A sinus infection is commonly referred to as sinusitis and very often attributed to allergies, though it may not always be caused this way. It’s characterized by swelling or inflammation of the lining of the sinuses. Sinuses are passages and usually filled only with air, but when they become clogged with fluid or mucus, they are a breeding ground for germs and bacteria, which live comfortably in warm, moist environments.
Causes of Sinus Infections
Allergies are often blamed for the uncomfortable heavy-headed feeling that come with blocked sinuses. Other causes include nasal polyps (small growths along the tissue lining the sinuses), the common cold or flu, and what is known as a deviated septum. A deviated septum is positional shift of the nasal cavity.
Types of Sinus Infections
Various strains can grow in the moist environment of mucus, but there are primarily four different types of sinusitis that cause these bacterial infections.
- Chronic sinusitis: Symptoms of inflammation and swelling in the sinuses that last more than eight weeks.
- Acute sinusitis: This is a sudden onset of symptoms including runny nose, clogged sinuses, congestion, and pain. This typically lasts less than 4 weeks, on average about 10 to 14 days.
- Subacute sinusitis: This infection lasts between 4 and 8 weeks.
- Recurrent sinusitis: This is generally a type that is classified by two or more attacks every year.
Symptoms of a Sinus Infection
How do you know whether you have a serious infection or just a common cold that doesn’t need to be treated? A bacterial infection usually gives the addition of more severe symptoms during that bout of the flu or allergy attack. They include, but are not limited to:
- Facial pressure or pain
- Discharge from the nose
- Stuffiness or nasal obstruction
- Cough and congestion
- Unable to smell
- Pus in the cavity
- Bad breath
- Dental pain
It should be noted here that these symptoms are also present in a common cold or viral illness. The more severe symptoms such as excess fatigue, facial pain, dental pain, and pus should send up warning flags. If it feels or looks like it could be more than just a common cold, talk to your doctor about getting a nasal swab and proper treatment.
Treatment of Sinus Infection with Amoxicillin
There are various treatments for sinusitis, oftentimes just letting the infection run its course. However, if the bacteria spreads and becomes debilitating, amoxicillin is often the medication of choice since the common strains that thrive in these cavities are susceptible to this antibiotic. There are healthy bacteria in the gut and body that are needed to keep it functioning properly, but antibiotics are unprejudiced and attack them all. Whenever you take an antibiotic, be sure to combat the “clean out” with a probiotic like yogurt.