Sinus infections sneak up on most people at one point or another. But many people aren't sure how to treat a sinus infection, if at all. Here are some of the questions you might have.
How Do You Know if It's a Sinus Infection?
Sinus infection diagnosis is a tricky thing. The symptoms may be similar to a chest cold or other illness, and you may have a cold that precedes your sinus infection.
There are a couple of signs that let you know that you have developed a sinus infection. The first is that the quality of your mucus may change. It could turn bright green or orange, and it often thickens when you have a sinus infection. That is because the sinus infection results from a nasal passage being blocked, which allows bacteria to linger and multiply in the sinus cavity.
Another thing you will notice when you have a sinus infection is pressure. You could feel it behind your eyes or nose, or even in your teeth. Headaches are common, especially ones that are dull.
Also, if you had a cold and you're still experiencing runny noses weeks later, that is a good sign that you have a sinus infection.
What Should You Do?
There often isn't a lot that you can do for a sinus infection if it's viral. You will have to wait and rest. But if you experience what's known as a double worsening, where your illness gets better and then worse again, you might suspect that it's a bacterial sinus infection. While these are less common, they require a visit to your doctor and antibiotics to fully cure. Without getting treated when you need it, you can develop a chronic sinus condition. Contact a center, like Premier Urgent Care Centers of California, Inc., for more information if your symptoms get worse.
Can You Still Exercise and Live Normally?
Learn to listen to your body on this one. For symptoms that are mostly above the neck, such as a runny nose, it's often okay to exercise lightly. Don't overdo it or you might find your symptoms getting worse. If you experience chest pains or a thick cough, it's usually best to stay away from exercising or exerting yourself too much.
When Should You See the Doctor?
Aside from the double worsening clue described above, do be sure to see a doctor if your symptoms don't clear up within 3-4 weeks. It is safe to wait it out and see if your symptoms get better, but after this period, it's necessary to diagnose the condition and make sure it isn't something else.