What To Do About Your Stuffy Nose And Congestion
A stuffy nose can be an annoying condition that can linger for days or even weeks. There are many underlying causes for a stuffy nose , but, contrary to popular belief, the nostrils are not clogged by mucus.
This article explores the causes of a stuffy nose and the various drug and non-drug treatments. It also explains when to call a doctor if the symptoms persist or are a sign of something more serious.
What Are Lumbar Epidural Steroid Injections Used For
Healthcare providers use lumbar epidural steroid injections to manage a type of chronic pain known as lumbar radicular pain, which is caused by spinal nerve root inflammation and irritation in your low back. Lumbar radicular pain is often called sciatica. Lumbar radicular pain can cause the following symptoms, which can radiate from your low back down the back of your leg below your knee to your calf and/or foot:
- Muscle weakness.
Many conditions can irritate your spinal nerve roots in your low back and cause lumbar radiculopathy , including:
Other conditions that may be treated with lumbar ESIs include:
- Localized low back pain : Axial low back pain can vary widely and have numerous causes. It can be a sharp or dull pain that you experience constantly or infrequently, and the pain can range from mild to severe.
- Neurogenic claudication: This condition happens from compression of the spinal nerves in your lumbar spine. It can cause pain or tingling in your low back and one or both of your legs, hips and buttocks. These symptoms are especially present when youre standing upright or walking.
How Long Does It Take For A Steroid Shot To Work For A Cold
Although there is no way to precisely predict the bodys response to a cortisone injection, most patients will begin to feel relief of their symptoms within 48 to 72 hours after the injection. When inflammation is severe or if the condition is chronic, the cortisone might need several days to take effect.
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Which Types Of Doctors Treat Sinusitis And Sinus Infections
- Many sinus infections can be treated by your primary care physician or an Internal Medicine doctor.
- However, it is not unusual to consult an ENT specialist,
- Infectious disease specialist,
- Allergist or Immunologist.
Sinus Infection Treatment Options
There are many treatment options for a sinus infection, but the best treatment option varies by the severity of the case. Some acute sinus infections will clear up on their own without any treatment, and you may just think it was a cold. Others require more serious interventions by a healthcare provider.
The standard treatment healthcare providers prescribe for a presumed bacterial sinus infection is an antibiotic. However, if you have a sinus infection caused by a viral infection such as the common cold, your doctor will not prescribe antibiotics as these medications only treat bacterial infections. Instead, you can treat the sinus infection symptomatically until it resolves, with nasal decongestants and antihistamines.
There are plenty of ways to treat symptoms of a sinus infection at home with over-the-counter medications and home remedies. OTC antihistamines block the effects of histamine, helping symptoms like sneezing and runny nose. Simple treatments like drinking water, keeping your sinuses hydrated , and using warm compresses, can also help treat symptoms of a sinus infection.
Keeping your nasal passages clean can help you prevent future sinus infections. If you anticipate having sinus issues during allergy or cold season, flushing out your nasal passages with a saltwater solution can help you avoid the pains of a sinus infection.
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Types Of Nasal Sprays
Nasal steroids are available as prescription and over-the-counter products, and are designed to alleviate symptoms of a variety of conditions, ranging from the common cold to a more serious sinus infection. They are also often recommended to treat more long-term conditions, such as chronic sinusitis. It should be noted that it is not ever safe to share nasal sprays between different people. Here is a brief overview of the different applications of different types of nasal sprays.
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How Can I Safely Take Otc Decongestants
Before you take OTC decongestants, read the directions on the drug facts label. It will tell you how much medicine to take and how often to take it. If you have any questions, call your doctor.
Follow these tips to make sure youre taking the right amount of medicine:
- Take only the amount shown on the medicines label. Dont assume more medicine will work better or quicker. Taking more than the recommended amount can be dangerous.
- If youre taking a prescription medicine, ask your doctor if its okay to also take an OTC decongestant.
- Dont use more than 1 OTC decongestant medicine at a time unless your doctor says its okay. Multiple medicines may have similar active ingredients that add up to be too much medicine.
If using a liquid decongestant, use the measuring spoon that came with the medicine. This spoon is the right size for the dose you need. Dont use a kitchen spoon.
When using decongestants, keep a record of the OTC medicines youre using and when you take them. If you need to go to the doctor, take this list with you.
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Why Do We Suffer From Nasal And Sinus Discomfort
The bodys nasal and sinus membranes have similar responses to viruses, allergic insults and common bacterial infections. Membranes become swollen and congested. This congestion causes pain and pressure mucus production increases during inflammation, resulting in a drippy, runny nose. These secretions may thicken over time, may slow in their drainage, and may predispose to future bacterial infection of the sinuses.
Congestion of the nasal membranes may even block the eustachian tube leading to the ear, resulting in a feeling of blockage in the ear or fluid behind the eardrum. Additionally, nasal airway congestion causes the individual to breathe through the mouth.
Each year, more than 37 million Americans suffer from sinusitis, which typically includes nasal congestion, thick yellow-green nasal discharge, facial pain and pressure. Many do not understand the nature of their illness or what produces their symptoms. Consequently, before visiting a physician, they seek relief for their nasal and sinus discomfort by taking non-prescription or over-the-counter medications.
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What Can I Do To Feel Better
If your doctor has prescribed antibiotics or any other medicines, be sure to follow the directions. Otherwise, sinusitis can last a long time or happen again. Even if you feel better, keep taking the antibiotics until you have finished them as prescribed. This helps to kill all the bacteria causing the infection.
Also be sure to get plenty of rest and drink lots of fluids so that your immune system can work along with the antibiotics to fight and cure the infection.
If you have sinusitis, chances are the type you have is not severe. But its important to see a doctor, especially if your symptoms last or get worse. If you have a bacterial infection, quick treatment can help prevent it from getting worse or spreading. It also will help you get and feel better faster.
What Are The Sinuses How Many Do We Have
A sinus is a hollow, air-filled cavity. For the purposes of this article, a sinus will refer to those hollow cavities that are in the skull and connected to the nasal airway by a narrow hole in the bone . Normally all sinuses are open to the nasal airway through an ostium. Humans have four pair of these cavities each referred to as the:
The four pairs of sinuses are often described as a unit and termed the paranasal sinuses. The cells of the inner lining of each sinus are mucus-secreting cells, epithelial cells, and some cells that are part of the immune system .
Functions of the sinuses include humidifying and warming inspired air, insulation of surrounding structures , increasing voice resonance, and as buffers against facial trauma. The sinuses decrease the weight of the skull. If the inflammation hinders the clearance of mucous or blocks the natural ostium, the inflammation may progress into a bacterial infection.
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Will My Sinus Infection Clear Up On Its Own
The first few weeks of the common cold arent fun, but the acute sinusitis that can pop up afterwards doesnt help either. Sinus congestion and the common cold, unfortunately, go hand in hand. Acute sinusitis frequently is caused by the common cold, but also can be caused by allergies and bacterial and fungal infections.
Sinus infections are caused when the cavities around your nasal passages become inflamed and swollen, which eventually interferes with drainage and causes mucus to build up. This tends to get annoying, because it makes breathing through the nose difficult. It also affects the area around your eyes and face, and can cause a throbbing headache.
When a sinus infection hits, its always worse than what you remembered from the last time you had one. This may give you the idea that you need antibiotics, but most clear up without them. Antibiotics have no effect on viruses and arent recommended within the first week of developing a cold. About 70 percent of sinus infections go away within two weeks without antibiotics.
Consider these other forms of treatments instead of antibiotics:
- Over-the-counter pain relievers. Aspirins, acetaminophen or ibuprofen can help relieve temporary pain.
- Saline nasal spray. This is used to spray into your nose several times a day to rinse your nasal passages. They can help to prevent and treat inflammation.
Antibiotics only will be needed if the infection is severe, recurrent or persistent.
Topics in this Post
Sinus Infection Medications: Medicines That Help Treat Sinusitis
Sydney is a contributing health writer and editor who enjoys shedding light on health topics, making information available to anyone who wants it, and ending stigmas or lack of access to care and treatment.
Po-Chang Hsu, M.D.
Po-Chang Hsu, M.D.
Dr. Hsu received his medical degree from Tufts University in Boston, Massachusetts, and holds a Masters of Science degree from both Harvard University and Tufts University. Outside of the medical profession, Dr. Hsu loves to write, learn new languages, and travel.
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How Can You Tell If You Have An Acute Sinus Infection
Its tempting to label every nasal issue as a sinus infection, but thats not always the case. Common symptoms of acute sinusitis include:
- Headaches and sometimes, toothaches
Many people believe that green snot means you have a bacterial sinus infection, curable only with antibiotics. Not true. Sage-colored mucus is common with viral infections and allergies and can happen when snot sits in your face for a while before being expelled.
A trip to your doctor may be necessary if you have a bacterial infection, but it can often be difficult to distinguish between that and a viral infection. If your symptoms last longer than 10 days or improve before worsening again, call your HCP.
If you suddenly experience any of these symptoms, its a sign to seek medical attention immediately, even if theyve been present for fewer than seven days:
- Abrupt vision changes
- Continual high fever
Why Are Steroid Injections Used
A local steroid injection may be given to reduce inflammation and pain in a joint. Steroid injections may be used for people with rheumatoid arthritis or other causes of joint pain and swelling such as osteoarthritis, gout or frozen shoulder. Steroid injections may also be used for inflammation of soft tissues, such as:
- Foot problems â eg, plantar fasciitis.
The main purpose of the steroid injection is to decrease pain and increase movement and use of the affected area. Steroid injections are usually well tolerated and much less likely than steroid tablets to cause serious side-effects. See the separate leaflet called Oral Steroids.
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- Provides allergy medicine for sneezing, runny nose, itchy nose or throat, and itchy, watery eyes and cold symptoms like sneezing and runny nose.
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- 100-count pack of benadryl ultratabs antihistamine allergy relief tablets each containing 25 mg of the antihistamine diphenhydramine hcl for allergy relief that works when you need it most.
- Active ingredient, diphenhydramine hcl, provides relief for hay fever or other upper respiratory allergy symptoms and cold symptoms like sneezing and runny nose.
- Allergy medicine tablets for multi-symptom allergy relief intended to be used by adults and children ages six and up for relief of both indoor and outdoor allergies.
When Is Surgery Needed
It depends on the cause.
- Infections by bacteria, fungi or viruses
- Small growths called polyps on the lining of your sinuses
- A deviated septum, meaning a crooked wall in between your nostrils
If you donât get relief from your medicine, nasal rinses, or other treatments, tell your doctor. They may send you to a specialist.
Surgery may be an option if your sinusitis is due to a deviated septum, polyps, or other structural problems.
The main goals of sinus surgery are to relieve your symptoms and cut down on how many infections you get. If they keep coming back, chances are thereâs something in your nasal cavity that surgery could fix.
An operation should also help you breathe better through your nose. And if the chronic congestionhas affected your sense of smell or taste, surgery might help with that, too.
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Things To Take Into Consideration
As you compare and contrast your options, it is clear that sinus pressure medicines can be vastly different from each other: this is because different people react differently to certain formulations, so pharmaceutical companies have developed various options to address each persons experience effectively.
Depending on your own bodys needs, as well as your personal preferences, it may be ideal to choose one option over another. Choose the best medicine for sinus pressure by remembering these main considerations when you step into the store.
- Treatment Form. Sinus pressure is the result of an accumulation of mucus, which commonly occurs as a cause of a viral or bacterial infection. Most of the treatments you will find for sinus pressure are geared towards resolving the symptom only and dont actually address the infection that initially caused the problem. Regardless, these products are highly effective at providing temporary relief of sinus congestion discomfort.
Most commonly, sinus pressure remedies come in three forms:
- Pills. Ideal for people on the go, capsules, and tablets are the slowest acting remedy. Despite this, however, they offer the longest-lasting results. Some pills target more than just sinus congestion, making them an effective remedy for holistic relief. Whats more, pills are also a convenient option for people on the go as theyre fairly easy to take.
Related Resources For Sinus Infections
* Prescription savings vary by prescription and by pharmacy, and may reach up to 80% off cash price.
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This article is not medical advice. It is intended for general informational purposes and is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your physician or dial 911.
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Sinus Infection Medication For Bacterial Causes
Bacterial sinus infections are caused by large amounts of foreign bacteria creating colonies in the sinuses, causing inflammation and infection. This happens when you touch your nose, eyes, or ears too often without washing your hands frequently.
There are several bacterial infections that may result in a sinus infection if symptoms worsen over time.
If over-the-counter medications are not working, you may need to seek a prescription for antibiotics as a sinus infection medication. Luckily, our sister site PlushCare gives you access to top doctors who can write prescriptions for many medications, including antibiotics for sinusitismake an appointment through PlushCare to get started.
How Can I Avoid Future Sinus Infections
Once youve had a nasty sinus infection, you wont want to relive the experience. To help prevent them from occurring again, get your annual flu shot and steer clear of people with colds or the flu. Use your humidifier. Live as healthfully as you can get sufficient sleep, reduce stress and eat a wholesome diet with plenty of whole grains, lean proteins and fruits and vegetables. Avoid exposure to secondhand smoke and if you do smoke, take steps to quit. Last, but not least, always wash your hands.
Ultimately, sinusitis is a painful and revolting nuisance. But approaching them with these smart strategies could save you a world of hurt.
This content originally appeared on Sharecare.com.
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