Urgent Care Treatment for Sinus Infections | ConvenientMD

Sinus Infections (Sinusitis)

What are Sinus Infections?

Sinus infection (also called sinusitis or sinus disease) is an inflammation of the sinuses, which causes swelling, blockage and the accumulation of mucus. Normal, healthy sinuses are hollow and contain nothing other than air. When these cavities fill with fluid, however, they create an environment where germs are allowed to grow and flourish, resulting in infection.

A common affliction, sinusitis can be either acute, subacute or chronic in nature.

What Causes Sinusitis?

The majority of sinusitis cases treated in the United States are the result of viral infection—particularly viruses that affect the upper respiratory system. Sinus infections can result from bacterial or even fungal infection, however, both of which must be treated accordingly to prevent potential complications.

Possible causes of sinus infection include:

  • Cold or Flu
  • Allergies
  • Fungal Infection
  • Nasal Polyps
  • Airborne Pollutants

What are the Symptoms of Sinus Infection?

Because sinusitis causes inflammation of the nasal passages, symptoms tend to be in line with those of the common cold, though more persistent in most cases. Symptoms of sinus infection include:

  • Facial Pressure or Pain
  • Headache
  • Stuffy Nose
  • Sinus Pain
  • Nasal Discharge
  • Reduced Sense of Smell
  • Throat Irritation
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Cough
  • Fever
  • Bad Breath (Halitosis)
  • Toothache

Depending upon whether a sinus infection is viral, bacterial or fungal in nature, symptoms can range from mild to severe. Symptoms that get worse instead of better with time should always be addressed with medical treatment.

What Causes Sinusitis?

The majority of sinusitis cases treated in the United States are the result of viral infection—particularly viruses that affect the upper respiratory system. Sinus infections can result from bacterial or even fungal infection, however, both of which must be treated accordingly to prevent potential complications.

Possible causes of sinus infection include:

  • Cold or Flu
  • Allergies
  • Fungal Infection
  • Nasal Polyps
  • Airborne Pollutants

Acute vs. Subacute vs. Chronic Sinusitis

Many people experience sinusitis at some point, often resulting from the tail-end of a cold or flu. For some, however, sinus infections may occur more regularly. Acute cases of sinusitis are typically defined as lasting four weeks or less, while subacute sinusitis can last up to 12 weeks. Those who suffer from bouts of sinusitis for three or more months at a time may be experiencing chronic sinusitis—a condition that usually requires medical attention in order to be resolved.

Diagnosing & Treating Sinusitis

In order to properly treat sinusitis, the underlying cause of sinus disease must first be determined. This includes taking inventory of a patient’s history, as treatment for those who suffer from frequent or chronic sinus infections may be different than for someone who has come down with acute sinusitis.

Treatment options for sinusitis are as follows:

  1. Nasal Decongestant Sprays — Using decongestants (such as those containing oxymetazoline) can relieve sinus pressure and other symptoms of sinusitis temporarily. Prolonged usage, however, can result in rebound effect. Thus, decongestants must be used carefully when incorporated into a treatment plan for sinusitis.
  2. Saline Nasal Washes — Clearing the sinuses of mucus is key to preventing the growth of germs and bacteria—saline nasal washes can be effective in doing so.
  3. Steroid Nasal Sprays — In certain cases, a steroid nasal spray may be used to help reduce inflammation and decrease the threat of blockages. As with decongestants, steroid nasal sprays can cause rebound symptoms if used for prolonged periods of time.
  4. Antibiotics — If sinusitis is thought to be bacterial, antibiotics will often be prescribed to help clear up the infection.
  5. Surgery — Sinusitis that is the result of a deviated septum or other structural abnormality may require surgery under the care of a specialist (typically an ENT).

When to Seek Medical Attention

Though inflammation of the sinuses can be a symptom of the common cold, it can also be a sign of a sinus infection. Seek medical attention if you or a family member experience any of the following:

  • Fever Above 102 F.
  • Persisting symptoms.
  • Swelling in the throat or neck.
  • History of chronic sinus infection.
  • Intense sinus pain that isn’t relieved by anti-inflammatory medication.

Pediatric Considerations

Although the maxillary and ethmoid sinuses are present at birth, sinus cavities do not fully develop in most people until they reach their late teens. As young children are more prone to colds than older children and adults, it can be difficult to determine whether a particular illness is viral in nature or has turned bacterial.

Medical treatment is recommended if the child has been sick for more than five days. If bacterial infection is suspected, antibiotic therapy will most likely be used as treatment.

Clear-up Your Sinus Infection. Visit a ConvenientMD Location in NH, ME or MA Today!

At ConvenientMD, we regularly treat patients dealing with acute, subacute and chronic sinusitis. Whether due to allergies, exposure to a virus or bacterial infection, our expert team of medical professionals will diagnose the root cause of your sinusitis and get you back on the path toward wellness.

Ready to feel better? We’re open seven days a week, so just stop into one of our clinics in Maine, New Hampshire or Massachusetts without ever needing an appointment.

Additional Services Provided by ConvenientMD: