By Dr. Yasir Abunamous, DocReady Primary Care and Urgent Care Physician

Sinus infections, often called sinusitis, are one of the most common conditions treated by our DocReady physicians. A sinus infection occurs when the tissue in the cavities around our sinuses swells and blocks the nasal passages (sinuses), so the natural nasal fluid (mucus) can’t drain normally. The mucus gets trapped, fills up the sinus cavities, and can become infected.

Often mistaken for a cold, sinus infection symptoms might include:

  • Sinus pressure
  • Nasal congestion
  • Green/yellow mucus discharge
  • Postnasal drip
  • Headache
  • Ear pressure
  • Sore or irritated throat
  • Fever
  • No sense of taste or smell
  • Trouble sleeping
One of the most effective ways to avoid a sinus infection or other upper respiratory infections is to avoid touching your face with your hands and to wash your hands often with hot, soapy water. If you’re already under the weather, be sure to get plenty of rest to help keep your illness from progressing to something worse. Although the sinus infection itself is not contagious, the virus or bacteria that caused the infection may be. It is recommended that you avoid contact with others whenever possible while symptoms occur, and to cover your nose and mouth when you cough or sneeze.

About 14 percent of people (roughly one in seven) are diagnosed with a sinus infection once a year, and sinus infections remain the fifth leading reason for antibiotic prescriptions. Between 90 percent and 98 percent of the infections are caused by viruses, which are not affected by antibiotics, according to a study conducted by the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA). If your case of sinusitis is viral, antibiotics will be ineffective. In fact, antibiotics can be harmful to you if used inappropriately. A DocReady physician can help determine if you have a sinus infection, the type of infection, if treatment is needed, and/or if a referral to a specialist is required.

During your DocReady video appointment, your doctor will ask a series of questions to determine if your symptoms point to a sinus infection, and will proceed to determine the best treatment plan for you based on the duration and severity of your symptoms and your medical history. Be prepared to discuss any past treatments you have had for sinusitis. Once a diagnosis has been made, your doctor will go over the potential risks and benefits of the treatment plans. Depending on the cause and severity of the infection, your treatment plan may include:

Treatment Options

  • Antibiotics – please make sure your doctor is aware of any medicine allergies; also if you have been on antibiotics for sinusitis in the past.
  • Use of supportive care measures, including saline rinses and/or a Neti Pot (schedule a consultation with one of our physicians for best advice on how to appropriately utilize)
  • Steroid nasal spray can be helpful when underlying allergies are involved and/or to reduce inflammation and swelling of nasal passages.
  • An oral steroid can be used for severe cases and for underlying allergies.
  • Referral to an ENT for persistent cases.

No matter how far along you are with a sinus infection or any other upper respiratory infection, you can schedule an appointment to be seen by a board-certified DocReady physician. If medication is medically necessary, the doctor can even send a prescription to the pharmacy of your choice.

Dr. Yasir Abunamous (“Dr. A”) is a Family Physician who specializes in patient-centered care leveraging the strengths and resources of each individual to optimize and maintain health, and endeavors to restore health during times of illness. He treats patients of all ages (including newborns and infants), with experience in pediatrics and women’s health in addition to general medicine. When not at work, Dr. A spends much of his free time with his beloved family, community members, and friends.