When to See a Doctor for a Sinus Infection

'Tis the season for holiday parties, having fun in the snow, and getting sinus infections. While getting sick may not be in your plans for winter, it's probable that you'll come down with at least a cold. But unlike colds, sinus infections can be quite persistent and can cause significant pain and discomfort. So in case you get a sinus infection this winter, let's look at a few important facts you should know.

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Sinus infections are generally caused by a virus but can sometimes be caused by bacteria. When the sinuses become infected, they get swollen and inflamed and typically cause pain. If you have a cold or the flu and all of your other symptoms lessen while congestion and sinus discomfort remain, you may want to visit an urgent care clinic to see if you have a sinus infection.


Fortunately, most sinus infections are acute sinusitis -- which lasts less than four weeks. Some common symptoms of acute sinusitis include:


  • Congestion

  • Nasal discharge

  • Cough

  • Sinus tenderness or pain

  • Fever

  • Headache

  • Ear and jaw pain


Unfortunately, not all sinus infections are easily treated. If the sinus infection is caused by bacteria, urgent care clinic doctors can prescribe antibiotics to help clear up the infection. But if the sinus infection is caused by a virus or even something like allergies, patients may have to try a variety of decongestants to see what works.


Typically, patients should wait about seven to 10 days before going to a doctor. Most cold symptoms clear up after a week or two -- so if the congestion and other symptoms persist, then patients should seek medical attention. To help clear up a sinus infection as quickly as possible, patients should get plenty of sleep, drink fluids, and take decongestants.


With 2,000 physicians currently practicing urgent care medicine, patients should have no trouble finding medical help for sinus infections. While rare, sinus infections can escalate to more serious conditions, like eye infections or a dangerously high fever. Because of this, patients should always seek medical attention for sinus infection symptoms.


Hopefully, this article provided helpful information regarding sinus infections. If you have a cold or flu that comes with persistent nasal congestion, talk to a doctor about your symptoms sooner rather than later.