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Symptoms, causes, and treatments for Sinus Infections

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Sinus Infection

Symptoms of a Sinus Infection

Sinus congestion and the common cold go hand-in-hand. Every time you wipe your nose, you risk spreading germs to your sinuses (not to mention unsuspecting strangers asking to borrow your pen).

Sinus infection symptoms include:

  • Disappearing sense of smell
  • Facial pressure
  • Fever
  • General congestion
  • Painful teeth
  • Stuffy nose
  • Tiredness

Causes of a Sinus Infection

The cold virus represents the most likely cause of sinus infections. While many colds pass without incident, their lingering effects can create both acute and chronic sinus infections.

Have constantly problematic sinuses? These conditions can increase your risk for repeated infection:

  • Allergies
  • Blocked nasal cavities
  • Cystic fibrosis or other immune disorders
  • Deviated septum
  • Nasal polyps or tumors

Should I Be Worried?

Around 29 million adults in the U.S. deal with sinusitis every year. The longer cold symptoms like a runny nose, facial pain, and stuffiness last, the more worried you should be.

Acute sinusitis is usually caused by a virus and may resolve itself within 10 days. If you continue having symptoms for more than 10 days you should come in and see a doctor: it’s likely your viral sinusitis has turned into bacterial sinusitis. Bacterial sinusitis occurs in 0.5% to 2% of viral sinusitis cases.

Antibiotics are prescribed for bacterial sinusitis if your symptoms don’t improve after 7 to 10 days, or when symptoms worsen after 7 to 10 days of supportive therapy.

You should also seek emergency medical attention regardless of the duration of symptoms if you experience:

  • Confusion
  • Difficulty moving your eyes
  • Persistent fever over 102°F
  • Severe headache
  • Stiff neck
  • Swelling or redness in the skin around your eyes
  • Vision changes

Chronic sinusitis means you’ve suffered at least two, or more, of these symptoms for 12 weeks or longer despite receiving medical care:

  • Congestion
  • Facial pain, pressure, or fullness
  • Loss of sense of smell
  • Mucus and pus drainage

Schedule a sinus infection visit online or from our iOS app today.

Find a neighborhood ZOOM+Care clinic near you in Portland, Seattle, Salem, or Vancouver.

Additional DIY Articles

Sore Throat; UTI; Ear Infection; Cough; Cold; Bladder Infection; Flu; Rash; STI; Stomach Pain; Earwax Buildup; Bronchitis; Foot Pain; Yeast Infection; Strep Throat; Eye Infection; Fever; Back Pain; Asthma; Neck Pain; Allergies; Insect Bites and Stings; Headache; Diarrhea; Anxiety

Sinus Infection Prevention Tips

Consider these tips to help reduce your chance of sinus infections:

  • Buy a humidifier. Dry air can cause sinus infections due to nasal irritation. Not sure if your air is too dry? Many modern smart thermostats track changes to humidity.
  • Avoid cigarette smoke. Tobacco smoke causes coughs and irritates nasal passages.
  • Keep your allergies in check. Constant sneezing and irritation make you susceptible to sinus infections. Either try non-prescription allergy medications, if they work for you, or talk to a ZOOM+Care Doctor to discuss an allergy management plan.