To date doctors around the country still argue over the validity of sinus infections being contagious or not. While there may be differences of opinion in that regard, the one thing we can all agree on- doctors included- is that a sinus infection is no day at the beach. Whether caused by bacteria or a virus, the results are the same: intense pressure around the face- specifically nose and eyes- and cold-like symptoms.
Additional Symptoms Include:
- Colored Mucus/ Nasal Discharge
- Sore Throats
- Bad Breath
What Exactly IS a Sinus Infection?
A sinus infection- also called a sinusitis or rhinosinusitis- is an inflammation of the cavities or tissue lining within nasal passages. Similar to other inflammations it can be caused by a multitude of triggers: chemical, environmental or sickness. Occasionally, a sinus infection can be brought on by a deviated septum or nasal growths, as well.
How Long Does It Last?
Of the three most common forms of sinusitis each has a varying degree of symptoms, as well as time to recover:
- Acute: Anywhere from 12- 28 days (up to 4 weeks)
- Sub-Acute: Symptoms last 4-12 weeks
- Chronic: More than 12 weeks at a time (and often reoccurs throughout the year)
When to Seek Care
Due to the fact that not every doctor considers a sinus infection to be contagious, some patients are told to follow a routine of over the counter decongestant medicine, nasal sprays and face compresses until the symptoms dissipate or get worse.
Other medical professionals consider the risk of spreading or prolonging a bacterial sinus infection too risky and suggest scheduling an appointment as soon as possible. For those diagnosed with bacterial sinusitis the doctor will prescribe an antibiotic for a faster healing expectancy.
For those that run the risk of breathing issues- such as patient with asthma exacerbated by sickness- it is imperative to see a doctor to address that possibility before it gets out of control.
While there aren’t any foolproof ways to prevent a sinus infection from occurring in the first place, at Hill Country Urgent Care we always suggest maintaining proper hygiene, keeping the nasal passageways moist and staying as hydrated as possible. If you’re feeling an increase in facial pressure or are concerned with the longevity of your symptoms, schedule your appointment with us as soon as possible. Whether antibiotics are necessary or not, we can address your symptoms and outline the steps to a healthier tomorrow.