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Are Sinus Infections Contagious? Sinusitis Symptoms and Home Remedies

Are Sinus Infections Contagious? Sinus infection, commonly referred to as sinusitis is inflammation of the sinus cavities. There are 4 sinus cavities such as Ethmoid sinus cavities, Frontal sinus cavities, Maxillary sinus cavities, and Sphenoid sinuses. If the paranasal cavities are inflamed, it can lead to infection.

The inflammation of nasal cavities builds pressure in the region leading to pain in the cheek area, eyes, nose, on one side of the head (temple areas), and severe headache.

There can be several reasons for sinusitis such as infection, allergies, irritants, and chemicals. Usually, sinus infections are not contagious.

Sinus infection can be classified into the following types:

  • Acute sinus infection
  • Sub-acute sinus infection
  • Chronic sinus infection
  • Infected sinusitis- Infectious sinusitis can be due to bacteria, viruses, and fungi.
  • Non-infectious sinusitis

Sinusitis signs and symptoms:

People experiencing sinusitis develop one or more of the following symptoms:

1. Fever and Headache:

The inflamed sinus cavities cause pain when a person bends down, due to partially or completely blocked sinuses. The mucus in the inflamed tissues develops pressure and or pain. Headache is often accompanied by facial tenderness and/or swelling.

2. Sore Throat and Postnasal Drip:

Due to inflammation of the sinuses, the mucus overflows to the throat, which irritates the throat tissue and produces cough.

3. Pains:

People with sinus infection experience tooth, ear and eye pain due to pressure developed by the mucus on the nerves and tissues.

4. Congestion:

It can be seen in both infectious and non-infectious sinusitis.

5. Allergy Symptoms:

Itchy eyes and sneezing are common in people with a sinus infection.

6. Bad breath:

It is an indication of infectious sinusitis

7. Fatigue:

Fever, aches and pains, and coughing produces fatigue

8. Nasal Drainage:

The nasal drainage in sinus patients varies depending upon the type of sinus infection. In noninfectious sinusitis, the drainage is clear or whitish. Infectious sinusitis the nasal drainage can be cloudy or discolored.

Sinus infection due to fungus cause dark, black-appearing exudates in the nasal area. The persistent symptoms for a couple of months are an indication of sub-acute or chronic sinusitis.

Sinus infection can be diagnosed with patient history and physical examination. If the sinusitis is left untreated it can lead to meningitis, brain abscess, osteomyelitis, and orbital cellulitis.

The signs and symptoms of bacterial sinusitis include bad breath, puffiness around eyes, greenish-yellow discharge and headaches. Bacterial sinusitis can be treated with antibiotics.

ALSO READ: How to get rid of a stuffy nose?

Are Sinus Infections Contagious?

Are Sinus Infections Contagious? yes, the transmission of viral infection depends upon the type of causative organisms. Viral sinus infection is likely to get transmitted.

The infected person may not always develop sinusitis it can lead to a cold. The bacterial infection is not contagious.

Acute Sinusitis:

It is the common form of sinus infection that is characterized by the inflammation of the lining of the nose.

The symptoms of acute sinusitis include the stuffed nose, pain, and pressure on the cheekbones, eyes, and forehead.

Sinus Infection Treatment and Home Remedies:

Simple home measures can play an important role in fighting a sinus infection. Include certain home foods and procedures in your routine to combat sinusitis, take OTC medicines or consult a doctor.

Here we list you some home remedies for sinusitis or sinus infection

1. Immune Boosters:

Ginger, garlic, onion, and honey are the household items that can fight the microbes causing sinus infection.

Ginger can be consumed raw or as ginger tea. Garlic can be consumed raw (3 to 5 g per day) or take garlic supplements available in the market.

Onion is commonly included as a salad in the diet, increase the intake of onions. Honey is a power pack food that is rich in antioxidants; the addition of honey to ginger tea enhances its benefits.

2. Moisturize Your Nasal Cavity:

Sinusitis causes your nasal passage to become dry, moistening the sinuses helps relieve pressure.

You can use a humidifier in the room or use the normal saline spray before going to bed. Another good method to moisturize is to take a steam or hot showers

3. Eucalyptus Oil:

It is composed of cineole, the active ingredient that helps you recover from acute sinusitis. It opens the sinus and releases mucus.

Take a drop of food-grade essential oil and rub a drop of it on the roof of the mouth. You can drink a glass of water after the procedure.

4. Neti-Pot:

The instructions of use come along with the neti-pot, use the normal saline solution to irrigate the nostrils. Put your head in the sink at a 45-degree angle.

Keep the spout into your top nostril and carefully pour the normal saline. The same procedure can be applied to the other nostril.

Make sure you cleanse the neti-pot and sterilize it after every use to avoid the spread of infection. Use distilled water to cleanse it.

How to Use a Neti Pot:

5. Warm Compress:

Dip the towel in warm water and apply the damp towel on the nose, cheeks, and eyes. It soothes sinus pain and helps clear nasal passages.

Several OTC medicines for sinusitis are available. These medicines are meant for symptomatic relief from pain, fever and nasal congestion.

Drugs such as acetaminophen, aspirin, ibuprofen, etc., are prescribed for pain and fever. The doctor will try to do a differential diagnosis of allergy or sinus infection.

Antibiotics are not the preferred choice of medicines but still doctors can prescribe Amoxicillin and Amoxicillin-clavulanate.

Do not stop using the antibiotics even if the symptoms subside. In certain cases antihistamines are also prescribed to relieve nasal congestion.

Nasal decongestants such as pseudoephedrine are prescribed to prevent uneasiness caused by the stuffiness of the nose. It prevents swelling and inflammation and improves the flow of nasal discharge.

Do’s and Don’ts:

Dos: 

  • Sinusitis isn’t contagious, so you can continue going to school or work
  • You can take OTC medicines for sinusitis, but it is always advisable to seek medical attention
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Take hot showers as it helps in decongestion
  • Air humidifier helps you give fresh, cool and moist air
  • Include alkaline foods such as vegetables, fruits (apples, bananas), almonds, etc.

Don’ts: 

  • Pollution, chemical fumes, and other irritants worsen the symptoms and increase the chance of another attack
  • Quit smoking
  • Avoid drinking alcohol and coffee
  • Avoid eating starches, carb-heavy foods, anything fried, berries, salt, etc.
  • Do not involve in strenuous physical activity as your body is already weak and needs rest

People suffering from sinusitis often experience difficulty in breathing. Thinning out the respiratory mucous can relieve congestion and improves respiratory output.

Sinus infection can be due to viruses, bacteria or fungi, the symptoms of which include pain, fever, and pressure on the cheeks, near eyes and forehead.

Simple home remedies like intake of ginger, garlic, onion, and honey can help fight the sinus infection.

Using a humidifier and moisturizing the nasal passage can help you relives its symptoms and ease nasal discharge.

Keep yourself hydrated and avoid intake of coffee alcohol, and stay away from inhaling cigarette smoke or harmful chemicals.

So, friends, we hope that after going through the above Are Sinus Infections Contagious? Sinusitis Symptoms and Home Remedies will surely help you.

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Dr Maria

MD Board Certified physician 8 years of experience in health care Former Naturopath at UK Graduated from AIIMS – All India Institute Of Medical Science, INDIA

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