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When To Go To A Doctor For A Sinus Infection

Written By northidahodpc

When To Go To A Doctor For A Sinus Infection

December 13, 2011

Sinus infections are a common reason to visit a physician, especially during the winter months.  Symptoms are varied, but usually consist of any combination of:
  1. Nasal congestion
  2. Post nasal drip frequently causing sore throat and /or cough
  3. Facial pain over the cheeks, bridge of the nose and/or just above and to the inside of the eyes.

People with frequent history of sinus infection, tobacco use, allergies or conditions that weaken one’s immune system such as diabetes are more prone to these infections.

Many sinus infections are viral and resolve on their own.  Symptoms can be reduced by using decongestants, antihistamines, nasal saline irrigation, expectorants and anti inflammatory medication.

When should medical help be sought?  A physician should be consulted if:

  • Symptoms persist longer than 10 days,
  • Are accompanied by a fever (100.4 degrees F orally or higher),
  • Include a severe headache or facial pain not responding to over-the-counter pain medication
  • Or are accompanied by visual changes, mental confusion and/or bloody nasal discharge.

Antibiotics are usually used in these cases, as the above symptoms are more likely to represent a bacterial cause.  Contrary to popular belief, color of the nasal discharge (other than bloody) usually does not help differentiate between a viral and bacterial cause of sinus infection.

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