The Right Way To Treat A Sinus Infection
5 min Read Time
Your head is throbbing, especially around your eyes. You cant stop coughing, and for some reason, your breath is terrible. Blowing your nose is a mess.
Bad news: You could have a sinus infection. Most frequently triggered by the common cold, over 30 million American adults are diagnosed with sinusitis yearly.
So, what exactly are sinus infections? How can you tell if you have one? And holy cow how can you feel better as quickly as possible?
There Are Many Different Causes Of Sinus Congestionsome Include:
Extreme nasal congestion can even lead to sinus pain. Sinus pain is a sharp pain located behind the nose and the eyes. It can also cause earaches, toothaches, and headaches. Sinus pain is terrible, to say the least.
I suffer from sinus pain during allergy season, when the air is dry, or when I am experiencing a cold. I always try to pursue natural options before using over-the-counter medication.
Most people will reach for medicine to relieve congestion or sinus pain. However, what if there was a better and quicker option?
In the video below, you will learn a couple of methods to remove nasal congestion quickly. This is excellent for those who react poorly to medication.
How To Tell If These Remedies Are Not Working
You will know if these remedies are effective because you will begin to feel better and your sinuses will be less congested.
However, unlike with antibiotics where symptoms start to diminish quickly, natural remedies typically take longer to work. So you should continue to do these remedies regularly for at least a week or two before determining if they are working.
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Seeking Treatment For Sinusitis
Chronic and recurrent sinusitis can prevent you from being able to breathe out of your nose and have the energy, sleep, and health you need and deserve. This affects your personal and professional life. To put an end to this frustrating cycle, you need professional sinusitis treatment from an Ear, Nose, and Throat doctor.
Schedule an appointment with your ENT if you have had several sinus infections. If an infection is still present after 10 days, or if previous treatments have not been helpful, Capitol Breathe Free is your partner in combating these symptoms. Schedule your appointment today.
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What To Expect At Your Appointment
Because the symptoms of sinusitis overlap with other conditions, seeing a doctor will help narrow down a diagnosis.
Write down all of your symptoms so you come prepared for your appointment. Your doctor will go over your medical history with you to further understand if you have a history of allergies or any past conditions.
What Are The Symptoms Of Sinusitis
You have acute sinusitis when you have had cloudy or colored drainage from your nose for up to four weeks, plus one or more of the following symptoms:
- Stuffy, congested, or blocked nose
- Pain, pressure, or fullness in the face, head, or around the eyes
- Long-lasting cold symptoms
- Symptoms that do not improve within 10 days of getting sick, or initially get better then worsen again
You might have chronic sinusitis if you have at least two of the four symptoms note below for at least 12 weeks. An ENT specialist would also need to see polyps, pus, or thickened mucous in nose, or get a CT scan, to fully diagnose chronic sinusitis. Possible symptoms include:
- Stuff congested, or blocked nose
- Pain, pressure or fullness in the face, head or around the eyes
- Thickened nasal drainage
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First Line Of Defense Against Sinusitis: Nasal Irrigation
One of the simplest, cheapest, and most effective ways to prevent and treat sinus problems is nasal irrigation. Using a homemade solution, you can often relieve sinusitis symptoms, reduce reliance on nasal sprays and antibiotics, and improve your quality of life. At least once a day, follow these steps:
How Is Sinusitis Diagnosed
Often, your healthcare provider can diagnosis sinusitis based on your symptoms and a physical exam. Sometimes other tests are done. These may include:
Cultures from the nose
Sinus computed tomography . This imaging method uses X-rays and computer technology to make images of the body.
Your healthcare provider will figure out the best care based on:
How old you are
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Surgery Is An Option For Severe Cases
If the treatments above are not effective, or if nasal polyps develop and block sinus drainage, surgery may be necessary. Theres good news: Its usually an outpatient procedure. Surgery also may help hone a diagnosis in chronic cases and if you have a deviated nasal septum, which can cause breathing and drainage problems.
Is Your Sinus Infection Acute Or Chronic
A short-term sinus infection is often referred to as acute sinusitis. Most cases of acute sinusitis last about a week, but this type of short-term sinus infection can last up to four weeks. If you suffer from a sinus infection that lasts longer than 12 weeks despite treatment from your doctor, its considered chronic sinusitis.
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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.
Yoga Can Help Drain Mucus From Sinus Passageways
If you are in the midst of a sinus infection, a supported yoga pose where your head is elevated will help you feel better without putting too much pressure on your sinuses, says Leslie Kazadi, a certified yoga therapist who teaches around Los Angeles and online at YogisAnonymous.com.
One pose Kazadi suggests is Supported Reclined Cobblers Pose.
How to Try Supported Reclined Cobblers Yoga Pose
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How To Protect Your Sinuses
Use these tips to reduce inflammation and prevent problems:
- Apply a warm, moist washcloth to your face several times a day to help open the transition spaces.
- Drink plenty of fluids to thin the mucus.
- Inhale steam two to four times per day. Sit in the bathroom with the hot shower running.
- Use a nasal saline spray several times per day.
- Wash your nose with a salt water solution from a neti pot.
- Get a humidifier to moisten the air you breathe and help open sinuses.
If your sinus problems are related to allergies:
- Avoid your allergy triggers.
- Use antihistamines and if needed.
- Talk to your doctor to see if you need prescription medicines, allergy shots, or other forms of “immunotherapy” .
- Lastly, if your sinus problems keep coming back, you can ask your doctor about the pros and cons of surgery to clean and drain the sinuses.
Ford Albritton, MD, director, the Center for Sinus and Respiratory Disease at the Texas Institute, Dallas.
Jordan Josephson, MD, director, NY Nasal & Sinus Center attending physician, Lennox Hill Hospital author, Sinus Relief Now.
Kidshealth.org: âWhen Sinuses Attack.â
National Institutes of Health: âSinusitis.â
WebMD Medical Reference: âWhen a Cold Becomes a Sinus Infection.â
Treatment For Sinus Infection
Whether you have an acute sinus infection or a chronic infection, a number of treatment options can relieve your discomfort. If youre in the early stage of an acute sinus infection, it may be appropriate to start at-home treatments while you monitor your symptoms. If your sinusitis worsens, youll need to call your doctor for medication and further care. Even if youre receiving treatment from your doctor, at-home care can help ease your symptoms.
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Inhale Menthol And Camphor
Another inhaled odor that can help open up sinus passages is menthol, which is an ingredient in popular ointments that are used specifically to treat a stuffy nose. These ointments also contain eucalyptus oil and camphor, which combine with menthol to create a powerful scent that immediately relieves sinus pressure. This ointment can be rubbed on your chest and under your nose to deliver its soothing benefits. Unlike eucalyptus oil, this ointment should not be placed in the mouth.
What Causes Chronic Sinus Infection
Multiple factors acting together usually contribute to chronic sinusitis.
People with allergies are more prone to develop chronic sinusitis. About one in five people with chronic sinusitis also have asthma. This is because the linings of your nose and sinuses are in continuation with the linings of your lungs. These people are also likely to have nasal polyps .
A bacterial or viral infection can also trigger the condition. The infection is often low grade. The bacteria confine themselves in stubborn biofilms, making it difficult for your immune system or antibiotics to find and attack them.
An overlap of additional factors such as smoking, environmental pollutants, and deviated septum, further complicate the picture of chronic sinusitis.
It would be more appropriate to say that if youre already prone to allergies and nasal polyps, it becomes easier for harmful bugs, especially fungi to penetrate your sinuses. Likewise, a weak immune system makes you more susceptible to catch bacterial, viral, or fungal sinus infection.
A sinus that is inflamed and swollen can no longer sweep away the excess mucus and harmful agents due to the blockage of tiny hairs that facilitate this function.
How To Tell If You Have An Actual Sinus Infection
Even though we often say we have a sinus infection even if its just inflammation or an allergic response, there are symptoms of an actual infection that may be treatable with antibiotics. Nasal congestion and pain under the eyes or around the temples are, of course, main symptoms, but others include the loss of the sense of smell, green nasal discharge, mucus dripping down your throat, cough, fever, fatigue, sore throat, and even bad breath.
Sometimes, a sinus infection will clear up without intervention, but if you develop a fever of 100.4 degrees or higher, have your symptoms for 10 or more days, notice that your symptoms are getting worse and are not improved by OTC medications, or you have multiple infections in a years time, you should seek medical treatment as soon as possible.
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What Are The Treatment Options
Sinusitis is treated differently based on the cause. Most cases of acute sinusitis, about 98 percent, are caused by a virus, not bacteria, and should not be treated with antibiotics. Acute viral sinusitis may be treated using pain relievers such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen, steroid nasal sprays, or salt water irrigation in the nose. These treatments are also good options for acute bacterial sinusitis. Most people get better naturally from acute bacterial sinusitis, called watchful waiting, but some patients with acute bacterial sinusitis may get better faster with an antibiotic.
Chronic sinusitis is treated differently than acute sinusitis. Because chronic sinusitis is caused more by inflammation than infection, the treatments for chronic sinusitis aim to control the inflammation. Salt water nasal irrigation and/or nasal steroid sprays are the main treatments for the symptoms of chronic sinusitis. Antibiotics may sometimes be helpful but not always.
Other factors, including allergies, nasal polyps, asthma, and problems with the bodys ability to fight infections, can go along with sinusitis and make it worse unless they are also treated.
X-rays or CT scans of the sinuses are not necessary to diagnose uncomplicated sinusitis if you have the symptoms of sinusitis . If your doctor suspects a complication or if you have repeated episodes or prolonged sinus symptoms, a CT scan of your sinuses may be needed.
Chronic Sinusitis And Sinus Headaches
Sinusitis happens when the sinuses or cavities around the nasal passages become swollen. The sinuses can become inflamed if you have an infection or because of an allergic reaction. The symptoms usually go away within a couple of weeks, but some people experience longer or recurring sinus infections. If you have chronic sinusitis, you could be dealing with symptoms such as nasal discharge, congestion, and pain or sinus headaches for many months.
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Sinus Infection Vs Covid
Some sinus infection and COVID-19 symptoms may overlap. Both illnesses can cause a fever, headaches, nasal congestion, fatigue or a sore throat. Symptoms unique to COVID-19 include body aches, nausea, shortness of breath and vomiting. Learn the difference between the cold, flu and COVID-19 based on your symptoms.
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
You do not need to use all of the solution, but make a fresh solution each time you clean your nose.
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What To Do For Sinus Pressure And Pain At Home
Here are the top 10 at-hometreatments to help ease your sinus pain and inflammation to get rid of your sinus infection faster.