Sinus Infection during Breastfeeding: Causes, Signs & Treatment

Sinus Infection While Breastfeeding

A woman’s body is in the recovery phase post-delivery. During this time, her immune system is weak and susceptible to all kinds of infections. One of the most common types of infections that can affect women during this phase of their lives is a sinus infection. Although sinusitis is treatable to a great extent, it becomes all the more troublesome when a woman gets the infection while she is breastfeeding. In this article, we shall speak about what a sinus infection is, its causes, symptoms, treatment, and tips to deal with a sinus infection while breastfeeding.

What Is a Sinus Infection?

Inflammation of the tissue that lines the sinus cavities is called a sinus infection. It can be caused due to viral, fungal, or bacterial infection and is also known as sinusitis. A sinus infection is commonly characterised by a runny nose, sneezing, coughing, cold, inflamed nasal cavities, headaches, fever, and a sore throat. New mothers are susceptible to get a bacterial infection which could lead to a build-up of fluid and mucus inside the sinus cavity. The mucus then creates an environment for bad bacteria to breed, which causes the infection. Under normal circumstances, a sinus infection can be treated with a course of oral medication that includes antibiotics and antihistamines. It could, however, pose a concern for breastfeeding mothers who cannot take medication. In that case, we recommend consulting your doctor for advice.

Causes of a Sinus Infection in Breastfeeding Mothers

Several reasons could cause a sinus infection in breastfeeding mothers. Some of them are given below:

  • A sudden change in weather
  • Allergies
  • Common cold
  • Bacteria transmitted through the air
  • The influenza virus
  • Nasal polyps
  • Predisposing factors like deviated nasal septum.

Signs and Symptoms of a Sinus Infection

Identifying a sinus infection can be quite easy as most of the symptoms are fairly visible. However, here are a few symptoms to help you identify a sinus infection:

  • Headaches
  • A runny nose
  • A sore throat
  • Tooth pain
  • Acute pain all over the face, particularly the upper nose, cheeks, and eyes
  • Bad breath
  • Blocked nose
  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Post-nasal discharge

How to Treat Sinus Infections in Nursing Moms

As mentioned earlier, a sinus infection can be treated with oral medication; however, you must consult your doctor first to find out if taking oral medication while breastfeeding is safe for your baby or not. Here is a list of treatment options the doctor could consider for nursing mothers:

1. Antibiotics

The most common method of treatment for a sinus infection is antibiotics, but, some antibiotics can have severe side-effects on your baby if you are breastfeeding. Thus, it is important to discuss the medicines with a trusted doctor. If your doctor does prescribe you some medication, it is recommended that you complete the course, else the infection would mutate and become resistant to the medication.

2. Antihistamines

Antihistamines have a number of side effects, some of which are drowsiness and dizziness. Having said that, there are some antihistamines that do not have this side effect. You must consult your doctor and get them prescribed if there is a dire need of antihistamines to cure your sinus infection.

3. Decongestants

One of the most effective ways to relieve inflammation and fluid build-up during a sinus infection is to use a decongestant. It is once again recommended that you check with your doctor and purchase prescribed decongestants only because some over the counter medications can cause lactation problems.

4. Taking Rest

The most effective treatment for a sinus infection is rest as the infection tends to dissipate on its own in a few days. We recommend that you take plenty of rest and don’t exert yourself, especially when you are breastfeeding. Ask your partner or the caregiver to look after your child when you feel tired and take mid-day naps.

A woman takes rest

5. Painkillers

Sinus infections generally cause discomfort, but sometimes, they can be very painful. For such severe cases, doctors also prescribe painkillers. Once again, get in touch with your doctor and seek alternative methods to treat a sinus infection.

6. Increase Fluid Intake

A sinus infection is known to dehydrate you heavily, so make sure you drink enough fluids. Apart from drinking lots and lots of water, try to drink some orange juice also as it can help you fight infections and reduce inflammation. Some teas, especially green tea, hot soups, or just warm water, can also provide relief from a sore throat. Avoid having milk as it leads to a build-up of mucus in the sinus cavity. You may also contact your doctor to understand which fluids can help you manage or get rid of the infection.

Tips to Manage a Sinus Infection

Here are a few tips to help you manage a sinus infection while you are breastfeeding.

  • Drink plenty of warm or room temperature liquids throughout the day.
  • Take as much rest as possible.
  • Inhale steam to open up the nasal cavities when your nose is blocked.
  • Never take any medicines without your doctor’s approval. This includes general medication and over-the-counter medication too.
  • Try to keep some distance from the baby while you have a sinus infection. You may limit coming close to him only for breastfeeding. This is because sinus infections can be contagious, and you might end up transmitting it to your baby.
  • Follow your doctors’ instructions to the T.
  • Eat, even if you don’t have an appetite, as you need to keep your energy levels high.

When to Consult a Doctor

For acute sinusitis, there is no need to consult a doctor as it is very common and goes away in a few days. Most times, simple home remedies like inhaling steam, drinking orange juice, green tea, etc. work wonders. But, if you are a new mother, your immune system is still weak, and your body is recovering from the delivery phase. Your baby’s immune system will also be weak; hence, it is recommended that you consult a doctor if you observe any symptoms of a sinus infection or are already suffering from sinusitis.

A sinus infection is one of the most common types of infections that affect women post-pregnancy. When you are breastfeeding, it becomes imperative that you treat it immediately to prevent it from getting transmitted to your baby. It is thus best to consult your doctor, follow his instructions, take rest, eat well, and drink plenty of fluids to bounce back in no time.

References and Resources:

Also Read: Is It Safe to Take Cold Medicine while Breastfeeding?

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