When Systems Go Awry
But with illness, that drainage system can stop functioning properly. Congestion, for instance, prevents the sinuses from draining through the nose. And the mucus that develops during illness is thicker and heavier than usual. This creates a situation in which higher quantities of thicker mucus must travel down your throat. We call this post-nasal drip, a condition that poses its own set of symptoms, including:
- A cough that is frequently worse at night
- Nausea caused by excess mucus entering the stomach
- Bad breath and/or an unpleasant smell in the nose
- Frequent throat clearing, spitting, or swallowing
- Sore, itchy throat
As mentioned earlier, a scratchy throat can be the result of many different causes, including mold exposure, tonsilitis, and allergies. The best rule of thumb is this: if youre suffering from the symptoms of sinusitis, your throat discomfort is likely the result of post-nasal drip.
Sore Throat Remedies From An Ent
Sore throat home remedies can be effective for minor health concerns, but there are times when you need to see a doctor. Call an ENT for an appointment if you are experiencing any of these conditions:
- The sore throat doesnt go away after a few days
- Your discomfort is increasing
- You have a high fever
- White spots are visible on the tonsils
- Difficulty breathing or swallowing
Your ENT will complete a diagnosis to identify the cause of your sore throat. Then, a treatment plan can be designed to help you heal quickly. Common treatments include:
- Antibiotics: If the sore throat is caused by a bacterial infection, such as strep throat, then antibiotics might be needed to clear up the infection.
- Surgery: When a sore throat persists or recurs several times a year, then a tonsillectomy might be recommended.
- Biopsy: Sometimes, a sore throat could be a symptom of cancer or other serious health conditions. A biopsy might be recommended for painful growths in the throat.
Warm Liquids And Certain Foods
Warm liquids such as tea and coffee can greatly help soothe a sore throat. But its important to remember to limit your caffeine intake and to stay hydrated. If you are going to drink warm liquids, non-caffeinated tea with honey is a great option. Eating certain foods, including spicy foods, can also help break up your congestion, which may temporarily help reduce post-nasal drip.
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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.
What Sinus Issues Cause Sore Throat Symptoms
Sinus infections frequently cause swelling and limit proper airflow through the sinus and nasal air passages. This blockage then causes drainage, congestion and further irritation. When an infection in the sinuses continues or returns for many weeks, it can develop into chronic sinusitis. Sinusitis can be very difficult to diagnose as an underlying cause, but an experienced ENT doctor will be able to address this problem to relieve a sore throat.
Certain bacterial infections are known for having a particular effect on the throat, causing pain and other sore throat symptoms. Some of the most common bacterial infections that can cause sore throat include strep throat, tonsillitis, whooping cough and diphtheria. These infections will need to be diagnosed and treated by a doctor in order to heal and relieve your symptoms.
Nasal issues that irritate the nose and cause extra mucus production or drainage can be at fault for your sore throat. Problems like enlarged turbinates, nasal polyps, and even a deviated septum can cause inflammation, irritation, and ultimately result in the congestion or post-nasal drip that can cause a sore throat.
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/11drink Lots Of Fluids
Drinking enough fluids can prevent dehydration and also thin mucus. Water is your best bet when it comes to staying well hydrated. Though you can also sip other things like juices and teas.
You can try honey and lemon tea as it can help break congestion and can also ease a sore throat. Hot soups can also promote nasal drainage and make breathing easier.
One must avoid alcohol if they have a cold as consuming alcohol can lead to dehydration.
How To Use Mucinex
Take this medication by mouth with or without food, as directed by your doctor, usually every 12 hours with a full glass of water. If you are self-treating, follow all directions on the product package. If you have any questions, ask your doctor or pharmacist.
Dosage is based on your age, medical condition, and response to treatment. Do not take more than 2400 milligrams in 24 hours. Do not increase your dose or take this drug more often than directed.
Do not crush or chew this medication. Doing so can release all of the drug at once, increasing the risk of side effects. Also, do not split the tablets unless they have a score line and your doctor or pharmacist tells you to do so. Swallow the whole or split tablet without crushing or chewing.
Drink plenty of fluids while taking this medication. Fluids will help to break up mucus and clear congestion.
Tell your doctor if your condition returns, or if it is accompanied by fever, severe sore throat, rash, persistent headache, or if it persists or worsens after 7 days. These may be signs of a serious medical problem. Seek immediate medical attention if you think you may have a serious medical problem.
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What Causes Sinus Infections And Sinusitis
Causes of Acute Sinus Infections
- Acute sinusitis usually follows a viral infection in the upper respiratory tract, but allergy-causing substances or pollutants may also trigger acute sinusitis. A Viral infection damages the cells of the sinus lining, leading to inflammation. The lining thickens, obstructing the nasal passage. This passage connects to the sinuses. The obstruction disrupts the process that removes bacteria normally present in the nasal passages, and the bacteria begin to multiply and invade the lining of the sinus. This causes the symptoms of sinus infection. Allergens and pollutants produce a similar effect.
- Bacteria that normally cause acute sinusitis are Streptococcus pneumoniae, Haemophilus influenzae, and Moraxella catarrhalis. These microorganisms, along with Staphylococcus aureus and some anaerobes , are involved in chronic sinusitis.
Causes of Chronic Sinus Infections
- Chronic sinus infections are caused by viruses, bacteria, allergens, pollutants, and fungal infections, especially people with diseases that weaken the immune system, for example, HIV/AIDS, leukemia and other cancers, and diabetes.
- Medications that are designed to modify the immune system may increase the risk of developing sinus infections.
- Ongoing bad breath unrelated to dental problems
People who have facial pain, headaches, and fever may indicate a sinus infection.
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Lozenges Or Cough Drops
Suck on lozenges or cough drops to keep the throat moist. Some brands have topical anesthetics, which will ease throat pain at least temporarily and last longer than sprays.
- Lozenges with menthol also can feel refreshing and ease sore throat symptoms.
- Young children and toddlers should not be given lozenges as they can be a choking hazard.
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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.
What Is A Sinus Infection Or Sinusitis
Inflammation of the air cavities within the passages of the nose is referred to as sinusitis. Sinusitis can be caused by infection , but also can be caused by allergy and chemical irritation of the sinuses. A sinus infection occurs when a virus, bacterium, or fungus grows within a sinus.
Sinusitis is one of the more common conditions that can afflict people throughout their lives. Sinusitis commonly occurs when environmental pollens irritate the nasal passages, such as with hay fever. Sinusitis can also result from irritants, such as chemicals or the use and/or abuse of over-the-counter nasal sprays, and illegal substances that may be snorted or inhaled through the nose. About 30 million adults have “sinusitis.” Colds differ from sinusitis and are only caused by viruses and last about seven to 10 days while sinusitis may have many different causes , and usually last longer with more pronounced and variable symptoms.
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Which Home Remedies And Otc Medications Soothe Sinus Infections And Sinusitis Symptoms And Headache Pain
Home care can help relieve sinus infection or sinusitis symptoms, open the sinuses, and alleviate dryness.
Home Remedies to Promote Drainage
- Drink plenty of water and hydrating beverages such as hot tea.
- Inhale steam two to four times per day by leaning over a bowl of hot water or using a steam vaporizer. Inhale the steam for about 10 minutes. Taking a hot, steamy shower may also work. Mentholated preparations, such as Vicks Vapo-Rub, can be added to the water or vaporizer to aid in opening the passageways.
OTC Medications to Thin Mucus
Expectorants are medications that help expel mucus from the lungs and respiratory passages. They help thin mucous secretions, enhancing drainage from the sinuses. The most common is guaifenesin . OTC sinus medications also can combine decongestants and cough suppressants to reduce symptoms and eliminate the need for the use of many prescription medications. Read label ingredients to find the right combination of ingredients or ask the pharmacist.
OTC Medications to Relieve Pain
Pain medication such as ibuprofen and naproxen can reduce pain and inflammation. These medications help to open the airways by reducing swelling. Acetaminophen can be used for pain and fever but does not help with inflammation.
Nasal Saline Irrigation
There are several methods of nasal irrigation, and a popular sinus remedy is the Neti-pot, a ceramic pot that looks like a cross between a small teapot and Aladdin’s magic lamp.
Does Apple Cider Vinegar Work For Postnasal Drip
According to anecdotal evidence, apple cider vinegar can help postnasal drip.
Some people breathe in apple cider vinegar by sniffing the bottle. Others drink diluted apple cider vinegar in tea or warm water. The idea is that the strong odor and taste of apple cider vinegar can loosen mucus.
But theres no evidence that this method works. Apple cider vinegar for postnasal drip has never been studied. Additionally, drinking apple cider vinegar can damage your teeth, especially if its undiluted.
If you want to use this remedy, do so with caution.
In addition to home remedies, you can try over-the-counter treatments. These remedies are available at the drugstore or grocery store without a prescription.
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When To See A Doctor For Sinus Pain
If your sinus symptoms are not getting better with at-home treatments, and if your sinus symptoms last longer than seven to 10 days, you should see a doctor for treatment. Allina Health has many convenient care options for care, from online visits to walk-in care, to help you get better fast.
If you have frequent or reoccurring sinus infections, you may want to see an ear, nose and throat for your treatment options.
What Home Remedies Help Soothe Sinus Infection Or Sinusitis Symptoms
Sinus infections caused by viruses can use home treatments such as pain and fever medications , decongestants, and mucolytics. In addition, some health care professionals suggest nasal irrigation or a sinus rinse solution to help relieve symptoms of sinus infections, even chronic sinusitis symptoms. This irrigation is accomplished with a “Neti-Pot” or a sinus rinse kit . The last reference of this article shows a video of a sinus rinse procedure. In 2012, the FDA issued a warning about the use of Neti-Pots. The FDA cautions people not to use untreated tap water for rinsing, as contaminated tap water rinses lead to two deaths.
Bacterial and fungal sinus infections usually require antibiotic or antifungal therapy so home treatments without them are often not successful. However, some authors suggest home treatments may reduce symptoms after medical therapy has begun some healthcare professionals recommend nasal irrigation after sinus surgery.
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When To See A Doctor About Throat Pain
Dr. Allan says to use common sense when deciding whether to seek out medical care.
- Have throat pain thats severe, prolonged or not improving, or stretches into your ear.
- Have trouble swallowing, breathing or opening your mouth.
- Are coughing up blood or have blood in your saliva.
- Feel enlarged lymph nodes, or lumps, in your neck.
- Have white patches on the back of your throat or a rash, possible signs of strep throat or scarlet fever.
- Have a high fever.
- Lose your voice for more than a week or two.
And remember, when it comes to illnesses, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of hot toddies. Wash your hands often. And if you do get sick, Dr. Allan advises immediately replacing your toothbrush with a fresh, germ-free one.
How Can Sinus Infections Or Sinusitis Be Prevented
Prevention of a sinus infection depends upon its cause.
- Avoid contracting upper respiratory tract infections. Maintain strict hand washing habits and avoid people who are suffering from a cold or the flu.
- Obtaining the flu vaccination yearly will help to prevent the flu and subsequent infection of the upper respiratory tract.
- In some studies, zinc carbonate lozenges have been shown to reduce the duration of many cold symptoms.
- Stress reduction and a diet rich in antioxidants, especially fresh, dark-colored fruits and vegetables, may help strengthen the immune system.
- Plan for seasonal allergy attacks.
- If a sinus infection is caused by seasonal or environmental allergies, avoiding allergens is very important. If avoidance is not an option, either OTC or prescription medication may be helpful. OTC antihistamines or decongestant nasal sprays can be used for an acute attack.
- People who have seasonal allergies may benefit from nonsedating prescription antihistamines during allergy-season.
- Avoid spending long periods outdoors during allergy season. Close the windows to the house and use air conditioning to filter out allergens when possible. Humidifiers may also be helpful.
- Allergy shots, also called “immunotherapy,” may be effective in reducing or eliminating sinusitis due to allergies. An allergist administers shots regularly for 3 to 5 years, which often produces a reduction or complete remission of allergy symptoms for years.
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Fever And Pain Reducers
If you have a fever and/or pain, take two acetaminophen tablets. After four hours, if you still have pain or fever, take two ibuprofen tablets. You can rotate these every four hours.
Valdez said it is very important to be careful when combining all these medicines to make sure you are not doubling up on a single agent. “Some of these medications may contain a lower dose of any of the above mentioned agents, so check the labels carefully.”
Remember those agents are: acetaminophen or ibuprofen for fever/pain, dextromethorphan for cough and pseudoephedrine or phenylephrine and guaifenesin for decongestants and expectorants.
Lastly, Valdez said to keep the following in mind:
- If you have a fever, do not go into work or school you should be fever free for 24 hours.
- Rest is the best medicine. Let the virus run its course if your body is run down it will take it longer to fight off the infection.
- To prevent sinus infections, get a flu shot , wash your hands often and cover your cough and sneeze.