- Complications and Side Effects
What is a sinus infection?
Sinus infections are quite common. They affect about 29 million people per year in the United States. That's about 12% of the U.S. population.
Symptoms of a sinus infection
Symptoms of a sinus infection may include:
Diagnosis of a sinus infection
Only a licensed healthcare professional can diagnose a sinus infection, so make sure you review your symptoms with one. A healthcare professional may diagnose your sinus infection using these methods:
- Performing a physical exam
- Running an imaging test like a CT scan or an MRI
- In severe cases, ordering a rhinoscopy or nasal endoscopy, a procedure that involves inserting a flexible instrument up the nostrils to look for blockages
Treatments for a sinus infection
At-home, natural treatments like nasal irrigation may be the first thing on your mind when you think of treatments for a sinus infection.
However, natural remedies may not cut it at times. If natural treatments for sinus infections don’t work, your medical provider might recommend medications like antibiotics or decongestants.
Your doctor might recommend one or a combination of the following medications to help decrease inflammation in the nose and sinuses, reduce pain and improve sinus drainage.
Common medications include:
- Steroid nasal spray
- Pain relievers
Many sinus infection home care remedies are still effective. Some simple suggestions for treating your sinus infection are:
- A nasal rinse or wash
- A cold compress on or around your eyes and forehead
- Using a humidifier at night
- Drinking plenty of water
Some providers may recommend alternative therapies for sinus infections, like nutritional supplements, herbs, or acupuncture. There are risks to any treatment methods, however, and you should always consult with a specialist before beginning any treatment plan for your sinus infections.
Complications and side effects of a sinus infection
You have plenty of choices for how you want to treat a sinus infection, but none of them are without the risk of side effects or complications.
Risks from medications
Decongestants and antihistamines can make it more difficult to prevent and relieve sinus infections, but corticosteroids carry additional risks.
Potential side effects of using corticosteroids long-term or repeatedly include:
- Edema (fluid retention)
- High blood pressure
- Gastrointestinal issues like sensitive stomach, diarrhea, or ulcers. Antibiotics are also common triggers for these issues.
While herbal supplements have their place, they carry a risk of side effects as well, so you should use them only in consultation with a medical provider.
You should also consider any other medications you take and how they might interact with sinus infection treatments. Be sure to discuss this with your doctor.
Risks of sinus surgery
Surgery may come with its own complications. That's why it's important to weigh the risks and benefits with your doctor.
Possible side effects of sinus surgery include:
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Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: "Chronic Sinusitis"
Centers for Disease Control: "Sinus Infection (Sinusitis)."
ENTtoday: "Alternative Remedies for Chronic Rhinosinusitis: Are complementary and alternative treatments harmful or advisable?"
Harvard Health Publishing: "What to do about sinusitis."
Hospital for Special Surgery: "Steroid Side Effects: How to Reduce Drug Side Effects of Corticosteroids."
Johns Hopkins Medicine: "Endoscopic Sinus Surgery."
Johns Hopkins Medicine: "Preparing for Endoscopic Sinus Surgery."
National Jewish Health: "Sinusitis Medications."
Sjogren's Foundation: "Simple Solutions for Dry Nose and Sinuses."
St. Luke's Hospital: "Sinusitis."
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What Causes Chronic Sinusitis?Chronic sinusitis occurs when the tissue lining the facial sinuses becomes inflamed for at least three months. Chronic sinusitis usually involves nasal airway swelling (rhinitis). The causes of chronic sinusitis include nasal polyps, deviated nasal septum, medical conditions, respiratory tract infections, and allergies.
How to Get Rid of a Sinus InfectionA sinus infection, also known as sinusitis or rhinosinusitis, is a condition where the nasal passages become swollen and infected. The sinuses are hollow air spaces in the facial bones, near the nose. They produce mucus, which helps line the nose and prevent dust and other particles from entering the lungs.
How to Get Rid of a Sinus Infection FastThe sinuses are air-filled cavities that surround the nose and drain into the nose. They are present in the forehead, the cheeks and near the eyes. Treatment for sinus infections includes over-the-counter pain relievers, decongestants, antibiotics, humidifiers, nasal irrigation, steam inhalation, rest, hydration and warm compresses.
Is a Sinus Infection Contagious?Sinus infection (sinusitis) is infection (viral, bacterial, or fungal) or inflammation of the sinuses. Symptoms of sinus infection are cough, bad breath, coughing up greenish-yellow sputum, sinus headache, and other symptoms of the common cold. Treatments of sinus infection are home remedies to soothe symptoms and antibiotics if the infection is bacterial or fungal.
Is It a Cold or a Sinus Infection?A sinus infection, also known as sinusitis or rhinosinusitis, is a condition in which the delicate membranes that line the sinuses may get swollen and become red. A cold or common cold is a viral infection. It affects the upper respiratory system, which includes the nose, mouth, throat, and lungs.
Natural Sinus RemediesSinus pressure and pain are common in people who suffer from allergies, the common cold, and chemical exposure. Humidified air, hydration, avoiding allergens, and nasal irrigation can help relieve sinus pressure symptoms.
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Sinus Infection Dos and Don'tsIs it OK to fly when you've got sinusitis? How about going to work? WebMD helps you decide what's right and wrong when you're all stuffed up.
Sinus Infection vs. AllergiesBoth sinus infections and allergies (allergic rhinitis) cause symptoms such as runny or stuffy nose and fatigue. Sinus infection (known as sinusitis) is inflammation of the sinuses, caused by infection from bacteria, viruses, and/or fungi (molds). Allergic rhinitis occurs when certain allergies cause nasal symptoms. When a person with allergies breathes in an allergen, such as pollen, dust, or animal dander, symptoms such as runny or stuffy nose, itching, sneezing, and fatigue occur.
Sinus Infection vs. ColdViruses cause the common cold and most sinus infections. Bacterial and fungal infections may also cause a sinus infection. Signs and symptoms of colds and sinus infections include nasal irritation or dryness, sore throat, stuffy nose, nasal discharge/congestion, sneezing, and cough. Additional symptoms of sinus infections include sinus pressure behind the cheeks or eyes, facial pain when pressure is applied, bad breath, and thick yellow or green mucus. Treatment focuses on symptom relief.
Sinus Surgery (Endoscopic) ProcedureSinus surgery involves the precise removal of diseased sinus tissue with the improvement in the natural drainage channels by the creation of a pathway for infected material to drain from the sinus cavities. The sinus surgery information is provided to help you prepare for sinus surgery and to help you understand more clearly the associated benefits, risks, and complications.
Sinus Infection (Sinusitis)
Sinus infection (sinusitis) is caused by allergies, infection, and chemicals or other irritants of sinuses. Signs and symptoms are headache, fever, and facial tenderness, pressure, or pain. Treatments of sinus infections are generally with antibiotics and at times, home remedies.
Sinusitis SlideshowSinus infection (sinusitis) symptoms can include headaches, a sore throat, and toothaches. Antibiotics and home remedies can relieve sinus infection symptoms.