Ask an Urgent Care About Signs of a Sinus Infection

urgent care St. Augustine, FL

A sinus infection may be a reason for you to visit the urgent care. The sinuses are located behind the nose bone. They are a structure of thin canals through the skull, lined with sensitive mucous membranes. The sinuses are part of the body’s immune system, as well as helping regulate the senses of taste, smell, hearing and balance. Infections in the sinuses can also indirectly affect eyesight.

What is a sinus infection?

The sinuses are responsible for the production of mucous in the nose and nasal cavities. The mucous membranes are both a vulnerable point for disease and a defense mechanism against it. Injurious bacteria and viruses are generally unable to pierce the human body’s outer skin. Mucous membranes are permeable to such foreign agents, but also detect and respond to them. Many medicines and pain relievers are absorbed this way (such as by placing a pill under the tongue to dissolve).

As part of the immune system, the sinuses produce mucous. This, in turn, traps particulate matter, such as dust, partially filtering it from the lungs. Where infection is able to set in, the sinuses are among the body’s front lines of defense. Like the tonsils, they delay the progress of diseases, slowing their advance to the lungs and other vital organs.

When a person catches a cold or the flu, the sinuses produce mucous to help expel the virus. A viral or bacterial infection and the immune system’s antibody response produce physical detritus within the body. Dead bacteria and used antibodies are flushed out through the sinuses, safely bound in snot and phlegm. Most of the symptoms of such infections are not the virus or bacteria itself but the body’s response to expel them.

When does a sinus infection need urgent care?

A reaction from the sinuses is generally a sign of the body fighting off other infections. Sometimes, injury, allergy or illness may result in the sinuses themselves becoming inflamed. In such cases, the person’s senses of smell and taste will be impaired. Their nostrils may redden and drip excess mucous. This inflammation and weeping may spread to the eyes, which are located close to the sinuses both internally and externally. The person may become entirely unable to breathe through the nose at all.

Severe sinus infections may also spread to the ear via a narrow canal through the skull. This, in turn, may impair the patient’s hearing and balance. The same may be true in reverse; infections of the ear can spread to the sinuses. Chronic problems with the ears or nose are frequently related or respond sympathetically to injury, infection and treatment.

A sinus infection needs urgent care when it begins to impair the patient’s senses. Until then, excess mucous is likely a symptom of another ailment, already receiving treatment. Pain and inflammation of the nose and eyes indicate a more serious illness. Where no other cause is known, the sinuses themselves may need the attention of urgent care.

Getting urgent care for sinus infections

A sinus infection may be indicated when symptoms of cold and flu are isolated to the nose and eyes. Allergic reactions out of season or without apparent exposure to a known cause may also indicate a sinus infection. Contact or visit urgent care to discuss these symptoms and get treatment. If left untreated, sinus infections weaken the body against other infections.

Visit MedOne Urgent Care at St. Augustine for more information.

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