If you’ve been stuffy or stuffy for a few days and waking up with a headache and puffy eyes, you may have a sinus infection. Sinusitis can be just a mild discomfort or it can become painful at times, but it is usually not serious and is easy to treat.
What is sinus infection or sinusitis?
Irritation and swelling of the sinuses is called Sinusitis. It is usually caused by an infection. The sinuses are the bony cavities filled with moist air that are inside the bones of the face and around the nose. When we are healthy, the sinuses are filled with air, which makes the facial bones less dense and lighter. The sinuses also influence how our voice sounds to us.
Infections with viruses or bacteria, or both, can cause a sinus infection. Usually, when a person has a cold or a cold, their sinuses are swollen. This is called viral sinusitis. Allergies can also lead to sinusitis.
If the nasal congestion (stuffy nose) from a common cold or allergy doesn’t allow the sinuses to drain properly, bacteria can become trapped inside, leading to bacterial sinus infection.
Bacterial sinus infection tends to make people feel worse than viral sinusitis. A person with a bacterial sinus infection usually has more pain and facial swelling than someone with viral sinus infection and they may also have a fever.
What are the signs and symptoms of sinusitis?
If you have sinusitis, your symptoms may include:
- Pain and pressure in the face, which worsens when you lean forward.
· Less common signs of sinus infection include tiredness, reduced sense of smell, bad breath (halitosis), and fever. stuffy or runny nose with a daytime cough that lasts 10 to 14 days or longer without improvement
· continuous, thick, green mucus in the nose (sometimes accompanied by mucus in the throat)
· persistent dull pain and/or swelling around the eyes
· tenderness or pain to the touch in or around the cheekbones
· a feeling of pressure inside the head
· headache when getting up in the morning or bending forward
· bad breath, even after brushing your teeth
· pain in the upper teeth
· fever over 102 ° Fahrenheit (39 ° C)
· Some people also have a dry cough at night that makes it difficult for them to fall asleep. Others have stomach upset and/or nausea.
Many of these symptoms are similar to those of viral sinusitis or allergies. Still and all, it’s a good idea to go to the doctor just in case. Viral sinusitis and allergic rhinitis are more common, but bacterial sinusitis must be treated with antibiotics, which can only be purchased with a prescription.
The pains you feel will depend on which of your sinuses are affected:
· The frontal sinusitis can cause pain just above the eyebrows and the forehead may be tender to the touch.
· The maxillary sinusitis can cause pain in the upper jaw, teeth, and cheeks and can be confused with a toothache.
· The ethmoid sinusitis can cause pain around the eyes and sides of the nose.
· The sinusitis sphenoid can cause pain around the eyes, on top of the head, or temples. You may also have an earache and neck pain.
What are the causes of a sinus infection?
Sinus infection is usually caused by an infection of the mucous membranes due to a virus, bacteria, or fungus. During a cold, the mucous membranes become swollen and tend to block the sinus opening.
The irritating agents and allergens can inflame the lining of the nose and sinuses, thereby causing sinusitis. Some irritants can be:
- Allergens that are airborne, such as pollen from trees and grass
- Smoke and air pollution
- Sprayers containing chemicals (for example, household detergents)
- Swollen adenoids and bumps on the mucous membranes, such as nasal polyps, can block the sinus openings and lead to sinusitis.
Can I prevent sinus infection or sinusitis?
You can reduce your chances of developing sinus infections by making several simple changes to your home environment. Try using a humidifier in cold weather to prevent hot, dry air from the heater from irritating your sinuses, which can make them more susceptible to infection. Clean your humidifier regularly because mold, which can trigger allergies in some people, easily forms in humid environments.
If you have an allergy, go the extra mile to keep it under control because allergy can make a person more prone to developing sinus infections.
Are sinus infections contagious?
If you are wondering that are sinus infections contagious? The answer is NO! Sinus infections are not contagious. But it is usually preceded by a cold or catarrh, which can be passed on to family and friends. An effective way to prevent the spread of bacteria is to wash your hands thoroughly. Stay away from used tissues and try to reduce contact with those who sneeze often or have sinus symptoms.
Sinusitis is not contagious, but the cause may be that it is. The most common cause of sinus infection is a cold or the flu. When you have a cold or the flu virus, your sinuses can become inflamed, preventing mucus from draining properly. This can lead to a secondary bacterial infection, which in turn can lead to more inflammation.
If you or a family member has a cold, try to prevent the spread of the virus by doing the following:
· covering your mouth when coughing or sneezing
· wash your hands frequently and dry them properly
· Throw used tissues in the trash immediately.
You should also tell your children not to share toys if one of them has a cold or the flu, and to wash all toys in soapy water after using them.
What can you do to relieve the sinus infection naturally?
For some people, breathing the steam from a bowl of hot (not boiling) water relieves their symptoms. However, it is a natural remedy that is not scientifically proven. You can try sitting in the bathroom and running the hot water in the shower. Placing a warm washcloth on the painful areas of your face, and sleeping with your head and shoulders raised with pillows can help, but, once again, it is a home remedy, and it should be noted that there is no scientific evidence that sustains it.
What over-the-counter medications are helpful for treating sinusitis?
On the other hand, there is some evidence that using saltwater nasal drops or sprays can alleviate symptoms of chronic sinusitis. These are available in pharmacies, without the need for a prescription.
Over-the-counter pain relievers, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen, can ease the headache caused by your sinusitis and lower your temperature if you have a fever. Always read the patient information leaflet that comes with your medicine and ask your pharmacist or doctor for advice if in doubt.
Various over-the-counter nasal sprays are also available with a prescription from your GP. These include decongestants (for example, Sudafed) and mild steroids (for example, Beconase). Your GP or pharmacist can recommend the most appropriate treatment for you.
Medical treatment for sinus infection
If your GP believes that the cause of your sinusitis is a bacterial infection, or if you develop a secondary bacterial infection due to inflammation of your sinus, antibiotics may be prescribed for your sinusitis. However, research shows that 8 out of 10 people with acute sinusitis get better within two weeks without receiving antibiotics.
If you have sinusitis and, in addition, you are allergic, controlling your allergy can help you reduce the symptoms of sinusitis. Antihistamine pills like loratadine (for example, Clarityn) can help do this.
If you have chronic sinusitis that does not improve with medical (medication) or home treatments, your specialist may suggest that you consider surgery.
In functional endoscopic sinus surgery (FESS) the surgeon flushes the sinuses and widens the drainage holes with an endoscope.
Other types of sinus surgery can remove nasal polyps or correct a blockage in your nose that may be the cause of your sinusitis. Ask your doctor for more information about the different types of surgery, as all surgery carries risks of complications and side effects.