Sinus Infections: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments
Posted Jun 26 2013 9:46am
Sinus Infections: An Overview
A sinus infection, also known as sinusitis, is defined as inflammation of the sinuses and nasal passages. It does not require antibiotics unless it is known to be acute bacterial sinusitis. Most sinus infections are viral rather than bacterial.
An acute bacterial sinus infection can last for at least four weeks, while sub-acute bacterial sinusitis can linger for up to 12 weeks occurring four times a year. Acute viral sinusitis is caused by a virus. It generally runs its course in under four weeks occurring less than three times a year. An acute viral sinus infection typically develops following an upper respiratory infection.
Chronic sinusitis will last in excess of four weeks and recur more than four times a year. Chronic sinus infections should be evaluated by a specialist. They can result from conditions such as Allergies Nasal polyps or tumors Respiratory tract infections.
Risk Factors and Causes of Sinus Infection
Approximately 37 million U.S. citizens get at least one instance of sinusitis every year. Individuals with the following conditions and habits have an increased risk for sinusitis: swelling of the nasal mucous membranes, resulting from a common cold, blocked drainage ducts, any structural difference which narrows drainage ducts, polyps of the nasal passages, smoking allergies exposure to pollutants (i.e. airborne irritants or chemicals), fungal infections, immuno-deficiency conditions or use of immuno-suppressant drugs.
Symptoms of a Sinus Infection
Congestion and/or discharge of the nose Headaches Postnasal drip Fever Sore throat Cough Feeling tired Bad breath. Consult a doctor in the case of: Body temperature in excess of 100.4 F (38 C) Symptoms persisting for more than ten days Several episodes of sinus infections over the course of a single year No relief of symptoms with over-the-counter drugs
Treatment of Sinus Infection
On occasion, antibiotics are required if a sinus infection is proven to be caused by bacteria. Inquiring about symptoms and performing a physical examination will help a doctor ascertain if a patient should have antibiotics prescribed.
Overuse of antibiotics can be harmful (may develop antibiotic resistance). If the sinus infection is the result of a virus or environmental irritant, antibiotics will not help. Acute viral sinusitis will typically resolve on its own. Only take antibiotics when absolutely necessary. Other treatment strategies include: Rest Over-the-counter medicines (decongestants/antihistamines) Room humidifier to moisten nasal passages.
Prevention of a Sinus Infection
Frequent hand washing. Keep current with routine immunizations. Stay away from anyone with a cold or other infection. Stop smoking or avoid second hand smoke. Never subject children to second hand smoke. Humidify the air in your home.
Online Medical Consultation for Sinus Infections
If you suffer from chronic sinus infections, there may be times when you could benefit from the services of an online medical consultation (i.e. when on vacation and need a prescription repeat or instant medical advice). This might be a foreign concept and while you might be a bit sceptical initially, it is becoming very popular. Results of the following study, published in a 2010 issue of Telemedicine and e-Health Journal, show the potential for the services of a "Virtual Doctor."
Accomplished over a secure website, "e-Visits" allow patients to get an online diagnosis and treatment from their health provider without the need to call or visit their office. The purpose of this clinical trial was to investigate outcomes associated with e-Visits. In other words, did patients receive appropriate medical care or did they have to visit their doctor's office eventually?
Over 150 patients of a large family practice were surveyed concerning their experiences with e-Visits. Response rate was 78%. The most frequent e-Visit was for "other" symptoms/concerns at 37%, followed by sinus/cold symptoms, accounting for 35% of complaints.
Results showed that 57% of patients received a satisfactory diagnosis without the necessity for any follow-up, other than a prescription. Interestingly, 75% of respondents felt their e-Visit was just as good, if not better, as an office visit. Only 11% felt their questions or concerns were not properly addressed online. Outcomes for this e-Visit trial suggest that it is definitely an appropriate, potentially cost-saving addition to primary health care, delivered in a traditional medical office setting.
More patient's are resorting to telemedicine through popular websites such as www.QuickRxRefills.com for refills of maintenance medication especially while they are between office based doctors or while on vacation if they forget or misplace their medication.
CDC (2012). Sinus infection.
Piette JD et al. (2010). Access to Mobile Communication Technology and Willingness to Participate in Automated Telemedicine Calls Among Chronically Ill Patients in Honduras. Telemedicine, 16(10): 1030-1041.
WebMD (2013). An overview of sinusitis.
If you suffer with a sinus infection, contact an online prescription doctor. Ask a doctor about your condition and get prescriptions online. At QuickRxRefills.com the virtual doctor can give you an online diagnosis with three easy steps. Find out more about sinus infections and telemedicine services.