Yellow, green mucus, bad breath, congestion, runny nose, facial pain…uh oh, not another sinus infection. Should you head to the ENT, or should you hold out? If you answered the latter, then you’d be correct. As it turns out, there is no sinus infection cure for viral infections, so you’re better off waiting it out a bit.
Here’s everything you need to know about bacterial and viral sinus infections and how to treat them.
What’s the Difference Between Bacterial & Viral Sinus Infections?
There’s no difference in symptoms. Whether you have a bacterial or a viral infection, you’ll still have a cough and a runny nose. So, you won’t be able to tell the difference from your standpoint. However, the body handles bacteria and viruses very differently.
Bacteria are single-celled organisms with a cell membrane that reproduce on their own. Most bacteria are harmless, and many are even helpful. Viruses, on the other hand, have only a piece of genetic material and a protein coat. They usually infect a cell then use that cell to produce more viruses.
Does the ENT Have a Sinus Infection Cure?
Your local ENT has a sinus infection cure for bacterial infections. While you can treat a bacterial infection, you cannot treat a viral infection. When the body encounters harmful bacteria, it triggers an immune response and creates antibodies to destroy the intruder. Antibiotics are designed to mimic these antibodies.
However, antibiotics are designed to destroy particular bacteria. They are ineffective on viruses. If you do take antibiotics to treat a viral infection, you might eventually become immune to the effects of the antibiotics.
When Should I Go to the ENT for My Sinus Infection?
While there’s no sinus infection cure for viral infections, your body should be more than capable of fighting off the microbes itself. If you suspect you have a sinus infection, try to wait at least a week to see if the situation improves.
Make sure you get plenty of rest and drink enough fluids. You can take a nasal decongestant or use a saline spray to manage the symptoms, but just hold tight on the antibiotics. If the situation doesn’t improve after one to two weeks, you should head to the physician’s office to get medication.