Sinusitis (a sinus infection) is an inflammation of the sinus lining that prevents mucus from draining normally through the nose. Sinuses are normally full of air, but when they become blocked, it creates the perfect breeding ground for viruses and bacteria that can cause an infection.
This blockage causes mucus to build up in the sinuses, and since our bodies can produce about a quart of mucus a day, this can quickly lead to some uncomfortable symptoms.
If you’re suffering from a sinus infection, you may be wondering whether your infection is contagious and if your family and colleagues will soon start experiencing the same symptoms.
In this blog, the experienced ear, nose, and throat specialists at DFW Sinus Select will address whether sinus infections are contagious.
What are the symptoms of sinus infections?
If you have a sinus infection, you may be experiencing one or more of the following symptoms:
- Facial pain
- Tenderness and swelling around your eyes, cheeks, nose, and forehead
- Sinus congestion or pressure
- Difficulty breathing through your nose
- Reduced sense of smell or taste
- Sinus headache
- Yellow or green mucus discharge from the nose, which can be foul-smelling
- Teeth pain
- Sore throat from nasal discharge
- Bad breath
Are sinus infections contagious?
In most cases, sinusitis is not contagious. There are some causes of sinus infection, however, that can spread from person to person.
There are two types of sinus infections: viral and bacterial.
Bacterial sinus infections can sometimes develop following a viral upper respiratory infection, such as a cold or the flu. The respiratory viruses that cause cold, flu – and ultimately sinusitis – are spread mostly via hand-to-hand contact, so they’re contagious.
Tiny air droplets that result from nose blowing or coughing are the main carriers of respiratory viruses. You don’t necessarily need to have direct contact with someone who’s sick to develop a cold or acute sinusitis. You may come into contact with something that they’ve touched and spread germs to, and when you touch this surface and your own nose, eyes, or mouth, you could very well develop a cold or acute sinusitis.
Respiratory viruses spread especially fast among children, particularly those who are in school or in day care.
The question of whether or not your sinus infection is contagious depends on the cause of the infection. Bacterial sinus infections aren’t contagious by themselves, but the infections that cause them are contagious. Viral sinus infections are contagious, but those that are caused by allergies, a deviated septum, or other issues are not.
You can take precautions to reduce the spread of sinus infections spread via respiratory viruses by:
- Hand hygiene: Wash your hands thoroughly or use hand sanitizer when soap and water aren’t available.
- Social distancing: If you’re sick or are around someone who is, put some distance between the two of you, and don’t hug or shake hands.
- Vaccination: A vaccination is the best way to avoid getting the flu.
Where can I get evaluated for my sinus infection?
The board-certified specialists at DFW Sinus Select have extensive training in relieving sinus issues. We have the expertise and experience to accurately diagnose what’s causing your symptoms and offer a wide range of treatment options.
We’re dedicated to helping you improve your health by providing the best possible treatment for your sinusitis.
To take the first step toward relief, set up an initial consultation with one of our board-certified specialists. We’ll evaluate your condition and develop a treatment plan based on your unique needs.