And What Causes Sinus Infections?

Sinus infections, or sinusitis, are a frequent issue for millions. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that nearly 29 million adults are diagnosed with sinusitis each year.

Although sinus infections themselves aren’t contagious, they often arise from the same viruses that cause the common cold and influenza (the flu). If you’re carrying a virus, you can potentially pass it to someone else, who may or may not end up with a sinus infection.

Of course, viruses aren’t the only cause of sinus infections. Other culprits include bacteria, fungus, nasal polyps, allergies, and a deviated septum. In these instances, sinusitis isn’t contagious. So if you know the cause isn’t a viral infection, you can rest easy, knowing you won’t accidentally share your discomfort with friends and family.

Recognizing the Telltale Signs of a Sinus Infection

If you’re grappling with sinusitis, you’re probably experiencing a combination of symptoms, such as:

  • Pain or pressure around your sinuses
  • Persistent headaches
  • Nasal congestion and runny nose
  • Reduced sense of smell
  • Sore throat and postnasal drip
  • Thick, discolored nasal discharge
  • Fever and fatigue
  • Bad breath

In the case of acute sinusitis, these symptoms usually persist for seven to 10 days. If your sinus problems last more than 12 weeks, you have chronic sinusitis and should consult a medical professional.

Stop the Spread of Contagious Sinus Infections

If you suspect a virus is the underlying cause, adopt these habits to minimize the risk of spreading it around:

  • Cover your nose and mouth with your elbow or a tissue, not your bare hands, when sneezing or coughing
  • Wash your hands frequently, or use hand sanitizer when soap and water aren’t available
  • Call in sick or work from home, if possible
  • Don’t socialize and keep your distance from others in your household

How to Treat Sinusitis

A trip to your local pharmacy might offer relief. Over-the-counter decongestants, pain relievers, and fever reducers are all viable medications. Home remedies like nasal irrigation with saline solution or placing your head over a bowl of steaming water may also alleviate your symptoms. However, if your condition doesn’t improve or worsens, consult a doctor.

Choose Village Emergency Centers for Quality Medical Care

When addressing your sinus issues or other urgent health concerns, Village Emergency Centers has you covered. We have six convenient locations in the Greater Houston Area and provide 24/7 emergency care with no wait times, all under the guidance of board-certified doctors. Our rapid lab results and streamlined admission and discharge processes set us apart. We accept all private insurance, so why wait? Find a location near you and get the quality sinus infection care you deserve.