Are Sinus Infections Contagious?

If It looks like a cold, it feels like a cold, and it sounds like a cold, then you should avoid it like a cold, right?

Sinus infections occur when air filled cavities in the nose become inflamed due to an allergen, bacteria, or irritant. When this happens, mucus builds up in these cavities and creates a blockage leading to an increase in pressure. This pressure gives way to all of the miserable cold like symptoms you are familiar with such as headaches, nausea, and post nasal drainage. In addition to the similarities in symptoms, sinus infections also commonly follow a cold because they are often a product of dry nasal passages. While colds are viral and can be contagious, the sinusitis aftermath usually is not.

Despite the cold like symptoms and misery that ensue due to a sinus infection, it is actually very rarely passed from person to person. Unlike a cold, a sinus infection is not viral and more often than not it is a product of allergies. Additionally, sinus infections are mostly limited to the confines of the nasal passages so if it were bacterial, it would have a hard to reaching a new host. While it is always wise to take precautions when it comes to the potential spreading of illnesses, if you are experiencing a sinus infection, you are not putting others at risk.

However , if you are unsure whether you are have a sinus infection or a common cold, some helpful things to ask yourself are: do my teeth hurt? Do I have thick post nasal drainage from my nose to the back of my throat? Is my headache pain concentrated around my eyes and cheekbones and does it worsen when I bend over? If you answered yes to these questions, you probably have a sinus infection. However, it is always best to seek a medical professional’s opinion when deciding if you have a sinus infection or a cold so that you can receive proper diagnosis, care, and contagion precautions. Don’t put your loved ones at risk of infection; make an appointment today or call the office at (919) 782-9003 at ENT and Audiology Associates for all of your sinus problem questions!