Sinus Infection (Sinusitis) – It’s Causes, Symptoms, Medication & Diet

Sinus Infection Contagious
Sinus Infection Contagious

What are Sinuses (Sinusitis)?

Sinuses are the hollow spaces in the skull performing functions like humidify and filter air when we breathe in. The largest sinus present is about an inch long and the others are smaller. Humans have 4 kinds of sinuses present. The first one is frontal sinus present in the forehead, the second one is maxillary sinus present behind the cheeks, third one is present between the eyes called ethmoid sinus and the forth one is called sphenoid sinus located at sphenoid region behind the ethmoid bone.

These sinuses are open to the nasal cavity through a bone (ostium), also known as “paranasal sinuses” as one unit.

These are some mucus secreting cells, epithelial cells and immune building cells in the inner lining of each sinus to provide vital protection against viral and bacterial attacks. Like other organs and bones and every part of body, Sinuses are also equally important and plays vital role in the body.

Functions of Sinuses:

  • Insulate the structures (eyes, nose, and nerves)
  • Provide warm air
  • Humidifier of air
  • Increase resonance of voice

Inflammation of sinus cavity is termed as sinusitis. It is majorly caused by viral or bacterial infections but can also cause by allergy or chemical irritation of Sinuses. It occurs when a viral, bacterial or fungal agent grows within the sinus.

Inflammation of these sinuses is classified due to their origin. Pansinusitis is referred as the inflammation of one or more sinuses. This term is usually used for more than one sinus inflammation due to any viral or bacterial attack. Rhino sinusitis is termed because of the inflammatory disease or nasal cavity or the sinuses.

Many people confuse Sinusitis with cold as colds are only caused by viruses and last only for seven to ten days whereas sinusitis may have different causes either infectious or non-infectious and usually lasts longer than cold.

Sinus Infection
Sinus Infection


Talking about the etiology or the origin of this inflammatory disease, it is caused by several bacteria’s, viruses or fungal/allergies. These can be spread through unhygienic environment or by some other diseased person or long term ignorance to disease. People suffering from sinusitis can be infected by:

Viral Infections: about 90% of sinusitis is due to viral agents and are contagious, most commonly rhinovirus or corona virus are the cause of these inflammations.

Bacterial Infection: bacterial infections are although not very common and non contagious. Most common bacteria’s causing sinusitis is streptococcus pneumonia, H. Influenza and others.

Pollutants:  these can spread inflammation of sinuses by long term contact with unhygiene environment.

Fungi are rare to spread inflammation but these can also be a cause.

Types of Sinusitis:

1- Acute sinus infection (lasts for usually 3-5 days)

This type of sinusitis is temporary and remains for a very short time and can ne treated through proper medication and diet. Inflammation gradually decreases and there are only chances to catch disease when ignored.

2- Sub acute sinus infection (more than 1 week to 3 months)

A bit longer period when a person suffers from a pain in jaws and nasal cavity and then this pain travel towards the frontal lobe. Excess mucus secretion can be a result and poor hygiene can lead to chronic one.

3- Chronic sinus infection (stays more than 3 months and worsens with or without nasal polyps or allegic fungal sinusitis.)

Infection grows and often causes shortness of breath by blocking the nostrils with mucus. Inflammation often gets worse when not treated on time.

4- Recurrent sinusitis (having Sinustis attacks)

This type is quite unexpected for a normal person having sinusitis attacks very often and seems like it’s treated but remains the same every time.

Symptoms of Sinus Infection:

  • Sinus headache
  • Facial tenderness
  • Fever
  • Discharge of cloudy mucus
  • Pressure and pain in sinuses, ears and teeth
  • Jaw muscle contraction
  • Sore throat
  • Continuous irritating throat with cough

Diagnose of Sinus Infection:

Mostly diagnose by taking patient’s history and physical examination. Plain X-rays are often misleading to diagnose sinusitis and procedures like CT or MRI are expensive enough so only the physical examination is economic to diagnose with the findings included:

  • Redness and swelling or nasal track
  • Pus-like drainage (purulent)
  • Pain travelling from mandible towards nasal and then forehead
  • Swelling and pain in eyes
  • Tenderness of cheeks

An ENT (Eye, Ears, Nose and Throat) specialist or any infectious disease specialist doctor is authorized to diagnose such diseases. Any other general physician can also diagnose such disease but better to go see a specialist for proper treatment.

Medication of Sinus Infection:

Viral Sinusitis:

Antibiotics do not work with viral infections so for this decongestants and acetaminophen (Tylenol) are the prescriptions. Best way to cure viral infection is to maintain symptoms as per the prescription of general physician.

Bacterial Sinusitis:

For bacterial treatment antibiotics are commonly used. These antibiotics include amoxicillin (amoxil) for a basic sinusitis or an acute sinusitis, amoxicillin-clavulanate (augmentin) is also prescribed by several physicians as first-line antibiotic which can fight against bacterial infections.

Drug interaction with food:

Amoxicillin do not show any interaction with any food but augmentin should be taken before meal to make sodium absorb efficiently if taken in food as well as it also minimize the potential for GI intolerance. If talking about acetaminophen so, it’s better to take on empty stomach with full glass of water to avoid upset stomach.

Dietary management of Sinusitis:

A balanced diet can help you to maintain not only a healthy body but also give you strength to fight against foreign bacterial and viral attacks. It will help you to maintain good metabolism as well ass boost your immunity to treat several diseases including cold, flu and sinus infection etc.

A well balanced diet for Sinus Infection includes some complex carbohydrates and some lean proteins with omega 3 fatty acids. A rich amount of vitamin and mineral is required obtained from fruits and vegetables.

What to eat?What to avoid?
Drink warm water Take herbal tea Warm milk with turmeric Fruits and vegetables Chicken broth Ginger/ garlic Chia seeds honey cinnamon powder  Cold drinks Starchy fruits and vegetables (banana, potato etc) Yogurt Avoid eating rice at nighly Chocolate Peppermint Citrus fruits Junk foods

Dietary Guidelines:

  • Take short frequent meals.
  • Avoid cold water and ice creams/ desserts.
  • Avoid simple carbohydrates
  • Add lean protein in your diet and broths.
  • Eat mix fruit and vegetable salad.
  • Take herbal tea 2 times a day.



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