When you have a sinus infection, you’re probably eager to get rid of it as quickly as possible. But there are some things you can do to help the process along, and other things that might slow it down instead.
A sinus infection can be a miserable experience no matter how old you are. In most cases, they can be treated fairly easily with rest, decongestants and fluids.
But if not treated right away or left untreated for too long, sinus infections can lead to complications such as meningitis and even brain inflammation in rare instances.
If left untreated, a sinus infection may cause additional problems like headaches, tenderness around your cheeks or jaw and facial pain. The mucous membranes within your nose become swollen and tender from the swelling which is why you feel so much pressure around your nose and face in general.
do sinus infections cause fever
A sinus infection can also cause a fever. But, what causes this? The reason is that the body’s response to the infection in the nasal passages and sinuses includes an increase in temperature as part of the immune response.
An infection in any part of the body elicits a reaction that helps fight off the germs, but when it comes to a sinus infection, it can get complicated. There are four main reasons why a sinus infection can cause fever:
The Body’s Response to the Infection
During an infection, the body will produce extra white blood cells to fight off the infection. These cells are produced in the bone marrow, which is the spongy tissue inside of our long bones.
The bone marrow will release these cells into the bloodstream, where they travel to the site of infection and help fight off the germs.
When the infection is in the sinuses, white blood cells are also released into the sinuses. It’s during this process that the white blood cells produce heat that can cause the sinuses to warm up and cause a fever.
A fever can be due to an immune response alone, or it could be caused by bacterial growth or viral infection in addition to the immune response.
The Mucus is a Culture Medium for Germs
During an infection in the sinuses, the mucus in the sinuses becomes more liquid. This is due to swelling of the sinuses. A liquid environment is an ideal place for bacteria to grow.
The bacteria help to break down the proteins in the mucus, making it more like a nutrient-rich broth than just a sticky, goopy mess. The bacteria also excrete toxins that kill off white blood cells.
These toxins can also cause the sinuses to swell further, leading to more liquid in the sinuses. Bacterial growth can cause a high fever during an infection because fevers are one way the body tries to kill off the germs.
The increased body temperature helps the white blood cells work more effectively against the bacteria. The higher temperature in the sinuses also helps kill off any bacteria growing there.
Bacterial Growth and Viral Infection Cause Fever
Not all bacterial infections cause a fever. Diseases like bacterial pneumonia and meningitis, which are caused by bacteria, will cause a fever. Viruses, on the other hand, don’t cause a fever because the body’s immune system doesn’t try to kill viruses.
Viruses are sneaky, and they don’t respond to the body’s immune system. If a person has a sinus infection caused by the common cold, which is a viral infection, then fever will not be a symptom during the infection.
When someone has a fever caused by a bacterial infection, they can use over-the-counter (OTC) medications to help bring the fever down. A person with a viral infection won’t respond to OTC medications.
They can also pass the virus on to other people through coughing and sneezing, which is why it’s important to practice good hygiene when you’re sick to help prevent spreading viral infections.
The Immune System’s Response Cause Fever
Another cause of sinus infection fever is the immune system’s response to the infection, which can trigger a fever. The immune system is made up of organs and cells that work together to fight off infection.
When a person is infected with a sinus infection, their immune system will respond by sending out white blood cells to kill the germs, which can cause a fever. A doctor can prescribe antibiotics to help the body fight off the infection, along with fever reducers to help bring down the fever.
Bacterial infections cause fever because the immune system is trying to kill off the bacteria, but viral infections don’t. Viral infections can cause a fever if the immune system also responds to the infection.
Decongestants Can Cause Fever
Decongestants can help shrink swollen nasal tissue, but they can also cause a rise in body temperature during a sinus infection. Vascular headaches are one of the most common types of headaches in the world.
These headaches occur when the blood vessels in the head dilate, leading to a throbbing pain. Decongestants help to shrink the blood vessels in the head and can help prevent vascular headaches.
Some decongestants contain caffeine, which can also cause a rise in body temperature. Decongestants can cause a rise in body temperature during a sinus infection because they help shrink the sinuses.
The sinuses are also blood vessels, so decongestants help reduce their swelling and increase blood flow through the sinuses, which causes a rise in body temperature.
A sinus infection can cause fever in a number of different ways. The body’s immune response releases white blood cells that travel to the infection and create heat in the sinuses, or the body’s immune response to an infection can cause a rise in temperature.
A bacterial infection can cause fever because the immune system is trying to kill off the bacteria, while a viral infection won’t cause a fever because the immune system doesn’t respond to viruses.
Decongestants can cause a fever because they help shrink the sinuses and increase blood flow to the sinuses, which causes them to warm up. A sinus infection can cause a fever in a number of different ways.