Sinus infections: They’re painful, annoying, and sometimes debilitating. Powering through work amid an infection is like attempting to stroll through molasses – you’d just have better luck giving up. The signs of a sinus infection are distinct, setting themselves apart from other nasal and sinus dilemmas.
But occasionally a sinus infection is mistaken for allergies or a viral infection. Without the proper information, it’s reasonable to assume that a simple sinus inflammation could be confused for a common cold or the more ominous COVID-19.
Having said that though, things like colds and allergies factor into sinus infections. If you’ve had one, more than likely, you’ve previously had a virus or an allergic reaction to something. Even after the symptoms of said cold and allergic reaction dissipate, a sinus infection still develops.
Before we start on the signs of a sinus infection, here are two types of sinus infections you should be mindful of. First, acute sinus infections are more common and less debilitating. Second, chronic sinusitis lasts much longer and occurs more frequently. If you experience the latter, it’s time to visit a specialist, like the ones at the Ear, Nose and Throat Institute.
Anyway, here’s why you opened the blog in the first place.
What are the signs of a sinus infection?
Everyone’s experience might be a bit different, but these are typically the symptoms accompanying sinus infections. Again, some individuals might encounter these symptoms for prolonged periods of time, while others experience them for a few weeks. The signs of a sinus infection vary, so don’t use this to self-diagnose.
Discolored mucus means infected sinuses. If you’re coughing up green or yellow mucus, chances are it’s time to call a doctor, because what follows this symptom is more troublesome. Alternatively, you could skip the doctor and see what happens (hint: don’t do that).
Sinus pain & pressure
One of the more debilitating signs of a sinus infection, notably if it’s chronic, sinus pain includes headaches, pressure in the cheeks and eyes, and dental pain. It feels as though an invisible force is pressing on your face with a sledgehammer, using an extraordinary amount of pressure. Now try to be productive. A warm compress or inhaling steam from a shower can help with this.
All the discolored mucus might pack in and prevent you from breathing or smelling properly. So if someone in your house is cooking something delicious, you won’t know about it, not using smell anyhow.
The cringy part of sinus infections is the post-nasal drip, where that discolored mucus makes its way down the back of your throat. Not only is mucus really gross, it can lead to other health problems like bronchitis. See a doctor before things worsen.
Going back to the molasses analogy, the fatigue sets in and causes the smallest tasks much more challenging. Need to write a report? Forget about it. Want to cook dinner? Ha! Trying to clean the house? Good luck.
All that post-nasal drip builds up in the throat, leading to a cough and an exercise in gag reflex. That’s why it’s important to drink plenty of water, so the mucus (ew, there’s that word again) isn’t as thick.
As if sinus infections weren’t bad enough, occasionally they’ll include a fever. If this is the case, go see a medical professional to make sure it’s not something else.
How do you treat chronic sinusitis?
If these symptoms persist for longer than 3 weeks and/or pop up at least 4 times a year, then you could have chronic sinusitis. Treatments for chronic sinusitis are more extensive than antibiotics, but they treat the source of the problem.
For example, you may have a deviated septum causing chronic sinusitis. Once the deviated septum is fixed, the sinusitis length and frequency will reduce. And that’s just one example of an underlying condition.
At the Ear, Nose and Throat Institute, our experts will diagnose and treat with the most up-to-date technology. One of those technologies is balloon sinuplasty, a non-invasive procedure that opens up the sinus passages, allowing for better mucus flow. Watch the video below to learn more.
If you’re seeing these signs of a sinus infection in your experience, maybe it’s time to get it taken care of for good. To schedule an appointment, call 770-740-1860 or fill out the form at the top of the page.
- Ellis, M., Jewell, T. (2020, June 10) 6 Symptoms of a Sinus Infection [Health website] Retrieved on July 28th, 2020 from https://www.healthline.com/health/cold-flu/sinus-infection-symptoms
- Shital, K. (2020, July 19) What is Sinusitis? [Health website] Retrieved on July 28th, 2020 from https://www.webmd.com/allergies/sinusitis-and-sinus-infecti