When you have a cold, your nasal passages become inflamed and produce excess mucus. This is the result of the body’s attempt to fight off whatever virus or bacteria has entered your system. In most cases, this is a brief and mild infection that does not require any special treatment.
However, there are some people who experience chronic sinusitis as well as those who develop acute attacks that require medical attention. Keep reading for more information about these two types of sinus infections and what you can do to prevent them from happening again.
What Are the Symptoms of a Sinus Infection?
A sinus infection is also known as sinusitis. It is an inflammation of the nasal passages and the paranasal sinuses – cavities in the skull that are filled with air and lined with mucous membranes. Symptoms include nasal congestion, facial pain and discharge, fever, headache, cough, and halitosis (bad breath).
Some people also experience other symptoms, such as fatigue, loss of appetite, joint pain, and diarrhea. In each case, it is important to know what the symptoms of a sinus infection are so that you can seek medical advice as soon as possible.
When determining what the symptoms of a sinus infection are, it is important to recognize the difference between a viral infection and a bacterial infection. Viral infections are very common and affect the upper respiratory tract. Most often, they infect the nasal passages, the throat, and the bronchial tubes. Bacterial infections are much less common and are usually found in the paranasal sinuses, the middle ear, and the lungs.
Ways to Care for a Sinus Infection at Home
You probably know that a sinus infection is no fun. It can leave you feeling miserable, with symptoms such as a blocked nose, green or yellow mucus, pains above or around the eyes, and a general sense of being unwell. But for most people the infection will go away on its own within about 10 days.
The problem is that it takes those 10 days to feel better again and even then your recovery might not be complete. A sinus infection that isn’t treated properly can lead to chronic inflammation in the nose (known as chronic rhinosinusitis) which can have lasting implications for your quality of life.
But there are things you can do to ease discomfort until your body heals completely. Here are 5 tips on how to care for a sinus infection at home:
As far as sinus infections go, dehydration is one of the most common symptoms. It is not always clear why this happens in cases of sinus infections but it might be due to the extra mucus production (water is the main component of mucus).
It is important to drink lots of water, even if you don’t feel thirsty. The suggested amount of water per day is 8 glasses for men and 6 glasses for women.
And the best time to drink water is between meals, rather than with meals, as it is less likely to be absorbed by the body and more likely to stay in the stomach to keep it hydrated. Another way to keep hydrated when you have a sinus infection is to have a non-caffeinated herbal tea every once in a while.
Use a humidifier
A humidifier will add moisture to the air and help with the congestion that can come with a sinus infection. You can simply fill a bowl with water and place it near your bed, or you can get a humidifier that helps to keep your sinuses moist and comfortable. Humidifiers can be very helpful for easing a sinus infection and reducing the amount of mucus produced.
This is one of the best (and most proven) treatments for a sinus infection. Taking ibuprofen will help to reduce the swelling and inflammation of the nasal passages and reduce the amount of mucus in your nose, therefore making it easier to breathe.
It can also help with headaches that might come with a sinus infection and give you some pain relief. Just make sure you don’t take it for more than a few days. Taking ibuprofen for a long time can be harmful and could lead to an ulcer forming in your stomach. It can be best not to take it while you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Use saline sprays or drops
Saline sprays, drops, or saline rinses can help to reduce the amount of mucus in the nose and throat, making it easier to breathe. They can also help to break down and rinse away mucus that is already there. It is important to use them correctly, as too much can be harmful.
Always follow the instructions on the package and never use too much saline at once. Saline sprays can be bought over the counter and are especially useful for children who are suffering from a sinus infection. You can also make a saline rinse by mixing one teaspoon of salt in one cup of warm water. Always rinse your nose before you blow it.
Get a massage or take a hot shower
A quick 5-minute massage above your eyebrows or behind your ears will help to break up the congestion in your sinuses. It might not be as effective as a nasal irrigator, but it might be more appropriate if you have young children who might accidentally turn the wrong knob on a nasal irrigator.
Taking a hot shower, steaming, or sitting in a sauna for about 15 minutes can help to open up your airways. However, a hot shower might dry out your nasal passages, so it is important to use a nasal saline spray before and after the shower.
How Are Sinus Infections Diagnosed?
The diagnosis of sinusitis is based on the symptoms of the infection. This means that your doctor will ask you about your symptoms and examine your nose, mouth, and the cavities behind your nose (the paranasal sinuses).
A physical examination may indicate swelling and tenderness of the facial area, nasal congestion, and deep-seated pain when the doctor presses on the face bones behind the nose. Blood tests are not required to diagnose sinusitis, but they may be helpful in certain cases. A nasal swab or a CT scan may be recommended for some patients.
What Causes Sinus Infections?
Sinus infections are very common, but the underlying causes are not well understood. A number of factors can trigger or worsen an existing infection. These include allergies, certain weather conditions, certain occupations, poor air quality, and poor eating habits. Improper hygiene and poor dental hygiene are also considered risk factors for developing a sinus infection.
How to Cure a Sinus Infection?
Prevention is always better than treatment. If you have had a sinus infection recently, you need to take extra care to avoid getting another one. Here are a few tips on how to cure a sinus infection. Get plenty of rest and drink a lot of fluids to help you get better faster.
Eat a nutritious diet low in dairy and sugar, as these foods can lead to more mucus production. Stay away from people who are sick and avoid cigarette smoke and pollen. Take over-the-counter medications, such as ibuprofen, as directed by your doctor.
Clean your nasal passages with saline sprays or neti pots, which can help to flush out the bacteria in your nasal passages. Practice good hygiene, visit your dentist regularly, and get a flu shot each year to help prevent sinus infections. Finally, get acupuncture and herbal remedies to cure a sinus infection.
The best way to prevent sinus infections is to maintain a healthy lifestyle. That means getting plenty of exercise, drinking lots of water, eating a healthy diet rich in fruits and vegetables, and maintaining good dental hygiene. In addition, you should avoid smoking and spending time in polluted environments.
If you develop symptoms of a sinus infection, it is important to seek medical advice as soon as possible to prevent it from becoming a more serious infection.