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Sinus infection, also known as sinusitis, is caused due to virus or bacteria. Streptococcus pneumoniae (pneumococcus) causes bacterial sinus infection in human beings. This condition usually occurs when the inflammation in sinuses do not heal for a long time. It is usually caused because of a weakened immune system. Similarly, persistent nasal congestion can also result in sinus infection. Sinusitis is classified into 4 types, viz., acute, sub acute, chronic and recurrent.

Symptoms
As mentioned above, symptoms of sinus infection caused due to virus or bacteria are quite similar to those of common cold. However, when the symptoms of common cold stay untreated for a long time, there are higher chances of contracting sinus infection.
  • Nasal congestion with discharge
  • Fever
  • Constant cough
  • Severe headache
  • Pain in facial muscles
  • Sore throat
  • Sneezing
  • Pain in teeth
  • Tenderness in cheekbones
  • Bad breath
  • Redness of eyes
If sinusitis is not identified and treated at proper time, it can result in severe complications. In adults, untreated sinus infection can cause meningitis, if the infection reaches the brain. Similarly, other complications include osteomyelitis and asthma; and Eustachian tube dysfunction in children. Therefore, it is essential to diagnose and treat sinus infection as early as possible.

Is Bacterial Sinus Infection Contagious
The answer to this question is NO, the infection is not contagious. As we know that sinus infection occurs when the inflamed sinuses do not heal quickly. Unlike viruses, bacteria cannot be transmitted from one person to the other. Therefore, sinus infection caused due to other reasons like bacteria or fungi is not contagious. But, it should be known that common cold that succeeds sinus infection is highly contagious.

Treatment
Although common cold may seem a minor health concern, it should not be ignored or left untreated. It is essential to consult the doctor if any of the aforementioned or other symptoms are observed. The doctor (an ENT specialist) will undertake physical examination and tests like ultrasound can help in diagnosing this condition. Antibiotics are used to cure sinus infection caused due to bacteria. Secondly, decongestants are used to clear nasal congestion; whereas pain killers like paracetamol can relieve pain and headache. Apart from these, sometimes, other treatment methods like sinus surgery may be required to remove nasal polyps and improve the air flow.

Along with these treatment methods, applying a hot compress to the face is an effective home remedy. Steam and clearing the nose with medicated solution can also help in clearing nasal congestion. At the same time, the near and dear ones should remember not to share personal items like handkerchief, utensils, toothbrush, etc. of the person suffering from sinus infection. Secondly, if suffering from any allergy, it is essential to identify the allergen and stay away from it. Similarly, children and older people, should stay away from people suffering from viral infections like cold. This can help in prevention of sinus infection to a great extent.

All in all, any symptom of infection like fever, nasal congestion, body ache, etc. should be treated immediately. It is recommended to have a balanced and nutritious diet to strengthen the immunity which will be helpful in preventing several infectious diseases. Lastly, note that this write-up is not to be substituted for proper medical consultation. Take care!