Is sinus infection contagious? It may be your doubt if you or your family members have a sinus infection. or even how long is a sinus infection contagious? It can say that a sinus infection caused by a virus can be contagious. Why we are stressing the cause here is, that the sinus infection can also be caused by bacteria or allergies, or other factors. But the sinus infection caused by other than the virus is not contagious. Still, to mention it clearly, the actual sinus infection will not transfer between the persons, only the virus will. This virus may or may not cause a sinus infection. This may depend on the person and his health.
There are many things to know to get clear on this. Let us see one by one from causes to symptoms and treatment.
What Is A Sinus Infection?
A sinus infection is called sinusitis. Sinusitis occurs when there is an infection in the sinuses. A virus, bacteria, fungi, or other germs can cause this sinus infection. Healthy sinuses are air-filled spaces or pockets in the face in the areas such as the forehead, nose, eyes, and cheeks. The thin layer of mucus covers these sinuses. This mucus keeps the nose moist, clean, and bacteria-free.
When these empty pockets get filled with fluid and blocked, the bacteria or other germs can grow and cause an infection. This infection may affect the tissue lining that surrounds the hollow cavities and cause swelling or inflammation in the tissue.
The sinus infection is difficult to differentiate from the common cold sometimes as it has shared and common symptoms as of cold. A sinus infection can develop from the common cold. A person with a common cold can have allergy symptoms and develop sinusitis. The most common active victims of sinus infections are people with nasal allergies, nasal polyps, asthma, and improper nose structures. Even though it can affect anyone, they are easily prone to this condition.
Types Of Sinusitis
There are basically 4 types of sinusitis:
- Acute Bacterial Sinusitis: the sinusitis condition is said to be acute when it starts with sudden cold symptoms such as runny nose, stuffy nose, and facial pain, and lasts for 2 to 4 weeks.
- Chronic Sinusitis: Chronic sinusitis will have symptoms such as nasal congestion, facial pain, change in a smelling sense, and mucus drainage and lasts for a minimum of 12 weeks and even more.
- Subacute Sinusitis: sinusitis is said to be subacute if the symptoms last for 4 to 12 weeks.
- Recurrent Acute Sinusitis: Recurrent acute sinusitis can come and go several times a year.
Sinus Infection Causes
Sinusitis is referring the condition when there is an inflammation or swelling caused due to viruses, bacteria, or other germs. The sinuses can also be infected and blocked by
- Common cold
- Nasal allergies
- Nasal polyps
- A deviated septum
- Weak immune system
- Smoking can also worsen the sinusitis symptoms
Is Sinus Infection Contagious?
Is a sinus infection contagious? We know the causes of sinus infections are viruses, bacteria, allergens, or other germs. But the sinus infection caused by bacteria will not transmit from one person to another. Only the sinus infection caused by the virus will be contagious and an actual sinus infection will not spread from one to another person, only the virus gets spread from one person to another.
It can spread through the droplets that carry the virus when you sneeze or cough. It can also transfer by direct contact that happens by touching the infected person or objects used by that person. It is good to follow some practice to avoid or reduce the spread. You should wash your hand thoroughly when you are sick. Don’t sneeze or cough in the open air, use a handkerchief or use your elbow to reduce or prevent the virus spread.
Sinus Infection Symptoms
Symptoms of sinus infections are similar to the common cold. It makes the people difficult to differentiate sinus infection from a common cold. Some of the sinus infections symptoms include;
- Pressure in the hollow cavities
- Bad breath
- Nasal blockage
- Pus in the nasal cavity
- Thick nasal discharge
- Mucus drips down the throat
- Pain in the teeth
- Pain in the ears
- Sore throat
- Decrease in sense of smell
- Nasal congestion
These symptoms may vary based on the types and can last for 4 to 12 weeks. Bacterial sinus infections will have additional symptoms including facial pain and thick nasal discharge.
You can take treatment to reduce the risk of sinus infection symptoms. Let us see that here,
A mild sinus infection can treat with
- Over-the-counter decongestants
- Over-the-counter cold and allergy medication such as nasal sprays (corticosteroids)
- Can do nasal irrigation to remove irritants and mucus drainage
- Drinking fluids will help
For symptoms that last for more than 10 days, your doctor may prescribe
- Antibiotics for bacterial sinus infections
- Oral or topical decongestants
- Intranasal steroid sprays
- Topical antihistamine sprays or oral pills for chronic sinus infections
- A doctor may prescribe Leukotriene antagonists to reduce the allergy symptoms and swelling.
- Allergy shots for infections caused by allergies
For some chronic infections that do not work for treatment, surgery will be the option to open up the sinus passages to help drain out the blockage.
Time To Visit The Doctor
If you have pain and pressure in the sinuses for more than a week even after the home treatment, it is better to consult your doctor. And also check whether the fever or cough continues. They are also more concerned to visit a doctor.
What symptoms are more concerning and when does it need to visit a doctor immediately?
- High fever
- Problem in vision
- Swelling and redness around the eyes
- Swelling in the forehead
- Headache and pain in the intestine
- Sinus infections persist for more than 12 weeks
Consult a doctor if you have other complications that extend from sinus infections. You can have a bone infection, skin infection, loss of smell, and meningitis.
To give the conclusion on is sinus infection contagious. If you have a viral sinus infection, you can pass the virus to another person either by direct or indirect contact. But it is not sure, that it will cause a sinus infection, rather it can cause the common cold. Having the consideration on the public, you should avoid spreading the virus by the following preventive measures. That includes washing hands regularly, avoiding coughing or sneezing in the open air, and detaching from crowds.
You can treat the sinus infection with your home treatment and OTC treatments, but still, the symptoms persist, you need to visit the doctor immediately.
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