You come down with a nasty cold and before long it develops into an even nastier sinus infection. Your head pounds and feels like it’s going to explode. Your first reaction is “oh, this happens every time.” But for you and the other 37 million Americans who suffer from this problem, there are many other causes of sinusitis you might not be aware of.
Swimming And Diving
Many sinus infections occur during the summer due to the chlorine in pools. Chlorine causes irritation and swelling of the nasal passages as it gets into the ears and nose. Once there is swelling, mucus gets trapped and a blockage occurs. In this moist dark environment, bacteria can grow causing an infection. It is best to avoid swimming if you have a cold or a sinus infection since can exacerbate your symptoms.
Polyps are tiny benign growths that can interfere with the sinus passages causing blockages and swelling. Headaches are a typical symptom of polyps. Use nasal steroid sprays as treatment, and sometimes surgery may be recommended.
Besides all the other negative consequences of smoking, you can now add these. Smoking also irritates the nasal passages, lowers the body’s ability to resist infections, and causes swelling and inflammation. Smokers also experience more severe symptoms from sinusitis than non-smokers.
If you suffer with spring and fall allergies, your allergy symptoms may block sinus passages and increase sinus inflammations leading to sinusitis. In addition, allergies make the symptoms even more acute.
Bacteria And Viruses
This is the tricky part of sinusitis. Either bacteria or a virus can be the culprit and cause a sinus infection. If Surgical Associates Northwest determines your sinus infection comes from bacteria, they can treat it quite easily with an antibiotic.
However, if the infection is viral and usually the result of a cold, an antibiotic will not help your symptoms. Use an OTC decongestant, get a flu shot, and wash your hands frequently to avoid a viral sinus infection. Discovering the cause of the infection defines the treatment.
When To See Your Doctor In Auburn and Federal Way, WA
These symptoms and circumstances should alert you to visit your doctor:
- A severe headache not relieved by OTC meds
- Symptoms lasting longer than 10 – 14 days or get worse over time.
- Nasal discharge which turns yellow or green.
- Facial swelling and fever
- Facial pain under the lower eyelids and along the ridge of the nose.
Make a follow up appointment if you have completed a course of antibiotics with no relief.