When Should I Worry About Nasal Congestion
Call your physician or an ear, nose, and throat doctor about your own congestion if: Your forehead, eyes, sides of your nose, or cheeks are swollen, or your vision is blurry. Your nasal mucus or coughing discharge is green, yellow, or gray, you also have sinus pain, or there is blood in your mucus or discharge.
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What Causes A Sinus Infection
A sinus infection can be caused by several different things including:
Seasonal allergies A deviated septum: The septum is the part of the nose that divides it into right and left nostrils. Some people have crooked or deviated septums, which makes them more susceptible to sinus infections. Nasal polyps Respiratory tract infections
Sinus infections may be acute or chronic .
How Is Acute Sinusitis Treated
Acute sinusitis is typically a short-term condition that is not too severe. For many people, little or no treatment is needed. Most people get better on their own after seven to 10 days.
Antibiotics are only helpful for bacterial infections. Most sinusitis is due to viruses or other causes that are not cured by antibiotics.
Other treatment options include ways to manage your symptoms. You can:
- Try nasal sprays and decongestants. You should not use over-the-counter medicated nose sprays longer than three days unless your healthcare provider says you should.
- Get extra rest and drink extra fluids.
- Use over-the-counter pain relievers like acetaminophen or ibuprofen if you have significant pain.
- Irrigate your nasal passages with saline solution. Since this is just salt and sterile water applied to the nose for cleaning, you can continue longer than five days.
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Use A Nasal Steroid Spray
Available over the counter, these sprays can help reduce the inflammation that adds to congestion. Sometimes the inflammatory reaction is self-perpetuating, Kern says. The 2015 sinus inflammation and congestion treatment guidelines from the American Academy of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery Foundation advises using local steroid treatments and, if necessary, antibiotics to break the cycle.
And while nasal steroid sprays and saline sprays are both helpful, Kern stresses that other nasal sprays, such as decongestant sprays, can make the problem worse if you rely on them consistently.
What Causes Sinus Pain
Sinus pain happens when there is inflammation or irritation in your sinus cavities.
Your sinuses are hollow spaces in your facial bones that are lined with membranes that secrete mucus. Sinus pain is often a result of inflammation that blocks mucus from draining and leads to pain.
Sinus swelling can follow viral illnesses, including the common cold, or it can be due to mucus production from allergies or breathing in polluted air that leads to irritation. It can also happen if there are nasal blockages due to abnormal growths called nasal polyps or structural abnormalities, such as a deviated septum, that make you prone to congestion.
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Sinus Massage Techniques That Reduce Congestion
The paranasal sinuses are small, air-filled spaces in your skull. They help filter and moisten the air you breathe and lighten the weight of the skull. The paranasal sinuses also help produce the sound of your voice and provide support for your face and eyes.
Whenever youre sick, the sinuses become obstructed with mucus. This blockage causes congestion and can lead to intense pressure and headaches. While there are nasal sprays and medications to treat symptoms, some simple massage techniques at home can provide you with relief.
How To Get Rid Of Sinus Congestion
If you struggle with chronic sinus infections or allergies, then you know exactly how hard it can be to get rid of sinus congestion. You also know that wanting to get rid of congestion means more than just getting rid of your stuffy nose this common symptom can lead to other frustrating health issues.
For example, congestion that wont go away can quickly lead to headaches that wont go away. If you are congested, you are more likely to snore, which in turn makes you more likely to feel fatigued during the day. Even congestion and nausea have been linked.
Fortunately, there are many home remedies and medical treatments available to combat congestion. The hard part is often just finding what works for you. Read on to discover what options are available to you.
Already gone through all the tried-and-true home and OTC treatments with no results? Kaplan Sinus Relief may still be able to help you get rid of sinus congestion. Simply skip to the section on balloon sinuplasty for more information.
General Sinus Face Massage
To start, place your four fingers on each of your temples and gently massage in a circular motion. If you feel a tense spot, hold and breathe for several seconds. You can continue along parts of your forehead and hairline.
Next, take your thumb and index finger and place them on your eyebrow closest to your nose while gently pinching down. Hold this position for several seconds. Slowly work your way across the eyebrow toward your ear.
Then take four fingers and place them on the inside of your cheekbone near the bottom of your nose. Gently press and drag your fingers outward. Repeat several times.
As you finish toward the outside of your ear, gently massage the temporomandibular joint , which connects the lower jaw to the skull. If you cant find it, open your mouth and you should be able to feel it protrude out.
Finally, make a V with your fingers by separating your middle and index fingers from your ring and pinky fingers. Bring your fingers to your ear and slowly massage this area in an upward and downward motion.
When To Seek Medical Care
See a doctor if you have:
- Severe symptoms, such as severe headache or facial pain.
- Symptoms that get worse after improving.
- Symptoms lasting more than 10 days without getting better.
- Fever longer than 3-4 days.
You should also seek medical care if you have had multiple sinus infections in the past year.
This list is not all-inclusive. Please see a doctor for any symptom that is severe or concerning.
Other conditions can cause symptoms similar to a sinus infection, including:
- Seasonal allergies
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Steam For Sinus Headache
Taking a facial steam helps to moisten the nasal passages, clear the blocked nose and open up the congested sinus cavities. This eventually helps you drain out the mucus and breathe easily. It is one of the instantly effective home remedies for sinus headache.
- Take some water enough for a facial steam and bring it to boil.
- Once the water is boiled, remove from the flame and add few drops of essential oil .
- Lean forward towards the bowl containing hot water. Make sure your face is at least 30cms away from the water to avoid burns on your face.
- Cover your head with a towel or bedsheet in such a way that the steam vapours donât escape.
- Now breathe through your nostrils and feel the steam going in them.
- Release out from your mouth. Repeat this for 5 counts. Now reduce the inhaling and exhaling to 2 counts.
- Continue doing this for 10 minutes or until the water is steaming.
- Make sure to blow your nose during and after the treatment to remove the mucus draining.
- Continue doing this for 1 to 2 minute or until you can tolerate.
- Remove the towel and relax to feel calm and cooler.
- Repeat the process again one more time.
- Inhale the vapours of hot tea or soup to stimulate a steam treatment when you are at work or outside. You can repeat this treatment once in every 2 hours for relief.
Pressure Points To Drain Sinuses
In addition to manual massages, you can also access sinus pressure points using a technique called acupressure. This ancient healing technique originated in China and uses the same principles as acupuncture except you use your fingers to trigger the pressure points instead of needles.
Here are some pressure points to trigger to help relieve sinus pain and congestion. Simply press and gently massage these areas for several minutes or until you feel relief.
- Acupresssure Point BL2: Located where your eyebrow meets your nose, this pressure point can help relieve frontal headaches.
- Acupresssure Point GB20: Located at the back of your head where the skull meets neck muscles, this pressure point can relieve midline headaches.
- Acupresssure Point L3: Located on your foot between the tendons of your big toe and second toe, this pressure point can help with headaches.
- Acupresssure Point LI4: Located on your hand between the thumb and index finger, this pressure point can help relieve sinus congestion.
- Acupresssure Point LI 20: Located at the base of your nose, this pressure point can help relieve sinus pressure.
- Acupresssure Point SI18: Located where your cheekbones meet your nose, this pressure point can relieve sinus congestion.
While at-home remedies can provide relief from mild sinus infections and sinus-related congestion, you should see an otolaryngologist for more chronic symptoms. To learn more about what these specialists do, visit our blog on ENTs.
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How You Can Treat Sinusitis Yourself
You can often treat mild sinusitis without seeing a GP by:
- getting plenty of rest
- taking painkillers, such as paracetamol or ibuprofen
- avoiding allergic triggers and not smoking
- cleaning your nose with a salt water solution to ease congestion
If you have a high temperature or you do not feel well enough to do your normal activities, try to stay at home and avoid contact with other people until you feel better.
You do not need to use all of the solution, but make a fresh solution each time you clean your nose.
When Should I Call My Healthcare Provider About Chronic Sinusitis
Remember, your health is your business. You do not have to put up with feeling ill for long periods of time. Pay attention to how long you have sinus symptoms because this is something that your care provider will ask you. Keep track of things that you have done to make yourself feel better. If medications are prescribed, make sure you store them and take them as instructed.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 06/04/2020.
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Cleaning Inside Your Nose
You can clean the inside of your nose using either a home-made salt water solution or a solution made with sachets of ingredients bought from a pharmacy.
To make the solution at home, mix a teaspoon of salt and a teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda into a pint of boiled water that has been left to cool. To rinse your nose:
- wash and dry your hands
- stand over a sink, cup the palm of one hand and pour a small amount of the solution into it
- sniff the water into one nostril at a time
Repeat these steps until your nose feels more comfortable . You should make a fresh solution each day. Don’t re-use a solution made the day before.
Special devices you can use instead of your hand are also available for pharmacies. If you choose to use one of these, make sure you follow the manufacturer’s instructions about using and cleaning it.
How Long Does Nasal Congestion Last
How long a stuffy nose lasts depends on what is causing the sinus congestion. If, for example, the congestion is caused by a cold or the flu, it will probably endure for about as long as the illness lasts, which could be anywhere from 5 to 10 days or longer. Whereas, if a stuffy nose is the result of seasonal allergies, symptoms may last much longer and reappear with certain environmental triggers.
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Invest In A Humidifier
Humidifiers add moisture to the air, which may help reduce inflammation and open up your nasal passages. For a humidifier to be the most effective, Abi Hachem says it should be placed as close as possible to you in the same room so it can deliver the humidity into your nasal cavity.
Its also important to keep your humidifier clean to prevent bacteria and fungi from building up in the tank and being released into the air, potentially causing lung problems. To clean your humidifier, follow the manufacturers instructions. The EPA recommends that you empty the tank and dry all surfaces of the humidifier every day.
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How Is A Sinus Infection Diagnosed And Treated
Your doctor may prescribe medication. They may recommendantibiotics if your symptoms go on for more than 10 days. , antihistamines, and other drugs help lessen the swelling in your sinuses and nasal passages.
Steam and hot showers can help you loosen mucus. Your doctor may also suggest nasal saline to wash mucus from your nose.
In rare cases, when a sinus infection doesnt go away, long-term antibiotics or surgery may be needed.
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How To Treat Severe Sinus Congestion
How do you treat severe sinus congestion? With spring and spring allergy season headed our way, if thats not a question youre asking, then perhaps its time to start. Because while for some people this seasonal shift means dealing with the occasional runny or stuffy nose, for others it heralds months of severe sinus congestion.
What do you do if your sinus congestion refuses to go away? What if your sinus congestion becomes so bad that it begins to interfere with your day-to-day life? Over-the-counter or home treatments may be able to treat your garden variety sinus congestion, but if your sinus congestion does not abate, you might be dealing with severe sinus congestion. If thats the case, its time to reach out to Kaplan Sinus Relief for help.
How Is Sinusitis Treated
Sinusitis is treated in several ways, each depending on how severe the case of sinusitis is.
A simple sinusitis infection is treated with:
- Drinking fluids .
If symptoms of sinusitis don’t improve after 10 days, your doctor may prescribe:
- Oral or topical decongestants.
- Prescription intranasal steroid sprays. .
Long-term sinusitis may be treated by focusing on the underlying condition . This is usually treated with:
- Intranasal steroid sprays.
- Topical antihistamine sprays or oral pills.
- Leukotriene antagonists to reduce swelling and allergy symptoms.
- Rinsing the nose with saline solutions that might also contain other types of medication.
When sinusitis isn’t controlled by one of the above treatments, a CT scan is used to take a better look at your sinuses. Depending on the results, surgery may be needed to correct structural problems in your sinuses. This is most likely to happen if you have polyps and/or a fungal infection.
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Get Your Allergies Under Control
Katie Stavert, 30, of Los Alamos, New Mexico, has already had two procedures to open up her sinuses, but she still needs to take allergy medications and saline solutions if she wants to keep her sinuses clear. Im allergic to everything, she says, but especially sagebrush and trees.
Allergies can definitely contribute to sinus congestion. Jeff Culp, MD, an allergist and assistant professor of medicine at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in Nashville, Tennessee, tells people to figure out whats triggering their allergies, then plan appropriately either by taking allergy medication or avoiding the allergens altogether.
Natural Remedies For Congestion
A nose and sinus condition can make you feel your absolute worst, causing painful pressure behind your eyes and making your nose run endlessly. Over 35 million people suffer from chronic sinusitis each year, making it one of the most common health complaints in the United States.
Although sinus problems can be uncomfortable, there are effective remedies that can help alleviate pain and discomfort. Here are five effective home remedies that can help you tackle the problem naturally:
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When Should I Call My Healthcare Provider About Sinusitis
Though many cases of acute sinusitis can improve with little to no treatment, you should call the doctor if you experience any painful symptoms. An antibiotic may be needed for a bacterial infection.
If you find that your sinuses do not feel better after 10 days, symptoms have gotten worse, or you have symptoms that initially improved and then worsen five to six days later , you should contact your healthcare provider. Symptoms that continue after about four weeks may mean you have subacute or chronic sinusitis. If you develop other types of symptoms, such as severe eye swelling, or you are just not sure what you should do next, call your provider.
If you have facial pain, and you have healthy teeth, you can try things like nasal rinses and warm, wet washcloths on your face to see if you find some relief. If so, and if your symptoms go away in about 10 days, you probably have had acute sinusitis and it has gotten better on its own. If not, and you continue to feel ill after three or four weeks, call your provider.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 06/04/2020.