Ryan is an experienced health writer helping educate and inform people on all types of important health topics. He lives in Salt Lake City, UT and can be found recreating in the local mountains.
Po-Chang Hsu, M.D.
Dr. Hsu received his medical degree from Tufts University in Boston, Massachusetts, and holds a Master’s of Science degree from both Harvard University and Tufts University. Outside of the medical profession, Dr. Hsu loves to write, learn new languages, and travel.
March 8, 2021
Suppose you’re one of the 35 million Americans who suffer from sinus infections every year. In that case, this article is for you. We highlight the common signs of sinus infections and the telltale symptoms that let you know that you’ve come down with it.
Sinus infections are one of the most common illnesses in the history of medicine. Everyone has experienced a sinus infection during their life. As humans, we are all too familiar with the annoying symptoms associated with this illness.
“Sinus infections happen when fluid builds up in the air-filled pockets in the face (sinuses), which allows germs to grow,” according to the CDC.
Sinus infections usually come around once per year, or several times per year for those who are especially susceptible. Floating pollen particles make their way into our sinuses while we’re outdoors (particularly during spring), possibly causing a bacterial sinus infection.
Alternatively, those who contract a cold or the flu can often develop the other type of sinus infection, known as viral sinusitis. The symptoms of these different types of sinusitis, however, are virtually identical, as are the treatments.
Sinus infection symptoms range from mild to severe, isolated to widespread, and brief to long-lasting. Some victims of sinusitis experience severe symptoms that can last up to a month or longer. More lucky sinus infection patients will only experience mild symptoms isolated to the sinus for as little as a week.
Each person experiences symptoms differently, including their severity and duration. These differences may be due to genetics, pre-existing conditions, or the use of certain prescription drugs.
Despite the differences in severity and duration, sinus infection symptoms are relatively consistent.
More severe cases of sinusitis can cause headaches that start in the face and linger. These headaches caused by the swelling of your sinuses can spread throughout your head, causing earaches and pain in your cheeks and jaw.
Sinus infections can cause a loss of the sense of smell and taste in those who contract it. This symptom can cause quite the scare since it is also a symptom of COVID-19, but COVID-19 carriers tend not to have other signs of a sinus infection like facial pressure. Luckily, the loss of taste and smell goes away after treatment.
In the most severe sinusitis cases, the infection can spread to vital organs around the sinuses, such as the eyes and the brain. Such spreading is rare and only occurs when the immune system is compromised and the patient has not sought treatment.
Always conduct quality self-care or contact a healthcare professional if you find yourself with a sinus infection. It is easy to get in touch with great doctors online. EverydayDr is proud to partner with PlushCare, a top-notch telehealth provider. PlushCare can provide same-day consultations and prescriptions. If you are concerned about sinus infection or how to treat it, you can book an appointment through PlushCare’s patient portal here.
The start of a sinus infection shares many symptoms with the common cold – nasal congestion, post-nasal drip, and fever. You can usually identify a sinus infection from the distinct pressure you feel within your sinuses. This can easily be tested by leaning forward and observing if sinus pain increases.
Seasonal indicators can help you identify a sinus infection.
There are also non-seasonal indicators of a sinus infection.
Take plenty of vitamin C to bolster your body’s line of defense against sinus infections. Try to avoid inhaling pollen to the best of your ability by staying indoors on days with high pollen counts.
Air quality plays a significant role in how often and likely you are to contract a sinus infection. If the air in your home or workplace is full of pollutants, you take on a significantly higher risk of contracting a bacterial sinus infection.
If you notice a stuffy smell in the buildings that you spend a significant amount of time in, and your nose is congested or stuffy, a sinus infection may be right around the corner.
Always ensure that the air quality of your home or workplace is clean and free of pollutants. This can be achieved with air purifiers and plants.
If you come down with a sinus infection, consider seeing an online doctor – convenient, affordable, and contactless. With our partner PlushCare it is so easy to book an appointment online. PlushCare has access to nothing but excellent doctors who usually can see you the same day.
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