Sinus infections aren't generally a serious condition, but even the most routine viruses and bacteria can occasionally cause more severe problems than expected. If you notice any of these five symptoms during what seems like a routine sinus infection, drop by your local walk-in clinic to get some backup treatment.
Lengthy Period of Symptoms
Your immune system should clear up the symptoms of a viral sinus infection within one week. If you're still congested or feeling facial pain after 10 days of recovering on your own, you'll need a doctor's opinion. Lingering sinus infections are usually caused by bacteria rather than a virus, resulting in the need for antibiotics before you'll feel better.
Even in the first days of a sinus infection, you shouldn't experience more than a mild fever at worst. Buy an inexpensive but accurate thermometer at your local drug store and keep track of your fever. If it goes over 102 degrees F for any amount of time during your infection, you should see a doctor at an urgent care clinic. High fevers are usually caused by bacteria and not viruses, and leaving a high fever untreated can cause permanent side effects.
Chronic or Recurring Symptoms
When your sinus congestion and pain comes and goes over the course of weeks and months, you're likely experiencing chronic sinusitis rather than an acute infection. The condition is often tied to an allergy, so taking antihistamines and other treatments can prevent these long-term symptoms from interrupting your enjoyment of life.
Serious Head and Neck Pain
Combine a severe headache, pain and stiffness in the neck, and a high fever and you may be developing meningitis. Since the sinus cavities are so close to the brain and spinal column, it's not hard for bacteria and viruses to travel between them and the most sensitive parts of the body. Don't wait to see if your pain will clear up since delaying treatment by even a few hours can lead to permanent brain damage.
Changes to Vision
Finally, visit an urgent care clinic if you notice any blurriness or double-vision while suffering from a sinus infection. Inflammation and pressure in the sinuses can interfere with the optic nerve by putting pressure on the eyes. Failing to treat a sinus infection that is affecting the eyes could lead to irreversible damage. A thorough round of antibiotics is often all that's needed to protect you from the potentially serious complications.
If you want to learn more about walk-in medical clinics, find one in your area and check it out.