When Does a Sinus Infection Require Urgent Care?Ocala, FL
While a minor sinus infection does not require a trip to urgent care or indicate a reason for significant concern, a more severe sinus infection in which the symptoms become intolerable or last for an extended amount of time may need medical assistance for the underlying cause of the sinus infection to be appropriately treated.
During a sinus infection, it is essential to keep an eye on the symptoms and come in for a visit to our urgent care facility in the event the symptoms become intolerable or no sign of improvement is noticed after more than a week. At our urgent care facility, we can efficiently and effectively diagnose and treat the underlying cause of your sinus infection.
While prevention is the best way to handle a sinus infection, it is not always possible to prevent, especially when caused by the common cold. Therefore, it is essential to know exactly what to do if a sinus infection develops.
If you or your child develop a sinus infection that becomes concerning for any reasons, do not hesitate to come in for a visit or give us a call to find out the next step to take. There is no appointment needed, and we promise you quick and effective care here at our urgent care facility.
- A bad cold is often mistaken for a sinus infection as many of the symptoms are the same.
- A sinus infection close to the brain can be life-threatening.
- Allergies can play a significant role in chronic or seasonal sinus infections.
- Knowing what kind of bacteria is causing the infection can lead to more effective antibiotic treatment.
- There are two primary forms of sinus infections: acute and chronic.
- Sinus infections caused by a virus should last less than two weeks.
- Antibiotics help eliminate a sinus infection by attacking the bacteria that cause it.
- Some people have bodily defects that contribute to sinus infections.
Questions to Ask
Your Urgent Care Provider
- What diagnostic procedures did you use to determine I have a sinus infection?
- Are there any lifestyle changes I can make to minimize the risk of developing a sinus infection in the future?
- Is surgery an option to relieve my sinus infection? Is the surgery process invasive?
- Are there any complications that can arise by not treating a sinus infection?
- Is my sinus infection acute or chronic?
- Am I contagious? What should I do to prevent others around me from getting infected?
- Have you treated similar cases of sinusitis? What is the prognosis?
- How common are sinus infections?
- What was the cause of my sinus infection? What can I do to prevent it from happening again in the future?
- Is there anything I can do to manage my symptoms until I recover?
- What home remedies can I implement to relieve the symptoms of my sinus infection?
- What should I do if my symptoms do not improve from treatment?
Causes and Symptoms of a Sinus Infection
Sinus inflammation, also known as sinusitis, is a condition where the nasal passageway becomes inflamed due to an infection or allergies. There are two different types of sinus infections: acute sinus infection and a chronic sinus infection. Acute sinus inflammation can be caused by another condition or infection, such as the common cold or allergies. A chronic sinus infection has a much more complicated diagnosis and almost always requires medical assistance to keep under control.
The two leading causes of an acute infection are either a bacterial infection or a viral infection. While they are similar, bacterial infections have a different treatment procedure than a viral infection, which is why it is essential to get the diagnosis right. Bacterial infections that cause sinusitis are far less frequent than a viral infection.
Depending on the severity of the sinus infection, as well as the cause and type of sinus infection, the symptoms differ. Nevertheless, several more common symptoms apply to almost every case of sinus infections, these include:
- Nasal congestion
- Runny nose
- Facial pain
- Sinus pressure
The very first symptoms that you may experience with a sinus infection are nasal congestion and runny nose. You may need more advanced treatment that can only be prescribed by a medical professional.
Additionally, almost all sinus infections include a headache, which can range from mild to extremely severe, and uncomfortable facial pain. There is no way to eliminate these symptoms without treating the cause or allowing the body to fight it off naturally, although medical assistance can help speed up the process of recovery.
Treatment Options for a Sinus Infection
If your symptoms become a severe cause for concern (see below), you may need to visit our urgent care for additional treatment. Upon entering our urgent care facility, the first thing we will do is an assessment. There are several common tactics performed to try and diagnose a sinus infection, which include a detailed examination into your nasal passageways.
After diagnosis, there are several treatment options available, and the exact treatment method decided upon is based mainly upon the cause of the infection. In the event the sinus infection is caused by a bacterial infection, it can be treated (in most cases) with antibiotics, which is often the most successful method used. However, antibiotics do not work for viral infections. Instead, antiviral medications are likely to be given for viral infections such as the cold.
One of the main reasons for sinus inflammation is allergies, which is a condition where the immune system rejects a substance it deems harmful. If allergies are determined to be the cause of the sinus inflammation, a steroid spray can be prescribed. The nasal spray should help reduce the severity of the reaction, which ultimately allows the sinus inflammation to stay at a tolerable level.
Regardless of the medical treatment that is given for the sinus infection, there are over-the-counter medications that can also be taken to help deal with the symptoms, which include:
- Allergy medicines
- Nasal spray
- Pain relievers
To find out what over-the-counter medication is best for your sinus infection, talk to our staff about all of your options. With proper symptom management and long-term treatment, a sinus infection should not last for more than a week. If it continues for more than a week, consider coming in for a visit to find out why and for further treatment.
Sinus Infection Home Remedies and Prevention
Along with treatment, specific home remedies can help you improve faster and keep the symptoms at a tolerable level for the duration that the sinus infection exists. Also, you can even give yourself a better chance to prevent obtaining an acute sinus infection altogether with proper lifestyle changes in place.
For home remedies, rest and eating healthy is the best way to recover promptly. When the body is fighting off a sinus infection, or any infection for that matter, it needs proper rest and nutrients to do so. With that said, there are several quick, easy things to do while you rest, such as:
- Stay hydrated
- Use a warm compress
- Clean out your nasal passageway
- Elevate your head while sleeping
- Place a humidifier in your home
- Take hot showers
Ultimately, it comes down to the focus on relieving the pressure built up in your sinuses. The best way to do that is to keep your nasal passageway from getting clogged. Using a warm compress, placing a humidifier in your home and elevating your head while resting is all excellent tactic to implement to keep the nasal passageway clear and breathing easily.
So how do you prevent a sinus infection from occurring in the first place? While it is not always possible to avoid, there are precautions you can take to help minimize your risk, including:
- Receiving a flu shot
- Keeping your distance from others who are sick
- Planning for an allergy attack
- Practice good hygiene
The best way to prevent a sinus infection is to practice a healthy lifestyle, which means continuously washing your hands throughout the day. Additionally, receiving an annual flu shot before the flu season begins is another way to minimize your risk. If you have allergies, planning for an allergy attack by limiting time outdoors during allergy season and getting an allergy shot when needed can significantly reduce the chance of the onset of a sinus infection.
When to Seek Urgent Care for a Sinus Infection
Most minor sinus infections get better on their own without the need for medical treatment. More severe sinus infections, however, require urgent care.
First and most importantly, it is important to seek urgent care for a sinus infection if the symptoms begin to worsen or last for an extended amount of time. In the event you have severe trouble breathing due to your sinus infection, then be sure to come in for a visit as soon as possible to have your sinuses cleared out. Also, keep a close eye on your symptoms and seek medical attention if they do not improve after a week.
Additionally, urgent care is highly encouraged if your child develops a sinus infection as they have less of an ability to fight off the infection quickly. Also, it can be much more challenging to diagnose the cause of the sinus inflammation in children. In some cases, the reason could be due to an underlying allergy that you were not aware about.
When you visit, expect us to thoroughly examine you or your child’s symptoms and document any information that is relevant to make a proper diagnosis. It may be helpful for you and your child to make a list of all of the symptoms that you or your child has been experiencing, any medications that are currently being taken and any allergies that may exist. Also, consider any questions you may want to ask the doctor at your visit.
The medical professional that examines you is likely to ask a series of questions to try and learn more about the scope of the infection, including asking about medical history, how severe the symptoms are and any lifestyle events that may have lead to the onset of the sinus infection, after which treatment will be administered.
Consult With Us
To ensure the symptoms do not worsen or linger for longer than what is necessary, consult with us anytime there is a concern about your sinus infection. By receiving prompt, quality care, you can give your body what it needs to fight off the sinus infection in a relatively short amount of time.
At our urgent care facility, we have a quality staff of medical professionals and all of the resources necessary to properly treat sinus infections, regardless of the underlying reason for the sinus infection. We are also very well trained to accurately diagnose the underlying cause of your sinus infection and help you prevent it from occurring moving further.
Without proper treatment, a sinus infection can last for weeks without getting much better, and the symptoms can worsen to a point where it causes you to miss a significant amount of time at work or school. With proper treatment, however, you can gain the upper hand over the infection.
If your symptoms worsen to a point where it is almost intolerable or creates other health concerns, come in for a visit or give us a call to ensure your symptoms are appropriately managed and diagnosed. Also, any sinus infection that lasts for more than a week may need to be examined by a medical professional as well.
Q. Is sinusitis the same thing as a sinus infection?
A. No. Sinusitis and sinus infections refer to inflammation of the sinuses. In most acute cases, it is the result of an infection, such as the flu or common cold. However, there are many reasons someone may experience a sinus infection. In chronic cases, the onset of a sinus infection may be due to one’s allergies. More chronic sinus infections may result from a bodily defect, such as a deviated septum. If you experience a sinus infection that shows severe symptoms or becomes chronic, it is essential to seek treatment for the infection to improve.
Q. I have a severe headache with my sinus infection. Is this normal?
A. A minor headache is very common with a sinus infection. However, a severe headache can be a cause for concern. In most cases, a minor headache is the result of too much pressure in the head, and it can typically be managed with anti-inflammatory and pain relief medication. However, a headache that is hard to control and causes severe discomfort should be treated at urgent care. In some instances, severe headaches are caused by too much congestion too close to the brain. When this occurs, the sinuses may need to be cleaned out, at which point the headaches should improve.
Q. I always have sinus infections during allergy season. Do allergies cause sinus inflammation?
A. Yes, sinus inflammation can be the result of allergies. Allergies, which are the body reacting to a substance it deems harmful, can lead to too much mucus being produced, ultimately clogging the sinus and causing inflammation. Due to this, it is essential to take extra precaution during allergy season, and seek treatment in the event your allergies begin to show. The quicker allergies are treated, the less chance there is of developing sinus inflammation due to the allergies.
Q. The symptoms of my sinus infection are tolerable. Can my sinus infection get better without treatment?
A. Most sinus infections improve without the need for medical assistance. Like any bacterial or viral infections, the body works to fight off the sinus infection as quickly as possible, which is why we often feel fatigued during an infection. To ensure your body can fight off the infection successfully, be sure to give yourself plenty of rest and stay hydrated. In the meantime, you can ease the symptoms with over-the-counter medications and home remedies. In the event the symptoms begin to worsen or do not improve within a week, you should consider medical assistance to deal with the sinus infection.
Q. Is a nasal endoscopy required to treat a sinus infection?
A. A nasal endoscopy is just one treatment option for sinus infections, and it is not necessarily required in every instance. For more severe sinus infections, however, a nasal endoscopy is likely to be performed to clean out your sinuses and ease the symptoms. While it may seem somewhat invasive, a nasal endoscopy is a painless procedure that does not take long to complete. If you have any doubts about the method, ask your doctor about the process and discuss any other possible treatment options.
- A reaction to a specific substance in which the body rejects the substance believing it is harmful to the body. Allergic reactions are a common reason one may experience a sinus infection.
- This term refers to the loss of the sense of smell, which is somewhat common during a sinus infection. While there are other causes, the symptom of anosmia suggests the presence of a sinus infection.
- Refers to inflammation of one or more of the paranasal sinuses, which are air-filled spaces that surround the nasal cavity.
- A treatment option for many types of sinus infections. A decongestant relieves nasal congestion and allows individuals suffering from sinusitis to breathe easier as they recover.
- A slimy substance found in the sinuses. Mucus serves to protect and lubricate the nasal passageway. An excess of mucus can develop as a reaction to a sinus infection.
- Nasal endoscopy
- A procedure done to clear out the sinuses during a sinus infection. It is done using an endoscope, which is a thin, flexible tube with a light and tiny camera.
- Nasal steroid spray
- One of the more common treatment options for a sinus infection. While there are over-the-counter nasal steroid sprays, it is best to ask you're urgent care provider about nasal steroid spray.
- A surgical procedure done to fix a deviated septum, which is a displacement of the bones near or in your nose. A septoplasty may be performed to treat chronic sinusitis.
- A connected system of air-filled cavities inside of your skull. Healthy sinuses allow for the free flow of air and drainage of excess mucus in the sinuses.
- Also referred to as a sinus infection, sinusitis is a condition where the nasal passages are inflamed, often caused by another other infection, such as the common cold or the flu.
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