How to Prevent Respiratory Infections

Preventing Sinusitis

©2006 Publications International, Ltd. Sinusitis sufferers can experience headache, cough, fever, bad breath, and other cold-like symptoms.

Bacteria, viruses (often from a cold), and fungi can all cause a sinus infection. This infection can cause tremendous pain in the sinuses.

Sinusitis Infection Information

Sinusitis usually stems from a stuffy nose that is due to a cold or allergies. When the nose isn't draining as it should, mucus builds up and clogs the sinuses, providing a breeding ground for bacteria, viruses, and fungi. When your sinuses get infected, they swell and additional mucus builds up, making you miserable. Because symptoms of a cold and sinusitis are so similar, physicians will normally diagnose sinusitis only if your stuffy head lasts more than seven days.

Along with a runny, stuffed-up nose, sinusitis sufferers may also have tenderness in the area of the infected sinus (there are eight sinus pockets located behind the eyes and nose), yellow or green nasal and postnasal drainage, headache, cough, fever, and bad breath. Sinusitis can clear up without medication, but if the cause is bacterial, your physician might prescribe an antibiotic to speed healing.

Who's at Risk for Sinusitis?

Anyone who gets a cold or the flu is at risk for a sinus infection. Smokers, those with asthma and allergies, people with weakened immune systems, and those with mucus-secreting diseases such as cystic fibrosis are more likely to experience sinusitis.

Defensive Measures Against Sinusitis

Protect yourself from colds and the flu and follow these tips to reduce your chances of getting sinusitis:

  • Keep your nose clear. If you have a stuffy nose, use over-the-counter decongestants or nasal sprays (carefully follow the package directions), drink plenty of fluids, and use a humidifier to help drain your nasal passages.
  • Nix nasal annoyances. Smoke, dry air, perfumes, and dust can irritate sinuses, opening the door to infection.
  • Avoid allergens. Allergic reactions can cause sneezing and overproduction of mucus that can clog your nasal passages. Avoid things you know will set off your allergies.
  • Pass on the pool. Chlorine is a nasal irritant, and diving can push water into the sinuses. If you're prone to sinus infections after swimming, maybe you should stay dry (or try a nose plug).
  • Take care in the air. Pressure changes during air travel can be hard on your sinuses. Using a decongestant nasal spray when you fly will keep you breathing easier during and after your flight.

In active Tuberculosis cases, bacteria can attack the lungs, kidney, brain, spine, or any other organ. To learn more about this dangerous infection, go to the next page.This information is solely for informational purposes. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. Neither the Editors of Consumer Guide (R), Publications International, Ltd., the author nor publisher take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading or following the information contained in this information. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Before undertaking any course of treatment, the reader must seek the advice of their physician or other health care provider.