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You have pressure and pain in your face, your head hurts, and you feel like your cold just won’t go away. Is it just a cold or could you possibly have a sinus infection?

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Timely Treatment for Sinus Infections

Sinus infections can be painful and take time to heal. At MedExpress, we understand that you want to get better, fast. That’s why our centers are open 8 - 8 every day with no appointments necessary. Our caring, friendly medical team can help determine whether or not you have a sinus infection and recommend the proper treatment so you can start feeling better. 

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What is a Sinus Infection?

A sinus infection – or rhinosinusitis – can occur when your nasal cavities become infected, swollen, and inflamed after fluid becomes trapped in the sinuses, allowing germs to grow. Sinusitis most commonly occurs after you've had a cold or a flare up of allergy symptoms and often persists even after other upper respiratory symptoms are gone. 

Acute vs. Chronic

There are two types of sinusitis – acute and chronic. Knowing how they differ will help you get the care you need. 

Acute sinusitis typically lasts a short period of time, four weeks or less. An acute infection is usually part of a cold or other respiratory illness and medications are generally effective in stopping the infection. 

Chronic sinusitis may occur if your sinus infection lasts more than eight weeks or if you have more than four sinus infections each year.

Role of Sinuses

The sinuses are a connected system of hollow cavities in the skull that contain defenses against viruses and bacteria, including a mucous layer and cells that contain tiny hairs (cilia) on their surface that help trap and push out bacteria and pollutants.

Symptoms of Sinus Infections

A sinus infection may exhibit a range of these symptoms:

  • Stuffy or runny nose
  • Facial pain or pressure
  • Sore throat
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Loss of the sense of smell
  • Postnasal drip (mucus which drips down the throat from the nose)
  • Coughing
  • Fatigue
  • Weakness

If you have any of these symptoms after having a cold or a bout of seasonal allergies, visit your local MedExpress to have our caring medical team evaluate your condition.

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Diagnosing Sinus Infections

To diagnose a sinus infection, your MedExpress medical team will review your symptoms and will perform a physical exam. During the exam, among other things, a provider may use an otoscope, an instrument that helps doctors examine the ear and nose, to check for signs of swelling, congestion, and infection. 

Treating Sinus Infections

Treatment for a sinus infection depends upon your age and the severity of the infection. Some sinus infections get better without the use of antibiotics. 

Antibiotics

If our medical team finds that a bacterial infection is the culprit, antibiotics may be required to treat it. Our provider will prescribe antibiotics based on your age, the severity of your infection, and whether you have an allergy to penicillin. 

Managing Discomfort

While you wait for the infection to clear, there are a couple of things you can do for pain relief. You can use heat pads on the inflamed area, saline nasal sprays, and vaporizers or humidifiers to help alleviate discomfort. Decongestants, ibuprofen, or acetaminophen may also be helpful to lessen the pain. Before starting a new medication, consult your healthcare provider to determine if taking these medications are appropriate for you.

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