Many of the signs of sinus infection are similar to that of the common cold because sinus causes can be common cold or seasonal allergies. A sinus infection occurs when the sinus cavities around your eyes and nose become inflamed and trap the mucus within them. The sinus cavities are spaces in the bones of the skull that help to filter the air you breathe in. Unfortunately, there are not many medications for sinus infections. Most of the time, the infection will clean up on its own. If not, you should pay attention to the signs and symptoms so that you can prevent its deterioration by providing treatment as soon as possible.
Signs of Sinus Infection
Sinus infections can have a variety of symptoms depending on the severity. To prevent a more serious infection, it is important to know what the symptoms are and how they can be treated. Here are some signs of sinus infection that you can watch for:
1. Pain and Headache
An inflammation and swelling of the sinuses causes pressure within your sinuses which can create pain and headaches. The most pain could be toothaches, arching throat and could be felt around your eyes, beside your nose and in your upper jaw. This pain and pressure can also lead to massive headaches. Mornings are when you will experience the most severe pain because you have been lying down all night allowing your sinuses to build up fluids.
2. Running Nose
You may experience a yellowish or greenish discharge from your nose causing you to blow your nose often. This is from the infected sinuses clearing themselves out. Instead of coming out your nose, it may go down the back of your throat, this is normal and is called postnasal drip. Both of these may continue days even after the infection has gone because your immune cells are continuing to drain.
Along with the running nose, you may also feel congestion. This is because the nasal passageways are swelling and restricting how well you can breathe.
A sinus cough can be quite disruptive, especially at night. The cough is caused by the postnasal drip irritating your throat. This can become quite aggravating. At night it is best that you sleep with your head and shoulders propped up to prevent the intensity of the cough.
Even though the temperature generally remains low grade, it is an indication that your immune system is fighting the infection. If you develop a fever and it gets worse, it may be a sign that the infection is going to last longer and it is important that you visit your doctor.
6. Decreased Smell and Taste
Air movement in your sinuses allows you to smell and taste. You may still be able to taste sweet and salty, but the blockage caused by a sinus infection can decrease your smell and taste.
It is normal to feel a bit light headed or dizzy when you tilt your head or stand up if you have a sinus infection. The inflamed and congested membranes in your sinus cavities can cause you to feel off balance.
How to Diagnose Sinus Infection
You may suffer a lot of unnecessary misery and pain if you do not diagnose a sinus infection early on. If you think you may have some signs of sinus infection, it is important to get a confirmed diagnosis.
Your doctor will start with a basic exam of feeling and pressing your sinuses to check for inflammation or tenderness. They may also check for an inflamed paranasal sinus by tapping your teeth. If further testing is needed, they may request a mucus culture, nasal endoscopy, X-rays, allergy tests, imaging study or other blood work.
Treatments for Sinus Infection
There are four types of sinus infection or sinusitis: acute, subacute, chronic, and recurrent. Depending on the type of infection or the severity, there are several treatments that can help relieve the root and signs of sinus ingection. Most of the time acute sinusitis can be treated with basic treatments that are used for the common cold and do not need other medications. However, the other types may need more prescriptions or over the counter medication to help clear them up.
1. Home Remedies for Sinus Infection
- Maintain healthy diet
Maintaining a healthy diet can help reduce the symptoms and help your immune system fight off the infection. Avoiding flour products, eggs, chocolate, dairy, processed foods and foods high in sugar will reduce the amount of mucus produced.
- Use herbs
You can eliminate excess mucus by eating cayenne pepper, garlic, onion and horseradish with your meals. Eating a spoonful of horseradish mixed with lemon juice will also help clear out extra mucus.
- Drink apple cider vinegar
You can thin congested mucus by drinking a mixture of 1-2 teaspoons raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar with 6 ounces of warm water. Drink this mixture 3 times a day for the first 5 days.
- Apply nasal saline irrigation
Fill the neti pot with 2 cups of warm water and mix it with a teaspoon of sea salt. Then, make sure you are near a sink and tilt your head to one side. Pour the mixture into one nostril and allow it to run out from the other nostril to clear out any excess mucus.
- Try citrus extract
Citrus extract is a powerful natural antibiotic that can be purchased as a nasal spray. Using this in combination with other treatments can help to prevent further infection.
When to See a Doctor
Use self-care treatments when you first start to see signs of a sinus infection. If the symptoms persist for more than a few days or they don’t improve, you have a fever, or you have a history of recurrent or chronic sinusitis, then it is time to see a doctor. You need to immediately see a doctor if you have pain or swelling around the eyes, your forehead is swollen, you have a headache or if you have confusion, double vision, stiff neck, or a shortness of breath.
2. Medications for Sinus Infection
The mild sinusitis may be cured with home remedies and self-care, however if the symptoms persist you need to take medications. There are several medications that help cure the symptoms which in turn cures the infection.
Your doctor may prescribe antibiotics such as amoxicillin to kill the bacteria or analgesics such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen to relieve the pain. Your doctor may also choose mucolytics such as guaifenesin to thin the mucus, decongestants such as pseudoephedrine to reduce the swelling in the membranes, or corticosteroids such as beclmethasone or prednisone to reduce the inflammation in the nasal passages.
Watch a video about how to treat sinus infection: