Sinus infections are one of the most common and unpleasant illnesses that afflict people every year. According to U.S. News and World Report, approximately 37 million people battle these infections each year, with many suffering from repeated bouts.
While medical care is not always required to alleviate the illness, (your immune system will often defeat minor sinus infections on its own within a week or so), prompt care is important for curing serious or repeated infections. Do your best to recognize the common signs of a sinus infection and visit your doctor or healthcare provider as soon as possible to give yourself the best chance at a rapid recovery. Your doctor will verify that the illness is indeed a sinus infection and prescribe the appropriate treatment to cure it.
- Congestion – Nasal congestion is one of the most common symptoms associated with sinus infections, and it is often one of the first symptoms to manifest.
- Headaches – Inflamed and irritated sinus passages can cause headaches and a sensation of pressure in the head and face. Often, the pain is located near the eyebrows, around the bridge of the nose, or over the cheek bones—roughly corresponding with the locations of the various sinuses.
- Tooth Pain – Because the sinuses sit in close proximity to the nerves originating in the upper molars, inflammation or swelling in the sinuses can compress these nerves and cause moderate to severe tooth pain.
- Mild Fever – Low-grade fevers are commonly associated with sinus infections, as your body's immune system tries to fight off the bacteria or viruses causing the infection.
- Fatigue – Moderate to severe fatigue is one of the most common symptoms accompanying sinus infections. In fact, researchers working at Vanderbilt University suggest that fatigue is more likely to be associated with sinus infections than most other "classic" sinus infection symptoms.
- Sore Throat – Sinus infections often lead to sore throats in two different ways. Because of the congestion that typically occurs during a sinus infection, many people breathe through their mouths while sleeping. This can dry out the throat and lead to soreness. Secondarily, the sinuses may drain down the back of the throat, which can irritate the throat lining.
- Nausea – If your sinuses drain down the back of your throat—a condition called post-nasal drip—you can become nauseous from the mucus entering your stomach. This is exacerbated by the fact that most people with sinus infections are not inclined to eat very much.