If you or a loved one is currently fighting off a sinus infection, you may be wondering if it’s contagious and can be passed to others.
Viruses Are a Leading Cause of Sinus Infections
While sinus infections themselves are not contagious, they often occur as a result of a virus like the common cold or flu. You can pass the virus on to another person, and it’s possible that they also develop a sinus infection, but they also might not.
If a sinus infection is caused by something else, like bacteria, fungus, nasal polyps, allergies or a deviated septum, it is not contagious, and you shouldn’t worry about passing an illness on to anyone else.
Common Sinus Infection Symptoms
If you have a sinus infection, you are likely to experience some or all of the following symptoms:
- Pain or pressure in the sinuses, forehead, between your eyes, on the sides of your nose and/or your upper jaw
- Nasal congestion
- Runny nose
- Decreased ability or inability to smell
- Sore throat
- Postnasal drip
- Thick nasal discharge that is cloudy, yellow or green
- Bad breath
Acute sinus infections will likely last anywhere from 7-10 days, possibly longer if caused by bacteria. Any sinus infection lasting longer than 12 weeks is considered chronic sinusitis.
Tips for Preventing Virus from Spreading
If a virus is causing your sinusitis, there are several things you can do to reduce the likelihood of transmission. They include:
- Covering your nose and mouth when you cough and/or sneeze
- Stay home from work if possible
- Cough and/or sneeze into your elbow rather than your hands
- Wash your hands regularly
There are many over-the-counter options and home remedies that may be effective in treating sinusitis, including:
- OTC decongestants, pain relievers and fever reducers that you can find at Hub City Pharmacy or other local drugstores
- Getting plenty of rest and staying hydrated
- Nasal irrigation with a Neti pot or saline rinse
- Using a vaporizer or steam from a hot shower to help with congestion
If you find that your symptoms aren’t being helped by home treatments or you feel as though you are getting worse, make an appointment with your medical provider. They may give you antibiotics if your infection is bacterial or recommend other prescription medications. If you suffer from chronic sinusitis and don’t find relief from other treatments, your doctor may recommend sinus surgery.
To learn more or to schedule an appointment with one of our experts, contact Spartanburg | Greer ENT & Allergy today.