Is A Sinus Infection Contagious? | The Facts and Explanation

Sinus infections are uncomfortable. They can be quite debilitating, leaving you with a persistent cough, a feeling of pressure in your face and head, and making it hard to breathe. With such severe symptoms, you might be concerned about whether your sinus infection is contagious.

Well, it depends on what caused the infection in the first place.

What Causes Sinus Infections?

Sinusitis (sinus infection) can occur for several reasons. Infections often begin with the sinuses filling with mucus and fluid. Then, the sinus lining becomes inflamed. They can swell and prevent the accumulated fluid from draining. This is why you can experience the feeling of pressure around areas of your head.

In addition, the mucus trapped inside the sinuses is the perfect medium to allow bacteria growth. Multiplying bacteria means infection.

Symptoms resemble a common cold or flu, with a sore throat, runny nose, fever, and cough being common. You can get headaches and experience pain and swelling in areas of your face. It’s also common to experience a post-nasal drip where fluid drips into the back of your throat.

Is A Sinus Infection Contagious?

To answer our original question, it’s important to understand what causes sinus infections.

Viruses cause many sinus infections. You can transmit a virus from one person to the next, so the virus itself is contagious. However, if another person gets the virus, they may get sick but not a sinus infection.

Other times, sinus infections are brought about by bacteria that grow inside the accumulated mucus. In this case, the infection is likely not contagious.

There are, however, other reasons for sinus infections. Breathing in dry, dusty, or polluted air, smoke, or tobacco can also cause sinusitis. Some people are also more predisposed to having inflamed sinuses due to allergies.

So, What Should I Do If I Have A Sinus Infection?

The toughest thing is to determine what exactly has caused your sinus infection. And even if the initial cause was not due to viral infection, you may have concurrent symptoms if you happen to catch a virus later on. Often, you don’t know the exact reason.

This is why the best thing to do is rest, let your body recover, and maintain good hygiene so that you don’t risk passing any potential infection to someone else.

And this means washing your hands regularly, not touching any discharge or mucus, and not touching your mouth, eyes, and nose. Avoid making contact with surfaces commonly shared between people, such as doorknobs or countertops. If contact is necessary, sanitize them after use.


Sinus infections brought on by viruses will commonly heal within two weeks without requiring intervention. However, if your symptoms haven’t improved, it’s important to see a qualified physician who can offer a diagnosis along with the appropriate treatment and advice.

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