The Symptoms Of A Sinus Infection
People often assume that its possible to tell the difference between a viral and bacterial sinus infection based on the type of symptoms they experience. Unfortunately, thats not the case. Usually, the symptoms of a sinus infection are the same or very similar whether its caused by bacteria or a virus.
Common symptoms of either a viral or bacterial sinus infection include green or yellow mucous/discharge, bad breath, headache, and fever.
How Severe Are The Symptoms
Most sinus infections go away on their own without severe symptoms or complications. If a sinus infection is caused by bacteria, you may need antibiotics.
Many cases of COVID-19 may be mild or moderate. The World Health Organization estimates that
Heres what to do next whether you think that you have a sinus infection or COVID-19.
When To Call Your Doctor
Let your health care provider know if you have symptoms of sinus infection or:
- Cold symptoms that do not improve in 10 days or get better and then come back
- Fever that lasts more than 3 to 4 days
- Sinus infections that come and go several times in one year
- Severe headache or facial pain
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Are There Different Types Of Sinus Infections
There are many different types of sinus infections, but they all have one thing in common: they are caused by bacteria or viruses and can be very contagious. Some other examples include colds/flu as well as ear infections if an infection spreads from your nose into these areas where theres poor circulation due to being clogged up with mucus and or fluids stagnant stagnancy due to congestion not draining properly on its own/ with the help of gravity downwards facilitating movement aka aided by a bulb syringe aspirator nasal irrigation system cleaning out the passages without needing to lean over in a seated position while tilting your head sideways, inserted into one nostril at a time flushing it out regularly and as needed rinsing off the infected area with lukewarm sterile saline water , using either over-the-counter or prescription medications.
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Using The Right Water During Saline Rinses
When using saline nasal rinses, tap water should always be boiled and then allowed to cool to ensure cleanliness distilled water or premixed solutions could also be used instead of regular tap water.
Other home remedies for sinus infections include:
- Drinking fluids: Drinking lots of fluids helps loosen and thin mucus. Avoid beverages that are caffeinated and alcoholic beverages that can dehydrate the body, which could thicken mucus.
- Breathing steam: Warm water is best . You can breathe in steam from either a bowl or shower.
- Humidifying the air: Use a cool air vaporizer or humidifier,particularly at night while sleeping.
- Avoiding environmental substances: Avoid tobacco smoke and chlorinated water that can dry up the mucus membranes and exacerbate symptoms.
- Implementing treatment measures: At the first sign of infection, use antihistamines and employ regular nasal rinses.
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Which Is Worse Bacterial Or Viral Sinus Infection
If your sinus infection lasts for about a week, it’s usually due to a virus. Bacterial sinus infections, on the other hand, can persist for some time. They usually last for 10 days or longer. While viral infections usually start to get better after a few days, bacterial infections tend to get worse over time.
What Else Causes Sinus Infections
In most cases, sinus infections are caused by a virus like the rhinovirus which also causes the common cold. Cold symptoms like runny nose and congestion can lead to mucus buildup in drainage pathways and increase risk for a sinus infection.
If you have a sinus infection caused by a cold or similar virus, the only illness youre able to transmit is the virus, not the actual sinus infection. However, if you spread your virus, people who pick it up are at an increased risk for developing a sinus infection, too.
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How Do You Treat A Sinus Infection
If you suspect you have a sinus infection, you should see a medical professional in order to get advice on proper treatment. In most cases, antibiotics are not necessary. However, if your sinus infection is caused by a bacterial infection, your doctor may prescribe medications. You can also try some of these home care techniques to help relieve discomfort and congestion:
- Hot showers or stream treatments, especially before bed, may help open up your sinuses and allow you to breathe better.
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Contagious Causes Of Sinus Infections
Viral Sinus Infections
Dr. Varghese says, If the underlying cause for the sinus infection is from a virus, it can be contagious.
The common cold can cause the nasal passages to produce more mucus than usual. In some cases, the sinuses swell and mucus gets trapped in the cavities, creating the perfect conditions for a sinus infection to develop.
If you have a viral sinus infection, you can spread the virus that caused the infection. But that doesnt necessarily mean other people will develop a sinus infection even if the virus causes them to get sick with a cold. Every person is different, so while you may have developed a sinus infection caused by the virus, another person may only become mildly ill.
So how long are you contagious with a viral sinus infection? When you have a virus that causes a sinus infection, you can be contagious for several days before you develop sinusitis. Most people will be contagious for approximately 10-14 days.
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Is Sinus Infection Contagious
Watching someone with the symptoms of sinus or having them makes you worried that is a sinus infection contagious or not. But there is no direct answer to that. Or to be precise, there are different answers for different situations. Sinus infection can occur by different factors, and those factors will decide if that sinus infection is contagious or not.
Viral Sinusitis And Bacterial Sinusitis
Viral sinusitis is the most common type of sinusitis. It is usually caused by the same viruses that cause the common cold, and typically lasts for between seven and ten days. If the condition lasts longer than ten days, or there is a worsening of symptoms after five to seven days, the sinusitis is more likely caused by bacteria than a virus.
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Will A Sinus Infection Go Away On Its Own
When you have a sinus infection, you want to do everything you can to make it go away. In cases where a sinus infection is viral, the best treatment is to follow the self-care tips outlined above and let your bodys immune system do its job.
The good news is that most sinus infections are viral and will go away on their own. It can, however, take time for your body to fight off the infection. In most cases, you should start to feel better within a week or two.
Add A Comment5 Comments
My Dr diagnosed me with pneumonia, Ive been on antibiotic for a little over 2 days. Am I still contagious? I still need to blow my nose and am coughing up mucus. Could you tell me your expertise? Thanks so much.
is MRSA contagious if sick person is taking antibiotics ?
Cindy, good question, thanks for asking!
It really depends on the infection or illness that you are talking about. Many things that a person would be on antibiotics for are not contagious ear infections, or sinus infections, etc.
And many things that are contagious are not something youd take antibiotics for a cold, for instance, or chicken pox. Even if a doctor has prescribed you antibiotics for a secondary infection the cold is still contagious as long as you are sneezing and coughing .
Usually, the a general guideline would be that a person is not contagious after 48 hours worth of antibiotics. With strep throat, a general guideline is 24 hours.
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How Long A Sinus Infection Lasts
While the symptoms youre experiencing wont necessarily help you determine the cause of your infection, the duration of the sinusitis can provide some clues. Often, viral infections dont last that long. If your sinus infection lasts for about a week, its usually due to a virus.
Bacterial sinus infections, on the other hand, can persist for some time. They usually last for 10 days or longer. While viral infections usually start to get better after a few days, bacterial infections tend to get worse over time. Bacteria are usually responsible for cases of chronic sinusitis.
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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Acute Subacute And Chronic Bacterial Sinusitis
Bacterial sinusitis can be grouped into the following subtypes based on the duration of symptoms:
- Acute, which lasts for less than four weeks
- Subacute, lasting for between four and 12 weeks
- Chronic, lasting for more than 12 weeks
- Recurrent acute, occurring four or more times a year, for more than seven days, with symptoms resolving completely in between bouts
How Can I Get Rid Of My Sinus Infection
On the topic of staying home, rest plays a key role in recovering from a viral sinus infection. Viruses must run their course, so getting lots of rest may help shorten the duration and severity of your illness. Its also important to drink plenty of water and to stay away from things that can further irritate your sinuses, like cigarette smoke, strong perfumes and airborne allergens.
While treatments cant cure a viral sinus infection, there are several steps you can take to reduce your symptoms as you recover. Try using a saline nasal spray to rinse your sinuses and an over-the-counter decongestant to help you breathe more easily. On average, the symptoms of a viral sinus infection last for about seven to 10 days.
While many sinus infections can be addressed with self-care measures, you should promptly seek medical care if:
- You have a fever
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When To See A Doctor About Your Sinus Infection
If you’re dealing with a sinus infection, it’s generally best to wait a week and treat your symptoms with over-the-counter remedies before seeing a doctor. Why? In general, medical guidelines advise waiting to make sure symptoms like these aren’t a sign of a viral infection to avoid the chance of antibiotic resistance. If symptoms persist after a week, then the condition may be bacterial and a doctor can often prescribe antibiotics.
However, in the case of additional symptoms, such as a persistent headache or bad fever, you should see a doctor right away, as this might be a sign of something more serious .
What Causes Sinus Infections
The most common cause of sinusitis are viral respiratory infections that lead to swelling and irritation of the sinuses, the most frequent being the common cold.
Other ways to contract a sinus infection include:
- Nasal polyps, or small growths in the lining of the nose, that may be asymptomatic but block the normal sinus pathways
- Any structural change to the nasal cavity, such as a deviated septum or history of sinus or nose surgery
- Hay fever causing swelling to the noses lining, usually during common allergy seasons
While sinus infections are common and most adults will experience one over their lifetimes, there are outside influences that can lead to more frequent cases of sinusitis.
Risk factors for an increased chance of a sinus infection include:
- Smoking or exposure to secondhand smoke
- A broken nose or other structural problems within the sinuses
- A weak immune system, or starting the cycle of a new drug that weakens the immune system
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How Quickly Does Prednisone Work For Sinusitis
When youre sick, taking an antibiotic is a great way to get better quickly and go back to living your life. But what if there was also something else that could help? One study found prednisone helped patients with Crohns disease symptoms more than just antibiotics did at three days into treatment they were already experiencing significant improvement!
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What Can You Do To Ease Sinus Infection Symptoms
Sinus infections can make you feel really miserable. In addition to feeling like your head is trapped in a vice, you could develop a fever, sore throat and even tooth pain. Thankfully, there are several things you can do at home to ease symptoms.
- Quiet pain Take an over-the-counter medication such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen for discomfort and pain.
- Try a nasal spray Use an over-the-counter nasal spray such as fluticasone to reduce swelling and open nasal and sinus passages.
- Opt for an oral med Take guaifenesin to help thin and drain mucus.
- Get some rest Make sure youre getting enough sleep and take it easy during the day.
- Hydrate Drink at least 64 oz. of water and/or other clear non-caffeinated and non-alcoholic liquids throughout the day.
- Grab a warm compress Ease pain and swelling by laying a warm washcloth over your sinuses.
- Rinse your nasal passages Use a neti pot to flush your sinuses with a saline solution.
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Is It Okay To Go To Work With A Sinus Infection
In many cases, it’s a judgment call on whether or not you should work with a sinus infection. You are likely to be fatigued and less productive, and it may be wiser to stay home, get some rest, and work from home if you can. Rest and hydration will allow you to get back to baseline faster, so you can return to work at full strength.
The only time you should definitely not go to work with a sinus infection is if you also have a fever. This may be a sign of something more contagious, as it isn’t very common with a sinus infection alone. If you’re suffering from a fever, do yourself a favor, and stay home to recover.
How To Prevent The Spread Of Contagious Sinus Infections
If you have a sinus infection, do your best to prevent the spread of any viruses that could get others sick. While the best thing would be to isolate yourself until you feel better, thats not always feasible or rational. Some easy precautions you can take to reduce the potential spread of sinusitis and respiratory viruses in general include:
- Thoroughly washing your hands in soap and water after sneezing, coughing, or blowing your nose
- Using hand sanitizer to disinfect your hands
- Stay home from work or school
- Covering your mouth when you cough or sneeze
- Wearing a face mask
Above all, make sure you see your doctor if you need any form of relief, develop a persistent fever, or have a history of chronic or recurrent sinus infections. You should also see your doctor immediately if you have:
- Severe, sharp headaches
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How To Avoid Spreading Your Contagious Sinus Infection
David Cuthbertson, MD
The old adage, sharing is caring, doesnt apply to illnesses.
But with over 30 million Americans diagnosed with sinus infections every year, how can we be sure we arent spreading this particular ailment to those around us?
Should we to go to work or to the grocery store with a sinus infection? Or should we call in sick and order our groceries online?
Is a sinus infection contagious? And if it is, should you stay home? Wear a mask? Or carry on as usual?
How Long Does A Sinus Infection Last
In case of a sinus infection, you might wonder how long do side effects from a sinus infection last? The answer to that can be varied. There is no particular period for which a sinus infection may last. It usually depends on the type and severity of the sinus inflammation. With proper medication and treatment, a sinus infection usually clears within a week. But side effects of untreated sinus infection can be severe.
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How Is Sinus Infection Diagnosed
Diagnosis depends on symptoms and requires an examination of the throat, nose and sinuses. Your allergist will look for:
- Discolored nasal discharge
If your sinus infection lasts longer than eight weeks, or if standard antibiotic treatment is not working, a sinus CT scan may help your allergist diagnose the problem. Your allergist may examine your nose or sinus openings. The exam uses a long, thin, flexible tube with a tiny camera and a light at one end that is inserted through the nose. It is not painful. Your allergist may give you a light anesthetic nasal spray to make you more comfortable.
Mucus cultures: If your sinus infection is chronic or has not improved after several rounds of antibiotics, a mucus culture may help to determine what is causing the infection. Most mucus samples are taken from the nose. However, it is sometimes necessary to get mucus directly from the sinuses.
Knowing what kind of bacteria is causing the infection can lead to more effective antibiotic therapy. A fungus could also cause your sinus infection. Confirming the presence of fungus is important. Fungal sinus infection needs to be treated with antifungal agents, rather than antibiotics. In addition, some forms of fungal sinus infection allergic fungal sinus infection, for example do not respond to antifungal agents and often require the use of oral steroids.