Sinus Infection occurs in the nasal cavity and can become infected, swollen, and inflamed.
Medically, it is known as Rhinosinusitis.
Sinus is present in the hollow cavities of your skin. The largest sinus is about an inch across however, others are smaller.
Your cheekbones hold the maxillary sinuses i.e. the largest cavities.
The lower center of your forehead contains the frontal sinuses.
Between your eyes are ethmoid sinuses
Behind your nose are sphenoid sinuses.
Moreover, these are lined with soft, pink tissues, Mucosa.
Usually, sinuses are empty, except they contain a very thin layer of mucus.
Sinus is due to a virus and often persists even after other respiratory symptoms leave your body.
However, in some cases, bacterial infection and fungus can also cause a Sinus Infection.
Although it is very rare.
Other allergies, nasal polyps, and tooth infections can also contribute to sinus pain and symptoms.
Types of Sinus Infections
There are different types of sinus infections.
These are defined by the time they persist, discharge, cause of the condition, etc.
The types of Sinus Infection are as follows:
- Nasal Discharge
- Sinus Headaches
- Nasal Congestion
- Chronic Sinus
- Acute Sinus
Let’s discuss these as follows:
You need to blow your nose more often when you have a sinus infection.
This nasal discharge can be green, yellow, or cloudy. It comes from the infected sinuses and drains into your nasal passages.
This discharge can also pass through your nose and drain down the back of your throat.
During this, you may feel a tickle, an itch, or even a sore throat.
This is a Postnasal Drip and can cause coughing at night when you are lying.
It can also occur in the morning after you get up and can cause your ice to sound hoarse.
Learn more about home remedies for Sore Throat.
Sinus infection can cause relentless pressure and swelling that leads to headaches.
Pain due to a sinus infection can also give you earaches, dental pain, and pain in your jaws and checks.
Headaches due to sinus are often worst in the mornings because the fluids have been collecting in all night.
Moreover, it can get worse when the biometric pressure of your environment changes suddenly.
Inflammation in the sinus can restrict how you breathe through your nose.
This infection can cause swelling in your sinuses and nasal passages.
Because of this, you will not be able to smell or taste anything as you normally do.
Moreover, your voice may also sound ‘stuffy’.
A stuffed nose, runny nose, and pressure on your cheekbones, near your eyes, or over your forehead are due to acute sinus or Acute Sinusitis.
It is a short-term inflammation of the membranes that line your nose and surrounding sinuses.
Moreover, it impedes your ability to drain mucus from your nose and sinuses.
Acute Sinus is commonly due to cold-causing a viral infection.
However, it can be due to non-infectious causes.
According to the American Academy of Otolaryngology, this is the most common type of sinus and affects around 1 in 8 adults per year.
The symptoms of chronic sinus or Chronic Sinusitis can last for up to 3 months.
Due to this, the tissues inside your sinus can become inflamed and blocked for a longer period of time.
About 30 million Americans have sinusitis of some sort, however, chronic sinus can make it hard to breathe.
It is due to long-term inflammation and blockage in the sinus cavities.
Chronic vs. Acute Sinus
Acute sinus lasts for a short period of time as defined by the American Academy of Otolaryngology.
It lasts for less than 4 weeks.
It is due to cold or other respiratory illnesses.
However, chronic sinus can last for more than 12 weeks and can recur.
The main criteria for it include facial pain, infected nasal discharge, and congestion in the nasal cavity.
The symptoms of both acute and chronic sinus are somewhat the same.
However, it is important to consult your doctor to learn about the infection, find its causes, and get treatment.
Pain in Your Sinus
One of the common symptoms of sinus infection is pain.
You have different sinuses above and below your eyes, and behind your nose.
If any one of these hurts, then you have a sinus infection.
With slight pressure, inflammation and swelling can cause your sinus to hurt or ache.
You may also feel pain in your forehead, on either side of your nose, in the upper jaws and teeth. It can also cause pain between your eyes and can lead to headaches.
Throat Irritation and Cough
When the discharge from your sinus drains into your throat it can cause irritation.
It can be long-term and can lead to persistent and coughing.
Moreover, coughing can get worse when you lie down or wake up in the morning.
It can also cause difficulty while you sleep.
Sleep upright or with your head elevated can help reduce the intensity of your coughing.
Sore Throat and Horse Voice
When you have a postnatal drip, then it can leave you with a raw and aching throat.
It may start as a little tickle, however, it can get worse and cause irritation.
If the infectious disease lasts for weeks or more, the mucus can cause irritations and inflammation in your throat.
Moreover, this can result in a painful sore throat and hoarse voice.
Visiting Your Doctor
If you have a fever, nasal discharge, congestion in your sinus cavities, or facial pain which lasts longer than 10 days, then you need to visit or book an appointment with your doctor.
Moreover, a fever is not a typical sign of acute or chronic sinus, but it is a possibility.
In some cases, there is also a possibility of underlying medical conditions due to which your chronic infections recur.
In such a case, you will have to visit a specialist doctor or a special treatment depending on your cause or underlying medical condition.
Treatment of Sinus Infections
There are different treatment options available for the treatment of sinus infections.
In most cases, you can treat it as home if it is an acute or short-term infection.
Also if it is due to a cold or a viral infection, you can effectively treat it at home with the help of home remedies, OTC, over-the-counter medications, or antibiotics.
However, in the case of chronic infection, which can cause pain in your head and face along with fever, needs to be treated by the doctor.
OTC, Over-the-Counter Medications
You can use a nasal decongestant spray, like oxymetazoline that can help relieve short-term sinus infections.
However, you should not use it for more than 3 days, according to the doctor’s recommendations.
This is because, if you use it for a longer term, it can cause a rebound effect in the nasal congestion.
Moreover, it is important to keep in mind that it can make your congestion worse if you use it for a ling-period of time.
In some cases, a steroid nasal spray like triamcinolone or mometasone can help to relieve the symptoms of nasal congestion.
This reduces the risk of rebound. Moreover, these are available as OTC medications.
If you suffer from allergies, you can use OTC medications that contain antihistamines and decongestants.
These are Sudafed, Zyrtec, Allegra, etc.
However, decongestants are not typically recommended for people with high blood pressure, prostate issues, glaucoma, or sleep apnea, or difficulties.
It is important to consult your doctor before taking any medications to make you it is the best choice for your specific medical condition.
According to different studies, nasal irrigation is beneficial for both acute and chronic sinus as well as allergic rhinitis and seasonal allergies.
According to the recommendation of doctors, you can use tap water by boiling it and allowing it to cool, or you can use water from the filtration system.
Moreover, you can use OTC premixed solutions as well.
You can make nasal solutions at home by mixing 1 cup of warm water with 1/2 teaspoon of table salt and1/2 teaspoon of baking soda. By spraying it into your nasal cavity, it can relieve the symptoms of congestion.
This helps to clear your sinuses for discharge, relieve dryness, and flush allergies.
You can also use salt water.
For many years, different cultures have used herbal treatments for sinus infections.
For instance, a product GeloMytrol contains essential oils and Sinupret, which is a mixture of elderflower, cowslip, sorrel, verbena, and gentian root.
Different studies indicate it as an effective treatment for both acute and chronic sinusitis.
However, do not use herbs or their mixture yourself as using too little or too much can cause side effects like an allergic reaction or diarrhea.
Antibiotics for Sinus Infection
Antibiotics like amoxicillin can treat acute sinus sinusitis that is not affected by other treatments like nasal steroid sprays, pain medications, or sinus irrigation.
However, it is important to consult your doctor before taking antibiotics.
Side effects like rash, diarrhea, or stomach issues can result from taking antibiotics.
Moreover, its overuse can lead to superbugs which are bacteria causing serious infections and are not treated easily.
Sinus Infection in Children
Children can have sinus infections on the nose and ears due to allergies.
Your child may have a sinus infection if they show the following sins and symptoms:
- a common cold that lasts for more than 7 days along with fever.
- thick or yellow, green-colored drainage from the nose
- postnasal drip causing bad breath, coughing, nausea, or vomiting
- swelling around the eyes
- headaches, and earaches
It is important to consult your child’s doctor, as they can advise the best treatment.
Moreover, nasal sprays, saline sprays, and pain reliefs are effective treatments.
But do not give your child OTC cough or cold medications or decongestants especially if they are under 2 years of age.
In most cases, children recover without antibiotics from sinus infections.
Antibiotics are often prescribed for severe sinus infections or for those who have other complications due to sinusitis.
Your doctor might also recommend a visit to an ENT specialist or an otolaryngologist if your child does not respond to antibiotics or develop chronic sinusitis.
Prevention of Sinus Infection
Avoiding irritants that lead to sinus infections is the best way to prevent them.
Smoking tobacco causes sinusitis in most cases and can damage the natural protective layers of your nose, mouth, throat, and respiratory system.
Consult your doctor and discuss with them different ways you can quit smoking.
It is an important step to keep your sinus from becoming irritated or infected by viruses or bacteria on your hands.
Moreover, talk to your doctor to see if allergies are causing sinusitis.
If you are allergic to certain things that cause consistent sinus symptoms, then you need to get treatment for allergies.
For this, you will need to consult an allergy specialist for allergic immunotherapy shots or similar treatments, for your immune system.
Moreover, keeping them under control can help prevent sinus infections.
With proper care and medications, acute sinus goes away within a week or so however, for chronic sinus, you may need a specialist for long-term treatment.
Good hygiene can help keep your sinuses moist and clear and treating the symptoms as soon as they show can help relieve and shorten the course of infection. Different treatment options exist, however, if you have a recurring infection, then you should visit your doctor for treatment and improve your outlook.