nasal sprays or decongestant nasal sprays. Saline sprays are recommended for regular use. A decongestant nasal spray should only be taken in acute cases. Prolonged exposure to the spray can cause congestion to worsen. Your doctor may prescribe a corticosteroid nasal spray to help reduce swelling and inflammation. Again, only use the spray as recommended. If you experience nose bleeds, stop using the spray immediately.
- Over-the-counter medications such as ibuprofen and aspirin can help with headaches, high temperatures and reduce inflammation.
- Attempt a nasal irrigation. It might not sound pleasant but using a syringe filled with pre-boiled salt water to irrigate the nasal cavities can help to remove infected mucous. Make sure to boil the tap water to kill potential bacteria, then let it cool down before insertion.
- Try steam inhalation. Add a teaspoon of Vicks vapour rub to a bowl of boiling water. Cover your head with a towel over the bowl and breathe in the steam for roughly ten minutes. This can help to clear out your nasal cavities.
- Rest. Often infections arise because our bodies are overworked. Giving yourself plenty of time to rest allows you time to heal.
- Stay hydrated. Drinking water regularly can help to keep the mucous thin.
- Place a warm face cloth or compress on your face to help ease the pain.
- Use a humidifier to moisten the air and soften dried mucus in your nose. This can reduce congestion allowing you to breathe easier.
What are the signs of a sinus infection getting better?
The first sign that your sinus infection is improving is the colour of your nasal discharge should change from green to yellow to clear. You’ll feel less heavy in your head, and it’ll become easier to breathe through your nose. Your facial bones will no longer hurt, and your post-nasal drip will stop. Ensure to finish your course of antibiotics or continue using your home remedies until the infection is completely cleared up.
And that’s how to tell if you have a sinus infection as well as how to treat it.
If you suffer from frequent sinus infections, you need to determine if this is an allergic reaction to something in your environment. Knowing your triggers can help you to avoid future attacks.
Finally, if you have chronic sinus problems be sure to schedule an appointment with an ENT Specialist available at Welwitschia Hospital or email email@example.com.