A sinus infection is also known as "sinusitis" in technical terms. Affected are the mucous membranes of the maxillary sinus, frontal sinus or ethmoid cells (see also: Inflammation of the ethmoid cells), more rarely other sinuses. Sinusitis is usually associated with a runny nose and can have various causes. As in most cases, the inflammation can be acute or chronic for months, depending on the extent of the inflammation and the therapy.

A infection is over small droplets possible that excreted when coughing or sneezing become. How long the disease has been prevalent is important for the risk of infection; if the sick person was recently infected himself, the probability is much higher that he will pass the disease on. So it applies the longer it has been since the disease broke out, the less likely it is to infect other people.

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Duration of the risk of infection

There is a risk of contagion if the Viral load, i.e. the number of pathogens especially high is. Yet before the first symptoms appear is one contagious for about 1-2 days.
When the symptoms appear, the immune system reacts noticeably to the pathogen and tries to excrete and eliminate it.
During the first 2-3 days of symptoms is the The greatest risk of infection, because the viruses are also distributed via droplets via sneezing and coughing. After about 3 days most of the viral load is excreted, one infection about droplets is then rather unlikely for a healthy immune system.

Duration of a sinus infection

The duration of the sinus infection can in some cases from a few days to several months vary.
A typical one viral infectionthat results from a runny nose can by itself or with treatment cured in less than a week become.
At bacterial pathogens can get the healing moved away for another week.
Sinus infections can only occur with very stubborn pathogens and severe drainage disorders in the nose chronic become. Here must be any long antibiotics or even surgery respectively.

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Length of sick leave

The duration of the sick leave depends on the work, the wishes and the clinical picture of the patient. The most common type of sinus infection, caused by viral pathogens, goes away on its own within 4-5 days. Since the infection of other people and most of the symptoms are largely overcome after about 3 days, the doctor usually writes sick for 2-3 days. At physically demanding jobs or in Health service can also take a sick leave over about a week respectively.

Duration of antibiotic therapy

If a bacterial sinus infection is suspected, antibiotics can be given. Typically, a means such as "Amoxiciliinfor about 5-7 days taken. Even if the symptoms get significantly better, the antibiotic is allowed not discontinued prematurely independently become. Bacteria that are not eliminated can spread quickly and cause inflammation again. In the case of chronic inflammation, antibiotics can also be given together with other therapy methods over several weeks.

Duration of a sinus infection without antibiotic use

The majority of all sinus infections are not caused by bacteria. Thus one accelerates Antibiotic use only in a few cases The Cure.
In the case of bacterial inflammation that is not treated with antibiotics, there is a risk that the inflammation will not heal by itself.
If the sinusitis is ignored for weeks despite pressure pain in the paranasal sinuses and a tough yellow runny nose, the infection can become chronic. In this case, healing can take months. Under certain circumstances, the infection can only heal completely over a period of weeks after therapy.

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Duration of the toothache

Sudden toothache can indicate a sinus infection. The maxillary sinus is also one of the sinuses and can cause toothache. If the mucus drainage is loosened by treatment, the pain and pressure of the sinuses should also be reduced after a few days ease up. In some cases the Establish inflammation and chronic be with long-lasting pain in the tooth.

Duration of the headache

Is the Frontal sinus affected It can also cause uncomfortable pain in the head with one Sensation of pressure in the forehead and temples accompanied. Along with a runny nose and slimy secretion, the headache should also be go back within a few days. If not, a persistent infection may require further treatment.

Causes of a sinus infection

The cause of a sinus infection are in the majority of cases infectious agents. Viruses make up the majority of the potential pathogens, but bacteria can also cause inflammation with rhinitis. The viruses that are mainly responsible for runny nose with inflammation are called "Rhinoviruses". Bacteria that cause sinusitis are mainly Streptococci and Staphylococci. Less than 20% of colds are attributed to them.

Important accompanying factors that promote sinusitis are cold, smoking, allergies, polyps, a crooked nasal septum, large turbinates and a pre-existing runny nose. With the latter problems of the nose there is a general obstruction of the drainage of slimy secretion. As a result, the mucus with the pathogen settles in the nose and can subsequently spread to the sinuses. In the case of an allergy, for example to house dust or pollen, there is an increased build-up of mucus in the nose, which also promotes the establishment of a pathogen.

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The typical symptoms of a sinus infection are next Runny nose with tough, discolored secretion also a Feeling of pressure in the nose, forehead and Cheeks, nasal speaking, a headache and a stuffy nose. In addition, if there is a major inflammation fever, fatigue, Pain in the limbs, to cough, Swelling and more Infection symptoms occur. Particularly typical is the feeling of pressure above the affected paranasal sinuses, which is made worse when you bend over or hang your head down. It is an important indicator in the anamnesis of a purulent, viscous mucus filling of the sinuses.

In some cases, the type of runny nose and mucus allow conclusions to be drawn about the cause of the inflammation. At unilateral congestion of the nose is a bacterial inflammation more likely, at bilateral a viral. Likewise, a bacterial pathogen can be suspected if the illness lasts more than a week with particularly yellowish viscous nasal secretions.


Since the cause of sinusitis is that the The drainage of secretions is impeded is, this passage must be made possible again by the therapy. By opening the drainage channels, the mucus can loosen itself and less secretion is produced. Since the nasal mucous membranes are sometimes severely swollen from the cold, you can nasal decongestant sprays be used. However, these must not be used for too long, as otherwise the independent regulation of the mucous membrane cells will be permanently damaged. Also Nasal irrigation with sea salt water can stimulate the drainage of secretions.

Lies a bacterial pathogen before, often needs a few days antibiotic can be prescribed to reduce inflammation. A long duration of symptoms with yellow mucus suggests a bacterial sinus infection.

At chronic Sinus infections must be precisely identified and any risk factors eliminated. Operational In an emergency, polyps can be removed and turbinates and the nasal septum treated so that the Long-term drainage improved becomes.

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