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What is a sinus infection?

Sinusitis or sinus disease, better known as a sinus infection, is a common problem treated at FastMed. It is commonly defined as inflammation, or the swelling of the sinuses. When the sinus openings become blocked, or too much mucus accumulates, sinusitis is the result.

There are three types of sinus disease: acute (lasting up to four weeks), sub-acute (lasting from four to 12 weeks), and chronic sinusitis (lasting three months or longer). Some of the symptoms associated with sinus infection are fever, headache, cough, nasal congestion, and pressure that causes facial or dental pain.
woman with allergies
If your sinus disease persists for more than a few days, visit one of the many FastMed locations in your area, and a qualified medical provider will examine you. The FastMed team should be able to determine whether the problem is indeed sinusitis. Tests may include looking in the nose for signs of mucus, or checking for signs of inflammation and pressure. Antibiotics are rarely prescribed when sinus infections occur, because they are ineffective in treating the viruses that cause most sinus infections.

What causes sinus infections?

There are many different causes of sinusitis, such as bacteria, viruses, allergens, and even chemicals or pollutants. The incidence of sinusitis often increases in the spring and fall, when allergens become more prominent.

Viral sinus infections: Research has shown that approximately ninety percent of sinus infections are caused by a virus. Viral sinusitis usually lasts just seven to ten days, and its symptoms can be effectively treated without antibiotics.

Bacterial sinus infections: Bacterial sinusitis often develops on the heels of viral or allergic sinusitis. Patients with bacterial sinus infections usually display symptoms for more than 10 days, have moderate to severe headache and facial pain, fever, and colored mucus.

What are the symptoms of a sinus infection?

Sinusitis involves inflammation of the nasal passages. Sinusitis is commonly referred to as a sinus infection, even though not all cases involve an actual infection. Sinusitis symptoms include:

  • Headaches
  • Congestion
  • Post-nasal drip
  • Sore throat resulting from post-nasal drip
  • Cough
  • Fatigue
  • Nasal discharge

How to treat a sinus disease

Sinus disease treatment depends on what is causing the inflammation. In general, sinusitis is rarely difficult to treat unless it occurs frequently. Frequent sinus infections, or chronic sinusitis, may require evaluation and treatment by a specialist. Antibiotics can be helpful in bacterial sinusitis treatment.

Viral sinusitis usually lasts just seven to 10 days and can be effectively treated with rest, fluids, and over-the-counter antihistamines, mucolytics, decongestants, nasal sprays, or saline washes. Avoid Afrin or similar medications due to rebound issues. Antibiotics are not effective in treating viral sinusitis.

Visit any FastMed location for evaluation and treatment of sinusitis. FastMed’s professional and knowledgeable doctors, physician assistants, and nurse practitioners can diagnose and treat sinusitis in a friendly, convenient manner.

How to clear a sinus infection

There are many remedies to relieve symptoms of a sinus infection. Depending on what is causing the symptoms, you may be able to treat mild sinusitis at home.

Try inhaling steam several times a day. Place a towel over your head while breathing in the steam from a bowl of hot water. You can also use a vaporizer, neti pot, or take a hot, steamy shower.

If you try these sinus infection remedies, but continue to struggle with sinusitis, visit your local FastMed. No appointment is necessary. We can prescribe the appropriate antibiotics, steroid nasal sprays, or other treatments that will soothe your headache and get you back on your feet—usually far faster and at less expense than the typical emergency room.

How to cure a sinus infection

See “How to Clear a Sinus Infection”

What can I take for a sinus infection?

Most sinus infection medicines are meant to treat symptoms. Mentholated medications may help open nasal passages, and expectorants can thin and help drain the mucous. Ibuprofen or naproxen should help to relieve pain and swelling. Acetaminophen will relieve pain, but will not reduce inflammation.

Other sinus “infection” remedies include saline sprays and irrigation methods, such as a neti pot. Your FastMed sinusitis team can help you determine the best solution for your particular type of sinus disease.

How to relieve sinus pressure

The key to sinus infection treatment is to keep your sinus cavities moist. The following steps should help:

  1. Prop yourself up
  2. Use a humidifier
  3. Take long, hot showers or breathe in steam from a bowl of hot water
  4. Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids
  5. Place a warm, damp towel on your face
  6. Try a neti pot or another nasal irrigator
  7. Use a saline spray

If symptoms persist for longer than a few weeks, you may be suffering from chronic sinusitis. Visit your local FastMed for an evaluation and treatment. You may need antibiotics for a bacterial sinus infection, another prescription remedy, or referral to a specialist to effectively treat a chronic sinus condition.

* The content presented on this page is not intended to diagnose health problems or take the place of professional medical care.