Urgent Care Fall Health

Do I Have A Sinus Infection And When Should I See A Doctor?

If you have experienced sinus problems in the past, you already know that various symptoms can reveal the emergence of a new issue. If you are dealing with a stuffy nose, this can be an indication that you are experiencing some type of a sinus condition. This is also the case for a runny nose, along with a general feeling of sluggishness or fatigue.

This trio of symptoms – stuffy nose, runny nose, and fatigue – are also signs that a sinus infection has developed. However, these symptoms are also indications that you might be experiencing a cold.

Sinus infections are also referred to as sinusitis, and it will be beneficial to discuss sinusitis in greater detail in order to provide a better understanding of what constitutes sinus infections. This includes the challenge of determining whether you are dealing with a sinus infection or a cold.

The Origin Of A Sinus Infection

Your sinuses are located in the area behind your eyes, nose, cheeks, and forehead. There are also membranes within your sinuses that will create mucus, which is designed to catch germs and pollutants before they progress further into your system. If there is more fluid than air inside the tissue that provides lining for your sinuses, then the tissue will be blocked. As the fluid remains trapped, germs can form, and the entire process will eventually create an infection.

One issue that can trigger the onset of this scenario is the presence of a cold – which will deliver the additional symptoms of a sore throat, and nasal congestion. The cold virus will impact your sinuses by causing the  inflammation of your sinus membranes that was just described. Your sinuses can also become infected by bacteria when this occurs, and that results in a bacterial sinusitis. Other conditions that can trigger sinusitis include allergies, and asthma.

According to the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 31 million adults have been diagnosed with sinusitis. You are more vulnerable to encountering this condition if you experience any form of swelling that was discussed inside your nose. Other factors that can create sinus infections include blockage that develops in your drainage ducts, an inability of your immune system to function effectively, or the development of a growth within the lining of your nose. That form of growth is referred to as a nasal polyp. You can also develop sinusitis from a deviated septum – which is a change in the nasal cavity.

A logical concern would be knowing how to determine if you are dealing with a sinus infection or a cold – particularly since there are symptoms in both conditions that are exactly the same. First, if you are also contending with a sore throat, that is an indication of a cold. Another determining factor is the amount of time that you experience any of the symptoms. Cold symptoms will normally dissipate completely in 5-10 days. However, a sinus infection can linger for multiple weeks or even months if you are contending with a chronic condition.

In addition to the number of days that you are experiencing these symptoms, another indicator of whether the health issue is a cold or a sinus infection involves the color of nasal discharge. The mucus is usually clear at the onset of a cold. However, mucus will eventually become green or yellow as the result of infection. Headaches are an additional sign that you probably are contending with sinusitis.

There are two types of sinus infections – acute, and chronic. An acute form of sinusitis can involve symptoms that can remain from 10 days to a month. However, chronic sinusitis will linger for a period of time that can reach 12 weeks,.

Symptoms Of A Sinus Infection

In addition to the stuffy nose, runny nose and fatigue that were discussed earlier, a noticeable loss in your ability to smell properly can also indicate the onset of a sinus infection. Other symptoms include a cough, congestion, and any pressure or pain in your face. Fever, pain in your teeth, and bad breath can also emerge if you are contending with sinusitis.

Risk Factors

There are factors that can increase your chances of experiencing a sinus infection. These include any history of seasonal allergies that might exist. If you already have a cold, that can also evolve into a sinus infection.

An immune system that has become weakened for any reason can also increase the risk of a sinus infection. This is also the case for any structural problems that might exist within the sinuses such as the nasal polyps that were mentioned previously.

Smoking, and exposure to secondhand smoke will also place you at greater risk of a sinus infection.

When To Visit A Doctor

If you are contending with a severe headache or serious discomfort with your face, then it is recommended that you visit a physician. A visit to your doctor is also advisable if your symptoms are becoming worse, or if they have lingered for at least 10 days. You should also contact your physician if you have a fever that has remained for 3-4 days.

It is also recommended that you call your doctor if you have any questions or concerns about symptoms that appear related to a sinus infection.

What A Doctor Will Do

Your physician will conduct a physical examination which will include questions surrounding your symptoms.  The specific treatment will vary depending upon the factors surrounding your situation. In some cases, a decongestant might be recommended. In other cases. your doctor will advise you to use a saline mist.

A large percentage of sinus infections will improve without any need for antibiotics. But there are times in which your physician will recommend an antibiotic. Your physician will determine the best form of treatment based upon your specific strain of bacteria that has created the infection.

At Rapid Med Urgent Care Center We Can Help!

Fortunately, if you are suffering from any of these symptoms, or are attempting to determine whether you are dealing with a sinus infection you can contact or visit us at Rapid Med Urgent Care Center. Our professionals will be focused on doing everything possible to reduce your discomfort, and help your situation improve.

This also applies to any other concerns or health issues that you may encounter during these winter months.

At Rapid Med Urgent Care Center, not only do we deliver immediate medical attention for conditions that are not critical or life-threatening, but we also provide both primary and preventive care.

Our Primary Care 

Our intuitive approach and commitment to patients enable them to receive the specific type of care that they prefer, when and how they want it. This include:

  • After Hours Care Available
  • Continuity of Care
  • Health Maintenance
  • Patient Education
  • Vaccinations

Our Preventative Care 

  • Alcohol Misuse Screening & Counseling
  • Atherosclerosis Risk Factor Modification
  • Blood Pressure Screening
  • Cancer Screening
  • Cholesterol Screening
  • Depression Screening
  • HIV-STD Screening
  • Immunizations
  • Obesity Screening & Counseling
  • Type 2 Diabetes Screening
  • Weight Management
  • Wellness Exams

Our Urgent Care 

Of course, At Rapid Med Urgent Care Center we also provide immediate medical attention for conditions that are not critical or life-threatening.

Regardless of whether you are in need of primary care, preventative care or urgent care, you can receive the same great care and consideration that you receive by visiting our offices simply by using our On Demand service through your phone, tablet, or computer.

Regardless of how you contact us, we can also assist you, or answer any questions regarding any of these other medical problems.

Phil Clark
Phil’s experience as a writer enabled him to generate advertising and marketing material throughout his career in the television industry before he expanded his level of knowledge by creating various promotional elements for all forms of media in other industries. He has also produced articles that have been published in numerous publications and websites, including usatoday.com, and USA Today’s football magazine, where he wrote weekly columns and player profiles for multiple years. He has also worked with Photoshop, Illustrator, and Vizio, and has a BS in Broadcasting from Indiana State University.
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