A sinus infection can result in a slew of bothersome symptoms, and if left untreated, your symptoms could last for weeks or even months. Additionally, in rare instances, extremely serious consequences can arise.

What is a Sinus Infection and How Does it Happen?

The inflammation or swelling of the tissues that line your sinuses is the result of a sinus infection, which is also referred to as sinusitis in some instances. The majority of the time, they are filled with air, but when they become clogged and filled with fluid, an infection can occur.

It is possible for bacteria or viruses to produce this sort of infection; however, fungi may also be responsible in some situations. Even though common ailments such as colds, allergies and anatomical abnormalities like a deviated septum are not directly responsible for these infections, they can generate obstructions that allow bacteria to proliferate and cause an infection.

What are the Different Types of Sinus Infections?

The majority of sinus infections are caused by viruses, and they will normally resolve on their own without treatment. When an infection persists for more than a week to 10 days, it may be a sign that the infection is caused by bacteria. It could have started out as a bacterial illness, or it could have started out as a viral infection that progressed to a bacterial infection as your sinuses became clogged with fluid and bacteria formed.

If you are suffering from sinus infections that appear to be clearing up only to return shortly after, you are most likely suffering from a bacterial infection. An additional sign of infection is nasal discharge that is thick, dark, or greenish-yellow in color, although your ENT doctor can do tests to determine the type of infection if necessary.

Sinus infections can also be divided into two categories: acute and persistent. Acute infections are characterized by symptoms such as a runny or stuffy nose, as well as face pain, which can linger for up to four weeks in most cases. The condition known as chronic sinusitis happens when your illness lasts for at least 12 weeks despite your best efforts to treat it.

The Consequences of a Sinus Infection if Left Untreated

A sinus infection that persists for several weeks without treatment can be debilitating and painful and may progress to chronic sinusitis if left untreated. In addition, if your infection is allowed to persist, it may result in certain potentially severe complications. Such problems are uncommon, although they do arise from time to time. In some cases, a sinus infection can extend to the eyes and cause redness, swelling and blurred vision. In the most extreme situations, it can potentially result in permanent blindness.

When an infection spreads to the eyes, it is usually treated with intravenous antibiotics to prevent further spread. In addition, a CT scan may be required to determine whether or not fluid should be drained. However, sinus infections can sometimes migrate to the brain, though this is much less often. It can result in a brain abscess or meningitis, both of which are potentially life-threatening complications.

Infections that are persistent, worsen over time, or improve only to recur soon should be treated by a medical professional. It is possible that an antibiotic will be sufficient treatment, but it is also possible that more treatment will be required.

It is possible that an antibiotic will be sufficient treatment, but it is also possible that more treatment will be required. In the short term, a sinus infection can result in a long number of symptoms, which may include the following symptoms:

  • Congestion
  • Post-nasal drip
  • Pain in the face
  • Headache
  • Having bad breath
  • Coughing
  • Fatigue
  • Sense of smell or taste has been diminished
  • Sinusitis is a condition that can be diagnosed and treated

Acute sinusitis is typically treated with antibiotics as well as medications that reduce swelling of the nasal lining, such as decongestants. Chronic sinusitis may necessitate long-term medical intervention. Antibiotics, decongestants and other treatments to reduce swelling of the lining of the nose, such as nasal steroid sprays, are all available as medical treatment options. Antihistamines will continue to have a role in the treatment of people who have an underlying allergy. Sinusitis can be adequately treated with medical intervention in the vast majority of patients.

Occasionally, symptoms will persist despite continued medication use, in which case surgery may be required. The diagnosis of sinusitis by an ENT specialist will include the use of a nasal endoscope, which allows the doctor to inspect the nasal lining as well as the sinus apertures in the nose.

In the event that you are having symptoms that could indicate the existence of a sinus infection, schedule an appointment with Vero ENT Associates on (772) 408-9556 right away. Our ear, nose and throat specialists and experts will make certain that you receive the care you require in order to find relief and avoid possibly life-threatening consequences.

Tags: sinus basics, sinus infections