Sinus infections also referred to as sinusitis, are incredibly common. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 28.9 million adults were diagnosed with sinusitis in 2018.
If you or a loved one currently has symptoms of a sinus infection, you may be wondering if it’s contagious. The short answer is it depends on the cause.
What Causes a Sinus Infection?
If a sinus infection is caused by a virus, such as a cold or the flu, you can transmit that virus to another person. It’s then possible that they might also develop a sinus infection from the virus as well. However, it’s also entirely possible that they have a cold or flu without developing a sinus infection.
Similarly, if your sinus infection is caused by bacteria, fungus, nasal polyps, allergies or a deviated septum, these are not contagious, and there is no way for you to pass your symptoms to another person.
Common Sinus Infection Symptoms
If you have a sinus infection, you are likely to experience some or all of the following symptoms:
- Pain or pressure in the sinuses, forehead, between your eyes, on the sides of your nose and/or your upper jaw
- Nasal congestion
- Runny nose
- Decreased ability or inability to smell
- Sore throat
- Postnasal drip
- Thick nasal discharge that is cloudy, yellow or green
- Bad breath
If you have an acute case of sinusitis, your symptoms will likely last anywhere from 7-10 days, possibly longer for a bacterial infection.
If you have sinus infection symptoms lasting longer than 12 weeks, it’s considered chronic sinusitis.
There are multiple treatment options available for sinusitis, many of which involve at-home remedies. These include:
- Nasal irrigation with a Neti pot or saline rinse
- Nasal sprays
- Over-the-counter pain relievers, decongestants or fever reducers that can be found at Exton Pharmacy at Marchwood or many other pharmacies in southeast Pennsylvania
- Staying hydrated
- Getting plenty of rest
If at-home methods don’t work, contact your doctor. They may recommend other treatments such as antibiotics in the case of a bacterial infection or other prescription medications like antihistamines or corticosteroids that are either injected or administered via nasal spray. In certain cases, sinus surgery may be required.
To learn more or to have your sinus symptoms evaluated by one of our experts, call Pinnacle ENT Associates today to schedule an appointment.