What Causes Sinus Infections?

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  • Written By: Harriette Halepis
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 09 March 2020
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Sinus infections are caused by an inflammation of the nasal passages. These inflammations usually occur as a result of upper respiratory infections, though allergens and pollutants can also cause sinus infections. Sinusitis, another name for a sinus infection, can be extremely painful, though most cases do not last longer than one week.

People who are currently suffering from leukemia, HIV, or diabetes may be particularly susceptible to sinusitis. Since these diseases weaken the immune system, preventing an infection from occurring within the nasal passages can be difficult. Anyone battling a disease of this type should speak with a medical doctor prior to using any kind of sinus medication.

There are four different sinuses within the human body. These include sphenoid sinuses, frontal sinuses, ethmoid sinuses, and maxillary sinuses. All of these sinus passages run from the nostrils to the nasal passage area. When any one of these passages becomes inflamed, this inflammation causes the sinuses to become blocked. It is also speculated that fungi may lead to sinus infections, and people who contract fungi-related infections may have regular bouts of sinusitis.


Symptoms of sinusitis include a severe headache, loud cough, a large amount of nasal secretion, and bad breath. Acute sinus infections tend to dissipate after about eight days, while chronic infections can last longer. People who experience sinus infections on a regular basis should visit with a medical doctor. In most instances, sinusitis can be treated simply. Left untreated, it can turn into a more severe condition.

Anyone experiencing the symptoms listed above should visit with a medical doctor as soon as possible. If sinus infection symptoms appear along with common cold symptoms, this type of infection is likely related to the common cold virus. In this instance, it is best to treat a cold-related infection in the same manner that a cold is treated. Once a cold disappears, any related sinus infection should disappear as well.

In order to diagnose sinusitis, a patient must be subjected to a thorough medical examination. Based upon the patient's symptoms and medical history, a medical doctor should be able to diagnose and treat an infection efficiently. It is possible to treat a sinus infection at home by drinking plenty of hot fluids, breathing hot air or steam, and using over-the-counter treatments. If an infection persists following two days of home treatment, medical attention is necessary. Children who appear to have blocked nasal passages should be brought to a doctor immediately.



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