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No one likes being sick, and having a sinus infection can be very uncomfortable. Our online doctors can diagnose your sinus infection, write a prescription when needed, and send it to your local pharmacy. PlushCare can help you effectively treat your sinus symptoms.
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What is a sinus infection?
A sinus infection, also called sinusitis, is the infection, swelling, and inflammation of cavities in your face called the sinuses. You have many sinus cavities in your face, so you may experience pain anywhere from your teeth to above or below your eyes to a sinus headache depending on which sinus cavities are affected. Sinus infections are commonly caused by viruses and allergies, and more rarely by bacteria.
Are sinus infections contagious?
Your sinus infection can infect others if it is the result of a viral infection. A bacterial infection, allergies, or having a deviated septum means your sinus infection cannot be transmitted from one person to another. If you believe you have a sinus infection, the best way to tell is to receive a diagnosis from a doctor.
What are the symptoms of a sinus infection?
If you’ve ever experienced a sinus infection before, you’re probably familiar with a sinus headache and sinus pressure. What other symptoms might you have? Sinus infection symptoms can include:
-Facial pain, tenderness, or swelling
-Inability to smell
-Nasal discharge that is yellow, green, or cloudy
-Pain: above, below, or between your eyes; your forehead; either side of your nose; or your upper teeth or jaw.
What causes a sinus infection?
Sinus infections are often the side effect of a virus such as a cold or the flu. These viruses are mainly spread via tiny droplets of air that come from coughing, sneezing, or blowing your nose. Sinus infections may also be caused by allergies or irritants such as cigarette smoke or nasal sprays. Occasionally, sinus infections may be caused by bacteria.
What is the best medicine for sinus pressure?
Treating sinus pressure often requires more than one medicine. For example, you may combine a decongestant with a pain reliever to reduce swelling and relieve pain at the same time. Since there are different causes of sinus pressure, the best medicine will vary for each individual.
Most sinus infections are caused by viruses. A prescription-strength nasal steroid spray can help quickly relieve symptoms. If your congestion is a result of a bacterial infection, you may be prescribed antibiotics. One of our doctors can evaluate your symptoms online today and prescribe these medications if you qualify.
If you’re experiencing sinus pressure symptoms, book an appointment with one of our physicians and get started with treatment today.
Can you buy antibiotics to treat a sinus infection over the counter?
Antibiotics require a prescription. You cannot buy them over the counter and most have specific directions for taking them and some side effects. It is a federal law that all antibiotics require a doctor’s prescription.
While in the past sinus infections were often treated with antibiotics, we now know that most of these infections are caused by viruses, not bacteria. Antibiotics are generally needed for only severe, prolonged infections greater than 10-14 days in duration or if you have a high fever.
Can you diagnose a sinus infection online?
Yes. Through asking the right questions, our doctors can evaluate if you have a sinus infection; no tests are typically necessary. Oftentimes, colds, flu, and other viruses like COVID-19 can look exactly like a sinus infection.
If I take antibiotics, how long does it take for them to work?
It takes between 7 and 14 days for antibiotics to fully take effect and treat a sinus infection.
What antibiotics for sinus infection may be prescribed as treatment?
Each antibiotic is prescribed according to your medical history, and suspected bacterial cause. Given that antibiotics have been overused in the past, many bacteria infecting the sinuses are resistant to antibiotics.
Commonly prescribed antibiotics for sinus infection may include:
– Amoxicillin (Amoxil)
– Amoxicillin-clavulanate (Augmentin)
– Ciprofloxacin (Cipro)
– Cefaclor (Ceclor)
– Trimethoprim/Sulfamethoxazole (Bactrim DS)
Can a sinus infection go away without antibiotics?
While most sinus infections are viral and do not require antibiotics, when the infection lasts more than 10-14 days and/or is accompanied by a high fever, it might have a bacterial cause.
What is the best medicine for a sinus infection?
Most of the time, sinus infections will clear up within 7-10 days with rest, fluids, and some simple over the counter and home remedies. If your sinus infection lasts longer than a week, you should speak to a doctor. Here are some of the best medicines for a sinus infection:
–Nasal decongestant sprays such as oxymetazoline may relieve symptoms, but you should not use them any longer than three days since you may suffer from rebound effects.
-Over the counter steroid nasal sprays like fluticasone or triamcinolone can relieve your symptoms, and they do not have a risk of rebound effects.
-Saline nasal irrigation or a Neti Pot can help flush mucus from your sinus cavities, which can help reduce your symptoms. It is important to note that you should use filtered or boiled water; tap water can cause problems.
-Antihistamines and decongestants are easily found over the counter and can help alleviate sinus pressure and sinus headaches. Some examples may include Sudafed, Zyrtec, Allegra, and Claritin.
–Mucus thinners can make the mucus easier to remove, and less mucus may mean less sinus pressure. Mucous thinning medication includes Mucinex, or Guaifenesin.
-Over the counter pain medications such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil) can help relieve sinus headaches.
-Antibiotics for sinus infection may be used as a last resort if your symptoms don’t clear up within 10-14 days. Antibiotics are not effective for sinus infections caused by viruses, allergies, or irritants, so they should only be used if it’s likely that the infection is caused by bacteria.
Do you have a sinus infection that has lasted more than a few days? If it is time to explore antibiotics, book an appointment with an online doctor.
Can a sinus infection cause tooth pain?
Yes, toothaches are an extremely common symptom of a sinus infection.
A sinus infection is accompanied by many different side effects, one of which may be tooth pain. Sinuses are hollow cavities in the skull which allow dust and mucus to drain from the nose to the back of the throat.
When your sinuses become inflamed, your mucous membranes begin to swell and trap dust particles. This disrupts the normal flow of mucus, which can create pressure in the face and sinus region. Depending on which sinus cavity is infected, you may have variations in symptoms and the location of the pain.
Tooth pain is a side effect of sinusitis due to the pressure on nasal cavities, which are very close to the upper rear teeth in your mouth. The maxillary sinus, located behind the cheekbones, is especially close to the roots of your top molar teeth. The pressure from mucus blockage in this sinus can disturb the nerves that go through the roots of the molar, causing a toothache.
Typically, pain is felt in multiple teeth as a dull ache or throbbing pain, like something is exerting a strong force down on your teeth. This can lead to sensitivity when eating and chewing, as well.
How long does a sinusitis toothache last?
If the toothache is caused by inflammation in the sinuses, the pain should go away after you treat the sinus infection. Acute sinus infections can last for one week to eight weeks, while chronic infections may last for months at a time.
What causes pressure in your sinuses?
Sinus pressure is caused by the swelling and inflammation of the membranes inside your sinus passages. This irritation causes the membranes to produce more mucus to try to flush out whatever is causing the inflammation. The excess mucus then adds to the pressure inside the sinus cavities.
Some triggers of sinus pressure include:
-Infection caused by a virus such as the cold or flu
-Infection caused by bacteria
What can you take for a sinus infection while pregnant?
Instead of turning to quick fixes, it is important to learn what medications are safe. Talk to a doctor to find out which medications are safe to take during pregnancy to help your symptoms and to prevent them from worsening. In addition, you can try some of these methods at home to ease symptoms:
-Keep the air moist with a humidifier in your room while you sleep at night. This will keep your nasal passages moist and expedite healing.
-To avoid damaging delicate mucus membranes, make sure you are not blowing your nose too aggressively.
-Elevate your head while sleeping. Propping your head up with a few pillows at night to prevent the postnasal drip and coughing may allow you to sleep better.
-Make your nutrients count. Appetite can be hit hard by both pregnancy and infection. When you do eat, choose as many nutrient-dense fruits and vegetables as possible.
Can you spread a sinus infection?
Yes, most sinus infections can be spread via respiratory droplets unless they are a result of allergies or irritants. If you have a contagious sinus infection, do your best to prevent spread to others. While the best thing would be to isolate yourself until you feel better, that is not always feasible. Take general precautions such as staying away from others, washing your hands frequently, using sanitizer, and wearing a face mask.
How long does a sinus infection last?
There are a variety of factors that can affect the duration of a bout of sinusitis, from the causative factor, to the sinus involved, and the treatment you use to address it.
Acute sinusitis, such as that caused by the common cold, typically should not last any longer than 4 weeks. Most often, those who experience the occasional sinus infection should notice their symptoms starting to wane by the 2nd week, given that they are observing the proper care and treatment.
If symptoms persist for 4 to 12 weeks, then you might have what doctors call a subacute sinus infection.
Individuals who experience 2 to 4 episodes of acute sinusitis in a year may have what doctors call recurrent acute sinusitis. This frequent, repeated incidence of sinus infection may be caused by seasonal allergies or anatomical anomalies concerning the structures near or involving the sinus.
Then finally, there is chronic sinusitis, which is characterized by sinus infections lasting beyond 12 weeks. Usually, doctors pinpoint allergies as the most likely causative factor for chronic sinusitis; however, anatomical issues may also play a role.
Can a sinus infection cause dizziness?
Yes, a sinus infection may cause dizziness. A sinus infection may impact the Eustachian tube, which connects the middle ears to the back of the throat, and helps to equalize air pressure in the ear. Blockage of the tube during a sinus infection may cause the body to lose its sense of balance and lead to feelings of dizziness.
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Common Antibiotics Prescribed for Sinus Infections
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