Can A Sinus Infection Spread to the Brain?

Author: Gabrielle Marks
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Yes, a sinus infection can spread to the brain.

What Is a Sinus Infection?

A sinus infection occurs when mucous that is unable to drain becomes infected with bacteria.  It is brought on by a common cold, which inflames the sinuses.  If the mucous that results from the cold is unable to drain, it can become trapped behind the nasal passages and become infected by the bacteria that are present in the nasal lining. If the bacteria begin to multiply in the environment, a sinus infection can result.

If it spreads to the brain, it could lead to coma or death.

Serious Side Effects of Sinus Infection

Serious side effects of a sinus infection are relatively rare but it is possible that the infection can spread through the sinus wall and into the brain causing a brain abscess or meningitis.  Meningitis is an inflammation of the membranes of the brain and spinal cord.  If left untreated, meningitis can result in death in a very short time.  Early warning signs of meningitis include flu-like symptoms, stiff neck, confusion, and fever.

Sinus infections can also spread to the bones of the face and skull or to the eye socket.

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Works Cited

MayoClinic
"Sinus infection and toothache: Any connection?"
www.MayoClinic.com

eMedicineHealth
"Sinus Infection"
www.emedicinehealth.com

Medical Dictionary definitions of popular medical terms easily defined on MedTerms
"Meningitis definition"
http://www.medterms.com







Expert Opinion 

Quote:  "Bacteria can also spread to the brain from infected adjacent air sinuses, the middle ear and the mastoids. They can reach the brain either directly through the bone, especially in areas where the bone plate is thin, or through veins (diploic veins, dural venous sinuses, intracerebral veins). The various protective layers may also help contain infections within certain spaces or planes."

Source: Dimitri P. Agamanolis, M.D. Infections of the Nervous System .
Neruopathology; Northeasten Ohio Universities College of Medicine

Quote:  "What causes bacterial menangitis? Bacteria spread to the brain and spinal cord from an infection in another part of the body. The bacteria can spread directly from a nearby sinus infection, or can come from any other infection in the body by traveling through the bloodstream."

Source:  Bacterial Menangitis. 
Children's Mercy Hospitals and Clinics 

purple arrowCite this Article

"Can A Sinus Infection Spread to the Brain?." Sophisticated Edge. N.p., n.d. Web. . <http://www.sophisticatededge.com/can-a-sinus-infection-spread-to-the-brain.html>.  

The information on this Web site is designed for educational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care. You should not use this information to treat or diagnose any health problems or illnesses without consulting a physician. It is not meant to take the place of health care or services you may need. Please consult a physician with any questions you may have regarding your health.

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