Most people think of a sinus infection as just a bad cold. But what they don’t know is that a sinus infection can be a lot more serious than that.
In fact, it can even be life-threatening. If you think you might have a sinus infection, it’s important to plan to treat the sinus infection or get it checked out by a doctor as soon as possible.
But there are also other symptoms that can indicate a problem, such as bad breath, green or yellow mucus drainage from the nose, and pain in the face or teeth. If you have any of these symptoms, it’s important to see your doctor right away.
Left untreated, a sinus infection can lead to serious health problems such as pneumonia, meningitis, or even death. So don’t wait – if you think you might have a sinus infection, see your doctor today!
Are Sinusitis and Sinus Infection the Same?
Sinusitis is usually caused by a virus and will often get better on its own within two or three weeks. A sinus infection is also often referred to as sinusitis. So, yes, sinusitis and sinus infection are essentially one and the same thing.
A sinus infection occurs when the cavities around your nasal passages become inflamed. The swelling traps air and mucus in your sinuses, and they become painful.
Depending on your sinusitis, it can be either chronic or acute. Chronic sinusitis lasts for more than 12 weeks and can occur several times a year. Acute sinusitis, on the other hand, comes on suddenly and lasts for up to four weeks. If you have persistent symptoms of sinusitis, it’s important to see your GP so that they can rule out other conditions, such as a bacterial infection or allergy.
Do I Need Antibiotics for a Sinus Infection?
If you suspect that you have a sinus infection, one of the most common questions that could be bugging you is; do you really need antibiotics for the sinus infection? The answer is that it depends on the cause of your sinus infection.
If your sinus infection is caused by a virus, antibiotics will not help, and you do not need them. However, if your sinus infection is caused by bacteria, antibiotics may help.
It’s important to get a proper diagnosis from a doctor to determine the cause of your sinus infection before taking antibiotics. Antibiotics can have side effects and so should only be taken when necessary. Here are some of the most realistic treatment options your ENT may suggest to speed up your recovery:
Drink lots of fluids
Most sinus infections are caused by viruses and often clear up on their own within a week or two. However, some can last longer and may be caused by bacteria.
Drinking plenty of fluids is often recommended as a way to help relieve the symptoms of a sinus infection. This is because drinking fluids helps to thin the mucus that can build up in the sinuses, making it easier to drain. In addition, fluids can help keep the mucus membranes moist, reducing congestion and preventing the sinuses from becoming dehydrated.
Steam inhalation, also called steam therapy, is a type of humidification that involves inhaling hot water vapor to help clear the sinuses. The steam helps to thin the mucus in the nose and allows it to drain more easily.
It also helps to reduce inflammation and relax the muscles around the nose. Steam therapy can be done at home using a pot of boiling water or a humidifier.
The key is to inhale the steam for 5-10 minutes several times a day. Some people add essential oils or herbs to their water to help improve the scent and provide additional benefits. Others use saline solutions to help break up mucus before steaming.
Steam inhalation is generally safe for most people, but it’s important to be careful not to burn yourself with hot water. If you have any concerns, talk to your doctor before trying steam therapy.
Decongestants are medicines that help to relieve a blocked nose. They work by reducing the inflammation in the blood vessels in the lining of your nose, which makes them narrower.
This helps to improve the airflow through your nose and reduces congestion. Decongestants are available as tablets, liquids, nasal sprays, and drops.
They can be bought over the counter from pharmacies, or you can get them on prescription from your ENT. Decongestants can help relieve sinus infection symptoms, such as a blocked nose, a headache, and pain in your face.
However, they will not clear the infection itself. You should not take decongestants for more than a week at a time as they can cause rebound congestion, where your congestion gets worse when you stop taking them.
Side effects of decongestants can include insomnia, headaches, and anxiety. If you’re pregnant or breastfeeding or have high blood pressure, heart disease, or diabetes, you should speak to your ENT specialist or GP before taking decongestants.
Get a Prescription
In most cases, sinus infections are caused by a virus and will clear up on their own. However, some sinus infections are caused by bacteria, and these can be more difficult to treat.
If you have symptoms of a sinus infection that last longer than a week, it is important to see an ENT specialist. They will be able to prescribe antibiotics if necessary.
Antibiotics are only effective against bacterial infections, so they will not help if your infection is caused by a virus. However, they can help to reduce the symptoms and speed up recovery.
Sinus infections can be very uncomfortable, so it is important to seek treatment if you think you may have one. Getting a prescription from your ENT specialist is the best way to ensure you get the right treatment for your infection.
Consult a doctor
Our experienced ENT specialists offer a comprehensive range of treatments for sinusitis. If you’re concerned that you might have sinusitis or your symptoms are not improving with home treatment, please book an appointment with us today. We’ll be happy to help you get to the bottom of your condition and find the most effective treatment for you. Call: +65 9856 8391.
- Sinus & Allergy Specialist Centre – Ear, Head and Neck Surgery
- #05-01, Parkway East Specialist Hospital
- 321 Joo Chiat Place,
- Singapore 427990
To prevent recurrent episodes of sinusitis, avoid smoking, keep up good hygiene habits and take steps to prevent becoming infected with colds and flu (such as regularly washing your hands). It would also help to identify any possible allergies (such as hay fever) that might contribute to your condition manage any underlying conditions that might contribute to your condition (such as asthma).
If you’re diagnosed with allergies that might be contributing to your episodes of recurrent sinusitis (for example, hay fever), you’ll be referred to an allergy clinic for further assessment and possible treatment with immunotherapy (desensitization).