If you’ve ever had one, you know that sinus infections are no laughing matter. Although the name indicates that sinus infections are an infection of the sinus cavities, sinus infections do so much more than just plague your sinuses. It is not unusual for sinus infections for to wreak havoc on your ears, your face, your eyes, and your throat, your all the things. Sinus infections have even lead to hearing loss, breathing difficulties, and hypernasal speech.
Sinus infections are one of the most common ENT problems and such a general bummer, but the more you understand them, the better you’re able to cope with them. To help you out, we’ve put together a quick overview of all the things you never knew you didn’t know about sinus infections.
Three Things You Didn’t Know About Sinus Infections
- Antibiotics are not the magic cure for sinus infections.
There are a lot of symptoms of a sinus infections that are also a symptom of something else altogether. Maybe you have a runny nose, or a stuffy nose. Maybe you have a sinus headache. These could be signs of a sinus infection, but they also might be signs of something else altogether. On top of that, even if you have a sure-fire sinus infection, it might be bacterial or viral. If the infection is viral, antibiotics won’t do anything to help your symptoms.
At one point in time, doctors liberally administered antibiotics anytime you had a hint of a sinus infection, but this really isn’t a good medical practice. The more antibiotics are used unnecessarily, the less effective they are at fighting infections. Every time antibiotics are used to treat an infection, the infection adapts to the antibiotic and learns how to resist it in the future. Eventually, you get infections that can’t be treated with antibiotics at all. This is what we call “superbugs.”
The point of this point is that you can’t just throw some meds at any type of sinus infection symptoms and assume it will do the trick. If you think you have a sinus infection, you should seek treatment with a doctor, who can determine if your infection is a virus or a bacterial infection and if it can be treated with antibiotics.
- But this doesn’t mean you’re powerless against your sinus infection.
Sometimes, it just takes a round of a Z-pack to win back your body from a sinus infection. But when antibiotics aren’t the solution (and even if they are) here are some other ways to treat a sinus infection:
- Use a sinus irrigation pot to clean out the gunk in your sinus cavities that are causing the pressure and stuffiness.
- Acetaminophen or ibuprofen will help ease the sinus pain, headache, ear aches, and facial pressure associated with sinus infections.
- Administer a nasal spray for allergy symptoms. While this won’t reduce the infection behind the symptoms, it will make you feel better and help your body gain a foothold in fighting it off.
- Drink lots of water and get lots of rest. This gives your body the power to fight off the infection. And chicken soup is never a bad choice when you’re under the weather.
- Your sinus infection might or might not be contagious.
The sinus infection itself is not contagious. However, a sinus infection is caused by an underlying irritation of the sinus cavity, and that might or might not be contagious. If your sinus infection was caused by your allergies, probably not contagious. If you accidentally got a face full of ocean water which caused an infection in your sinuses, not contagious. But if you caught a cold and the cold led to a sinus infection, you are at risk of passing along to someone else (the cold, that is. Not the sinus infection).
The point is, if you have a sinus infection, you should stay on top of washing your hands, and try not to cough or sneeze or otherwise pass your bodily fluids on to anyone else. And by all means, if you hear someone say, “I’m not contagious, I just have a sinus infection.” It’s a good idea to be liberal with the hand sanitizer around them.
Do you have any other comments or questions? Please share in the comment section!