Saline Spray And Sinus Rinses
Using a saline solution, rinse your nose and sinuses with a neti pot or other irrigation system.
You can buy saline solution over the counter or make your own at home with distilled water and saline packets. Saline spray also comes in small bottles that you can spray directly into your nose.
Sinus rinses like these work by flushing mucus out of the nose and sinuses to keep things flowing freely.
Saline also has a natural decongesting effect, meaning it shrinks your swollen nasal tissues and makes it easier for you to breathe through your nose!
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 initially improving.
- Symptoms lasting more than 10 days without improvement.
- 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
Sinus Infection Home Remedies And Prevention
Along with treatment, specific home remedies can help you improve faster and keep the symptoms at a tolerable level for the duration that the sinus infection exists. Also, you can even give yourself a better chance to prevent obtaining an acute sinus infection altogether with proper lifestyle changes in place.
For home remedies, rest and eating healthy is the best way to recover promptly. When the body is fighting off a sinus infection, or any infection for that matter, it needs proper rest and nutrients to do so. With that said, there are several quick, easy things to do while you rest, such as:
- Stay hydrated
- Clean out your nasal passageway
- Elevate your head while sleeping
- Place a humidifier in your home
- Take hot showers
Ultimately, it comes down to the focus on relieving the pressure built up in your sinuses. The best way to do that is to keep your nasal passageway from getting clogged. Using a warm compress, placing a humidifier in your home and elevating your head while resting is all excellent tactic to implement to keep the nasal passageway clear and breathing easily.
So how do you prevent a sinus infection from occurring in the first place? While it is not always possible to avoid, there are precautions you can take to help minimize your risk, including:
- Receiving a flu shot
- Keeping your distance from others who are sick
- Planning for an allergy attack
- Practice good hygiene
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Types Of Sinus Infections: Chronic Vs Acute
There are four types of sinus infections. These classifications depend on the length and frequency of the infection:
- Acute sinusitis.This type of sinus infection lasts only for a short time, defined by the American Academy of Otolaryngology as less than 4 weeks. This short-term infection is usually part of a cold or other respiratory illness. It may also be caused by a bacterial infection .
- Subacute sinusitis. A subacute sinus infection lasts between 4 and 12 weeks .
- Recurrent acute sinusitis. An acute sinus infection is considered recurrent if the infection returns four or more times within a year, with each infection lasting 7 days or more.
- Chronic sinusitis.Chronic sinus infections last for more than 12 weeks or continue to recur.
Many sinus infection symptoms are common in both acute and chronic forms. Seeing a doctor is the best way to learn if you have an infection, find the cause, and get treatment.
For cases of acute bacterial sinus infections, these symptoms last at least 10 days without improving, or they worsen within 10 days after seeming to improve. In this case, its important to talk with a doctor, such as a general practitioner or an ear, nose, and throat doctor , to get a diagnosis and treatment plan.
Learn more about the symptoms of a sinus infection below.
When Should You Use Antibiotics
You usually need an antibiotic when you have an infection that is caused by bacteria, and the infection is not going away on its own. This may be the case when:
- Your symptoms last more than 10 days.
- Your symptoms start to get better, but then get worse again.
- Your symptoms are very severe. You should get immediate treatment if:
- You have severe pain and tenderness in the area around your nose and eyes.
- You have signs of a skin infectionsuch as a hot, red rash that spreads quickly.
- You have a fever over 102°F.
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Treatments For Sinus Infections Other Than Antibiotics
#1: Saline Nasal Wash
Saline nasal wash can be a great way to thin out the mucous in the sinuses enough to clear out the blockage. I recommend starting this early on in the course of the illness to prevent the infection from worsening.
You can even make this at home using 2 cups of water and a 1/2 teaspoon of salt. I would add a 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of baking soda to prevent burning that can occur with use. There are also plenty of over the counter saline nasal sprays that you can purchase. You can use this 4-6 times per day.
Vaporizers are great because they can also thin out the mucous and make you feel a lot better. An easy home remedy, steam is probably the best way to use this treatment. Beware if you are an asthmatic as the steam could cause worsening of the asthma symptoms.
#3: Steroid Nasal Spray
Steroid nasal sprays such as Flonase have been my go to remedy recently and the great news is that they are now over the counter. The general recommendation is to use 1-2 sprays per nostril daily.
But I have found great relief using 2 sprays in each nostril twice daily. At these higher doses it is important to remember that you should use this short term, no more than 5-7 days.
These medications can significantly reduce inflammation allowing the congestion blockage to clear and significantly alleviate symptoms.
Guaifenesin such as Mucinex can certainly break up the mucous, allowing the congestion to clear more quickly.
Research Into Antibiotics And Sinus Infections
The guidelines were triggered, in part, by studies finding that antibiotics may not make a difference. About 60% to 70% of people with sinus infections recover without antibiotics, according to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology.
In one study of symptom relief, patients given antibiotics generally did no better than patients not given antibiotics.
This study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, observed 240 patients with sinusitis. They were given one of four treatments: antibiotics alone, nasal steroid spray alone to reduce tissue swelling, both antibiotics and the spray, or no treatment.
Patients who got no treatment were as likely to get better than those who got the antibiotics. The nasal spray seemed to help people with less severe symptoms at the beginning of their sinus problem, and seemed to make those with more intense congestion worse.
The patients all had sinus symptoms that suggested a bacterial infection. Sinus problems are also caused by viruses, for which antibiotics definitely offer no help.
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When Antibiotics Are In Order
The main reason to prescribe antibiotics is for patient comfort, Dr. Sindwani says. The medical field used to be more convinced than it is today than untreated sinusitis would inevitably become a chronic issue, he says.
We dont think that way as much, he says. We dont know that an untreated acute sinusitis, if left untreated, will grumble along and cause people to have a chronic sinus infection.
Some people think thats two separate things, with chronic sinusitis more likely due to underlying issues like allergies or immune problems.
Is It What Youre Eating
Eating crappy food-like substances makes us sick.
Eat a diet rich in whole, real, fresh foods.
Eat lots of fresh vegetables and fresh fruits.
Dont eat packaged crapola.
Equally important, though, is not to stress about food.
Food should bring you good nutrients and also bring you pleasure.
Enjoy what you eat.
At the same time, you have to stop with the Twinkies and the Diet Coke.
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Using Verified Home Remedies
Runny Nose And Postnasal Drip
When you have a sinus infection, you may need to blow your nose often because of nasal discharge, which can be cloudy, green, or yellow. This discharge comes from your infected sinuses and drains into your nasal passages.
The discharge may also bypass your nose and drain down the back of your throat. You may feel a tickle, an itch, or even a sore throat.
This is called postnasal drip, and it may cause you to cough at night when youre lying down to sleep, and in the morning after getting up. It may also cause your voice to sound hoarse.
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Consider Using A Supplement Such As The Enzyme Bromelain
Bromelain is a mixture of enzymes found in the pineapple plant that is sold as a dietary supplement. According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health , you can get it as a powder, cream, tablet, or capsule, sometimes in combination with other ingredients.
According to a research published in the journal Laryngoscope, bromelain has been studied for sinusitis because it is thought to be effective in taming inflammation. A small number of double-blind studies has found bromelain improves sinus symptoms more than a placebo, the review found.
Research published in Alternative Medicine Review indicated that oral doses of bromelain are typically from 500 to 1000 milligrams per day, but some people take 2000 mg.
Although bromelain is natural, that doesnt mean there cant be side effects. The NCCIH cautions that some people experience allergic reactions, GI issues, menstrual problems, and an increased heart rate.
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Common Antibiotics For Sinus Infections
Antibiotics may be prescribed when symptoms of a sinus infection warrant such treatment. Common antibiotics for sinus infection include:
- Levaquin : Although this drug is often prescribed as a first line of therapy for sinusitis, it has serious side effects and should only be used as a last resort.
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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.
Try Quercetin A Powerful Herb Youve Likely Never Heard Of
Quercetin is a natural plant component found in everything from onions and apples to green tea and red wine. Like many plant ingredients, it is an antioxidant. For sinus problems, quercetin has also been found to stabilize the cells in the body that release histamine the chemical that stimulates mucus secretion in the sinuses.
The Alternative Medicine Review article recommends quercetin as helpful for sinusitis, suggesting a typical oral dose of 400 to 500 mg taken three times per day.
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But Sometimes Antibiotics For Sinus Infections Are Needed
So how does one judge when it is appropriate to prescribe antibiotics for a sinus infection? There are several sets of official guidelines, which are all similar. When a patient has thick, colorful nasal discharge and/or facial pressure or pain for at least 10 days, they meet criteria for antibiotic treatment. If a patient has had those symptoms, but the symptoms seemed to start improving and then got worse again, then even if its been less than 10 days, they meet criteria for antibiotic treatment.
The authors, however, also suggest that doctors discuss watchful waiting with patients and explain that most sinus infections clear up on their own in one to two weeks, and its a safe option to hold off on antibiotics. The symptoms can then be treated with a cocktail of over-the-counter medications and supportive care, like nasal saline irrigation, nasal steroid sprays, decongestants, and pain medications.
Of course, many patients expect and demand antibiotics for sinus infections, and even those who are open to watchful waiting may hear about the rare but possible complications of things like, oh, brain abscess, and opt to treat.
In the case of my patient above, she met criteria for treatment. She weighed the watchful waiting option against the potential risks of antibiotics for her sinus infection, and chose the prescription. I can tell you from very close follow-up that she improved quickly, though in truth, we will never really know if she would have gotten better anyway.
Sinus Infection Home Remedies Recommended By A Doctor
Philip Scolaro, MD
You probably dont give too much thought to your ability to breathe through your nose until you wake up with a sinus infection and that ability is gone!
Sinus infections, sometimes called acute sinusitis, can steal your joy pretty quickly.
A lot of viruses start with nasal symptoms. If you have a scratchy throat, congestion, and a runny nose, youve probably got a virus on your hands.
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What Is A Chronic Sinus Infection
The sinuses are small cavities in the skull that are normally filled with air. They produce mucus, which helps keep the nasal passages clear of allergens and pollutants. If all goes well, mucus drips harmlessly down the back of your throat, and you dont even notice it.
When you have sinusitis, the tissues that line your sinus cavities become inflamed. In some cases this swelling blocks off the sinuses, trapping mucus and causing a variety of annoying symptoms.
This can cause pain and pressure, as your sinuses arent able to drain normally. If symptoms linger, chronic sinusitis can develop, lasting for several weeks and even lingering and causing misery for years.
Can A Sinus Infection Go Away Without Antibiotics
Sinus infections are an incredibly common urgent care condition. Most cases of sinusitis are viral, and will clear up without antibiotics. That said, its important to know when to contact a doctor. Sinusitis will typically follow the common cold, but may also be caused by allergens and environmental irritants, such as pollution. 70% of the time, acute sinusitis will clear up on its own within two weeks of infection. If it hasnt cleared in two weeks, the infection may be chronic, at which point its a good idea to see a doctor and determine the proper course of treatment.
Because sinusitis is normally viral, antibiotics should not be the first method for treatment. In fact, only 2-10% of sinus infections are bacterial. Inappropriate use of antibiotics will simply foster the development of drug-resistant superbugs, increase antibiotic resistance, and cost more money- all while potentially doing nothing to clear your sinus infection.
Apart from getting enough sleep, what are some home remedies that can facilitate the healing process? There are various treatments that can boost your immune system, soothe symptoms and speed up healing.
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How Is Sinus Infection Diagnosed
Diagnosis depends on symptoms and requires an examination of the throat, nose and sinuses. Your allergist will look for:
- Discolored nasal discharge
- Bad Breath
If your sinus infection lasts longer than eight weeks, or if standard antibiotic treatment is not working, a sinus CT scan may help your allergist diagnose the problem. Your allergist may examine your nose or sinus openings. The exam uses a long, thin, flexible tube with a tiny camera and a light at one end that is inserted through the nose. It is not painful. Your allergist may give you a light anesthetic nasal spray to make you more comfortable.
Mucus cultures: If your sinus infection is chronic or has not improved after several rounds of antibiotics, a mucus culture may help to determine what is causing the infection. Most mucus samples are taken from the nose. However, it is sometimes necessary to get mucus directly from the sinuses.
Knowing what kind of bacteria is causing the infection can lead to more effective antibiotic therapy. A fungus could also cause your sinus infection. Confirming the presence of fungus is important. Fungal sinus infection needs to be treated with antifungal agents, rather than antibiotics. In addition, some forms of fungal sinus infection allergic fungal sinus infection, for example do not respond to antifungal agents and often require the use of oral steroids.