When Should I Go See The Doctor About A Sinus Infection
It is pretty easy to care for most sinus conditions on your own. However, if you continue to have symptoms that concern you or if your infections continue to happen, your primary care doctor might suggest you see a specialist. This could also happen if your CT scan shows something that does not look right.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Sinusitis, or swelling of the tissues of the sinus cavities, is a common condition with many causes, including viruses and bacteria, nasal polyps or allergies. Signs and symptoms may including facial pressure, fever and tiredness. You can treat symptoms at home by resting, taking over-the-counter products and increasing your fluid intake. Make sure you contact your healthcare provider if symptoms do not improve, if sinusitis happens often or if you have any symptom that worries you.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 06/04/2020.
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
- Bad Breath
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.
How To Treat A Sinus Infection At Home
In the first two weeks of a sinus infection, patients may use saline sprays, over-the-counter steroid sprays like Flonase, and over-the-counter decongestants.
After 10 days, if the drainage is still colored, an antibiotic is likely necessary. Theres no homeopathic alternative to antibiotics. However, saline spray, topical steroid sprays, and decongestants work well with antibiotics to clear most infections.
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What Are The Six Types Of Sinusitis And Sinus Infections
Sinusitis may be classified in several ways, based on its duration and the type of inflammation . The term rhinosinusitis is used to imply that both the nose and sinuses are involved and is becoming the preferred term over sinusitis.
- Acute sinus infection usually lasts less than 3-5 days.
- Subacute sinus infection lasts one to three months.
- Chronic sinus infection is greater than three months. Chronic sinusitis may be further sub-classified into chronic sinusitis with or without nasal polyps, or allergic fungal sinusitis.
- Recurrent sinusitis has several sinusitis attacks every year.
There is no medical consensus on the above time periods.
- Infected sinusitis usually is caused by an uncomplicated virus infection. Less frequently, bacterial growth causes sinus infection and fungal sinus infection is very infrequent. Subacute and chronic forms of a sinus infection usually are the result of incomplete treatment of an acute sinus infection.
- Noninfectious sinusitis is caused by irritants and allergic conditions and follows the same general timeline for acute, subacute, and chronic as infectious sinusitis.
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Runny Nose And Postnasal Drip
When you have a sinus infection, you may need to blow your nose often because of nasal discharge, which can be cloudy, green, or yellow. This discharge comes from your infected sinuses and drains into your nasal passages.
The discharge may also bypass your nose and drain down the back of your throat. You may feel a tickle, an itch, or even a sore throat.
This is called postnasal drip, and it may cause you to cough at night when youre lying down to sleep, and in the morning after getting up. It may also cause your voice to sound hoarse.
What Are Common Side Effects Of Sinus Infection Medications
The most common side effects of sinus infection medications differ by the type of medication you use. Decongestants tend to cause nervousness, insomnia, and a loss of appetite. Side effects of antibiotics include nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Antihistamines and steroids can cause dizziness and sleep disturbances.
This is not an exhaustive list of sinus infection medication side effects. If you experience any adverse reactions from a medication or treatment, its always best to consult with your healthcare provider.
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Most Sinus Infections Dont Require Antibiotics
Ah, . The New England Journal of Medicine published a clinical practice review of acute sinus infections in adults, that is, sinus infections of up to four weeks. The need for an updated review was likely spurred by the disconcerting fact that while the vast majority of acute sinus infections will improve or even clear on their own without antibiotics within one to two weeks, most end up being treated with antibiotics.
It is this discrepancy that has clinical researchers and public health folks jumping up and down in alarm, because more unnecessary prescriptions for antibiotics mean more side effects and higher bacterial resistance rates. But on the other hand, while 85% of sinus infections improve or clear on their own, theres the 15% that do not. Potential complications are rare, but serious, and include brain infections, even abscesses.
Will I Need To Make Lifestyle Changes To Deal With Sinus Infections
If you have indoor allergies it is recommended that you avoid triggersanimal dander and dust mites, for exampleas well as take medications. Smoking is never recommended, but if you do smoke, strongly consider a program to help you quit. Smoke can also trigger allergies and prevent removal of mucous by the nose. No special diet is required, but drinking extra fluids helps to thin nasal secretions.
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Operation: Antibiotics For Sinus Infection
Such a surgical intervention as a puncture of the affected sinus with the removal of pus and washing. Which is often accompanied by complications . Both traditional with open surgery on the sinuses and minimally invasive with the use of endoscopic techniques:
- interventions aimed at eliminating anatomical deformities septoplasty, removal of adenoids and others
- intranasal antrostomy creating a hole in the wall of the maxillary sinus into the nasal cavity
- radical antrostomy producing a permanent drainage hole by removing part of the bony wall of the sinus.
Finished My 10 Day Antibiotics For Sinus Infection But Still Feel Some Sinus Pressure I Can Breath Better Just It Feels Its Still There Should I Seek Medical Help Or Let It Get Better On Its Own
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What Are The Most Common Antibiotics Used For Sinusitis
Amoxicillin remains the drug of choice for acute, uncomplicated bacterial sinusitis. Amoxicillin is most effective when given frequently enough to sustain adequate levels in the infected tissue. While often prescribed twice daily, it is even more effective if taken in 3 or 4 divided doses. Amoxicillin is typically prescribed for 7-10 days at a time. While it is critical to finish the entire 10 day course of antibiotics when treating strep throat, there is evidence that shorter courses of treatment may be sufficient for most cases of sinusitis. Amoxicillin is closely related to the parent compound penicillin and should not be prescribed in patients who are penicillin allergic.
Cephalosporins and Augmentin are considered broad-spectrum antibiotics because they have enhanced effectiveness against a wider range of bacteria, including those that are resistant to ordinary penicillin or amoxicillin. If the patient does not improve within the first week on amoxicillin, a change to Augmentin or to a cephalosporin such as Ceftin, Cefzil, Omnicef, or Suprax is reasonable. Although these drugs have a similar mechanism of action to penicillin, they generally can be taken in adequate doses once or twice daily. These medications should be used with extreme caution in patients with a history of penicillin allergy, as cross-reaction may occur.
What Are The Best Home Remedies For Sinus Infections
There are a few simple home remedies that can be effective for relieving your pain and helping you clear your sinuses. To avoid using medications, try a warm compress on the nose and face, and flush nasal passages with a warm saline irrigation, says Dr. Elmore.
A homemade solution for nasal irrigation is one of the best home treatments for a sinus infection. You can use a syringe or a neti pot to stream a solution of non-iodized salt, baking soda, and lukewarm distilled water through the nostrils to help keep your nasal passages clean. Or, you can choose a product at your pharmacy that is already prepared and ready to mix packets.
Other home remedies for sinus infections include staying hydrated by drinking a lot of water, using decongestant nasal sprays, and inhaling steam over the stove or in the shower. Certain lifestyle adjustments may also promote nasal drainage such as sleeping with your head elevated at night or keeping a humidifier running in your home to avoid an arid environment.
To relieve pain at home, you can use a warm compress or take over-the-counter pain medications to reduce headaches and facial pain from congestion.
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Additional Medications For Sinusitis: Antibiotics For Sinus Infection
- They dry the mucous membrane and reduce swelling
- pain relievers, such as NSAIDs
- local use of antiseptics , irrigation therapy
- in chronic sinusitis , the course use of glucocorticoid-based sprays, which suppress inflammation, is acceptable a doctor should prescribe them.
Such recipes help to improve nasal breathing, relieve inflammation and edema, and strengthen local immunity. The following remedies can help:
- inhalation based on chopped garlic mixed with apple cider vinegar
- the introduction of tampons soaked in a mixture of onion juice, honey, and sunflower oil into the nose
- instillation of aloe juice, radish, onion, a variety of beetroot juice and honey, propolis into the nose
- compresses on the area of the affected sinus with a decoction of calendula, plantain, chamomile.
Throat Irritation And Cough
As discharge from your sinuses drains down the back of your throat, it can cause irritation, especially over a long period of time. This can lead to a persistent and annoying cough, which can be worse when lying down to sleep or first thing in the morning after getting up from bed.
It can also make sleeping difficult. Sleeping upright or with your head elevated can help reduce the frequency and intensity of your coughing.
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Acute Bacterial Sinusitis Therapy In Case Of Initial Failure
Suppose the patient fails to improve within 7 days of diagnosis or worsens during initial management. If you have opted for watchful waiting at this point, it would be advisable to initiate antibiotic therapy. It would be appropriate at this point to change. The 7-day wait helps define initial treatment failure and helps avoid unnecessary medication or inadequate diagnostic tests.
High-dose amoxicillin with clavulanate, doxycycline, or a respiratory fluoroquinolone . Suppose the patient worsens or does not improve after 7 days of the new therapy. It is advisable to evaluate the possibility of an infection with drug-resistant bacteria and then investigated with an antibiogram.
It is primarily an inflammatory disease, with occasional exacerbations associated with infection. Nasal polyps and, as mentioned, recurrent acute episodes may be present. Symptoms vary in severity and presentation: nasal obstruction is the most common . She was followed by a feeling of congestion-pressure-fullness of the face , purulent nasal discharge . Hyposmia , headache, fever, cough, bad breath, fatigue, and dental pain. And other non-specific signs or symptoms.
The presence of 2 or more signs or symptoms. That persists beyond 12 weeks indicates chronic rhino-sinusitis diagnosis. In addition to the clinical symptoms. With particular attention to the middle turbinate: CT imaging is the standard diagnostic criterion.
Types Of Sinus Infection:
There are 2 types of sinus infection Acute Infection and Chronic Infection.
Acute type: is preceded by upper respiratory tract infection and usually caused by viral infection. The most causative agents are Streptococcus pneumonia, Haemophilus influenza, and Moraxella catarrhalis.
Viral sinusitis lasts for 1 to 10 days where bacterial sinusitis lasts for a longer time. Chemical irritation like smoking and fumes will trigger the condition.
Chronictype: represents a multifactorial infection, not a simple bacterial infection and lasts for about 3 months.
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Which Types Of Doctors Treat Sinusitis And Sinus Infections
- Many sinus infections can be treated by your primary care physician or an Internal Medicine doctor.
- However, it is not unusual to consult an ENT specialist,
- Infectious disease specialist,
- Allergist or Immunologist.
When Do We Need Antibiotics For Sinus Infection
Antibiotics are not needed for many sinus infections, but your doctor can decide if you need an antibiotic. You doctor may recommend antibiotics if:
Most sinus infections usually get better on their own without antibiotics. When antibiotics arent needed, they wont help you, and their side effects could still cause harm. Side effects can range from minor issues, like a rash, to very serious health problems, such as antibiotic-resistant infections and C. diff infection, which causes diarrhea that can lead to severe colon damage and death.
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What Decongestants And Nasal Sprays Soothe Or Cure Sinus Infections Or Sinusitis
Taking decongestants and mucolytics orally may be helpful in assisting drainage of sinus infection.
The treatment of chronic forms of sinus infection requires longer courses of medications, such as Augmentin, and may require a sinus drainage procedure. This drainage typically requires a surgical operation to open the blocked sinus under general anesthesia. In general, antihistamines should be avoided unless it is felt that the sinusitis sinus infection is due to allergies, such as from pollens, dander, or other environmental causes.
It is likely that the use of a topical nasal steroid spray will help reduce swelling in the allergic individual without the drying that is caused by using antihistamines although both are occasionally used. Oral steroids may be prescribed to reduce acute inflammation and to help with chronic inflammation in cases with or without polyps and in allergic fungal sinusitis.
In many people, allergic sinusitis develops first, and later, bacterial infection occurs. For these individuals, early treatment of allergic sinusitis may prevent the development of secondary bacterial sinusitis.
In rare instances or in natural disasters, fungal infections may develop in debilitated people. Death rates of 50%-85% have been reported for patients with these sinus infections. Treatment relies on early diagnosis followed by immediate surgical debridement, antifungal drugs, , and stabilizing any underlying health problem such as diabetes.
Sinus Infection Treatment Options
There are many treatment options for a sinus infection, but the best treatment option varies by the severity of the case. Some acute sinus infections will clear up on their own without any treatment, and you may just think it was a cold. Others require more serious interventions by a healthcare provider.
The standard treatment healthcare providers prescribe for a presumed bacterial sinus infection is an antibiotic. However, if you have a sinus infection caused by a viral infection such as the common cold, your doctor will not prescribe antibiotics as these medications only treat bacterial infections. Instead, you can treat the sinus infection symptomatically until it resolves, with nasal decongestants and antihistamines.
There are plenty of ways to treat symptoms of a sinus infection at home with over-the-counter medications and home remedies. OTC antihistamines block the effects of histamine, helping symptoms like sneezing and runny nose. Simple treatments like drinking water, keeping your sinuses hydrated , and using warm compresses, can also help treat symptoms of a sinus infection.
Keeping your nasal passages clean can help you prevent future sinus infections. If you anticipate having sinus issues during allergy or cold season, flushing out your nasal passages with a saltwater solution can help you avoid the pains of a sinus infection.
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