"" Are Sinus Infections Contagious? When to See a Doctor - Health and Fitness Informatics


Are Sinus Infections Contagious? When to See a Doctor




Colds may progress into a sinus infection (sinusitis) because cold and sinus are both viral and share the same symptoms like headache, runny nose, tenderness around your nose and under your eyes, and sometimes cough. Sinus can make it difficult to breathe, and you feel pressure in your face, and due to cough, it produces a lot of discharge.


What is sinus?

The sinuses are the air-filled pockets or spaces in the skull. These are situated behind the forehead, cheeks, nasal bones, and eyes. Healthy sinuses contain no germs (bacteria and viruses), and mostly mucus is capable of draining out and air is able to flow through the sinuses. Sinusitis (sinus infection) or a sinus, occurs when sinuses, inflame the sinus lining and prevent them from draining. The trapped mucus may allow bacteria to grow, which causes infection.

Factors that may elevate the risks of a sinus infection include:

  • Smoking
  • Allergic rhinitis or hay fever
  • A recent cold
  • Abnormal sinus structure
  • Large adenoids
  • Changes in altitude such as scuba diving and flying
  • Weakened immune system from chemotherapy or HIV

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Symptoms of sinus infection

You may experience these symptoms if you are having sinus infection such as

  • Complaint of drip in the throat from the nose
  • Cold or runny nose symptoms that last longer than seven to 10 days
  • Facial pain
  • Headache
  • Fever sore throat and nasal drip
  • Cough
  • Bad breath or loss of smell
  • Swelling around the eyes that get worse in the morning
  • Fatigue
  • Nasal stuffiness and discharge

Causes of sinus

Sinusitis may occur due to  

  • Allergies and colds may lead to too much being made or block the opening of the sinuses.
  • Cilia (small hairs) in the sinuses fail to properly move mucus out. This may be happened due to some medical conditions.  
  • Chronic infection may cause mucosal inflammation and swelling.
  • A diverged nasal septum, nasal polyps, or nasal bone spur may block the opening of the sinuses.


Types of sinusitis:

Chronic sinusitis is when the swelling and symptoms of the sinuses are present for longer than three months. It may be caused by fungus or bacteria

Acute sinusitis occurs when symptoms are present for weeks or less and is caused by bacteria growing in the sinuses. 

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Most sinus infections are caused or brought on by viruses. You can spread if you have this infection, but you can only transfer the virus instead infection itself. A person who catches your virus may or may not get a sinus infection.  These types of viruses mostly cause colds that may or may not lead to a sinus infection.


When the sinuses are obstructed and filled with mucus, bacteria may grow and lead to an infection. You have more probably to have bacterial sinusitis if your sinus infection lasts more than 10 to 14 days. The good thing is that you can’t spread bacterial sinusitis.

Other causes:

The sinusitis infection lasts for at least 12 weeks, is considered chronic sinusitis, and is mostly caused by allergies. A deviated septum (crooked wall between the nostrils) or nasal polyps (tissue growth in the nose) raise the risks.

Sometimes smoke, polluted or dry air can also trigger sinusitis.

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How long is sinus infection contagious?

Viral sinusitis is responsible for spreading. You may have been transmitted or contagious days before you got the sinus infection. Most viruses may be spread within a couple of days, but sometimes you could transmit it for a week or more. 

How is sinusitis spread?

Can you catch the sinus infection from someone?

The way you get cold and flu is the same way you get sinusitis, by passing it or breathing it after touching something from your hands to your mouth. Viruses enter the air after anyone who is ill coughs or sneezes. They also can also be transmitted when someone shakes hands with another person who is sick or touches the utensils or doorknob or anything else the ill has touched.  

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How to keep from getting virus?

To keep from getting the virus you should frequently wash your hands with simply water or with soap as well, try to avoid people who have flu and cold-like symptoms, and try not to touch your nose, mouth, or eyes.

What should I do if I have sinusitis?

If you have sinusitis, cover your nose and mouth when you sneeze or cough, and often wash your hands to avoid making anyone infected or sick.

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Q. Should I stay at home if I have a sinus infection?

A. Sinus infection can be bacterial or viral. Best way to stay at home because viral infections are more contagious. You should consult your health expert, if you have had symptoms longer than a week, if you have jaw/teeth pain, or severe facial pain, you may have a bacterial infection.  

Q. How do you tell if a sinus infection is bacterial or viral?

A. It’s generally due to a virus if your sinus infection lasts for a week. On the other hand, bacterial sinusitis persists for a short time. They usually last for 10 days or longer.

While viral sinusitis generally starts to get better after some days, bacterial infections have a tendency to get worse over time.

Q. What is the fastest way to get rid of a sinus infection?

A. You should

  • Drink fluids and plenty of water
  • Try to take rest as much as possible, this will help your body speed recovery and fight infection.
  • Moisten your sinus cavities
  • Use a warm compress. A warm compress on your forehead and nose may help ease the pressure in your sinuses.
  • Rinse your nasal passages.

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