Sinus infections are caused by infections from a pathogenic microorganism (virus, bacterium, or fungus), which grows within a sinus and causes intermittent blockage of the sinus ostium.
Most people do not transmit sinus infections; most clinicians agree that except for rare instances, sinus infections are not contagious but arise from mainly viruses and bacteria that, by chance, contaminate a person who sinuses support their proliferation because of minor, and rarely, major abnormalities in the person's sinus tissue (for example, swelling, inflammation, abnormal mucus production, and rarely, facial or nasal trauma).
Sinusitis is inflammation of the air cavities within the passages of the nose. Sinusitis can be caused by infection, but also can be caused by allergies and chemical or particulate irritation of the sinuses.
Sinusitis may be classified in several ways such as acute sinus infection, subacute sinus infection, chronic sinus infection, infected sinusitis, and noninfectious sinusitis.
Sinus infection symptoms may include sinus headache, facial tenderness, pressure or pain in the sinuses, fever, cloudy discolored drainage, and feeling of nasal stuffiness, sore throat, and cough, and on rare occasions, associated with facial swelling.
Bacterial infection of the sinuses is suspected when facial pain, pus-like nasal discharge, and symptoms that persists for longer than a week and are not responding to over-the-counter nasal medications.
Sinus infection is generally diagnosed based on patient history and physical examination by a health care professional.
Bacterial sinusitis is usually treated with antibiotic therapy.
Early treatment of allergic sinusitis may prevent secondary bacterial sinus infections.
Home remedies for sinus infections include OTC medications such as Tylenol, decongestants, and mucolytics. Nasal irrigation can be accomplished with a Neti-pot or rinse kit (nasal bidet).
Rare fungal infections of the sinuses (for example, zygomycosis) constitute a medical emergency.
Complications of a sinus infection that may develop are meningitis, brain abscess, osteomyelitis, and orbital cellulitis.
There are no fungal vaccines available to prevent fungal sinus infections.