Sinus Infections, also known as rhinosinusitis and sinusitis can happen to anyone. Often sinusitis is caused by a virus, in lesser cases; it is caused by bacteria or fungus. If you have a deviated septum, broken nose, or nasal polyps, allergies or immunodeficiencies, they can make you more susceptible to sinus infections. Sinusitis and the symptoms may go away on their own or will often continue to persist even after your upper respiratory symptoms are gone.
- cough, congestion, fever, headache, fatigue
- facial swelling and/or persistent facial pain, pressure or tenderness
- yellow or green mucus
- bad breath
What to do
Ears, Nose, and Throat specialists recommend if the symptoms don’t go away on their own, then you should seek the advice of your doctor. Your ENT can check to see if it caused by virus, bacteria or fungus and treat accordingly; the symptoms are similar. If after 7-10 days your sinus infection doesn’t go away, and it is indeed bacterial, then antibiotics would be recommended.
Viral sinusitis is usually the result of the common cold or flu and you would treat it with rest, fluids, rinse out your sinuses with saline irrigation, which can help thin mucous and flush it from your nasal cavity and acetaminophen type pain relievers. Be aware, as sinus infections resulting from respiratory viruses that cause colds and flu are spread mostly through hand-to-hand contact; they are contagious.
There are rare cases when untreated sinus infections can turn quite serious, such as a sinus infection in the rear center of one’s head can spread into the brain, potentially causing a life-threatening condition, such as meningitis or a brain abscess.
More commonly, there are complications to the eyes, causing redness, swelling, and reduced vision, and potentially leading to blindness. Cavernous sinus thrombosis should be treated immediately with IV antibiotics, and the patient will have to get a CT scan to see if fluid needs to be drained.
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