Often times, sinusitis is not contagious. However, depending on the cause of the sinus infection, it can be spread to other people. To understand what this means, it is important to understand the causes of sinus infections first.
Viral Sinus Infections
Respiratory viruses, including colds and flus, can cause sinus infections and can be spread easily through hand-to-hand contact. Touching something that is contaminated by the virus, then touching your eyes, mouth or nose, can result in sinusitis. In addition, these viruses can be carried through moisture in the air from coughing, blowing your nose, and sneezing.
Bacterial Sinus Infections
Bacterial sinusitis can generate after a viral respiratory infection. Some common bacteria of sinusitis, include streptococcus pneumonia, staphylococcus aureus, Moraxella catarrhalis, and haemophilus influenza. These are less common and generally occur as a result of a severe sinus infection, when bacteria forms in the fluid-filled sinus pockets. In this case, antibiotics are needed to fight off the infection and the bacteria is unlikely to pass to another person.
Prevent Spreading Contagious Sinusitis
The best precautions to take to prevent spreading contagious sinusitis, include washing your hands regularly, staying home for social encounters (work or school), wearing a face mask, and getting recommended virus vaccinations yearly. It is also important to cough and sneeze in the crease of your arm, instead of your hands, since you rarely touch anything with your arm.
Prevention of Non-Contagious Sinusitis
Although not contagious, there are some precautions to take when you have a bacterial sinusitis. If you have chronic or acute sinusitis, a nasal spray or nebulizer will help keep the inside of your nose damp. Flushing out the nasal passages may also help mucus drainage, reduce swelling, and clean your airways of any infectious allergens and debris.
If you are a smoker, you are at an increased risk of developing sinusitis, so you may consider quitting. Additionally, a smoke-free home is also important since second-hand smoke is also a risk factor of sinus infections. Similar to any other sickness, drinking a lot of fluids and maintaining a healthy diet helps your body heal efficiently.
In any case, if you feel like your own prevention methods are not working for you, it is important to seek professional help to relieve your disruptive sinusitis symptoms and restore your energy again. Dr. Lapco, an ENT, can address your sinus problems and start treatment, in order for you to feel better in a short time.