Sinus Infection: Your Complete Guide to What It Is, the Symptoms, and Treatment

Sinus Infection: Your Complete Guide to What It Is, the Symptoms, and Treatment

Sep 01, 2020

Do you have a stuffy nose that never seems to clear? Chances are you have sinusitis. Sinusitis, in common parlance, is referred to as ‘sinus,’ which is a health problem that affects millions of Americans each year.

More than a billion dollars is used across the nation each year by patients seeking relief from sinus infection through the purchase of drugs or going to the emergency rooms in different parts of the country.

People with allergies or weakened immune systems are at higher risk of having sinusitis. Regardless of its prevalence, you do not need to continue suffering because of a sinus infection.

Let’s look at some of the known facts about sinusitis and what our doctor in the ER near you can do to treat the sinus infection.

About Sinusitis

One of the most confusing things that most people know little about is sinusitis. It is easily confused to be the common cold. Others may wonder why some people get affected while others don’t. And more so, others are wondering how to cure sinus permanently.

In a nutshell, a sinus infection is an inflammation, swelling, or infection of the tissue lining your sinuses. You have four paired cavities (hollow spaces) in the head that were designed for increasing sound resonance, insulating surrounding structures, and humidifying inspired air.

The four paired cavities are:

  • Maxillary sinuses which are under the eyes
  • Frontal sinuses which are on the forehead
  • Ethmoid sinuses located between the eyes and the nose
  • Sphenoid sinuses which are located behind the bones in your nasal cavity

The sinuses typically produce thin mucus, which drains out of the nose to keep your nose clean and free of germs. Sinuses are supposed to be filled with air and are meant to be hollow. However, when they get blocked with fluid or become inflamed due to an allergy or a severe cold, germs find a breeding ground leading to infection.

Almost always, when your sinuses become inflamed, they will be swollen.

What Are the Causes?

Typically, a sinus infection can be caused by bacteria, viruses, or fungi that cause a swelling that blocks the sinus. However, here are some of the common causes of sinusitis:

  • Seasonal and nasal allergies including mold allergies
  • The common cold
  • Growths (polyps)
  • A weak immune system
  • A deviated septum (the cartilage that divides your nose)

Types of Sinusitis

The types of sinusitis include:

  • Chronic sinusitis refers to the condition where you experience the symptoms for at least 12 weeks
  • Acute bacterial sinusitis refers to an abrupt onset of cold symptoms such as stuffy nose, runny nose, and facial pain that does not subside after ten days. The symptoms may improve only to get worse after a few days.
  • Subacute sinusitis is a term used when you experience the symptoms from four to 12 weeks.
  • Recurrent acute sinusitis is a term used when you experience symptoms that show up at least four times a year and do not last less than two weeks.

Is It Contagious?

Is sinus infection contagious? You cannot spread bacterial sinusitis. However, you can spread the virus that leads to sinus infection. Remember to keep proper hygiene so as you minimize your chances of getting infected.

What Are the Risk Factors?

Some of the risk factors that can increase the chances of you getting a sinus infection include:

  • Seasonal allergies
  • A previous cold
  • Smoking and exposure to second-hand smoke

What Are the Symptoms of Sinusitis?

Common symptoms of sinus infection include:

  • Facial pressure (especially around the eyes, nose, and forehead)
  • Cough
  • Fever
  • Tiredness or fatigue
  • Bad breath (halitosis)
  • Nasal discharge (thick green or yellow discharge)
  • Stuffy nose
  • Postnasal drip (mucus dripping down your throat)


If you have a sinus infection, most of the time, the symptoms will clear after a few days. If not, our doctor at our emergency room may recommend you use saline nasal washes and decongestants.

If you are using over the counter decongestants, do not use them for more than three days. Our doctor may also prescribe antibiotics that you will take for about 14 days.

When you have chronic sinusitis, warm moist air might help ease the symptoms. Other than that, you can do the following for chronic sinusitis:

  • Use warm compresses that can reduce the pain in the sinuses and the nose
  • Saline nose drops
  • Decongestant drops

In some scenarios, it is possible to get permanent treatment for sinusitis, but this is dependent on the causes of the sinus infection. Surgery at times is necessary if the sinusitis is linked to issues with your nasal passages such as a deviated septum or nasal polyps.

Other than the above, many treatments exist that can deal with sinusitis infections. You can call our doctor at Express ER in Waco if you have any questions or you want to schedule an appointment.

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