Wednesday, July 21, 2021

The Lowdown on Sinus Infections

In recent months, most of us have focused on the raging health issue of the COVID-19 global pandemic. However, this hasn’t stopped all sorts of other health concerns from causing people problems, whether it’s winter, summer, or another time of year. 

In particular, many of us suffer from pain and pressure and other ill effects from a sinus infection. Medically referred to as rhinosinusitis, this situation arises when nasal cavities become infected, inflamed, and swollen. Here’s what you need to know about sinus issues today. 


There are some commonalities you can be on the lookout for that will suggest an infection of the sinuses. For example, many people suffer from facial pain, tenderness, or pressure. This uncomfortable feeling could be in the sinuses, ears, or teeth

You might get a sinus-related headache or notice some facial swelling. You might also find yourself dealing with a fever, sore throat or cough, a runny or stuffy nose, or even bad breath. Plus, you might notice mucus dripping down your throat (postnasal drip) or that you have pus-like nasal discharge or cloudy, discolored nasal draining. 


You might wonder what leads people to get a sinus infection. There can be a few causes. While many people question, “Are sinus infections contagious, and do they move from person to person?” the reality is that most people don’t spread these types of infections to anyone else. 

Sinus infections can arise due to allergies, chemical or particulate irritation of the sinuses, or various viruses or bacteria. Sinus infections occur when fluid builds up in the air-filled pockets in the face. When this fluid builds, germs can more easily grow. 

Risk Factors

Multiple factors can increase your chances of getting an annoying sinus infection. For example, these health issues can arise if you have structural problems within your sinuses, such as nasal polyps or other growths on the lining of the nose or sinuses. Seasonal allergies make you more likely to get an infection, as does a prior cold. Other risk factors include smoking or being exposed to second-hand smoke and having a weak immune system

Prevention Tips

None of us want to suffer from sinus infections if we can help it. As such, it pays to understand some of the best ways to prevent yourself from suffering from them. The top tip is to stay as healthy as you can. Don’t smoke or spend time around others who are smoking, and avoid close contact with anyone who has a cold or other upper respiratory infection. 

Clean your hands well and often, and use a humidifier in your home and office as needed to moisten the air and support your nasal passages and sinuses. Plus, being vaccinated for the flu and pneumococcal disease should help you stay safer. 

How to Deal with Sinus Infections

If you do get struck down with a sinus infection, though, you’ll want to take some steps to try to nudge it on its way ASAP. Do things that help to relieve pain and pressure in the sinuses and clear them out, such as using a decongestant or saline nasal spray. You might breathe in steam from a bowl of hot water or use a shower to get the same result. Also, place a warm compress over your face, targeting your nose and forehead, to get some relief. 

If discomfort persists, see your doctor and let them confirm you have a sinus infection. They might prescribe over-the-counter medicines, general paracetamol, or other painkillers to help you feel better. Usually, antibiotics aren’t required since most systems can clear up sinus infections on their own after a few days. In some cases, though, your health practitioner may give you a script for antibiotics to get made up if you still have symptoms after a while. 

See a doctor if sinus issues last for over ten days without any signs of improvement or if you have an accompanying fever for more than three or four days. Seek medical care if your symptoms get worse, too, rather than improving (or if they improve but then things go downhill again), or if you find yourself with severe facial pain or headaches. Anyone who deals with multiple sinus infections in a year should see a doctor, too. 

Sinus infections are a real pain to deal with, but thankfully many of them only last for a short time, less than four weeks. Some chronic infections can endure for over three months, though, or continue to recur. The better your understanding of these health issues, the easier it will be for you to tell when something is really wrong and when you have to ride the pain out.

This is a guest blog entry.

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