Are Sinus Infections Contagious? Must-Know Facts!

Are Sinus Infections Contagious?

Whenever your colleagues / closest friends get a sinus infection (sinusitis)your first instinct is to save yourself. You look to stay clear of their way to prevent person-to-person infection and avoid symptoms like coughing, wheezing, sneezing, headache, etc.

It is no secret that a Sinus infection can cause lots of difficulty in breathing. With repeated coughing and lots of discharge, it can disrupt your sleep, overall health, and living comfort. Plus, it can even restrict you from performing your daily activities.

With that, the all-important question circles in your head- Are sinus infections contagious? Popular otolaryngologists answer NO!

What ENT’s / otolaryngologist says?

Experiencing discomfort, unable to retain and sustain focus when performing regular tasks, interrupted sleep routine, and headaches! Each of these reveals the dire consequences of chronic sinus infection.

Sinus infections happen when the nasal passage and sinus gets blocked. And the illness that one develops over time will depend on what causes the sinus irritation.

However, not all sinus infections are contagious. Different causes lead to different results. And that makes it very daunting to understand just by looking at somebody’s face.”

Digging Deeper On Sinus Infections & Its Potential Spread

When figuring out are sinus infections contagious, one must understand some things. The majority of such infections causing pressure in the sinuses are due to tiny genetic viruses existing in-between the grey area. These viruses are smaller than bacteria and can transmit infectious diseases from one individual to another.

That being said, a person who comes in contact with the sinus virus may not develop the same symptoms. They may feel slightly sick. But in most cases, these viruses may only cause conditions of flu, allergy, common cold(s) – a.k.a; nothing too serious!

Other than a viral sinus infection, at times, your nasal passages get jammed with bacteria and mucus. If left untreated, this bacterial sinusitis will only grow and spread and inevitably cause you more discomfort. 

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Some common symptoms of sinus infection include – 

  • Facial pain, 
  • Increased nasal discharge
  • 102° fever, more headaches

And so on!

To know whether your infection is viral or bacterial, see if the infection persists for 12-14 days. If it does, then be clear that you have an acute bacterial sinus infection. However, the good news is that bacterial sinus infection is not transferrable from one person to another.

So, in answering the crucial question- ‘are sinus infections contagious’- the answer is no!

What Happens When Your Sinusitis Condition Continues For 12 Weeks?

If you notice that your sinus condition doesn’t improve for 12-weeks (or so), then you may have chronic sinusitis. In such a situation, it is best to schedule an appointment with a trusted ENT. Also, remember to keep your distance from people to avoid transmitting them your disease.

Generally speaking, chronic sinus infection results due to the following –

  • Growing tissues inside your nostril; commonly known as polyps
  • Deviated septum; which is mainly the warped wall occurring in-between the nostrils
  • Immunity system disorders
  • Exposure to airborne irritations
  • Congenital diseases like Cystic Fibrosis
  • Asthma and other forms of reactive diseases
  • Allergic reactions and others like unhygienic air, dry air, cigarette smoke and so on

Some ENT/otolaryngologists also suggest performing a sinus flush using a nasal irrigator. It frees up all that existing nasal inflammation resulting due to sinus contagion.

However, an important note for those who’ve recently undergone a sinusitis surgery; avoid cold water for their sinus flush! Instead, use sterile water. Also, follow every instruction properly to ensure the flush is safe.

How to Stay Protected From Sinusitis?

As sinusitis is mainly viral or bacterial, it spreads as flu or the common cold. This could happen by inhaling it or spreading it by your contaminated cough, or by shaking hands with someone sick.

Viruses and bacteria tend to stick on to most surfaces for a while. So, be aware that you can also get infected by the doorknob (or other joint surfaces) touched by someone infected.

Check the 9 Best Ways to Boost the Immune System Naturally

Here Are Some Tips to Stay Safe from Sinusitis Contamination –

  • Always wash your hands diligently using a quality soap/liquid wash and water.
  • Keep a quality hand –sanitizer and use it to disinfect your hands every time you touch something potentially contaminated.
  • Keep a safe distance from those who have chronic sinus infection or showing signs of flu or the common cold.
  • Avoid touching your face, nose, eyes, and ears, especially if you have reached something or came in contact with someone. Always remember to wash it properly for 20-25 seconds and then do whatever you want.
  • Always wash your hands before and after every meal. Ensure you consume 8-9 ounces of water every day. Also, get lots of rest.
  • If you’re coughing or sneezing, then always cover your face using a handkerchief or your elbows. Wash hands immediately after sneezing to ensure no spread of further contamination happens.

Best Diagnosis of Chronic Sinus – 

Keeping yourself clean and sanitized at all times is important. Yet, if you experience increased facial pain, nasal blocking, and more headaches, see a reputed ENT/otolaryngologist.

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Your ENT doctor will take a sample of your nostril mucus to analyze the primary cause of your issue. And depending on the type of bacteria, s/he will prescribe you with the appropriate antibiotic.

You could use those popular over-the-counter decongestants and sprays top treat your condition. Yet, most ENT doctors recommend not doing so, unless your health condition has reached a particular stage.

Showing Signs of Sinusitis Doesn’t Always Mean You Have a Sinus Infection

A good majority of people with acute sinusitis often get better over time without needing any specific medical treatment.

However, in some cases, a secondary stage of sinus bacteria will formulate. Even those common symptoms will increase in frequency and cause more discomfort.

Ideally, you should see a doctor if your sinus infection hasn’t gotten better over ten days and you show these signs –

  • You suffer from neck-ache.
  • Are often confused
  • Suffer from double visions
  • Have 102 ° fever for seven days
  • Experiences redness or swelling around the eyes
  • Abrupt pains in the facial and head region

Summary –

In response to the question – Are sinus infections contagious, the post lucidly concludes by saying No! Symptoms will appear differently for every individual. And many may not even suffer from any severe complications. Still, it would be to wise to get a professional opinion on your health if you suspect a sinus infection.

Talk to your doctor regarding each of these symptoms and get the appropriate medical advice for your next course of action. They will most certainly be happy to help! You can also try some home remedies like using essential oils to get relief. 

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