Sinus infections, characterised by swollen nasal passages, can lead to uncomfortable side effects such as facial pain, headaches, nausea and congestion. If the infection spreads to the ears, dizziness may occur as well.
Sinus infections, also known as sinusitis, form when bacteria, viruses or other forms of infection enter the sinus passages. Colds, allergies and fungal infections all may result in sinusitis.
Symptoms of sinusitis include thick yellow or greenish mucus, congestion, pressure around the sinus areas on the face, reduced sense of taste and smell, coughing, fatigue and nausea. When a sinus infection is combined with an ear infection, as sometimes happens with a viral infection such as a common cold, sufferers might feel off-balance. If an infection reaches the chambers inside the ear that control balance, they may cease to function properly, resulting in a sense of vertigo. Dizziness can also occur if congestion from sinusitis clogs the Eustachian tubes connecting the ears and the nose.
Methods for treating sinusitis include taking over-the-counter medications such as decongestants and pain relievers to manage the symptoms. Other remedies include using warm compresses on the face to reduce sinus pressure, resting and drinking plenty of fluids. In addition, alternative treatments such as sinus rinses, in which a specially designed squeeze bottle or neti pot is used to pass a mixture of warm salt water through the sinuses to wash out infection-causing contaminants, might bring relief. For more severe cases of sinusitis, a doctor may prescribe steroid-based nasal sprays to reduce inflammation. While antibiotics are not commonly used to manage sinusitis, a doctor may prescribe them to treat an accompanying ear infection. Dizziness caused by congested Eustachian tubes or an ear infection will subside once the infection is cured. Those suffering from dizzy spells should sit or lie down immediately until the dizziness passes and should refrain from driving or operating heavy machinery.
Ward off a sinus infection before it strikes by keeping away from polluted air, cigarette smoke and people suffering from colds. Wash hands frequently to avoid infection-causing germs. Using a humidifier indoors to add moisture to dry air may help keep sinuses moist and healthy. Refrain from vigorous noseblowing, because this may cause a sinus infection to spread to the ears, resulting in an ear infection and the accompanying dizziness.
An untreated ear infection may worsen and lead to permanent hearing loss. A sinus infection that spreads to the brain can cause meningitis, whereas an infection that reaches the eyes may result in blindness. Other possible dangerous side effects include the formation of blood clots around the sinuses, which may clog veins and result in a stroke. Left untreated, a sinus infection may become a chronic condition. If dizziness is combined with a severe fever, head pain, numbness, loss of consciousness or chest pain, seek emergency medical treatment.
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