As long as we frequent public places—grocery stores, malls, plazas, restaurants, offices, schools, airports, train stations—it’s bound to happen. Someone walking toward us lets loose with a spontaneous sneeze. Can the germs suddenly floating in the air make us sick? To answer that question, let’s first address this one: How … Read More
The sinuses are the hollow spaces behind the cheekbones, nose, and forehead. Normally, these spaces are empty, with the exception of a thin layer of mucus. Sometimes if fluid becomes trapped inside the sinuses, bacteria or viruses can grow and cause the tissue lining the sinuses to swell up. This is known as a sinus infection, or sinusitis. Viruses cause most sinus infections, although some can be due to bacteria.
A sinus infection produces many of the same symptoms as a cold?including a stuffed and runny nose, green or yellow nasal discharge, and headache. It can also cause pain in the face or teeth, coughing, fever, bad breath, and fatigue. Sinusitis can be acute, in which case symptoms come on quickly and last for three to eight weeks. When the condition lingers for more than eight weeks, or keeps returning, it?s known as chronic sinusitis.
Not every sinus infection needs to be treated with antibiotics, but when bacteria are the cause the doctor may prescribe an antibiotic. A 10- to 14-day course of antibiotics usually clears up the infection. Over-the-counter cold and sinus remedies can relieve symptoms of a sinus infection. Nasal decongestants and antihistamines bring down swelling in the nasal passages to open up a clogged nose. Nasal steroid sprays also reduce swelling in the nose.
For chronic sinusitis, your doctor might prescribe steroid pills to bring down inflammation. You can also try a few home remedies to ease symptoms. A saline nasal spray can help break up congestion. Inhaling steam from the shower or a vaporizer is another way to alleviate congestion. Warm compresses can help with sinus pain.
To prevent future sinus infections, wash your hands with soap throughout the day. Keep up with all of your recommended vaccinations. And avoid close contact with anyone who is sick.
Nine out of ten people will have a headache at some time. The location of your headache may be an important clue to the type of headache, along with other clues like when the headache occurs, how long it lasts, how severe it is, and what other symptoms you have … Read More
With literally billions of people traveling by air every year now, researchers are finally starting to gather and publish more data about the health risks associated with airplane travel. In terms of the common cold, it is now well-accepted that acute respiratory infections are frequently experienced after air travel. So … Read More
Do sounds become muffled when you’ve got a cold? Does your ear feel blocked after a long swim? Sounds like you’re suffering from clogged ear, an annoying condition that can make hearing a challenge. While a clogged ear can indicate an ear infection, it could also be a sign of … Read More
Welcome to the new season of America’s Got Viruses. From a common cold to Zika, viruses from all over the globe are competing to infect the highest number of host cells. While some viruses are mild, gifting us with symptoms like a runny nose and sore throat (we feel you, … Read More
Strep throat symptoms in adults usually mean a visit to a doctor is in order. The organism that causes strep throat symptoms in adults is highly contagious and can lead to a painful sinus infection as well. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says a person with strep … Read More
Bacteria are one-cell organisms that are everywhere. Literally. Most bacteria are harmless, and many are beneficial. We need “good” bacteria to digest our food and help arm our immune system. And “good” bacteria destroy “bad” bacteria that may ultimately cause a bacterial infection. A bacterial infection can be serious, especially … Read More
As many as 60 million Americans are thought to suffer from hay fever (or, to give it its official name, allergic rhinitis). For these individuals, the spring, summer and sometimes the fall too, are blighted by itchy eyes, a runny nose, and sneezing. In some people, hay fever symptoms aren’t … Read More
Don’t sniff a the loss of sense of smell. Besides a connection to dementia, there are health and nutrition factors that make hyposmia (reduction), parosmia (distortion), or anosmia (complete loss) worth investigating. There are a number of benign—albeit annoying—reasons you don’t smell well, but a connection to dementia may make … Read More
When you start to feel a pain at the front of your head, down behind your eyes and nose, you may be developing a sinus headache. But you’ve had migraine headaches before and they feel similar. How can you tell them apart? Is there such thing as a sinus migraine? … Read More