Do I Have a Sinus Infection?
A sinus infection raleigh nc, which is also called sinusitis, is a major health concerns which affects millions of people every year. More than $1 billion is spent each year in America on over-the-counter medications which work to treat and minimize sinus infection symptoms. A reported 16 million visits to the doctor and $150 million is spent on prescription medications because of sinus infections. Patients who suffer from allergies, asthma, structural blockages in the nasal cavity or sinuses, or those with a weak immune system are at greater risk for sinus infections.
Symptoms of a Sinus Infection
Severe colds are often confused with sinus infections. While many of symptoms, such as headaches, facial pain, runny nose and nasal congestion are the same, colds and sinus infections are different. Contrary to a cold, symptoms of a sinus infection can be caused by a bacterial infection. In this case, antibiotics are often required to kill the infection-causing germs.
Patients who think they have a sinus infection should visit an allergist for an accurate diagnosis. In most cases, the treatment for a sinus infection is relatively easy. Through early intervention of a sinus infection, severe symptoms and possible complications can be avoided.
Sinusitis, another term used for a sinus infection, is the inflammation of the sinuses. The condition is commonly caused by a bacterial infection. In some cases, viruses or fungi can be the culprit. Patients who have a weakened immune systems are more susceptible to bacterial or fungal sinus infections. Some people who have allergies can also experience an allergic fungal sinus infection. Sinus infections which are acute can last three to eight weeks. When a sinus infection lasts more than eight weeks, it is considered to be chronic.
Location of the sinuses:
- Behind the forehead and eyebrows
- Directly behind the nose and in front of the brain
- On both sides of the bridge of the nose
- Under the bony structure of the cheeks
When it is left untreated, an infection of the sinus cavity which is close to the brain can be life threatening. While it is rare, the infection can spread to the brain.
In a normal situation, the sinuses are lined with a thin layer of mucus which acts as a trap for dust, germs and other air particles. Tiny hair-like projections found in the sinuses clear the mucus and debris towards the opening in the back of the throat and it then slides down to the stomach. This continuous process is a normal function in the body.
When a patient has a sinus infection, the normal flow of mucus from the sinuses to the back of the throat is prevented. The small hair-like projections are blocked when the nasal tissues swell and the mucus is trapped in the sinuses.
Some patients have defects which can contribute to their sinus infection. These types of defects include:
- Deformed bony partition between the nasal passages
- Nasal polyps or growths
- Narrow sinus opening
Below are common symptoms which are associated with sinus infections:
- Bad breath
- Facial tenderness
- Frontal headaches
- Green or discolored nasal discharge
- Nasal congestion
- Postnasal drip
- Teeth pain
Allergies have been found to play an important role in chronic cases of sinus infections. The nasal and sinus passages can become swollen, congested, and inflamed in an effort to flush out the inhaled particles which can trigger allergies. Pollen is considered to be a seasonal allergen, while molds, dust mites and pet dander can result in year-round symptoms.
Asthma has also been found to have a connection to chronic sinus infections. Some patients who have chronic nasal inflammation and irritation, in addition to asthma, can develop a form of chronic sinusitis which is not caused by an infection. The appropriate treatment of the sinus infection often has a positive improvement on the asthma symptoms.