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Whether they are viral or bacterial, sinus infections are never fun. But can sinus infections spread to other people, Or are they just contagious to the person infected. Sinus infection symptoms include congestion and a runny nose that won’t stop dribbling. It can give you headaches and sore throat and even cause you to be unable to smell. All these symptoms can mean you have a cold or sinusitis.
What is a Sinus Infection?
A sinus infection is caused by an infection, irritation, or swelling of the sinuses. A virus typically causes sinus infections in your upper respiratory tract, but they can also be due to bacteria, migraines, tumors, fungus, or allergies. Sinus infections do not spread from person to person as the common cold does.
What Causes Sinus Infections?
Sinus infections can be excruciating and hard to diagnose because symptoms may overlap with others, such as the common cold or flu. The condition is caused by:
The rhinoviruses and other viruses cause sinus infections. These viruses infect and inflame your throat and nose. The common cold is one example of a viral infection that can cause sinusitis. The viruses can also cause mild or severe Pain during the condition.
Bacteria can enter the sinus cavities through the nose or directly from an infection in another part of the body. When bacteria get into your sinus cavities, it’s easy to grow and cause infection.
Nasal polyps (also called nasal papillomas) are soft, fleshy growths found in the airways of the nose. Nasal polyps often disappear independently but can lead to sinus infections and breathing difficulties. They’re usually located near where the nasal cavity meets with the eustachian tube (the tube that connects the throat to the middle ear).
Nasal tumors, or neoplasms, are benign or malignant growths that form in the nose. These facial tumors can be caused by inherited genetic traits or environmental factors such as infection. The main risk factors for nasal tumor growth include exposure to repeated infections or pollutants and over 50.
A deviated septum, sometimes referred to as a crooked nose, is a deviation of the nasal septum in which it may slant toward one side of the nose or bend in an upward direction, causing breathing problems. A deviated septum may result from a variety of causes, including injury that occurred at birth, disease and infections brought on by viruses and bacteria, or even non-hormonal rhinitis.
Allergies are a common cause of sinus infections. Many people with allergies find relief by cleaning their homes, reducing the amount of dust and other allergens in their homes, and using air filters to remove airborne particles that trigger sneezing and other allergy symptoms.
Common Symptoms of Sinus Infections
Sinus infections are usually self-diagnosed and often confused with the common cold. The truth is sinus infections can affect your breathing and make you feel terrible. Infections are often caused by bacteria, viruses, and fungi buildup. Allergies may also be a driving factor behind the development of sinus infection symptoms. Symptoms generally resolve with treatment after 1 to 2 months. The symptoms may include:
- Pain or swelling in the cheeks or forehead
- Loss of smell
- Congestion beyond the nasal passages
How Do Sinus Infections Spread?
The spread of a sinus infection can only happen when the germs have been transferred from one person to another. Unfortunately, this spread is possible in almost all cases. Sinus infections are highly contagious and are transmitted through:
- Physical touch – The most common way is through communication and contact with someone infected. Particles and droplets containing viruses can be picked up on hands, then transferred to other people or things, like door handles and remote controls.
- Particles and droplets containing viruses – Sinus infections are caused by a buildup of bacteria, viruses, dust, and other pollutants. Particles and droplets containing the viruses get lodged in your nose when these pollutants are breathed in.
Treatment of sinus infections
The treatment of sinus infections can be tricky. If not done correctly, you could end up with a sinus infection that lasts longer than it needs to. You may be frustrated that your doctor hasn’t been able to help you or doesn’t seem to want to take the time to help you. Some of the treatment options are:
Using a Humidifier
To help reduce the symptoms of sinusitis and other respiratory problems, we recommend using a humidifier. Benefits of humidifier for sinus include adding moisture to dry the indoor air that can trigger or worsen a cold or allergy symptoms. It is also recommended to keep humidity levels above 30-50% during winter months, as the cool, dry air will help to open your nasal passages and make you feel better. Benefits of humidifier for sinus has been proven to be effective.
Applying a Warm Compress
Apply a warm compress to your forehead, cheeks, and throat to treat sinus infections. You can use a clean washcloth rung out in hot water or run hot water from the faucet over a clean towel to make it warm. Do not apply heat directly to the skin. Hold it against your face until the area feels warm.
Using Decongestant Nasal Sprays
Decongestant nasal sprays aid the body in clearing up congestion associated with colds, flu, allergies, and sinusitis. They help reduce swelling of the lining of the nose and sinuses, allowing you to breathe more freely.
Saline Nasal Sprays and Rinses
The best way to relieve a sinus infection is to clear the lungs and nasal passages. Nasal sprays and rinses with saline can help thin, thick pus and make it easier to breathe. Saline drops for babies can also be added to breast milk or formula when feeding an infant.
Breathe deep and eliminate sinus infections. Inhaling steam can help reduce cold or sinus infection symptoms by loosening mucus and reducing inflammation.
Drinking Plenty of Water and Resting
To avoid having a sinus infection or to treat an existing one, stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water. This can also help you avoid getting dehydrated and feeling fatigued and lessen your chances of developing a cold or flu. Lastly, get rest; most sinus infections do not require medical attention.
Sinus infections can be contagious. A person with a cold may sneeze on someone else who hasn’t built up immunity to their specific strain of rhinovirus. This is why it’s essential to wash your hands after interacting with sick people, so you don’t spread the germs to others. If a person has a sinus infection caused by bacteria, they are much more contagious during the first few days than during the last several days of the condition. If a person has viral sinusitis, they might not be as infectious during the first week. Still, they will likely become just as contagious and infectious during the last few days as bacterial sinusitis does in the first few days.
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