When a Sinus Infection May Be Dangerous

06/15/2016

sinus infectionA sinus infection (or sinusitis) occurs when the tissue lining in your sinus cavity becomes swollen or inflamed. When your sinuses are blocked, they become a breeding ground for bacteria and viruses that can lead to an infection. That’s why it’s best to visit your doctor at the first signs of a sinus infection. Otherwise, it could lead to a chronic condition. Here’s how to know if your sinus infection has developed into something more dangerous:

Swelling
If you experience swelling around your eyes, this can be a red flag for severe sinusitis. You may just be having an allergic reaction, or it could be something more concerning like an infection in your eye. Ask your doctor about using over-the-counter anti-inflammatories to ease the swelling.

Pain
When there is excessive pain in your eyes, ears, head or throat, you likely have a severe sinus infection. And if you can’t open your eyes or you feel dizzy, these are major warning signs that your sinusitis is at a dangerous level. If not properly treated, you may incur infections in your ears, throat and even your brain (called meningitis.)

Fever
Your body’s natural way of eliminating infection is typically accompanied by a low-grade fever. But if your pain and other symptoms are compounded by a fever greater than 101 degrees, see your doctor. It may mean the infection has spread.

Feeling Disoriented
If you find yourself confused about a task you’re performing or if you forget basic information, it may be a sign that the infection has affected your brain. Seek medical attention at once.

A Persistent Infection
Most sinus infections last from a couple of days to a few weeks and are not a serious medical concern, but if left untreated, sinusitis can lead to further complications. These include nasal polyps, a deviated septum and serious allergies. If your infection doesn’t go away after four weeks, it’s time to call your doctor.

For more information about identifying and treating a sinus infection, or to learn more about the other services we provide, please call our office at 732-280-7855 or visit our website.