Do you or your child have a cold that's lasted for more than a week? Now the runny nose and cough are accompanied by facial pain and tenderness? It might be What’s Going Around – sinusitis, a bacterial infection of the sinuses.
Sinusitis occurs when one or more of the nasal passages are unable to drain due to inflammation. The increased mucus and blockage then gets infected. Centra Care physicians say there are two factors that could be to blame for the rise in sinusitis cases: upper respiratory infections and allergies from ragweed and other grasses. Schools have the ideal environment to spread upper respiratory infections, so be aware as your children head back to school in the coming weeks. Both increase as we head into Fall and heighten the chances of developing a bacterial infection like sinusitis.
Many symptoms of sinusitis mimic the common cold, but a cold typically runs its course in about a week. Sinusitis, on the other hand, can last weeks or months if left untreated.
- Pressure or pain in the head and pain or tenderness of the face (this pain may intensify when you lean over)
- Nasal congestion
- Sore throat
- Nasal discharge
- Postnasal drip
Sinusitis itself is rarely contagious, but the cold symptoms that precede it can be easily spread from person to person. If your sinusitis is bacterial in nature, your doctor will likely prescribe an antibiotic to shorten its duration. Symptoms may also be treated with over-the-counter medications to alleviate pain, fever and congestion. A humidifier or nasal saline mist and drinking plenty of fluids can help to thin the mucus.
The following can help to prevent sinusitis:
- Wash/sanitize your hands often
- Avoid people who have colds or other upper respiratory infections
- Use a humidifier to increase moisture
- Avoid pollutants such as smoke
- Get a flu vaccination
- Treat the symptoms of an upper respiratory infection quickly, so they don’t get worse