A fungal sinus infection is one of the rarest types of sinus infection. It is caused by fungus in the paranasal sinuses behind the eyes, cheeks, and nasal cavities. This type of infection usually affects people with a compromised immune system or an allergy to the causative fungus; most people are not susceptible to fungus in their environment. However, people in environments with extreme amounts of fungus, such as an advanced mold infestation, are also at risk of developing an infection.
All sinus infections are characterized by pain in the forehead, cheeks, and behind the eyes, and puffy eyes, toothache in the upper jaw, and blocked ears. Nasal congestion and discharge, chronic sore throat, sensitivity to light, and recurrent fever are other common symptoms. In addition to these symptoms, a person suffering from a fungal sinus infection may experience more frequent fever, persistent sore throat, and lethargy. If a sinus infection does not respond to antibiotics, it may be fungal in nature.
If traditional medications have no effect on a sinus infection, an x-ray of the sinuses can help determine whether the infection is fungal. Aspergillus and Curvularia are two types of fungus often responsible for infections. Anti-fungal medication is used to treat them, but recurrence should also be prevented if possible. The home should be inspected for a mold infestation, as excessive fungus in the environment can cause other illnesses. Making sure bedsheets are clean and installing an indoor air purifier can also help.
Because fungal sinus infection most commonly affects those with compromised immune systems, it is important to stay healthy in order to prevent recurrence. Drink plenty of fluids and address other health issues, including excessive stress. Decongestants can also be helpful, as they allow the sinuses to drain. If used at the first sign of congestion, they can even help prevent an infection.