We always try to figure out if you have a cold or a sinus infection by having any cold symptoms. Can you stay with others normally, or should you stay away for some time? The common concern is how long are you contagious with a cold. But did you ever think, “Is it a cold or sinus infection, or am I contagious?” if not, then you should. Also, you should know When to See a Doctor for a Sinus Infection? Without worrying too much if you learn properly which one is contagious, you can take care of things better.
What Are Sinuses?
Sinuses are hollow cavities between the nose and the skull. All of them are drained into the nose and lined with mucosa, a soft tissue that keeps the cavities moist. There are four types of sinus cavities in the human body.
- Maxillary sinuses: The largest among the sinuses. The chic bones hold them.
- Frontal sinuses: These are situated at the lower center of the forehead.
- Ethmoid sinuses: These cavities are located in between the eyes.
- Sphenoid sinuses: Sphenoid sinuses are located in the bones behind the nose.
As the sinus cavities are hollow chambers, they help the skull to be lighter. And they help to produce a better voice too. But the main function of the sinuses is different. These have a thin layer of mucus in them that is drained in the nose. That mucus keeps the nostrils moist. That’s why the foreign particles that come with the inhaled air get stuck there.
Is it a Cold or Sinus Infection, or am I Contagious?
It is confusing to determine whether it is a cold or sinus infection at an initial stage. But the cold gets well quicker than most sinusitis. Although the acute sinus infection also gets well in a few days. Like cold, if a virus causes a sinus infection, then it can be contagious too. But there is a difference between a cold and a sinus infection based on spreading the disease.
If you have cold or viral sinusitis, you can spread the virus. And the virus is responsible for either cold or sinus infection in others. That means even if you have a sinus infection, the person you have passed on the virus may only get a cold but not a sinus infection.
So it is clear that the sinus infection is not contagious, but it’s you that spread the virus, which makes you the contagious one.
When to See a Doctor for a Sinus Infection?
Before knowing how to get rid of a sinus infection, you should know when you should consult the doctor. In the case of acute sinusitis, it gets better on its own in a few days. That’s why you don’t necessarily have to go for a doctor at the initial stages. In that time, you can treat the infection as a common cold. You can apply some home remedies to relieve the symptoms too. Saltwater irrigation and inhaling vapor can help to release the mucus and ease the pain.
If the infection doesn’t go away in 2 weeks or the symptoms don’t reduce by the remedies, you should call the doctor. There are some cases where you may have to consult a doctor even before 10 days. Those factors are-
- Severe headache with pressure in forehead
- Swelling around eyes and forehead
- Over 102°F fever
- Extreme fatigue
Doctors usually suggest checking yourself before prescribing antibiotics for sinus infection at home for 10-14 days. But With these severe symptoms, you shouldn’t wait for long to get to the doctor. The doctor will go through some necessary diagnoses to determine the reason behind the infection and the type of infection. That includes-
- Endoscopy: To check the sinuses’ situation, the doctor will insert a flexible tube with a light through the nostril. It will allow him to check if there is a secondary infection or not.
- Laboratory sample test: Sometimes, the doctor may need to take some tissue samples from the nose. To determine the bacterial infections and other complications, that sample will be tested in the lab.
- Allergy testing: If there are no traces of virus or bacteria in the sinuses, the doctor will check for allergic reactions. It’s a simple skin test to determine the allergen that is causing the sinus infection.
- CT scan: To find the sinuses’ complete structure, they can go through an imaging study. If any structural problem is causing the infection, this will determine that.
You can not tell by just looking at someone coughing or sneezing that he has a cold or sinus infection. You can’t even know the reason behind the infection. That’s why you should always keep safety measures around people with the symptoms. Here you got the answer for doubt of “Is it a cold or sinus infection or is a sinus infection contagious?” and “When to See a Doctor for a Sinus Infection?”. so use that knowledge If you have the symptoms yourself and keep the children away from you. Children and older people are vulnerable to these symptoms.