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Types of Sinus Infections: Fungal, Bacterial, & Viral

There are several different types of sinus infections, fungal infections, bacterial infections, and viral infections. Each of these types of illnesses causes similar symptoms, so it can be difficult to determine which condition you are suffering from. In these situations, it’s important to seek guidance from an ear, nose, and throat expert, who can evaluate your specific symptoms, determine if you’re suffering from a sinus infection or cold, and prescribe you the best treatment for your illness.

Fungal Sinus Infections/Fungal Rhinosinusitis

While the majority of sinus infections are caused by a viral or bacterial infection, they can also occur due to fungal infections. In rare cases, these types of infections can be severe and could spread to other areas of the body. However, in most cases the infection remains in the sinuses and is treatable by an ear, nose, and throat doctor.

Fungal Sinus Infection Symptoms

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Facial pain
  • Inflammation of sinuses
  • Runny nose/drainage
  • Coughing
  • Trouble seeing
  • Congestion
  • Nasal and head pressure

Fungal Sinus Infection Treatments

  • Sinus surgery
  • Corticosteroids
  • Saline irrigation systems
  • Immunotherapy/allergy shots

Bacterial Sinus Infections

The vast majority of acute sinusitis infections are caused by a bacterial or viral infection. In these cases, antibacterial medications are usually necessary to clear the infection. The condition usually lasts more than 10 days but less than a few weeks and should be treated by a sinus specialist.

Bacterial Sinus Infection Symptoms

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Tooth pain
  • Congestion
  • Coughing
  • Green nasal discharge
  • Postnasal drip
  • Facial tenderness

Bacterial Sinus Infection Treatments

  • Antibiotics
  • Nasal congestion spray
  • Sinus surgery
  • Nasal saline washes
  • Corticosteroids
  • Antihistamines

Viral Sinus Infections

Viral sinusitis is relatively common and is sometimes confused with bacterial sinusitis. However, viral sinusitis cannot be treated using antibacterial medications. Instead, the condition usually heals on its own with rest and proper at-home care. One of the main ways to tell that you are suffering from a viral infection and not a bacterial infection is by looking at the duration of your condition. If you experience sinusitis symptoms that last longer than 10 days, it’s more likely that you have a bacterial infection.

Viral Sinus Infection Symptoms

  • Fever
  • Running nose/discharge
  • Congestion
  • Coughing
  • Facial pain and pressure
  • Swelling inside the nose
  • Trouble sleeping

Viral Sinus Infection Treatments

Unfortunately, most viral infections must clear up on their own and will not respond to antibiotic medications. Some of the at-home care that you can use to alleviate your symptoms include:

  • Rest
  • Increased fluid intake
  • Fever reducers
  • Nasal decongestant
  • Saline rinses

If you are suffering from a sinus infection, the first step towards feeling better is to schedule an evaluation with an experienced ear, nose and throat doctor. Board certified physicians with New York ENT have extensive experience diagnosing and treating a wide variety ofnasal conditions conditions. Fill out the form on this page or call our office at (212) 873-6168 to schedule an appointment today.

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