No matter what time of year it might be, you are likely to develop the congestion, pain, fever, and sore throat that accompanies sinusitis, better known as a sinus infection. Sinus infections are caused by many factors such as viruses, bacteria, or particulates, and classically presents as a painful inflammation of the sinus. Depending on the severity and length of the infection, you may need to see your Raleigh primary care physician.
What are Sinuses?
The sinus cavities are hollow pockets filled with air that lie under the skin in your face. You have four pairs total situated behind your cheeks, jaw, eyebrows, forehead, and eyes. These pockets are lined with tiny hairs called cilia and membranes called turbinates that help filter the air you breathe and humidify your nose.
The cilia and the turbinates sweep out particles or pollutants that we breathe in and create mucus that holds these particles to keep them from reaching the throat. We normally end of swallowing this mucus. This also helps keep your nasal cavity moist – in a healthy person, your sinuses are constantly draining and filtering your nasal cavity.
A sinus infection occurs when the sinuses become blocked: the mucus continues to accumulate and thicken, but can’t drain properly, thus filling the sinus cavities and keeping the cilia from cleaning.
What are the Symptoms of a Sinus Infection?
Sinus infections can be caused by a variety of factors, including having a cold or the flu, allergies, nasal polyps, or a deviated septum – anything that can cause sinus blockages.
There are two types of sinus infections: acute sinusitis and chronic sinusitis, which can be self-diagnosed or diagnosed by your Raleigh primary care physician.
Acute sinus infections typically have the following symptoms:
- Pain or pressure in the face
- Stuffy or runny nose
- Loss of smell or distorted sense of smell
- Congestion or cough
- Thick green or yellow nasal discharge
This is also sometimes accompanied by:
- Malaise or fever
- Halitosis (bad breath)
- Tooth pain
Chronic sinus infections tend to last more than 12 weeks. In addition to the acute symptoms listed above, you may experience:
- A feeling of congestion and fullness in your face
- Nasal blockage
- Pus in your nasal cavity
- Chronic fatigue
Most cases of sinus infections can be self-diagnosed, but only your primary care physician can properly diagnose you. If your symptoms don’t begin to lessen after 10 days, or worsen after seven, seek medical attention immediately.
Sinus Infection Treatment
There is no automatic cure for sinusitis nor is it preventable outside of staying away from triggers like allergens or cigarette smoke. Viral sinusitis will clear itself of the body in time, and if you are diagnosed with a bacterial sinus infection, your primary care physician will prescribe antibiotics or steroids. In the meanwhile, you can treat your symptoms at home with:
- Over the counter decongestants
- Saline nasal washes, such as a neti pot
- Moist, warm air from a humidifier, shower, or bath
- Warm compresses on your face
- Saline nose drops
- Plenty of rest
Remember, if your symptoms are severe, your symptoms don’t start to lessen after a week, or get worse after a week, seek medical attention.
Contact your Raleigh primary care physician at Med One Medical Group for additional treatment
If your sinus infection is continuing to trouble you, contact Med One Medical Group today for an appointment by calling 919-850-1300.