Is sinus infection contagious? Sinus infection or sinusitis is troublesome since they interfere with our normal working routines. A bug, virus or bacteria causes this ailment that interferes with our breathing and sometimes produces discharge from our nose. This disease takes various forms depending on intensity and duration of illness.
Experts believe this ailment does not spread through body contact; the conditions for growth of bacteria or virus must be present in your nasal passages or lungs for the infection to take root. Water droplets that contain the infectious bacteria or virus (and fungi in many instances) spread through the air when you sneeze or cough.
When the sinus is normal, it is filled with air. Once infection sets in, the space gets filled with fluid that is conducive to growth of germs. Germs may be bacteria or virus and in some cases it may be fungi too. These germs cause the tissues in contact with the sinus to swell. The inflammation causes the fluid accumulation. The primary aim of the medical care provider will be to reduce the swelling and ease the pain caused by the blocked nasal passage.
Steps to prevent spread of sinusitis
So, now you have the answer to the question, “Is sinus infection contagious”. Let us see how to prevent its spread. By preventing contact with these disease-bearing water droplets, one can achieve a reasonable amount of safety. Here are some ways to prevent viral infection of the nasal cavity and sinuses.
- Make social circles separate
- Do not keep hand contact with the person or their personal affects
- Resort to vaccines
- Do not blow your nose too hard – it causes germs to enter sinuses
Types of sinus infections
Sinusitis is classified according to their severity and length of the illness. Thus you have the following classes for the illness.
|Acute Sinusitis||Cold or flu like symptoms, runny nose and headaches||10 – 14 days; always less than 1 month|
|Subacute Sinusitis||Inflammation of sinuses||1 – 2 months|
|Chronic Sinusitis||Sinus inflammation||More than 2 months|
|Recurrent Sinusitis||Cold symptoms that recur||Occurs more than once in a year|
Symptoms of the ailment
The signs of the illness do not last for a long time. The list below shows the common symptoms.
- Stuffiness of nasal cavity
- Discharge from the nose
- Facial swelling
- Upper teeth pain
- Pus in nasal cavity
- Puffiness with or without pain in the face especially around the eyes
Children have the same symptoms but might show some of these listed below too.
- Lack of smell sensation
- Pressure in ear
- Bad breath
- Speech that is nasal in accent
When the infection is caused by bacteria infecting the nose, it may move further and affect the sinuses. Symptoms will resemble infection of an acute upper viral respiratory tract. By gauging the duration and severity of the symptoms, we can conclude whether a bacteria or a virus is causing the infection. For one, the bacterial infection will last for a long period, say ten days. It might show signs of recovery after the first few days but will gradually worsen from day seven onwards.
Causes for Sinus Infection
Common reasons for the onset of the illness are given below.
- Cold or flu
- Deviated septum
- Immune deficiencies
- Smoke or air pollution
- Dental infection
- Reaction to medicines taken for treating some other medical condition
- Nasal polyps
Testing and treatment for this disease
More than 36 million Americans come down with this ailment at least once every year. Treatment will take place according to the nature of the illness.
Usual tests for this ailment consist of the following:
- Allergy tests
- Mucous culture
- Tests for swelling
- Blood work
- Nasal endoscopy
- CT scan of sinus
The examining doctor will press your sinuses so that the tenderness is revealed. He will check your paranasal sinus by tapping on your front teeth.
Treatment for sinus problems
Acute sinusitis: Nonprescription medication consisting of decongestants and nasal sprays will suffice in most cases. Sudafed is one such decongestant which is commonly used along with steam inhalation to relieve congestion and nasal inflammation. The symptoms will disappear within four or five days. If it does not you have to see your physician. You should not continue with the medication as it can cause severe side effects. This over-the-counter medicine Sudafed will cause jitteriness and insomnia. Also, people having heart condition or high blood pressure must not take this medication. Sometimes antibiotics may be required. They should not be used for more than 10 – 14 days.
Chronic sinusitis: For people who have chronic sinusitis, warm compress helps relieve the pain. Nasal drops help alleviate the symptoms. Afrin and Dristan occur commonly in nasal sprays. Oral steroids or steroids might also be used. Antifungal medicines become necessary for fungal infections.
Allergies: Nasal allergies are treated with the help of antihistamines. Benadryl, Claritin and Allegra are used widely. Anti-inflammatory steroids like Nasonex and Flonase help people who have allergies in the nasal cavity. This type of medicine can be used for prolonged periods.
Surgery will be recommended when the person does not respond to medication or there is abnormality in the structure of the bone in the nasal passage. Swollen tissues in the nose can be brought under control through a medical procedure known as turbinectomy.
Smoke of any type – air pollution or cigarette smoke will make aggravate the symptoms. For the duration of the treatment, the affected person should avoid smoking or sitting in places filled with smoke such as in cinema halls or other places where public gather.
Home treatment using saline nasal sprays works wonderfully. It adds moisture to the nasal cavity and helps to make mucous secretion thin.
Bacteria and virus that commonly infect the sinus
- Haemophilus influenza
- Streptococcus pneumonia
- Moraxella catarrhalis
- Staphylococcus aureus
- Influenza virus A
- Influenza virus B