Should I Go to Urgent Care for a Sinus Infection?

Everyone has had a sinus infection at some point. They come with plenty of facial pain, nasal drainage, headaches. However, most people don’t know what they should do when they come down with one. Should I go to urgent care? Should I tough it out at home? Do I need to see an ear, nose, and throat (ENT) specialist?

Answering those questions isn’t as difficult as it sounds. In fact, you can almost surely cross seeing a specialist off your list. Though it might not feel like it at the time, a sinus infection is a fairly common illness that affects tens of millions of adults each year. With that being said, some sinus infections can be treated effectively at home while others might need to be treated by a professional.

How to Tell if You Have a Sinus Infection

Inside your skull, there are several pockets of air. These are called your sinuses and help with a variety of things in daily life. For example, they keep your head from being too heavy. However, they are also prone to infection when fluid backs up into them and allows germs to take over. This leads to sinuses that are clogged by thick mucus that causes the various symptoms of a sinus infection.

Some of the major ones include a runny or stuffy nose, facial pain or pressure, a headache, and mucus dripping down the back of the throat. This can also lead to a sore throat or cough as it irritated. In some cases, a mild fever may develop as well. Although many of these symptoms resemble those of the common cold, the facial pain/pressure helps differentiate a sinus infection.

Anyone can get a sinus infection; however, a few groups are at higher risk for developing one. For example, someone who has recently gotten over a cold can easily get a sinus infection from leftover germs that enter the sinus cavities. Due to increased nasal drainage, those with seasonal allergies and who are smokers are also more at risk.

How to Treat a Sinus Infection at Home

Coming down with a sinus infection can bring your day or even week to a screeching halt. The facial pain and nasal drainage may get in the way of your daily activities and interfere with your work. Fortunately, there are some simple home remedies for sinus infections that can alleviate your symptoms while your body fights off the infection.

Using a warm compress over your nose and forehead can help decrease some of the pressure associated with a sinus infection. Likewise, breathing in warm (not hot) steam from a bowl of hot water or in the shower can help clear out the passageways in your nose.

Finally, hydration is key to battling a sinus infection. Drinking enough water will help your body thin the mucus that builds up in your sinuses and clear it out. Adults should be drinking at least eight cups per day, but more is better when you are battling an infection.

When to Seek Medical Care for a Sinus Infection

Not everyone who has a sinus infection will need to seek medical care. However, there are some times when home remedies simply aren’t enough.

Anyone who experiences symptoms that start to improve but then get worse should check in with a doctor. This could be a sign that the sinus infection is caused by bacteria and will need to be treated with antibiotics. It is important to note, however, that not all sinus infections require the use of antibiotics. Many are caused by viruses, which means that antibiotics won’t be effective. After a visit to the doctor, he or she will be able to determine which type of sinus infection you have to help prescribe the right medication.

Meanwhile, those who have had sinus symptoms for more than 10 days without improvement or who have had a fever for more than 3-4 days should also seek care. Along the same lines, anyone that experiences multiple sinus infections in the same year should check in with a doctor.

Velocity Urgent Care Will Help You Breathe Freely

If you think that your sinus infection symptoms are enough to warrant a visit to the doctor, Velocity Urgent Care has you covered. Rather than waiting days for an appointment, you can walk in at any time or reserve your spot online. Our team of board-certified practitioners and friendly staff will get to know your symptoms and help you start feeling better in no time.

We have 14 walk-in urgent care locations near you in Norfolk (2), Virginia Beach (4), Suffolk (2), Newport News, Williamsburg, Woodbridge, South Boston, Gloucester and Carrollton, Virginia with convenient hours designed to fit your schedule. Velocity Urgent Care is also the exclusive in-network provider for several local insurance plans, meaning you can be seen for the cost of your co-pay and deductible. All of our locations also accept Medicare, Medicaid, Tricare and we are also a Veterans Administration provider.

To find out more about our services, locations, hours, and more, visit www.velocityuc.com.