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Are Sinus Infections Contagious?

Are Sinus Infections Contagious?


A sinus infection is generally not contagious.

More Info: You can’t “catch” a sinus infection, but you can catch the cold that caused the sinus infection, which in turn could lead to sinusitis if the right conditions are present.

What Is a Sinus Infection?

Most sinus infections, referred to medically as sinusitis, originate from the common cold.  The cold virus inflames the sinuses.  When the sinuses become inflamed mucous can become trapped behind them unable to drain.  The pressure from blowing your nose can cause the normal bacteria located in the lining of your nose into your sinuses.  With the trapped mucous, the bacteria can begin to multiply which can cause a sinus infection.

Though Rare, It Is Theoretically Possible

Coming in contact with someone who has a sinus infection does not mean that you will get a sinus infection, even if you become infected with the virus that caused it, but it is possible.

The Sinus Infection Is Not Contagious-the Virus Is

Though the sinus infection itself is not contagious, the cold that created it is.  Colds are caused by viruses and viruses are highly contagious.

Take all of the same precautions that you would if you had a normal cold such as washing your hands vigilantly, keep a distance from others, and keep surfaces that you touch sterilized.


Flying and Sinus Infections

Inflamed sinuses make flying very uncomfortable.  When the air pressure in the cabin of a plane drops it naturally increases the pressure in your head.  This can cause great discomfort for those with already blocked sinuses.  Experts recommend using nasal decongestant before the flight to help alleviate some discomfort.


Resources: 5/21/2013

Sinusitis Infection Facts

Marshall, MD, Gailen D. . “Signs of Sinusitis: Prevention and Treatment .” N.p., 30 Jan. 2003. Web. 5 Oct. 2010.

“Sinusitis (Sinus Infection) Cause .” National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Home Page . N.p., n.d. Web. 5 Oct. 2010.


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