Our mission is to provide patient-centered care for allergies and asthma.

Why Do Our Sinuses Get Infected?

Sinuses are the air-filled pockets in the face. They are located above and below the eyes along either side of the nose. When fluid builds up in any of these cavities, viruses or bacteria can grow. This can cause a sinus infection. According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma, & Immunology (ACAAI), about 31 million people in the U.S. deal with a sinus infection every year. As a result, Americans spend $1 billion each year on over-the-counter medications and $150 million on prescription treatments to treat these infections.

Do I Have a Sinus Infection or a Cold?

There are many similarities between the symptoms of a sinus infection and a cold. The most common symptoms of a sinus infection include:

  • Runny nose
  • Stuffy nose
  • Facial pain or pressure
  • Headache
  • Mucus dripping down the throat (post-nasal drip)
  • Sore throat
  • Cough
  • Bad breath

There are two main differences that can help a person determine if they have a cold or a sinus infection, however. First, a cold typically will pass in about 10 days, while a sinus infection may last longer. Second, the mucus someone has with a cold will be watery and clear. With a sinus infection, mucus will typically be thick and green or yellow. Keep in mind, green or yellow mucus can be a normal finding, so this alone does not mean you have a sinus infection.

Contact a doctor if you’re experiencing any severe symptoms, such as headache or facial pain. If you have symptoms for more than 10 days with no improvement or fever for three to four days, you should contact a health care provider. Finally, if your symptoms become worse after a period of improvement or you have had multiple sinus infections in a year, you should consult your doctor.

Risk Factors for Sinus Infections

Some people are more prone to sinus infections than others. Some factors that can increase an individual’s chances of developing a sinus infection include:

  • A previous cold
  • Seasonal allergies
  • Smoking and exposure to secondhand smoke
  • Structural problems within the sinuses (such as growths on the lining of the nose or sinuses, known as nasal polyps)
  • A weak immune system or taking drugs that weaken the immune system

Treating and Preventing Sinus Infections

There are many options for treating a sinus infection. A warm compress placed on the nose or forehead can help with any pressure or headache you may be experiencing. Steam from a hot shower or from placing your face over a bowl of hot water can also help alleviate symptoms. Finally, there are over-the-counter decongestants and saline nasal sprays to help with congestion.

Steps that you can take to help prevent a sinus infection from happening in the first place include:

  • Practicing good cold hygiene — stay away from those who are sick and frequently wash hands
  • Managing allergies
  • Avoiding pollutants like cigarette smoke
  • Using a humidifier in the home

Sometimes antibiotics may be needed to treat a sinus infection. However, it’s important to use these drugs sparingly because of an increase in antibiotic resistance.

If you are seeking treatment for asthma or allergies, contact Columbia Allergy, with convenient locations in California, Oregon, Idaho or Washington. We take a patient-focused approach that views every person as an individual with unique challenges and goals.

This is not medical advice. If you suspect you may be ill, please consult a healthcare provider for an appropriate diagnosis.

Do You Suffer From Allergies and Asthma?

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Monica H.
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David W.
“Adam and the staff were great at considering my concerns, explaining my results and listening to my questions. Plus everyone was on time and things moved swiftly. ”

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“Absolutely exceptional. The doctor, team and facilities are the best you could ask for. We have never felt more comfortable and safe. With the approach we have taken with our son and has made the whole process so much easier. You guys makes difference in people’s lives”
Noah J.
“Nothing worse than worrying about every cookie and ice cream snack out there that sends us to the ER. Dr.Jain and Dr. Gandhe who are the best. Their expertise and kindness have given us back both dessert and peace of mind. I don't know which one is more appreciated. ”
Hana L.
"Dr.Gandhe always puts my son at ease before treatment. She talks to him directly and in an age appropriate way. My son looks forward to visiting her and the other staff. When I have questions about treatment she responds clearly and, during after hours, Dr. Gandhe responds very quickly. We feel well cared for."
Amy M.
"Dr. Gandhe gives us excellent personalized treatment for my son’s peanut and tree nut allergy. She has a heart for kids with allergies and I feel very safe under her care. My son has already made great progress with his tree nut allergy"
Nikko Y.
"Best Office Ever!"
Georgia B.
"One of the best doctors + staff I have ever met. The care and professionalism is out of this world! We feel comforted and safe at our visit "
Pierre
"Dr. Jain is very kind and friendly as well as the staff "
Graciela R.
"Dr.Jain and Melissa Hutton PA-C are the best allergy providers I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. The entire staff is kind and helpful. My allergy care is comprehensive and I never feel rushed through an appointment-"
Miko
"Best decision we have made in my son’s life so far"
Merritt F.
"We are very confident with Dr. Jain’s treatment plans and recommendations. The staff at the Fremont office is amazing"
Cherylyn V.
"Amazing and awesome team for scary and life-threatening allergies"
Manalie J.
"Dr.Gandhe is very patient, explains everything in great detail and answered all of our questions. It helped to ease out our Anxiety about OIT"
Walter M.
"Dr. Gandhe is great, thoughtful, and a caring provider. All staff is fantastic as well!"
Sarah S.
"We are likely (5 stars) to recommend Dr. Jain to friends and family. Our experience here has been so positive and supportive. It is great clinic and has given us great hopes in treating our son"
Khushi P.
"Extremely great experience. Truly God sent figures. Dr. Jain and Melissa are such wonderful and humble doctors, I have ever met. Thank You. Dr Jain and the entire staff for being with us through the journey. I will recommend him to all the people that I know with allergies
Amrita M.
"Dr. Gandhe has been more than a blessing for us. We love her! She’s so great at talking explaining and planning everything. Her treatment has been spot on and I am so thankful we found you. We love all the nurses, they are so patient and loving"