Sinus infections cause pressure in the nose, face and neck that makes it difficult to breathe. They produce a lot of mucus, which can make you cough and have bad breath. You may also have a headache and other cold symptoms. People wonder if they can pass the infection to friends and family members.
Sinuses infections are either viral or bacterial, and the answer to “how long are sinus infections contagious” depends on what caused the infection. Viruses spread just like colds and flu, with respiratory particles or droplets from a cough or sneeze. You can also pick up a viral infection by touching an infected person’s hands or something they touch and then touching your mouth or nose.
A viral sinus infection usually lasts seven to 10 days, but it can linger and even return later. This is why it’s important to practice good hygiene and wash your hands frequently. You can also use alcohol-based hand sanitizer to reduce germ exposure. Use a tissue or your elbow to cover your nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing. Dispose of used tissues in a trash can lined with plastic.
Bacterial sinus infections are more serious and often require antibiotics to get better. These types of infections can spread to others through the same methods as a viral sinus infection, but you can also catch them by wiping your nose or hands on surfaces that other people touch, such as doorknobs, food/plates/utensils, phones, toys, etc.