Sinus infections also referred to as sinusitis, are usually caused by a viral infection. However, other factors can contribute to developing a sinus infection as well, including allergies.
What is Sinusitis?
Sinusitis occurs when your sinus cavities become swollen and inflamed. As mentioned, it’s often caused by a viral infection. However, some sinus infections are caused by bacteria and, more rarely, fungus.
Common symptoms of sinus infections include:
- Pain or pressure in the sinuses
- Nasal congestion
- Thick nasal discharge
- Postnasal drip
- Sore throat
- Bad breath
How Do Allergies Contribute to Sinusitis?
Allergies can increase your risk of developing a sinus infection because they can cause chronic congestion, inflammation and swelling of the nasal passages. This inflammation is caused by exposure to allergen triggers. For some people, it’s seasonal allergens like pollen. Other people develop allergy symptoms from year-long allergens like dust mites, pet dander or mold.
Because the sinuses are swollen and inflamed, mucus can become trapped in the sinuses, which increases your chances of developing a sinus infection.
A 2021 study looked into the relationship between allergies and sinusitis. Researchers found that the incidence of sinusitis was significantly higher in participants who had allergy symptoms as opposed to those who didn’t.
Treatment Options for Sinus Infections
Your treatment options for a sinus infection will depend on factors like the cause of the infection, the severity of your symptoms, whether your infection is acute or chronic, as well as your overall health. Options include:
- Antihistamines. These can be helpful, in particular, if your sinusitis is related to your allergy symptoms. They can block inflammation caused by allergies which reduces your risk of sinus infection. You can find over-the-counter options or get a prescription strength version from your medical provider and pick it up at Kingdom Pharmacy or other Pennsylvania drugstores.
- Antibiotics. If you have a bacterial sinus infection, your doctor may prescribe antibiotics. Because concerns have grown about the overuse of antibiotics, your doctor may suggest a wait-and-see option to see if your symptoms improve on their own before recommending antibiotics.
- Home treatments. You can often manage symptoms at home by using things like saline rinses, nasal decongestant sprays, using a warm compress on your face and using a humidifier to help ease pain and congestion.
- Surgery. In instances where your sinus infections are caused by nasal polyps, a deviated septum or other anatomical issues, surgery may be considered.
For more information on managing your sinus symptoms or to schedule an appointment with one of our expert providers, call Pinnacle ENT today.