Do I have a sinus infection?
A sinus infection, or sinusitis, is inflammation of the sinuses caused by infection. Learn more about this condition, when see a doctor, and how to get rid of a sinus infection.
What is a sinus infection?
A sinus infection, also known as sinusitis, is an infection that leads to inflammation of the sinuses in the head. Sinuses are air filled spaces that are behind the forehead, nose, cheeks and eyes. If there is blockage of the sinuses by excessive mucous (due to a cold or flu) bacteria and viruses can build up leading to congestion, fevers, pressure and pain.
- Acute sinusitis usually follows a viral infection involving the upper respiratory tract but allergies can also lead to sinusitis
- Due to mucous blockage and inability for sinuses to drain, bacteria and viruses easily grow and invade the lining of the sinuses. This leads to symptoms of sinusitis
When should you see a doctor for a sinus infection?
You should get medical attention if symptoms such as pressure, fever and pain are persist or worsen for more than a week.
How to get rid of a sinus infection?
There are several ways to treat sinusitis, including simple things you can do at home.
- Use steam therapy from a vaporizer or from a shower in the bathroom
- Drink plenty of fluids
- Use anti-inflammatory and pain reducing medications such as ibuprofen
- Your doctor may recommend decongestants such as nasal sprays. It is important to note that decongestants should not be used for more than three days since they become less effective after and can actually lead to worsening congestion
- Antibiotics may also be needed and there are several that your doctor can prescribe for worsening or persisting symptoms
How can you prevent a sinus infection?
- Wash your hands frequently, especially when in contact with others who have a cold or flu
- Get a flu shot
- Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids
- Avoid allergens in the environment
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