What is Sinus Infection When to See a Doctor?
Sinus infection is also known as sinusitis. It occurs in the sinuses – 4 pairs of hollow cavities, located in different parts of the skull:
- In the cheekbones
- Behind the nose
- Between the eyes
- In the middle of the forehead
These sinuses or openings facilitate breathing and voice production. The cavities have a thin coating of mucosa (a type of soft tissue). If infected fluid gets blocked in the mucosa, it leads to sinus infection. It is not a dangerous condition but can cause a lot of discomfort and pain.
Sinus infection symptoms:
The infection causes the mucosa to swell up and inflame. Due to this, you may experience:
- Swelling around the cheeks
- Blocked or stuffy nose
- The cheek area, the area around the eyes and the lower forehead may feel tight, compressed and stiff.
- Unable to distinguish smells
- Foul smelling breath
- Ache in the jaws/ teeth
- High fever (100 degrees or above)
- Flowing/ runny nose or mucus-filled nose
- Pain in the ear
- Irritation in the throat
Why does sinus infection happen?
Germ-filled fluid can get stuck in the sinus as a result of common cold, nasal allergies, small growths called nasal polyps or if you have deviated septum. The septum is the bone and cartilage that divides the nose into 2. If it is misplaced it can lead to breathing difficulties and sinusitis.
When to visit the doctor?
If the above-mentioned symptoms don’t reduce within 7 days, or if the symptoms are unbearable, you should visit your doctor. It is necessary in order to find the trigger so that a remedy corresponding to that trigger can be suggested. For instance, if you are prone to repeated bouts of sinusitis because of a deviated septum, then your doctor may suggest a minor surgery called septoplasty. It’s an operation aimed at rectifying the defect in your nasal bone so that you can breathe properly. Secondly, if the sinusitis is due to nasal polyps, you need to visit the doctor in order to get rid of them surgically.
Similarly, if the sinusitis is a result of a drug or medicine that affects the immunity, then the doctor may suggest a remedy accordingly.
Likewise, if sinusitis is triggered due to an allergy, you need to consult your doctor about immunotherapy or anti-allergy injections.
Moreover, if you don’t get sinusitis treated by a doctor, it can also lead to other medical complications. These complications include meningitis (a serious illness in which the germs from the sinuses affect the protective outer layers of the brain and the spinal cord) and bone infection. Such complications are rare though.
In general, for sinusitis treatment, doctor might suggest:
- Avoid smoking
- Antibiotics (if sinus is caused due to bacteria)
- Certain steroids to get rid of the pain and nasal congestion
- Limited use of decongestant sprays
- Inhaling menthol-infused steam
- Drinking a lot of fluids to boost immunity
- Regular cough and cold medicines
- Taking rest
If the sinusitis keeps recurring more than three times in a year, despite the remedies, or if the infection lasts more than 3 months, then you might be suffering from chronic sinusitis. This too calls for paying a visit to a reputed ENT specialist. To get in touch with some of India’s reputed ENT specialists, book an appointment with Apollo Spectra.