Sinus infection is a common condition that you know you don’t want to experience again once you’ve had one. The pressure, pain, and fatigue that characterize this infection can make it difficult to get out of bed. To know how to decrease your chances of getting a sinus infection, it helps to know what might cause this condition.
The Big Triggers
Usually, sinus infection is attributed to virus or bacteria. A viral sinus infection may develop during or after a cold. This can happen because a cold causes the tissue in the nasal passages to swell, blocking the drainage of mucus from the sinuses. Usually, viral sinus infection clears up spontaneously after a week to 10 days.
A bacterial sinus infection can develop when a cold or flu lingers for two weeks or more. This can happen because sinus blockage lingers long enough for bacteria to settle within mucus in the sinus cavity. Antibiotic treatment is necessary to resolve this type of infection.
The Lesser-Known Triggers
Viruses and bacteria can cause sinus infections during peak seasons, while other conditions may contribute to a problem with chronic sinus infections. These include:
- Allergies, which cause persistent inflammation in the sinuses.
- Nasal polyps and structural problems, which prevent adequate mucus drainage from the sinuses.
- The chronic use of nasal products such as a decongestant spray can backfire, leading to desensitization and subsequent worsening of inflammation within the sinus cavity.
- Pressure changes such as those that occur in an airplane or when diving under water can cause fluid accumulation in that may block nasal passages.
- Dry air could lead to sinus infection if the nasal passages lose a substantial degree of moisture.
- Smoking directly affects the sinuses by irritating the lining of the nasal passages.
When sinus pressure and signs of infection do not resolve on their own or with home remedies, it may be necessary to consult with an ear, nose, and throat specialist. This is especially beneficial when sinus infections occur frequently. At St. Louis Sinus Center, treatments such as balloon sinus dilation have helped many of our patients find freedom from chronic sinus infection.