Sinusitis comes in a few main types – acute, chronic, bacterial and fungal – but sinus infection symptoms are generally the same for all types of sinusitis. However, there are different treatments for different types of sinus infections because some may go away on their own or with over-the-counter medications, but others – like bacterial sinusitis – may require antibiotics in order to clear up.
If you find yourself suffering from any of these symptoms, then a sinus infection could be to blame and you should see a healthcare professional to confirm the diagnosis and recommend a course of treatment.
Pain is the Most Common of All Sinus Infection Symptoms
Pain in the sinuses, other facial muscles, headache – especially concentrated around the nose, eyes and sinuses – earache, and toothache can all be symptoms of a sinus infection. Most often, a person will feel a dull pressure behind their eyes and in their sinuses due to inflammation and swelling due to infection.
Pressure around the base of the ears is not uncommon in patients with sinus infections. In fact, it is relatively common for a sinus infection and an ear infection to go hand-in-hand, with one leading to the other.
More extreme cases can lead to tooth infection, especially if there was already decay. However, these types of infections can also lead to a sinus infection – any infections must be cleared up for inflammation and pain to fully subside.
Another common symptom of a sinus infection is nasal congestion – which is when the sinuses are inflamed, restricting your ability to breath through your nose. This causes a feeling of stuffiness, and can hinder the senses of smell and taste.
Nasal discharge is the reason you have to blow your nose so much when you have a sinus infection. The discharge comes from your infected sinuses and drains into your nasal passages, and can be clear, cloudy, yellow or green. Cloudy or discolored discharge is usually a sign of bacterial sinusitis, where clear discharge is likely due to allergies or non-bacterial/fungal.
Understanding nasal discharge leads us to our next symptom: post-nasal drip. This is what happens when the discharge in your sinuses drips down the back of your throat, either due to an extreme excess or while you are laying down, often while sleeping.
Cough and Sore Throat
Post-nasal drip can cause other symptoms like sore throat, which in turn leads to coughing, which is your body’s way of naturally trying to expel the discharge from your throat. This is why it may sound like you have a “wet” cough, rather than a “dry” cough. A sore throat can also cause you to lose your voice entirely or sound hoarse until it goes away.
Headaches and Migraines
Due to the pressure and pain felt in the sinuses when someone has a sinus infection, it can make frequent headaches a real problem. For some people, especially in cases of chronic sinusitis, that can turn into a migraine with sensitivity to sound and light if left untreated.
There are a number of reasons someone with a sinus infection may feel fatigued including fever, headache/migraine, coughing, or low immune response. The best thing you can do if this is one of your symptoms is get plenty of rest, see your doctor and try over-the-counter day time sinus relief medications, as some medications can induce drowsiness and fatigue.
Nasal discharge and post-nasal drip can both contribute to bacterial infections within the mouth that can cause halitosis, or bad breath. Most commonly, bad breath is a symptom of a case of bacterial sinusitis, which often requires antibiotics to fight the infection.
While a fever is not always one of the more common sinus infection symptoms, it is still one that is seen often enough that it is worth mentioning. In cases of fungal or bacterial sinusitis, it is more likely that the patient will suffer a fever, which can leads to other symptoms including pain and inflammation in the face, sinuses, ears and behind the eyes, as well as fatigue.
While these are the most common symptoms of a sinus infection, if left untreated these symptoms can become more dangerous. For example, a more serious and hard to detect symptom of a sinus infection include ulceration in cases of fungal sinusitis, which can require immediate medical attention.
Whether you have one, a couple or all of these sinus infection symptoms, the chances are good that you have a sinus infection. If you have tried over-the-counter sinus relief medications and are still having symptoms, then you may need antibiotics to fight the infection. If you have questions or would like to schedule an appointment, contact the office of Dr. Light E.N.T. by calling 561-737-8584 to speak to a member of our staff.