What is Sinus Infection?

Sinus Infection or Sinusitis is a condition in which the cavities around the nasal passages become inflamed. In most cases, it can be triggered by a cold or allergies and may last up to six to eight weeks depending on the medication. The symptoms generally include headache, facial pain, runny nose, and nasal congestion. Acute sinusitis usually doesn't require any treatment beyond symptomatic relief with pain medication, nasal decongestants, and nasal saline rinses. Chronic sinusitis may require more invasive treatments like antibiotics, nasal sprays, injected or oral corticosteroids, antifungal or aspirin desensitisation treatment, etc. You can find out more about how to prevent a sinus infection here.

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What is a Sinus Infection?

A sinus infection, which is also known as sinusitis, is the inflammation of the sinus tissue lining. For those who aren’t aware, sinuses are the hollow spaces behind your cheekbones, your forehead, and your eyes. In most cases, sinusitis develops when there is a fluid build-up in the sinuses, allowing infectious micro-organisms to grow. Numerous aspects can result in the blockage and swelling of the sinuses. To understand more about the whys and hows of sinusitis and to help treat and prevent it, keep reading.

Learn What Causes Sinus Infections

Sinusitis is easily one of the most common types of infections and is experienced by a wide variety of people. So, here are some reasons as to why sinusitis occurs:

  • Blockage in Sinus

If you have the flu or a common cold, it can lead to the swelling of the sinuses. This may prevent the flow of mucus, leading to a build-up in your sinus passages, and resulting in a sinus infection over time. In the case of fungal sinusitis, this blockage is due to a fungal infection. You can also experience such blockages due to nasal polyps, which are growths of tissue in your nasal area.

  • Allergies

Some people can have an allergic reaction to certain allergens in the environment. These allergies can lead to the sinus region getting swollen, irritated, and eventually result in sinus inflammation and sinusitis.

  • Anatomy Reasons

People also develop sinusitis due to the particular anatomy of their nasal and sinus areas. Sinus infections can be common in people who have narrow sinuses or who have a deviated nasal septum, which refers to a wall between the nasal passage. Hence, they might develop sinusitis quite frequently.

  • Others

Some other causes of a sinus infection can be a weak immune system due to medications, smoking, etc.

Find Out the Symptoms of Sinusitis

  • Pains in Your Sinus and Surrounding Areas: One of the most obvious symptoms of sinus infection can be the pain that is restricted to the sinus area and surrounding regions. As the infection causes your sinuses to swell, it can generate sinus pressure and thereby lead to a sinus headache, as well as pain in your ears, jaws, cheeks, and even lead to pain in your teeth.

  • Nasal Discharge: If you are suffering from a sinus infection, you might notice that you keep having a runny nose. This is because the discharge from the sinus infection drains into your nasal passage. The discharge might be opaque or yellow-green in colour.

  • Sore Throat: As your sinusitis leads to nasal discharge, this discharge can also find its way down the throat region. Thus, it can cause sore throat, irritation, and itchiness.

  • Nasal Congestion: On the other hand, sinusitis symptoms can also present themselves in the form of a blocked nose. As your sinuses swell up, they can block up your nasal and respiratory passages, making it difficult for you to breathe. Due to the congestion, you might not be able to taste or smell as usual.

Diagnosis of Sinus Infection

Most types of sinus infections can be diagnosed with a check-up from your regular general physician. The doctor shall check your nose, throat and ears for any blockage or swelling. With the help of an endoscope, the medical professional may look inside your nose. In some cases, you might be asked to consult an ENT (Ear, Nose, and Throat) specialist. To get a better idea of the blockages in your sinuses and the best way to approach the sinusitis treatment, your physician might also recommend you to get a CT scan.

Treatment for Sinusitis

  • Treatment for Mild Sinusitis

Certain types of sinusitis, such as acute sinusitis, are quite mild and with the right sinus infection treatment, you can expect a speedy recovery! Your physician might recommend saline nasal spray, nasal decongestants or other nasal sprays to treat the inflammation. Furthermore, if the sinus infection is due to allergies, medication to reduce the allergy symptoms shall be prescribed.

  • Treatment for Complicated Sinusitis

For more intense forms of sinus infections, such as chronic sinusitis that reoccurs periodically, you might require more invasive treatments. This can include saline solutions to help flush out mucus, nasal sprays, injected or oral corticosteroids, antifungal or aspirin desensitisation treatment, etc.

Remedies to Help Tackle Sinusitis at Home

Although it is never recommended to avoid seeking medical treatment over home remedies for sinus, these tips can offer some relief from the infection:


  • Drink Plenty of Fluids: Regular consumption of hot fluids, such as tea, water or broth can help flush out the toxins and relieve the sinus infection symptoms.

  • Use a Steamer: When you use a steamer, warm and moist air can reduce the discomfort of congestion by thinning out the mucus in the sinuses, thereby providing relief in breathing.

  • Avoid Vocal Strain: In case you have a sore throat due to a sinus infection, it is advised to avoid yelling, speaking loudly, or singing.

  • Use a Warm Compress: One of the crucial home remedies for sinus is making use of a warm compress over the inflamed regions like your forehead, nose, or cheeks. This shall offer some comfort and lessen the pressure on the sinuses.

  • Get rest: The best home remedy to ease your sinusitis-related symptoms is to get as much bed rest as possible. With your body in a state of rest, it can efficiently let your immunity system do its work and fight the infection-causing virus or bacteria.

So, When Should You Seek a Doctor?

In case you have serious sinusitis symptoms or if the infection keeps coming back, then you must consult a medical professional. You can look out for the following symptoms to seek medical care:


  • Nasal congestion

  • Nasal discharge

  • Severe facial pain or headaches

  • Sinus infection symptoms that are lasting longer than 10 days

  • Fever for more than 3-4 days

  • Sinusitis symptoms that improved initially but keep worsening

Watch Out for These Sinusitis Complications

Even though most sinus infections do not have many complications, they may include the following:


  • Vision problems or swelling of the eye

  • Sensitivity to light

  • Fever

  • Severe headache or swelling of the forehead

  • Pain while moving the eyes

How to Prevent Sinusitis if it’s Contagious?

Sinus infections caused due to bacteria, allergies, blockage of nasal passage, etc. aren’t contagious. However, sinusitis caused by a virus is contagious and has the ability to spread from one person to another. To avoid the spread of contagious sinusitis, it is recommended to wash your hands regularly, cough or sneeze into your elbow or a napkin and avoid contact with other people if you are sick.


However, such medical emergencies may lead to multiple treatment sessions and medications. To ensure you are covered against these expenses and have access to affordable healthcare, opting for the right health insurance plan is a no brainer for sure!

At the End of the Day…

While sinusitis might not be on the top of the list of major medical concerns, it can cause immense discomfort and even recurring pain for several people. On the off chance that a sinus infection turns out to be more severe than expected, it is best to be financially prepared as health problems when left unchecked may accompany hefty medical bills. To that end, consider buying a reliable health insurance plan both for yourself as well as your entire family and ensure coverage for not just sinus infections, but any other medical eventuality.

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