Pressure and pain in your face? You could have a sinus infection. Here's what to look out for, what certain symptoms may mean, and what you can do about them. We hope to equip you with the tools to get better on your own, but we also want to ensure you know when to consult a doctor.
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What is Sinusitis?
It is an inflammation or swelling of the tissue lining the sinuses. Healthy sinuses are filled with air. Sinus Infection is usually the result of a cold or flu virus spreading to the sinuses from the upper airways, causing the sinuses to become blocked and filled with fluid. This enables germs to grow and cause an infection.
What are the symptoms?
This infection can be acute or chronic. Both chronic and acute have similar signs and symptoms, but the acute one is a temporary infection often associated with a cold. Fever isn't a common sign of the chronic one, but you might have one with acute. The signs and symptoms of chronic type last longer and usually lead to greater fatigue.
- headache (what's a headache vs a migraine?)
- pain, pressure, and tenderness around your cheeks, eyes or forehead
- “stuffed-up”/congested nose (perhaps you're dealing with the flu or allergies)
- hindered sense of smell
- a cough or sore throat
- bad breath (AKA halitosis)
- a green or yellow discharge from your nose
- a fever of 38.3 C or more
It might be infection if you have two or more of the preceding symptoms.
The symptoms of sinusitis generally clear up within a few weeks (acute sinusitis), although if you are suffering from chronic sinusitis the symptoms can last for more than three months.
If you have a simple sinus infection, your doctor may recommend you use a decongestant and saline nasal washes. You shouldn’t use an over-the-counter decongestant for more than 3 days, though, because it’s possible that it actually makes you even more congested.
If your symptoms are mild and getting better, you probably don’t need to go to a clinic and can look after yourself at home. You may need to get a medical certificate (MC) to be able to stay home from work or school. If this is the case, consulting a doctor on RingMD from the comfort of your own home is a great option. Not only is it possible to get an MC, but also consult with a doctor to confirm that is indeed acute sinusitis and not something more serious.
The following at-home remedies can help suppress your symptoms and even speed you up on your road to recovery. In fact, engaging in the following processes regularly can even prevent the onset of another sinus infection.
- Rest. Give your body a chance to recover!
- Drink lots of fluids, ideally water. This will help thin your mucus, which reduces the blockage in your sinuses. You should also avoid alcohol as it can make the swelling worse.
- Get steamy! Steam eases congested and swollen nasal passages. Breathe in steam from a bowl of warm water, or run your shower and sit in the bathroom with the door closed.
- Flush out your sinuses with a nasal saline solution. While they don't contain medicine (saline is salt water), they can help keep your nasal passages moist and clear out mucus (and other debris).
When should I see a doctor?
Hopefully, the preceding do-it-yourself tips will help you feel much better on your own. Otherwise, you should definitely consult a GP if:
- your sinus symptoms haven’t improved after 7 days
- your symptoms get worse each day
- you get sinus infections frequently
- you’re suffering from debilitating pain or severe discomfort
You can see a doctor from the comfort of your own home, or wherever you may find yourself, using RingMD’s new instant call feature or by scheduling an appointment with a doctor through our global online directory of world-class doctors.
Connect with a doctor on RingMD. Why leave home to see a doctor if you don't have to? Avoid sick people in busy waiting rooms and skip the traffic jam. See a doctor online now. When appropriate, the doctor is able to provide you with a signed Medical Certificate (MC) if you need one for work or school reasons.
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