CALL NOW TO SCHEDULE AN APPOINTMENT 323-438-0868
Cathedral Medical Urgent Care understands that health concerns can arise at a moment’s notice. Especially on nights and weekends, making an appointment to see a primary care physician may be difficult and an emergency room visit may not be necessary. That is why we provide flexible hours for patients while providing the same quality of care at an affordable price.
What Is A Respiratory Infection?
Respiratory tract infections (RTIs) include any infection of the sinuses, throat, airways, or lungs. Colds are the most common viral respiratory infection. Most RTIs are distinguished by the area they affect, with upper respiratory tract infections mainly impacting the area from the neck up, and lower respiratory tract infections impacting the chest area.
What Is An Upper Respiratory Infection?
- Health Physicals
- Eye infections
- Vomiting and Diarrhea
- Urinary Infections
- Insect Bites
- High Blood Pressure
- High Blood Sugar
- Seasonal Allergy
- Allergic Skin Reaction
- Dental Pain
- Acid Reflux/Heart Bur
- Occupation Medicine
- Minor Burns
- Minor cuts
- Minor fractures
- Sprain and Strain
- Skin Rash and infection
- Respiratory infections
- Ear, Nose and throat Pain
Sinusitis is characterized by inflammation of the sinuses surrounding the nasal passages. Sinuses are the cavities, which secrete mucus required for effective working of the nasal passages. According to a CDC’s (Centers for Disease Control) study conducted in the year 2015 it was found that about 12% of all American adults suffered from sinusitis in 2014. Sinusitis is relatively common, but thankfully, it is not severe. Recovery is usually in a week or so even without medical intervention; however, chronic sinusitis can last for greater than 10 weeks.
When a paranasal sinus gets infected by viruses, bacteria, and or in rare cases by fungi, it gets inflamed. Allergies too may cause inflammation of the sinuses. This inflammation of the sinuses is referred to as sinusitis.
Sinuses are air-filled cavities within bones. Those that are found in the bones of the face and which lead to nasal cavity are called paranasal sinuses. Sinusitis is, therefore, a paranasal sinus infection or any other condition in which the paranasal sinuses get inflamed.
The sinuses have a mucous membrane lining them. When this membrane is inflamed, it produces copious amounts of mucus. Mucus accumulation within the paranasal sinus spaces is, therefore, the hallmark of sinusitis.
The term rhinosinusitis is often used in reference to sinusitis because more often than not, sinus inflammation happens alongside nasal inflammation.
Sinusitis Infection Symptoms
Symptoms of sinus infection vary and depend on the severity and length of infection.
A diagnosis of acute sinusitis is made if an individual experiences nasal discharge that’s thick and yellow or green along with the presence of any two or greater than two of the following sinus infection symptoms.
- Pain and/or feeling of sinus pressure in the face
- Blocked nose
- Anosmia (reduced or no sense of smell)
- Nasal discharge
- Nasal congestion
- Nasal irritation
The symptoms of sinus infection in advances cases are:
- Sinus headache
- Halitosis (foul odor from breath)
Chronic sinusitis is diagnosed when the above symptoms persist for 12 or more weeks.
Causes of Sinusitis
Sinusitis may occur due to multiple factors; however, it always happens due to mucus and fluid accumulation in the sinus space. This results in growth of disease causing microorganisms.
- Viral infections may contribute close to 90% of all cases of sinusitis in adults.
- Bacterial infections are implicated in 1 out of every 10 cases of sinusitis in adults.
- Pollutants which include inhaled irritants, debris, and chemicals may trigger mucus build up.
- Fungal infections which, though quite rare, may occur as in allergic fungal sinusitis or in chronic indolent sinusitis.
Risk Factors for Sinusitis
The risk of suffering from sinusitis is high in persons who:
- Have had a history of previous upper respiratory infections like common cold
- Have nasal polyps
- Have weakened immunity such as in diseases including HIV or due to chemotherapy
- Have frequent allergic reactions to such substances as dust, animal dander, pollen etc.
- Have anatomic anomaly in the nose, for instance, deviated nasal septum
Types of Sinusitis
In all its forms, sinusitis presents with mucus build-up and nasal symptoms of congestion and swelling among other symptoms. The duration of these symptoms defines the type of sinusitis attack.
There are the following types of sinusitis:
- Acute sinusitis: It lasts for up to four weeks and occurs most commonly.
- Sub acute sinusitis: It may last for four to 12 week.
- Chronic sinusitis: It may persist or recur even after a period of 12 week.
Sinusitis is treated based on its type. The prognosis, as well as relief and recovery, depends on the type of sinusitis.
Doctors make a diagnosis of sinusitis based on what a patient says about the disease symptoms.
Further confirmation of the diagnosis to guide sinus infection treatment may be achieved through:
- Visual examination of your nasal cavity by using a light source
- Nasal endoscopy usually done by ENT specialists
- CT scan usually for severe and complicated sinusitis.
Treatment of Sinusitis
Treating and managing sinusitis involves nasal decongestion and draining away the accumulated mucus, removing the causative agent, and offering relief to other symptoms of pain and discomfort by providing sinus infection medicine. In most settings, sinus infection cure is achieved through the following measures:
- Nasal decongestion is achieved through decongestants such as xylometazoline
- Antibiotics such as co-amoxiclav are prescribed to clear away the bacteria and viruses causing sinusitis and nasal infection
- Nasal spray containing fluticasone and other corticosteroids is used to reduce inflammation, and bring down mucosal swelling
- Surgery (mainly functional endoscopic sinus surgery) is offered as part of sinusitis treatment to correct anatomic anomalies such as polyps and septum deviation that may be causing sinusitis
When to See A Doctor
When sinusitis is managed properly, it heals quickly and completely. Special medical attention should, however, be sought out when:
- The symptoms do not resolve after 10 days
- You have fever greater than 101.5 degrees F
- There’s an accompanying severe headache
- Periorbital swelling and visual disturbances occur
- Antibiotic therapy fails to offer relief
Prevention of Sinusitis
Sinusitis can be prevented by taking the following measures:
- Practicing proper hand hygiene
- Avoiding smoking
- Being adequately vaccinated
- Staying away from persons with upper respiratory infections
- Using reputable humidifiers to clean and moisten the air you breathe at home
- Preventing mold and dust from building up in air conditioning units
- Staying away from allergens
Home Remedies for Sinusitis
Acute and less severe cases of sinusitis can be effectively treated at home by taking the following measures:
- Nasal irrigation with saline solution or salt water to reduce nasal irritation
- Application of warm compress to the affected facial areas
- Taking analgesic medication to alleviate fever and pain
- Inhaling steam enriched with essential menthol, and/or eucalyptus oil to clear blocked sinuses
- Using over-the-counter decongestant medicines and sprays
- Staying adequately hydrated
- Getting adequate bed rest
What Is A Lower Respiratory Infection?
A lower respiratory infection impacts the airways and lungs, and can affect breathing. Typical lower respiratory illnesses include:
Usually, the most noticeable symptom of a lower RTI will be a cough, sometimes producing mucus and phlegm. You may also experience tightness of the chest, wheezing, an increased breathing rate, or feeling of breathlessness.
Cathedral Medical Urgent Care is available seven days a week, including weekends and holidays, to evaluate, diagnose, and recommend appropriate treatment for both upper and lower respiratory tract infections. Let us recommend appropriate treatment to lessen the severity and duration of your symptoms.
What Causes Respiratory Infections?
Respiratory infections quickly spread from one person to another. When you have an infection, such as a cold, minute droplets of fluid containing the virus are released into the air whenever you cough or sneeze. These droplets can then infect others in the area. Practicing the elbow cough or sneeze is a good way to prevent the spread of these droplets.
Respiratory tract infections can also be spread through indirect contact, such as touching a surface or object that has been touched by someone else with a virus. To avoid contamination or contaminating others, wash your hands frequently, using soap and warm water.
How To Treat A Respiratory Infection
Most mild upper respiratory illnesses can be successfully treated at home. Upper respiratory infection treatment includes addressing symptoms with over-the-counter remedies and pain medications. Antibiotics for upper respiratory infections are generally ineffective, unless the infection is caused by bacteria. You should also stay well-hydrated by drinking lots of fluids and make sure you get plenty of rest.
As with upper respiratory infections, common antibiotics are usually ineffective in lower respiratory infection treatment. If your symptoms persist, or become more serious, you should visit your nearest Cathedral Medical Urgent Care. We can help determine whether your respiratory illness may be something more serious, such as pneumonia, or a chronic condition like asthma or COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease). Anyone over the age of 65 should seek medical care if they experience a cough and have pre-existing conditions that suppress the normal immune response, such as diabetes, a history of heart failure, or certain medications.
What Are The Symptoms Of A Lung Infection?
A respiratory tract infection that is left untreated can spread to the lungs and affect the entire respiratory system. Lung infections are highly contagious and spread quickly from one person to another. They can be particularly serious in children, older adults, or anyone with a compromised immune system.
Signs that your respiratory infection has spread to the lungs include:
- Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
- A persistent cough that produces mucus or phlegm
- Thick mucus that changes color
- Chest pain or tightness that is not the result of a heart condition
If you experience one or more of the above lung infection symptoms, you should seek immediate medical attention to determine whether you may have a possible lung or pulmonary infection. Your Cathedral Medical Urgent Care clinic is open seven days a week, 365 days a year to help. No appointment is necessary and convenient online check-in is available. The sooner you get treatment, the more quickly you are likely to recover.