If you’ve ever had a sinus infection, also known as sinusitis, you know the discomfort that comes with them. Sinus infections have very similar symptoms to the common cold; airway restriction, breathing difficulties, sore throat, and cough. However, unlike a cold, a sinus infection needs to be treated with special antibiotics prescribed by a doctor. But how do you know if it’s an infection, or just a cold? Here are a few signs that you may have a case of sinusitis.
Sinus infections are most often caused by a virus, such as a cold or flu. During a sinus infection, bacteria and other germs are caught in the nasal passages. Since the nasal passage can’t stay, the germs are stuck in the nose, leading to inflammation. While colds are the most common cause of sinusitis, an infection can also occur in those who have weak immune systems, or are prone to allergies.
The most obvious symptoms of a sinus infection are pain or pressure in the nasal passage. Your body’s sinuses can be found above and below the eyes, as well as behind the nose. During a sinus infection, these areas will swell, creating an uncomfortable pressure. This often leads to headaches, or even aches in the ear or jaw. Along with the pressure, sinus infections can also lead to sore throat, due to the postnasal drip.
Contact your local ENT (Ears nose and throat) doctor if you have chronic sinusitis, or other common ENT problems. A chronic sinus infection is any infection that last for longer than 3 months, and can cause more severe issues such as double vision, shortness of breath, or even hearing loss. Some severe cases may require endoscopic sinus surgery, where doctors enter the nasal passage to remove anything that may be blocking the nasal area. This can be bones, growths, or even small amounts of tissue. If untreated, chronic sinusitis can lead to other complication, such as infection of the bone, or even a brain abscess.