Can You Get Rid Of A Sinus Infection In 24 Hours? Understanding The Causes And Treating The Symptoms
If you’ve ever struggled to find relief from a sinus infection, you’re not alone. It’s a condition that afflicts over 30 million Americans a year. In the US alone, sinusitis accounts for roughly 70 million days of decreased activity each year. And everyone is looking for a quick fix so they can get on with their daily activities.[*]
Sinusitis (or a sinus infection) is the swelling or inflammation of the sinus lining. When the sinus cavities swell and the openings are blocked, they fill with fluid which can allow germs to grow and cause an infection. Chronic sinusitis occurs when this swelling, inflammation and blockage lasts longer than three months. Most of the tiny sinus openings (or ostia), are located deep in the middle nose, which makes targeted delivery of cleansing fluids and medications very important for effective treatment.
Treating a sinus infection can be a frustrating endeavor. There are several treatment options available, and it can be hard to choose the right one without all the information. It can also be an expensive one, with Americans spending more than a billion dollars on prescription medications, over-the-counter pharmaceuticals and remedies, and numerous other therapies and fixes each year.[*][*]
It seems to be even worse for those who already suffer from allergies, asthma, or other issues that can lead to blockages in the sinuses. And, to add insult to injury, people with compromised immune systems tend to get sinus infections more frequently.[*]
However, getting rid of a sinus infection in 24 hours is probably not going to happen. In fact, most sinus infections are caused by the common cold and will typically hang around for as long as the virus remains active.
Nevertheless, there are things you can do to relieve your symptoms and manage the sinus pain and headaches. Some options, such as using a nasal nebulizer, can provide almost instant relief and allow you to get on with your day.
How Long Does A Sinus Infection Last?
The duration of a sinus infection primarily depends on whether the cause is viral or bacterial, with viral infections usually showing improvement within 10 days and bacterial infections lasting longer. Sinusitis is typically separated into 3 categories based on how long the infection lasts.[*]
- Acute sinusitis typically lasts 10 days, although symptoms may continue up to 3 or 4 weeks. This type of sinus infection is commonly caused by a viral infection, but can also be the result of environmental and/or bacterial conditions.
- Subacute sinusitis is marked by symptoms that persist anywhere from 4 to 12 weeks, and commonly results from bacterial infections or seasonal allergies.[*]
- Chronic sinusitis (or chronic rhinosinusitis) lasts 12 weeks or longer. Before developing chronic sinusitis, you will likely have a number of acute sinusitis episodes.
What Causes A Sinus Infection?
Before you can begin finding relief from the symptoms of a sinus infection, it’s important to understand what’s causing it.
One of the most common causes of sinusitis is a virtual infection, such as the common cold or influenza. As a result, most people have experienced at least a mild sinus infection at some point.[*]
It’s not common for a viral infection to develop into a secondary bacterial infection but it does happen occasionally. And, in some cases, fungal infections may be the source of the sinusitis symptoms.
People who suffer from allergies (especially hay fever), nasal polyps, a deviated septum, or dental infections are also more likely to experience a sinus infection. In many cases, these sufferers will develop chronic sinusitis, requiring treatment management strategies.[*]
What Are The Symptoms Of A Sinus Infection?
If you’ve ever suffered from a sinus infection (and you probably have…), you know that the symptoms, such as the constant dripping from your nose or the sore irritated throat, are just shy of unbearable. Here’s a list of symptoms you might experience if you’re suffering from sinusitis:
- Sinusitis (or a sinus infection) is typically accompanied by a stuffy, congested nose.
- People typically report difficulty breathing through their nose, often with discolored discharges and/or a runny nose.
- Many people complain of post-nasal drip, which is the term for the mucus running down the back of your throat. This can lead to irritation because of the constant swallowing, coughing and clearing-of-the-throat.
- In some cases, people may experience anosmia (a reduced or complete lack of smell and/or taste) due to the smell receptors being blocked and irritated. It typically resolves itself after the symptoms have cleared, although there are treatments to help speed up the recovery process.
- People also report a feeling of swelling, tenderness, and pain around the eyes and in the forehead.
How Do You Get Rid Of A Sinus Infection?
Sinusitis symptoms are notoriously unbearable. Finding relief from the congestion, sinus pain, and sore runny nose can be difficult and uncomfortable.
In many cases, people turn to natural remedies and/or over-the-counter treatments to help relieve their physical discomforts, such as headaches, congestion, and mucus build-up.
In more serious cases, it’s good to consult a physician to discuss prescription options, such as corticosteroids, antibiotics, or antifungal medicines. These medications are often delivered intranasally (in the nose), with the use of a nasal nebulizer device.
Nasal washing or irrigation with saline (a natural nasal-safe decongestant) or a common over the counter nasal safe medicine can help reduce the excess mucus build-up and relieve other symptoms of post nasal drip, such as hacking and coughing.
Using compounding pharmacies to compound a sinus medication specifically for your needs, incorporating soothing ingredients to eliminate dry nose, can be very effective, especially when delivered appropriately to the infected and irritated areas.
Regardless of your treatment choice, delivery to the location of the irritation or infection matters. Using a quality nasal nebulizer helps put the medicine and solutions directly where the viruses and blockages are — deep in the nasal cavity and nasopharynx.
What Happens If You Let A Sinus Infection Go Untreated?
A sinus infection that is left untreated can not only make life miserable it may develop into chronic sinusitis. If an infection isn’t cared for properly, it could also result in some potentially serious complications. These types of issues are rare but they can occur:[*]
If left untreated, sinus infections could potentially spread to the eyes, causing redness, irritation, and/or swelling. In severe cases, sufferers may experience reduced, blurry, or a complete loss of vision.