A sinus infection occurs when you have swollen mucus membranes in your nose, throat (along the upper respiratory tract) and sinuses.
Sinus infections can be very painful and involve the swelling of your nasal passages and facial pain.
Causes of Sinus Infection
Some of the causes include viral infection, bacterial infection and fungal infection.
Viral Infection – This is the common cold. Most cases of sinus infection are caused by the common cold.
Bacterial Infection – This may be the cause for sinus infection symptoms lasting longer than seven to 10 days. Viral infections tend to run their course in at least that period of time, so if you are still experiencing symptoms after a week to 10 days, then you are likely dealing with a bacterial infection.
Fungal Infection – If you have atypical symptoms, you could be dealing with a fungal infection. Also, if your immune system is weakened, you may be suffering from a fungal infection.
Conditions that Increase Your Risk of Getting Sinus Infections
There are also some conditions that increase your risk for getting sinus infections. If you have any of the following, you could be at an increased risk for sinus infections.
Allergies (Hay Fever) – If you have sinus infection and allergies such as hay fever you may get inflammation that blocks your sinuses. Hay fever causes inflammation, which can block the sinuses and cause a sinus infection.
Nasal polyps or tumor – These can also block your airways and elevate your risk of sinus infection. These are tissues that may grow and block off your nasal passages or sinuses.
Deviated nasal septum – This crooked wall between your nasal passages may elevate your risk for sinus infections.
Tooth infection – You can get a sinus infection if you suffer from an infected tooth.
Other medical conditions like cystic fibrosis, immune system disorders and gastroesophageal reflux disease may also result in sinus blockage or increased risk of infection.
When to See a doctor for Sinus Infection
Because so many cases of sinus infections resolve themselves, it is often not necessary to see a doctor or visit an emergency room. However, there may be times when symptoms persist in a mild fashion for far longer than is customary. In such cases, you may wish to see on a doctor.
Call 911 immediately or go to the nearest emergency room (ER) if you have any of the following symptoms of sinus infection:
- Intense sweating
- Horrible chills
- Inability to breathe
If you or someone you know is experiencing symptoms of a sinus infection, please visit the SignatureCare Emergency Center emergency room location nearest you. We are here to help 24/7.