Does your nose feel clogged no matter how much you blow it? Are you experiencing unusual pain in your face? Have you recently suffered from allergies or an infection? You might be dealing with a sinus infection.
What is a sinus infection?
A sinus infection, also known as sinusitis, is the result of infection, swelling, and inflammation in your sinus cavities. You have many sinus cavities in your face, which is why symptoms may affect your eyes, ears, or teeth. Sinus infections are typically a side effect of another illness (usually caused by a virus, like a cold or the flu) or allergies.
Are sinus infections contagious?
Sinus infections themselves are generally not contagious, although the illness that caused the sinus infection, like a cold or the flu, may be contagious. That illness may not cause a sinus infection in the other person, so the sinus infection itself is not technically contagious.
Sinus infection symptoms
Sinus infections can include a variety of symptoms that can make you feel miserable, including:
- Facial tenderness or pain
- Sore throat and hoarse voice
- Cough and throat irritation
- Facial swelling
- Nasal discharge, which may be clear, whitish, cloudy, green, yellow, or pus-like
- Sinus headache
- Pain or pressure in the eyes, ears, teeth, or other sinus cavities
- Feeling of nasal stuffiness despite blowing nose often
- Post-nasal drip
Sinus infection treatment
Since sinus infections are typically a short-term side effect of a viral infection, a doctor visit and antibiotics are typically not required. Try these over the counter and home remedies for a few days first. If your sinus infection doesn’t clear up on its own after a few days, a doctor may prescribe you antibiotics. Some things a doctor might recommend for treatment of a sinus infection include:
- Nasal decongestant sprays like oxymetazoline can help relieve symptoms but should not be used for longer than three days due to the chance of suffering from rebound side effects.
- Steroid nasal sprays like fluticasone and triamcinolone are available over the counter and can help relieve the symptoms of a sinus infection without the risks of rebound side effects.
- Over the counter antihistamines and decongestants like Allegra, Claritin, Sudafed, and Zyrtec work especially well for sinus infections caused by allergies. These medicines should not be taken by people who suffer from high blood pressure, prostate issues, glaucoma, or sleep difficulties without talking to a doctor first.
- Nasal irrigation with sterile saline mixtures can help clear out mucus and make it easier to breathe.
- Antibiotics may be prescribed for sinus infections that don’t clear up on their own, but they are only effective against sinus infections caused by bacteria. Since most sinus infections are the result of viruses, allergies, or other causes, antibiotics typically aren’t useful in the fight against sinus infection. Amoxicillin is one choice of antibiotic that your doctor may choose to prescribe if you sinus infection won’t go away.
Think you may be suffering from a sinus infection? Book an appointment with a PlushCare physician and get a prescription today!