Is a Sinus Infection Contagious?

Published: 11th January 2010
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Is a sinus infection contagious? If you or a family member frequently suffers from sinus infections, this might be one of the questions that linger on your mind. Should you isolate yourself or a family member from others when having bouts of sinusitis? Or is it okay to still be around people even when all the symptoms are attacking simultaneously?

Sinus infection can be brought about by a lot of factors. Knowing the cause of your sinus infection is critical in determining the right kind of treatment needed. Aside from that, only by knowing the exact cause can you properly answer the question - is a sinus infection contagious or not.

Is a Sinus Infection Contagious When Caused By Viruses?
One of the most common causes of sinus infections is viruses. If you will notice, there are times when a simple common cold develops into a full-blown sinus infection. This happens most especially when the colds are ignored and not treated promptly. So, is a sinus infection contagious when caused by viruses? The sinus infection itself is not contagious; however the virus can be easily passed from one person to another. So, the next time you get common colds, do not dismiss them instantly thinking that they would eventually go away even if you do not do anything. There is a risk of it developing into a more serious condition such as sinus infection. Over-the-counter medicines can be used such as decongestants and antihistamines. Also, it is best to minimize contact with other people to avoid passing on the viruses. Wash your hands frequently and cover your face when blowing your nose or sneezing.

Is a Sinus Infection Contagious When Caused by Other Factors?
Is a sinus infection contagious when due to bacteria or fungi? No, it is not. Bacteria and fungi are also common causes of sinus infection. When there is swelling in the sinuses, the mucus is trapped inside, making your sinuses an ideal breeding ground for bacteria and fungi. Unlike viruses, bacteria and fungi cannot be passed on to other people. However, sinus infection caused by bacteria and fungi are not easily treated using over-the-counter medications. You would need to see your doctor, who will prescribe specialized medications such as antibiotics or anti-fungal medications.

Is a sinus infection contagious when caused by abnormal growths in the sinuses?

No, it is not. Abnormal growths or conditions in the sinuses include nasal tumor, polyps or having deviated nasal septum. These can lead to sinus infection when the abnormality interferes with the normal drainage of mucus in the sinuses. If you had been diagnosed as having such conditions, medications can only help in alleviating the symptoms of sinusitis. To permanently get rid of the infection, surgery might be the best solution.

For more information, visit Sinus infections are one of the most common respiratory diseases in the world, affecting millions of people annually. When you have a sinus infection, it means that your sinuses are infected or inflamed. Although not life-threatening, sinus infections can still affect your life significantly. This is why people spend millions each year for relief and treatment.

More Information on Sinus Infections
Sinus infections can be divided into several categories depending on the durations of symptoms. Acute sinusitis is when the infection is present for less than four weeks. Sub acute sinusitis has less severe symptoms lasting for more than four weeks and less than eight weeks. If the infection lasts longer than eight weeks or keeps on coming back, it is called chronic sinusitis.

Symptoms of sinus infections vary from person to person. The most common are nasal congestion, nasal discharge with green or yellow mucus, pressure or pain over the sinus areas, and frequent headaches. Other symptoms are post-nasal drip, coughing, sore throat and bad breath, tooth pain, nausea, and fever. Sinus infections can be caused by a variety of reasons. A simple common cold can develop into an infection. Allergies also can make a person prone to sinus infections. Structural abnormalities within the sinuses can also lead to blockage in the sinuses. Examples are nasal polyps, tumors, deviated septum and other bony abnormalities.

How to Prevent Sinus Infections
Sinus infections bring patients lots of pain and inconvenience. For some, the symptoms are mild and go away on their own with proper rest and right diet. If that is the case, then you are lucky. However, for others, sinus infections have severely affected their lives that they are desperately looking for effective treatments. When dealing with sinus infections, you should consult a physician who can advise you on the right course of treatment. But first, there is the need to determine the cause of infection as the right treatment will depend on the cause. If bacteria are determined as the cause, antibiotics treatment may be the right way to go. If viral, corticosteroids are prescribed to get rid of viruses quickly. Anti-fungal medicines are also used for infection due to fungi. Decongestants can be taken to relieve nasal congestion while ibuprofen and paracetamol are effective for pain relief. Surgery is also another option to remove blockages in the sinuses.

Proper care should also be given to your sinuses to prevent sinus infections. Sinus washing is recommended to clear out excess mucus and other irritants in the nose. Steam treatment is also advisable to keep mucus loose and sinuses open. Use of humidifier is helpful to keep the moisture in the air. It is also extremely helpful to adopt a healthy lifestyle to keep the immune system strong by eating healthy and exercising regularly. Taking vitamin C daily for people prone to sinus infections can greatly improve the way your body fights off said infections.

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