Do I Have a Sinus Infection?

January 15, 2022

Sinus infections (also known as sinusitis or rhinosinusitis) are caused when germs begin to grow in sinuses that are blocked and filled with fluid. This blockage of the nasal cavities occurs by inflammation of the sinuses and is commonly caused by a virus. In other cases, a sinus infection is caused by bacterial or fungus.

Although there are different medications for treating sinus infections, no specific vaccine protects you against the infection.

AFC Urgent Care Stoneham can help treat your sinus infection today. Don’t wait for an appointment with your primary care doctor, receive treatment to feel better today. Our center doesn’t require appointments for urgent care patients. If you think your congestion may be a symptom of COVID, reserve your spot for a COVID-19 test now. 

Signs of a Sinus Infection

The different signs and symptoms of sinusitis, acute or chronic, are:

  • Facial Pain: Painful sensation of pressure above the eyebrows, nose, cheeks, around, and behind the eyes.

  • Nasal congestion

  • Yellowish or greenish nasal secretions.

  • Clear nasal secretions for viral infections

  • Mild fever and general malaise

  • Decreased or lost sense of smell

These are the most common symptoms of sinus infections. Other, rarer symptoms may also appear:

  • Bad breath

  • Headache

  • Toothache

  • Fatty cough

In rare cases, sinusitis can spread to the brain and eyes and cause the following problems:

  • Meningitis

  • Brain abscess

  • Thrombophlebitis of the veins of the eyes

  • Osteomyelitis of the frontal bones

Untreated sinusitis in asthmatics worsens their breathing problems.

When to Get Treated

It is important to make an appointment with your healthcare provider if symptoms are severe, of specific symptoms ( nasal discharge, fever, congestion, or facial pain) remains persistent after ten days.

Some of the conditions causing a chronic infection include:

  • Allergies

  • Deviated septum

  • Nasal polyps e.t.c

An (ENT) specialist or Otolaryngologist may perform other tests to ascertain the cause of your chronic sinus infection.

Note: if you experience more severe symptoms such as:

  • Confusion

  • Stiff neck

  • Serious fever over 103°F (39.4°C); or 

Other concerning symptoms, consult your doctor immediately!

In children, if you notice symptoms such as:

  • Bad breath

  • Nausea or vomiting

  • Swellings around the eyes

  • Constant headaches

  • Severe cold with fever

Contact your child's doctor to examine the symptoms and determine the appropriate treatment.

Note: if your child is below two (2) years, do not administer over-the-counter medication.

Treating a Sinus Infection

Over-the-counter treatments

Nasal decongestant spray can relieve sinusitis symptoms in the short term. Keep in mind that more extended use can worsen symptoms.

You can apply other over-the-counter medicine containing antihistamines and decongestants to help with the sinus infection. Some of such medications include loratadine (Claritin), cetirizine (Zyrtec), Sudafed e.t.c.

Note: decongestants are not recommended for use by people with glaucoma, prostate issues, sleep difficulties, high blood pressure, e.t.c.

Nasal Irrigation

Nasal irrigation helps rid your nostril or irritant by flushing with water. It is advisable to use sterile water or nasal solution for the irrigation process.

Herbal Treatments

Studies have shown certain herbs to be effective against sinus infections. Before using any herbal medication, ensure you ask your doctor about which treatment option to use.


Antibiotics can be used in treating acute sinusitis. Some bacterial infections may resist other treatment methods like pain medications, nasal irrigation, nasal steroid, etc. Antibiotics like amoxicillin may be prescribed if the bacterial sinus infection lasts for more than 10days without improving.

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