Sinus Infection

What is it?

Sinus infection, also known as sinusitis is a condition whereby the nasal cavities become infected, swollen and inflamed.

What is the cause?

Sinus infection is usually caused by virus infecting the upper respiratory tract. In some rare cases, it could be caused by bacteria or fungus as well. Other health conditions such as allergies, nasal polyps and tooth infections may also lead to it.

What the types of sinus infection?

  • Acute sinusitis lasts for less than 4 weeks.
  • Subacute sinusitis lasts between 4 to 12 weeks.
  • Recurrent acute sinusitis will return four or more times within a year, with each infection lasting 7 days or more.
  • Chronic sinusitis lasts for more than 12 weeks and will continue to recur in the long run.

What are the symptoms?

  • Pain or pressure in the sinuses
  • Running nose and postnasal drip
  • Nasal congestion
  • Headache
  • Sore throat and hoarse voice

How to manage it?

  • Over-the-counter medications such as cetirizine (Zyrtec) and loratadine (Claritin) contain antihistamines and decongestants that can help with sinus infections, particularly if one also experience allergies.
  • Nasal irrigation to flush out the nostrils with sterile water or a nasal solution.
  • A doctor may prescribe antibiotics for a bacterial sinus infection that has lasted 10 days or more without symptoms improving, or if symptoms seem to improve but then get worse within 10 days.

How to prevent it?

  • Quit smoking may help to prevent future episodes of both acute and chronic sinusitis.
  • Wash hands frequently especially during flu seasons.
  • Using a humidifier during the cooler, dryer months.
  • Talk to a doctor if you are allergic to something that causes persistent sinus symptoms. You will need to treat your allergies in order to relieve your sinus infection.


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