When To See A Doctor If You Have A Sinus Infection?

A sinus infection, also known as sinusitis, is a very common type of infection that occurs when the sinuses or cavities in the front of the face, around the eyes, and behind the nose become filled with mucous.

The majority of sinus infections are caused by viruses.  Sinus infections can also be caused to a much lesser extent by bacteria or fungus, however,  and are less likely to be transmitted from one person to another. They can also be caused by allergies, blocked nasal passages, asthma, and nasal blockages due to polyps.

Acute viral sinusitis typically lasts seven to ten days and may follow a cold. Chronic sinusitis can last for 12 weeks or longer.

Symptoms of a sinus infection include:

  • Facial pain or pressure on the forehead or between the eyes
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Thick yellow, green, or cloudy nasal discharge
  • Inability to smell
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Fever

Sinus infections typically begin to improve by themselves in about 10 days. You should contact your physician if the infection is not improving or if it is getting worse. Anyone who experiences any of the following should see a physician as soon as possible:

  • Fever over 102 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Confusion
  • Stiff neck
  • Vision changes
  • Swelling and redness around the eyes
  • Intense headache

A sinus infection can spread to the brain or the eye if it is left untreated. People who have frequent or chronic sinus infections should see an otolaryngologist, also known as an ear, nose, and throat specialist (ENT) to see if there is an underlying reason these are occurring.

If you think you may have a sinus infection, you can try several remedies at home such as a warm compress on the face, over-the-counter decongestants, saline nasal sprays, and over-the-counter pain relievers. These shouldn’t be used for more than three days.

Speak to your physician if the symptoms of a sinus infection don’t improve or worsen after ten days. If you would like to schedule an appointment with a physician at 718-206-7001.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.