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What Are Sinus Infections

Posted Sep 30 2010 7:59pm


Sinus infections are also known as sinusitis. In fact, there are two types namely acute and chronic.

An acute sinus infection is caused by harmless bacteria that most healthy people have in their upper respiratory tracts. This happens to approximately 2 percent of adults and 20 percent of children who are suffering from a cold. It usually lasts for two to four weeks and those affected respond very well to medical therapy.

Among the two types, chronic sinus infections are very common. It is estimated that at least 37 million Americans are affected by this every year and this usually lasts for 3 months or more and it may keep on coming back.

The symptoms for acute and chronic are very similar. These include bad breath, cough, dental pain, difficulty breathing through your nose, erythema, facial pain, fatigue, fever, nasal congestion, nausea, pain or tenderness in the eyes, cheeks, nose or forehead and sore throat.

If you have acute or chronic sinus infection, you are advised to see a doctor because if left undiagnosed and untreated, complications could occur which may lead to severe medical problems and at times death. Just to give you an idea, here are some of the complications that could happen.

We know that fevers and headaches are common with a sinus infection. But did you know that this together with soft tissue swelling over the frontal sinus may indicate an infection of the frontal bone better known as Pott’s Puffy Tumor or Ostemyelitis?

The person’s eye socket may also get infected due to ethmoid sinusitis and if it swells or becomes droopy, this may result in the inability to see and even permanent blindness. What is even worse is when it causes a blood clot forms around the front and top of the face. The person’s pupils will become fixed and dilated and this will happen on both eyes.

A sinus infection could also make someone experience mild personality changes or altered consciousness. If this happens, it is possible that the infection can spread to the brain and result in a coma or death.

Given that anything can happen if you have a sinus infection, you are advised to see a doctor as soon as possible. This will the professional time to diagnose what is wrong and then recommend the proper medical treatment.

Some of the tests could be as simple as touching your face lightly to check for tenderness in the skin to CT scans, MRI’s and X-rays.

The treatment that doctors initially recommend to a patient who has a sinus infection is usually an over the counter drug like Tylenol. If there is no improvement after a week, then he or she can assume that it is a bacterial infection and treat it with a proper antibiotic.

The length of the time that the patient will be under the medication depends on the person. Usually, the person will use antibiotics for 2 weeks but this can be extended for another 7 days should the infection be chronic.

Sinus infections can be treated so before you take any medicine out of the cabinet, have yourself checked by the doctor first to determine what is causing it. For all you know, your sinus infection is not caused by bacteria but rather an allergy.

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