Sinus Infection (Sinusitis)

  • Medical Author:
    Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD

    Dr. Charles "Pat" Davis, MD, PhD, is a board certified Emergency Medicine doctor who currently practices as a consultant and staff member for hospitals. He has a PhD in Microbiology (UT at Austin), and the MD (Univ. Texas Medical Branch, Galveston). He is a Clinical Professor (retired) in the Division of Emergency Medicine, UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, and has been the Chief of Emergency Medicine at UT Medical Branch and at UTHSCSA with over 250 publications.

  • Medical Editor: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Nasal allergy attack

Is Sinus Infection Contagious?

How Will I Know if I Have a Sinus Infection?

The majority of doctors think that most people do not transmit sinus infections except in rare instances, and conclude that sinus infections are not contagious.

Sinus infections usually begin with the symptoms of a cold (for example, a runny nose, occasional cough and/or mild fever), and then develop into pain and pressure in the sinus cavities. About 7 to 10 days after initial cold-like symptoms other symptoms develop that suggest you may have a sinus infection. Sinus infection symptoms include

  • a yellowish-greenish nasal discharge that may have an odor,
  • bad breath,
  • puffiness around the eyes,
  • headaches,
  • pressure in the sinuses, and
  • coughing.

Quick GuideSinus Infection (Sinusitis) Symptoms & Treatment

Sinus Infection (Sinusitis) Symptoms & Treatment

Sinus infection or sinusitis facts

  • Sinusitis or sinus infection is inflammation of the air cavities within the passages of the nose.
  • Sinusitis can be caused by infection,allergies, and chemical or particulate irritation of the sinuses.
  • Most people do not spread sinus infections to other people.
  • Sinusitis may be classified as acute sinus infection, subacute sinus infection, chronic sinus infection, infected sinusitis, and noninfectious sinusitis.
  • Sinusitis signs and symptoms include
    • sinus headache,
    • facial tenderness,
    • pressure or pain in the sinuses, in the ears and teeth,
    • fever,
    • cloudy discolored nasal or postnasal drainage,
    • feeling of nasal stuffiness,
    • sore throat,
    • cough, and
    • occasionally facial swelling.
  • Symptoms of a bacterial sinus infection include
    • facial pain,
    • pus-like nasal discharge, and
    • symptoms that persist for longer than a week and that are not responding to over-the-counter (OTC) nasal medications.
  • Sinus infection is generally diagnosed based on the patient history and physical examination.
  • Bacterial sinusitis is usually treated with antibiotics. Early treatment of allergic sinusitis may prevent secondary bacterial sinus infections.
  • Home remedies for sinusitis and sinus infections include over-the-counter (OTC) medications such asacetaminophen (Tylenol and others), decongestants, and mucolytics.Nasal irrigation can be accomplished with a Neti-pot or rinse kit (nasal bidet).
  • Rarefungal infections of the sinuses (for example,zygomycosis) are medical emergencies.
  • Complications of a sinus infection that may develop aremeningitis, brain abscess,osteomyelitis, and orbital cellulitis.
  • There are no fungal vaccines available to prevent fungal sinus infections.

Reviewed on 5/18/2016
References
REFERENCES:

US Federal Drug Administration. "Is Rinsing Your Sinuses Safe?"
<http://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm316375.htm>

Brook, I. MD. "Acute Sinusitis." Medscape. Jul 29, 2015.
<http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/232670-overview>

Brook, I. MD. "Chronic Sinusitis." Medscape. July 19, 2015.
<http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/232791-overview>

NeilMed Pharmaceuticals, Inc. NeilMed Sinusrinse Video.
<http://www.neilmed.com/usa/video.php>

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