How to Tell if You Have Sinus Infection

 Photo by: Bigstockphoto

Photo by: Bigstockphoto

Sinusitis is a type of infection that causes painful swelling in the sinus area. The sinus area refers to the cavities around the nose and forehead. Sinusitis is often caused by a viral infection, which persists long after the upper respiratory symptoms have disappeared. Apart from a viral infection, a deviated septum, a tooth infection, nasal polyps, and seasonal allergies could trigger sinusitis.

Sinusitis comes in two types: acute and chronic. Acute sinusitis usually lasts 7 to 10 days. The infection is typically part of a cold or seasonal allergy. On the other hand, chronic sinusitis lasts for more than 8 weeks. Below are the most common signs of sinusitis:

Facial Pain

One of the most common signs of infected sinuses is facial pain. If the area below the eyes, behind the nose or above the nose bridge hurts, it is a sign that the sinus cavities are inflamed. The pain is typically dull that gets worst when pressure is applied on the affected area. The pain will spread to the upper jaws, teeth, or between the eyes.

Sinus Discharge

Apart from facial pain and swelling, sinus discharge is a clear sign of sinusitis. When the sinuses are infected, a greenish-yellow discharge is secreted when you blow your nose. This discharge comes from the infected sinuses, which is drained into the nasal passages. If you do not blow your nose, the discharge could sometimes flow down the throat. This condition is called postnasal drip.

Nasal Congestion

Inflamed sinuses will start swelling up, which restrict the passage of air into the nose. This is called nasal congestion. When the sinuses are inflamed and air cannot pass through as efficiently, your sense of taste and sense of smell are affected. This is the reason why food seems to taste blander when you have a cold or sinusitis.

Recurring Headache

A pounding temple is another sign of infected sinuses. When the nasal cavity is inflamed, the swelling will spread to the skull, causing persistent headaches. Sinus headaches are at their strongest in the morning because the nasal fluids pool into the sinuses while you sleep. The pain could get worse when there are sudden changes in the temperature.

However, there are times when pain from inflamed sinuses does not translate to recurring headaches at all. Sometimes, the pain affects the jaws, cheeks, and the inner ear. The added pressure to the sinuses causes the pain.

Persistent Cough

When the sinuses are inflamed, nasal fluids start collecting on the nasal cavities. The fluids often drain down at the back of the throat. This irritates the throat, causing persistent coughing. A sinusitis cough is different from a regular cough because it gets worse at night, making sleep virtually impossible. Persistent coughing due to postnasal drip can also leave the throat raw and painful. This will make eating and swallowing very painful.

To ease coughing, we recommend sitting upright when sleeping or resting. When you sit upright, the nasal fluids drain away faster without irritating the throat.