Sinus infections can be a frustrating condition, with symptoms that affect more than just your nose and sinuses. Symptoms can linger for months, or seem to get better only to return again shortly.
If you’ve grown frustrated with frequent rounds of antibiotics, over-the-counter decongestants, antihistamines, or nasal sprays, you may be dealing with something different than a cold or allergies. You might have sinusitis that’s recurrent (defined as having three or more infections in a year) or chronic (with symptoms lasting for 12 weeks or more, despite attempts to treat the condition).
What are some common sinus infection causes?
Also referred to as sinusitis, a sinus infection occurs when the tissues lining your sinuses – the air-filled chambers around your nose – become swollen. They’re normally filled with air, but when they become blocked, mucus builds up and creates the perfect environment for germs to thrive. This can cause an infection, which signals your immune system to respond, resulting in swelling and the build-up of mucus.
Sinusitis commonly occurs in response to a virus and often persists even after other upper respiratory symptoms have cleared up. A secondary infection that’s caused by bacteria can often develop.
Other issues, such as fungus or bacteria, can be the initial cause of a sinus infection in rare cases. Allergies, nasal polyps, a tooth infection and a deviated septum can also serve as sinus infection causes.
What are the symptoms of a sinus infection?
Symptoms of a sinus infection can include:
- Nasal congestion
- Yellow or green nasal discharge
- Facial pain or pressure
- Cough or scratchy throat
- Reduced or absent sense of smell or taste
- Ear pain or pressure
- Tooth pain
- Bad breath
What are the treatment options for a sinus infection?
Sinus infections are usually treated conservatively at first, often with a combination of home remedies and medication. Sometimes medication can cause unwanted side effects and may need to be changed.
Treatment options may include the following:
- Antibiotics – can help if a bacterial infection is causing your sinus infection or if a secondary bacterial infection has developed
- Nasal decongestant sprays – can help reduce congestion but may also increase inflammation
- Antihistamines – can help dry mucus, but may also worsen the condition
- Topical nasal corticosteroids – to help reduce inflammation
- Nasal saline washes – to help remove mucus
- Steam inhalation – can help make breathing easier and is often recommended two to four times a day. Use a hot shower, vaporizer, or lean over a bowl of hot water while covering your head with a towel.
- Drinking plenty of water – to lubricate the mucous membranes, thin the mucus, and avoid dehydration
- Surgery – may be performed if other treatments don’t work and a structural abnormality such as nasal polyps or a deviated septum is causing your sinus infection
Where can I get treated for my sinus infection?
DFW Sinus Select is a practice that’s dedicated to providing relief from symptoms related to the nose and sinuses. We’ll accurately diagnose your condition – as well any sinus infection causes that may be the underlying issue – and provide the latest, most effective treatment options.
To learn what type of sinusitis is causing your particular symptoms, it’s important to schedule an appointment with a DFW Sinus Select ear, nose, and throat specialist. We’ll properly diagnose your sinus issues and give you information about your treatment options. Our practice specializes in tailoring treatments designed for the best possible long-term results with minimal side effects.
Schedule an appointment today to take the first step toward relief from your sinus infection symptoms!