Viral Sinus Infection vs Bacterial Sinus Infection, What’s the Difference?

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Viral Sinus Infection vs Bacterial Sinus Infection, What’s the Difference?


Viral sinus infection versus bacterial sinus infection, what’s the difference? Other than the root cause of the infection and treatment plan, you can experience similar symptoms. Sinus infections are commonly caused by viruses. However, bacteria can be the cause in specific circumstances.

The three (3) most common symptoms of chronic or acute sinus infections are drainage of mucus from the nose or down the back of the throat (postnasal drip). Congestion or nasal obstruction, that may make it difficult to breathe. Pain, swelling, tenderness or pressure in the sinuses.

Infections: Viral Vs Bacterial

Bacteria are single-celled pathogens that live in many environments, varieties can live in extreme temperatures of cold or heat. Bacteria are also here to help, making their home in the intestines of animals and humans, to help digestion. A small subset of bacteria can lead to chronic or acute bacterial sinus infections. In recent times, the overuse of antibiotics has helped create bacterial infections that are resistant to treatment with different types of antibiotic medications. Creating antibiotic-resistant super bugs.

Infections caused by bacteria:

  • Tuberculosis
  • Strep throat
  • Urinary tract infections

Viruses require living hosts such as people, plants or animals to duplicate. Otherwise, they cannot survive. When a virus that causes viral sinus infections enters your body, it makes a home of your cells and takes over the cells ability to replicate, redirecting it to produce the virus. These cells can be that of tissue cells, blood cells, or muscle cells to name a few.

Infections caused by viruses:

  • Chickenpox
  • Viral Hepatitis
  • Common colds

More viral infections

Viral Sinus Infection

Viral sinus infections are caused by viruses that infect the lining of your nasal cavity, or generally the ear nose and throat. It is most often caused by a viral upper respiratory infection (URI, also known as the common cold). When does it become more complicated?

Bacterial Sinus Infection

Bacterial sinus infections are caused by bacteria that infect the lining of your nasal cavity. Often, it is caused by the bacteria Streptococcus pneumonia, known as strep throat. Or it may be caused by the bacteria Haemophilus influenzae, which despite its name, causes illness other than influenza. According to the guideline, a sinus infection is likely to be caused by bacteria rather than a virus if any of the three following conditions are present:

  1. Infection last for at least 10 days without any evidence of clinical improvement
  2. Infection is severe, including fever exceeding 102°F, and post nasal drip and tenderness in the face lasting for at least three to four consecutive days at the beginning of an illness.
  3. Symptoms or signs worsen, with new fever or headache developing or nasal discharge increasing, typically after a viral upper respiratory infection that lasted five or six days and initially seemed to improve

Do I need to be Tested?

In some cases, it is difficult to determine whether a bacterium or a virus is causing your symptoms. When it comes to a reoccurring sinus infection, what happens in the biome of your nose may be complicated. In cases such as these, Xplore-PATHO deep swab collection kit can be of use. This collection kit can be used to determine if any known sequenced pathogen is within the sample.