Telltale Signs You May Have A Sinus Infection
A sinus infection, also medically known as sinusitis, is a bacterial or viral infection which causes your nasal cavities to become swollen and inflamed making you feel absolutely miserable. Although approximately 30 million adults are diagnosed with sinusitis each year, its signs and symptoms are often confused for those of the common cold, leading many to forego seeking medical attention. But how do you know if you have a sinus infection or simply a severe cold?
The following five telltale signs can help you decide if it is time to see a doctor:
Types Of Sinus Infections
There are 3 different types of sinus infections that people can develop. Each one having a different duration of how long it lasts, and the severity ranges between them as well.
The 3 different types of sinus infections are the following:
1. Acute Sinusitis
This type of sinus infection has the shortest duration, typically only lasting about 1-2 weeks, and is typically brought on by the common cold.
2. Subacute Sinusitis
This type of sinus infection can last up to 3 months, and is typically brought on due to seasonal allergies.
3. Chronic Sinusitis
Finally, this type of sinus infection lasts longer than 3 months, and although it can be irritating, bothersome, and painful at times, it is often a less severe form of sinusitis.
Now that weve learned about the different types of sinus infections out there, lets discuss the symptoms that may come along with them.
How Is Acute Sinusitis Treated
Acute sinusitis is typically a short-term condition that is not too severe. For many people, little or no treatment is needed. Most people get better on their own after seven to 10 days.
Antibiotics are only helpful for bacterial infections. Most sinusitis is due to viruses or other causes that are not cured by antibiotics.
Other treatment options include ways to manage your symptoms. You can:
- Try nasal sprays and decongestants. You should not use over-the-counter medicated nose sprays longer than three days unless your healthcare provider says you should.
- Get extra rest and drink extra fluids.
- Use over-the-counter pain relievers like acetaminophen or ibuprofen if you have significant pain.
- Irrigate your nasal passages with saline solution. Since this is just salt and sterile water applied to the nose for cleaning, you can continue longer than five days.
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Can Allergies Cause Fatigue And Brain Fog
The answer to the questions, Can allergies cause fatigue? and, Can allergies cause brain fog? are very intertwined. Brain fog confusion and a lack of mental clarity is technically a symptom of a symptom the combination of tiredness and swollen nasal passages caused by allergies can lead to brain fog.
Tired All The Time: Sinusitis And Chronic Fatigue
We have all experienced fatigue. Between long work hours and the demands of family, many find themselves exhausted at the end of each day. However, the pace of modern life may not always be to blame. If you are having symptoms such as feeling exhausted after walking two blocks, having chronic sore throats and muscle pain, or feeling heavy and sluggish rather than rested after a nights sleep, you may be experiencing chronic fatigue. Chronic fatigue syndrome disrupts work and family life for hundreds of thousands of people.
The causes of chronic fatigue remain a mystery, but some research suggests that for many sufferers the answer may be right under, or more accurately inside, their noses. People who suffer from sinusitis often list chronic fatigue as one of their most troubling symptoms, equal to facial pain and a blocked nose. If you have symptoms of chronic fatigue, ask yourself the following questions:
- Do you have a history of sinusitis?
- Do you feel facial pressure or have frontal headaches?
- Do you have unexplained body pain?
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When Should I Call My Healthcare Provider About Sinusitis
Though many cases of acute sinusitis can improve with little to no treatment, you should call the doctor if you experience any painful symptoms. An antibiotic may be needed for a bacterial infection.
If you find that your sinuses do not feel better after 10 days, symptoms have gotten worse, or you have symptoms that initially improved and then worsen five to six days later , you should contact your healthcare provider. Symptoms that continue after about four weeks may mean you have subacute or chronic sinusitis. If you develop other types of symptoms, such as severe eye swelling, or you are just not sure what you should do next, call your provider.
If you have facial pain, and you have healthy teeth, you can try things like nasal rinses and warm, wet washcloths on your face to see if you find some relief. If so, and if your symptoms go away in about 10 days, you probably have had acute sinusitis and it has gotten better on its own. If not, and you continue to feel ill after three or four weeks, call your provider.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 06/04/2020.
Decreased Sense Of Smell And Taste
Congested sinuses will also affect your sense of smell. Breathing through your nose will be difficult, and you will be unable to smell as well as you usually do. Your sense of smell affects your ability to taste. While you will likely still be able to tell salty apart from sweet, food may taste somewhat bland when you have a sinus infection.
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How Is Sinusitis Treated
Sinusitis is treated in several ways, each depending on how severe the case of sinusitis is.
A simple sinusitis infection is treated with:
- Drinking fluids .
If symptoms of sinusitis don’t improve after 10 days, your doctor may prescribe:
- Antibiotics .
- Oral or topical decongestants.
- Prescription intranasal steroid sprays. .
Long-term sinusitis may be treated by focusing on the underlying condition . This is usually treated with:
- Intranasal steroid sprays.
- Topical antihistamine sprays or oral pills.
- Leukotriene antagonists to reduce swelling and allergy symptoms.
- Rinsing the nose with saline solutions that might also contain other types of medication.
When sinusitis isn’t controlled by one of the above treatments, a CT scan is used to take a better look at your sinuses. Depending on the results, surgery may be needed to correct structural problems in your sinuses. This is most likely to happen if you have polyps and/or a fungal infection.
Sinus Infection Signs And Symptoms You Need To Know
Sinus infection symptoms overlap so much with allergy, cold, and flu symptoms that it can be hard to differentiate between them all. A runny and itchy nose, congestion, fatigue, difficulty sleeping, fever, and phlegm are pretty standard across the board. But there are some unique symptoms that can help you determine if youve got a sinus infectiona bacterial infection that usually needs to be treated with antibiotics.
A sinus infection usually starts as a virus, like the cold or flu. The virus then makes your mucous so thick that it doesnt cycle through your system like it normally would. Bacteria then overgrows in that mucous. Thats how a virus turns into a bacterial infection, Erich Voigt, M.D., director of the division of general otolaryngology at NYU Langone Medical Center, tells SELF.
Since the initial virus wont respond to antibiotics, doctors want to make sure youre actually experiencing a bacterial infection before they give you meds. Theyll usually want to confirm your symptoms have lasted long enough and may also take a culture of your sinus mucous to check for bacteria.
So how can you tell when youve got a sinus infection? Here are the sinus infection symptoms to look out for.
Your symptoms will also become more sinus-focused when a sinus infection develops. The congestion and stuffiness may get worse, and mucous coming out of the nose may be more productive and discolored, Voigt says.
Those symptoms include these, from the Mayo Clinic:
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What Are Some Sinus Infection Causes
Sinus cavities are the empty areas around our eyes and nose. They help us to manage the air we breathe and help our ability to speak, breathe, and sing. Our sinus cavities are where our mucus is produced and where sinus infections occur.
The mucus in our sinus cavities trap things like mold, bacteria, viruses and dirt. When working correctly our mucus traps the foreign substances and our bodies drain it out so that it can not make us sick. Sometimes however, the trapped substances will cause our bodies to react with swelling and inflammation. The mucus then gets trapped due to the swelling and an infection develops.
Diagnosing Chronic Fatigue Check For Sinusitis
- Georgetown University Medical Center
- A new study published in the August 11 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine demonstrates a possible link between unexplained chronic fatigue and sinusitis, two conditions previously not associated with each other. Also newly noted was a relationship between sinusitis and unexplained body pain.
Washington, D.C. A new study published in the August 11 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine demonstrates a possible link between unexplained chronic fatigue and sinusitis, two conditions previously not associated with each other. Also newly noted was a relationship between sinusitis and unexplained body pain. These findings offer new hope to patients lacking a diagnosis and treatment for fatigue and pain.
Sinus disease is seldom considered as a cause of unexplained chronic fatigue or pain, despite recent ear, nose, and throat studies documenting significant fatigue and pain in patients with sinusitis and dramatic improvement after sinus surgery. A Harvard study showed that fatigue and pain scores of sinusitis patients were similar or worse than a group 20 years older with congestive heart failure, lung disease, or back pain.
The CDC approximates that sinusitis affects 32 million Americans. Rates are highest among women and people living in the South. Women comprised 46% of the participants in this study, but represented 60% of the group with fatigue, predominance also noted in most prior studies.
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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
- 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.
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Common Symptoms Of Chronic Sinusitis
Sinus infection is a major health issue. It impacts 31 million individuals in the U.S. alone, with Americans spending over $1 billion on OTC medications each year to treat it. Chronic sinusitis is evaluated and managed in a similar manner as acute sinusitis. Below you’ll learn more about chronic sinusitis and six of its most common symptoms.
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Other Remedies For Symptom Relief
Staying hydrated can help thin mucus to ease congestion.
Drinking hot liquids such as tea and broth may help relieve your symptoms. Breathing in moist air may also help relieve the discomfort that comes with nasal congestion. Try breathing in steam from the shower, a bowl of hot water, or a mug of tea.
If your voice is hoarse, rest it by avoiding yelling, whispering, and singing.
Placing a warm compress over the inflamed area can help reduce pressure and provide relief.
damages the natural protective elements of your nose, mouth, throat, and respiratory system.
If you smoke, consider quitting. Ask a doctor if you need help or are interested in quitting. Quitting may help prevent future episodes of both acute and chronic sinusitis.
Wash your hands frequently, especially during cold and flu seasons, to keep your sinuses from becoming irritated or infected by viruses or bacteria on your hands.
Using a humidifier during the cooler, dryer months may also help prevent sinus infections.
Talk with a doctor to see if allergies are causing your sinusitis. If youre allergic to something that causes persistent sinus symptoms, you will likely need to treat your allergies to relieve your sinus infection.
You may need to seek an allergy specialist to determine the cause of the allergy. The specialist may suggest:
- avoiding the allergen
- doing allergic immunotherapy
Keeping your allergies under control can help prevent repeated episodes of sinusitis.
When Should I Call My Healthcare Provider About Chronic Sinusitis
Remember, your health is your business. You do not have to put up with feeling ill for long periods of time. Pay attention to how long you have sinus symptoms because this is something that your care provider will ask you. Keep track of things that you have done to make yourself feel better. If medications are prescribed, make sure you store them and take them as instructed.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 06/04/2020.
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Discharge From The Nose Or In The Throat
The most noticeable symptom of a sinus infection is the presence of discharge from the nose. This sign is similar to what you would experience with a regular cold or seasonal flu. The mucus from your sinuses may also drip down the back of your throat .
The color of the discharge may help you identify whether youre experiencing a common cold or a sinus infection. The former will often cause nasal mucus that is watery and clear or cloudy. The latter often comes with mucus that has a green or yellow tint. The discoloration is not a product of the bacteria itself. Instead, it is a result of your immune system fighting the infection by increasing white blood cells.
Pain And Pressure Around Face
Many people think that our sinuses are located just in the nose. The truth is that these sacs cover much more space around our nasal area from the lower forehead down to the front of the cheekbones.
Due to the fact that they cover a great part of the face, you might feel discomfort all over this location. As mucus builds up in the nasal passages, it might press on your nerves. As an outcome, you might feel inflammation, pressure, or heaviness in your face. Bending over usually makes the pressure increase. Sometimes, this pressure or pain can even interfere with sleep.
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What Are The Different Types Of Sinuses Near The Nose And Eyes
The paranasal sinuses are located in your head near your nose and eyes. They are named after the bones that provide their structure.
- The ethmoidal sinuses are located between your eyes.
- The maxillary sinuses are located below your eyes.
- The sphenoidal sinuses are located behind your eyes.
- The frontal sinuses are located above your eyes.
The biggest sinus cavity is the maxillary cavity, and it is one of the cavities that most often becomes infected.
There are different types of sinusitis:
- Acute bacterial sinusitis: This term refers to a sudden onset of cold symptoms such as runny nose, stuffy nose, and facial pain that does not go away after 10 days, or symptoms that seem to improve but then return and are worse than the initial symptoms . It responds well to antibiotics and decongestants.
- Chronic sinusitis: This term refers to a condition defined by nasal congestion, drainage, facial pain/pressure, and decreased sense of smell for at least 12 weeks.
- Subacute sinusitis: This term is used when the symptoms last four to twelve weeks.
- Recurrent acute sinusitis: This term is used when the symptoms come back four or more times in one year and last less than two weeks each time.
Miserable Symptoms Mark Chronic Sinusitis
Chronic sinusitis, an illness that can feel as symptomatically miserable as congestive heart failure or rheumatoid arthritis, is often misdiagnosed or underdiagnosed. But distinctive clues can lead internists to deliver the right treatment.
Chronic sinusitis, an illness that can feel as symptomatically miserable as congestive heart failure or rheumatoid arthritis, is often misdiagnosed or underdiagnosed.
I recently saw a patient who had been diagnosed with allergic rhinitis for the past 14 months. You just had to look at her to know that she was miserable. She had bags under her eyes, she hadnt been sleeping well, and she had been waking up three and four times a night because her nose was so blocked up. She had seen an allergist and two internists in that time who never considered that it could be chronic sinusitis, said Neil Bhattacharyya, MD, associate professor of otology and laryngology at Harvard Medical School.
Not picking up on the distinctive clues that point to chronic sinusitis can lead to misdiagnosis. An internist may label a condition allergic rhinitis because allergies are more common, but the treatment and the outcomes are completely different. The problem that confronts internists is understanding how to determine which subset of patients with sinonasal symptoms truly have chronic sinusitis or have that in conjunction with other conditions, Dr. Bhattacharyya said.
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