Sinus infections, or sinusitis, occurs when there is an inflammation in the nasal passages. This can be brought about by allergies or irritations in the nose. Sinusitis is not contagious, but the condition has the potential to worsen and spread to other parts of the body if not treated early. Some people experience chronic sinus infections, which may last for years. We take a look at some common symptoms, treatment options and management tips for sinus infections.

Symptoms of sinus infections

Listed below are some symptoms to look out for if you think that you have a sinus infection. If you experience one or more of these symptoms, consult your family doctor or general practitioner.

  • You have had a blocked and runny nose for more than 1 week.
  • There is a slight pressure between your eyes and cheeks.
  • You have yellow or green mucus that is thick.
  • Your breath has a bad odor.
  • You are experiencing a fever and have bouts of headaches.
  • You feel fatigued and dizzy.
  • You have difficulty breathing.
  • You have a sore throat.
  • Your face has swelled up slightly.

Medical treatments

Your doctor would most likely prescribe a course of antibiotics along with pain killers and fever medication. It is recommended that you complete the course of antibiotics. If required, your doctor may also prescribe mucus expectorants or nasal sprays to help with any nasal congestions. It is a good idea to follow up with an ear nose and throat (ENT) practitioner to ensure that your sinus infection is not an indicator of more serious conditions.

If your sinus infection is caused by a viral infection, much like with the common cold, do note that antibiotics will not help in this situation. Antibiotics are instead effective against bacteria, and the right type of medication must be prescribed, according to the bacteria type. Examples of some bacteria that cause sinus infections are Streptococcus pneumoniae, Haemophilusinfluenzae, Moraxella catarrhalis, Staphylococcus aureus, and Streptococcus pyogenes.

Natural treatments for sinus infections

There are some remedies that sinus infection sufferers can undertake to control the infection. This is especially useful for individuals with chronic sinus infections, where it is not viable to take antibiotics or painkillers for the long term.

It is important to drink lots of fluids such as water, herbal teas or fruit juices. Do not consume beverages containing alcohol, caffeine or excessive amounts of sugar. These can further thicken your mucus and clog your nasal passageways. A way to help expel thick mucus is to add a few drops of essential oils, such as eucalyptus or peppermint, to a bowl of hot water. Mix the oil into the water and inhale the fragrant steam. Caution is advised when working with hot water, to prevent scalding.

Adding some apple cider vinegar can also help in alleviating any blockages. These natural remedies are safe to conduct on a daily basis. However, these natural remedies are not in any way a substitute for medical advice or treatments. It is important to complete the course of prescription medication provided by the doctor, unless there is an allergic reaction.