Lingering Cold? Might Be a Sinus Infection…

If you’ve ever had sinusitis, then you’re no stranger to misery.

Sinus infections, which often develop after a cold or an allergy flare-up, result from your sinuses (hollow spaces within the bones surrounding the nose) becoming inflamed.

When sinuses are inflamed, they swell. This swelling blocks the drainage of mucus, causing symptoms such as:

  • Runny nose or cold symptoms that last longer than 7 to 10 days, with mucus that can be green, yellow or clear
  • Complaints of drainage in the throat from the nose
  • Headaches
  • Facial pain
  • Bad breath
  • Cough
  • Fever
  • Sore throat
  • Swelling around the eyes

Virtual Diagnosis

Sinus infections are one of the top diagnoses by providers through OSF OnCall, a virtual urgent care service. Doctors can diagnose a patient virtually by asking about symptoms and how long a patient has had them.

The doctor may check for sinus tenderness by having a patient tap at certain points above and below his or her eyes, or guide a patient along their jaw line to check for tender or painful lymph nodes.

Home Remedies

If you’ve had symptoms for more than 10 days without improvement, your doctor may prescribe an antibiotic. Most of the time, however, you can manage symptoms on your own.

Home remedies to relieve pressure and congestion include:

  • Using a Neti PotUse of saline sprays.
  • Use of a neti pot (make sure the pot is clean, and use sterilized water).
  • Drinking plenty of fluids to keep mucus thin, and avoiding alcohol.
  • Applying a hot, damp towel to your face for 5 to 10 minutes several times a day.
  • Using a humidifier in your home to increase moisture in the air.
  • Gargling with saltwater.
  • Blowing your nose gently, to avoid forcing mucus back into the sinuses.