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Dr. Andrew Rynne
Dr. Andrew Rynne

Family Physician

Exp 50 years

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How can one determine if a sinus infection is bacterial or viral?

4 days ago I was in bed with fever for a day. Now I have a sinus infection with thick globs of yellow mucus. (No runny nose, no sore throat) Also coughing up thick mucus globs. How do I determine if it is bacterial and would responds to antibiotic, or viral? I also have a gum infection (no pain if I don t chew), but my upper molar (close to my sinuses) is loose and bleeds when I brush, there is swelling around the root. This flared up at the same time. Can these two infections feed each other? I am not in my home state so I can not go to urgent care or doctor, but I am concerned about flying home in this condition.
Mon, 24 Jun 2019
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General & Family Physician 's  Response

It is difficult to distinguish between viral or bacterial sinusitis at times. When you have upper respiratory tract infection with common cold-like symptoms, sinusitis may be viral n origin.

But when you have fever, headache with infection lasting for more than a week associated with mucous & cough it is bacterial in origin.

You are suggested to see a dentist & get treated for the swelling in the root of the upper molars.

Tooth infection triggers fever & pain due to inflammation. You can take NSAIDS, Combiflam, one sos to get rid of toothache but you need antibiotics.

Get treated for bacterial sinusitis, your treating GP will give you analgesics, antibiotics, decongestants, etc depending on the severity of the infection.

Hope I have answered your query. Let me know if I can assist you further.

Dr. Nupur K, General & Family Physician
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