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Leah McCabe

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About Author — Leah likes writing about health and science subjects. Through her writing she hopes to help people of all backgrounds have equal access to information and quality healthcare.

Most PlushCare articles are reviewed by M.D.s, Ph.Ds, N.P.s, nutritionists and other healthcare professionals. Click here to learn more and meet some of the professionals behind our blog.

Are Sinus Infections Contagious?

If you have a sinus infection you may be wondering, are sinus infections contagious? It’s a good question, no one wants to get other people sick, or get sick themselves being around an infected person. So, let’s get to the bottom of this and figure out if sinus infections are contagious, or not.

What is a Sinus Infection?

A sinus infection occurs due to an infection and inflammation in the sinuses. It is commonly caused by a viral infection, but can also be brought on by a bacterial or even fungal infection. The symptoms usually start to pop up after dealing with another upper respiratory infection and can linger for weeks.

There are also different types of sinus infections from acute to chronic. An acute sinus infection is the type of infection that will generally come on after recovering from a cold. Acute sinusitis can last two to four weeks. Subacute sinusitis can last up to three months, and chronic or recurrent sinusitis is when you come down with a sinus infection multiple times each year.

Sinus Infection Symptoms

When it comes to sinus infections, the primary and most bothersome symptoms are often pain or pressure around the eyes, a sinus headache, and nasal discharge.

However, there are many other symptoms you may experience when dealing with a sinus infection including:

Are Sinus Infections Contagious?

You may wonder if sinus infections are contagious, especially during cold and flu season when it seems like everyone around you is sick. If you have come down with a sinus infection, you may also be wondering if you should stay home from work to avoid the spread of germs.

The answer isn’t as simple as yes or no as it all depends on what caused your sinus infection. While most sinus infections are caused by a viral infection, they can be bacterial or can also be caused by allergies or a deviated septum.

If your sinus infection was caused by a virus, the virus that caused the infection is contagious. The most common type of virus that causes a sinus infection is the common cold, so you may spread a cold to others around you, but not necessarily the sinus infection itself.

If you are suffering from a bacterial sinus infection, the mucus in your sinuses can trigger the infection. In cases of bacterial sinusitis, the sinus infection is not contagious

If your sinus infection is viral, then chances are, you are contagious for at least a few days before symptoms came on, and you may be contagious for up to one week.

How to Avoid Spreading a Sinus Infection

If you are suffering from a sinus infection, and are not sure if it was caused by a viral or bacterial infection, it is best to avoid close contact with others until you start treatment and begin to feel better.

Proper hand washing, and staying home from work or school are two of the best ways to avoid the spread of the infection.

Sinus Infection Treatment Options

There are different ways you can treat a sinus infection. From home remedies to prescription antibiotics, treatment options to help you feel better are available.

Here are some sinus infection home remedies you can try to help alleviate some of your symptoms.

  • Hydration: Stay hydrated to help loosen and flush out built up mucus.
  • Rest: Rest is the best medicine when you are sick and feeling run down. Stay home and rest for as long as you can to help your body heal faster. The more you rest, the faster you will bounce back.
  • Nasal Rinses: Nasal sprays or Neti Pots work great to help loosen mucus and drain your sinuses.

Home remedies for sinus infections work well when your infection is brought on by a viral infection. However, if you are dealing with a bacterial sinus infection, you may need prescription medication. Antibiotics are often used for bacterial sinus infections, and a doctor can also prescribe steroid nasal sprays to help reduce the inflammation which can also help alleviate some of the sinus pressure discomfort.
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How to Get Treated for a Sinus Infection

If you are battling a sinus infection, don’t wait until your primary care doctor’s next available appointment to get treatment. Sinus infections can bring many uncomfortable symptoms, and if left untreated, can last for many weeks. If your sinus infection symptoms have lasted longer than a week, you may be dealing with a bacterial infection and be in need of a prescription. Our PlushCare doctors can diagnose your sinus infection, and prescribe the medications you need to feel better.

Book an appointment with a PlushCare doctor today to get the treatment you need to feel better as soon as today.

To book your appointment, click here.

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