Acute Sinus Infection Home Remedies
Acute sinus infections caused by viruses usually last only 7 to 10 days.
These cases are usually treated by addressing the symptoms rather than the underlying cause .
Common symptoms of acute sinus infections include nasal congestion and blockage, yellow-to-green nasal discharge, decreased sense of smell, postnasal drip, and a feeling of pain, pressure, or fullness in the face.
To help relieve symptoms, particularly sinus pain and stuffiness, without medications, try the following recommendations:
- Drink plenty of fluids
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
Amoxicillin For Sinus Infection Is It Good
Sinus infection or sinusitis is a condition when the mucous membranes are irritated and inflamed due to bacterial, viral or fungal infection. The sinuses are air-filled connected cavities in the skull that produce a thin layer of mucus and drain into the nose.
The function of these connected systems of hollow cavities is not very clear, but experts believe that they are meant for humidifying the air and enhancing our voices.
A sinus infection may also occur when the draining mucus is blocked due to a deviated septum, nasal polyps, allergic rhinitis or common cold. Most often, sinus infection is mistaken for a common cold. Sometimes, it may be really difficult to differentiate between a sinus infection and the common cold.
Streptococcus pneumoniae, Streptococcus pyogenes, Haemophilus influenzae, Staphylococcus aureus, and Moraxella catarrhalis are the five most common variants of bacteria that trigger sinusitis.
Streptococcal bacteria in sinuses. 3D illustration.
Amoxicillin is the first choice when it comes to treating a sinus infection as it is one of those drugs that is quite effective against combating all the aforementioned strains. It also comes with fewer side effects, when compared to other antibiotic drugs.
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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.
Related Resources For Sinus Infections
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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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Home Remedies And Lifestyle
At-home remedies can greatly reduce sinus infection symptoms, although they do not treat the infection.
Saltwater nasal irrigation is one of the treatments of choice for the symptoms of chronic sinusitis in adults, though studies show no benefit for children.Nasal irrigation is easy to do at home using a neti pot or other sinus rinse methods.
Using a steam vaporizer or a warm or cool mist humidifier may help keep your mucus thin. Inhalation of steam mixed with eucalyptus, chamomile, or peppermint may also help. While there’s no scientific research that these additives improve symptoms, you may find them soothing.
Hot vaporizers are a burn hazard and should not be used near your face or around children.
Other helpful tips:
- A hot shower may relieve pain, promote drainage, and open up the sinus cavities.
- Reduce facial pain and swelling by applying a warm compress to your face.
- Drink lots of fluids and get plenty of rest.
When It Comes And When It Goes
If you have allergies, you’ll start feeling symptoms soon after you come into contact with the stuff you’re allergic to. Your symptoms keep up as long as you’re still surrounded by those triggers.
Allergies can happen any time of year. They may be “seasonal,” which means you get them only in the spring or fall. Or they may be year-round. For instance, you might be allergic to pets or mold, which can be a problem no matter the season.
Sinusitis usually happens after you’ve had a cold or allergies. But certain symptoms will keep going, even after your cold goes away. You’ll probably have a stuffy nose and cough for more than a week or two.
You may hear your doctor talk about two kinds of sinusitis: “acute” and “chronic.” There’s a simple way to tell them apart. If your symptoms last less than 4 weeks, it’s acute. If they go on for 3 months or longer, you have chronic sinusitis.
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Flush your dogs sinuses A saline flush when performed correctly and under your veterinarians instruction can help break up and flush out mucus, allowing your dog to breathe easier.
Increase air moisture and humidity Run a humidifier or place a vaporizer in the area your dog spends most of their time. You can also bring your dog into the bathroom when you take a hot shower.
Keep your dogs nose clean Gently wipe your dogs nose with a warm, damp washcloth to remove discharge and ensure they can breathe clearly.
Remove mucus from inside your dogs nose Use a nasal aspirator or bulb syringe to gently suck out excess mucus from your dogs nose.
Encourage your dog to eat and drink Offer canned food with a strong odor to tempt your pooch into eating, and consider adding a water fountain for a fresh water supply.
Give your dog an antihistamine Antihistamines, like Benadryl and Zyrtec, can help alleviate your dogs runny nose. Plain diphenhydramine without nasal decongestants can be used, at a dose of 1 mg per pound, with no more than 75 mg total. For a Zyrtec dose, consult our comprehensive guide.
Always consult your vet before administering over-the-counter medications to your dog.
Treatment For Sinusitis From A Gp
If you have sinusitis, a GP may be able to recommend other medicines to help with your symptoms, such as:
- steroid nasal sprays or drops â to reduce the swelling in your sinuses
- antihistamines â if an allergy is causing your symptoms
- antibiotics â if a bacterial infection is causing your symptoms and you’re very unwell or at risk of complications
You might need to take steroid nasal sprays or drops for a few months. They sometimes cause irritation, sore throats or nosebleeds.
A GP may refer you to an ear, nose and throat specialist if, for example, you:
- still have sinusitis after 3 months of treatment
- keep getting sinusitis
- only have symptoms on 1 side of your face
They may also recommend surgery in some cases.
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Using The Right Water During Saline Rinses
When using saline nasal rinses, tap water should always be boiled and then allowed to cool to ensure cleanliness distilled water or premixed solutions could also be used instead of regular tap water.
Other home remedies for sinus infections include:
- Drinking fluids: Drinking lots of fluids helps loosen and thin mucus. Avoid beverages that are caffeinated and alcoholic beverages that can dehydrate the body, which could thicken mucus.
- Breathing steam: Warm water is best . You can breathe in steam from either a bowl or shower.
- Humidifying the air: Use a cool air vaporizer or humidifier,particularly at night while sleeping.
- Avoiding environmental substances: Avoid tobacco smoke and chlorinated water that can dry up the mucus membranes and exacerbate symptoms.
- Implementing treatment measures: At the first sign of infection, use antihistamines and employ regular nasal rinses.
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How Sinus Infection Is Treated
The treatment for a sinus infection depends on the type of sinusitis and the source of the inflammation or infection. You might feel better with treatment for your symptoms as your sinus infection resolves.
Acute viral sinusitis can usually resolve on its own, acute bacterial sinusitis can usually be cured with antibiotics, and anti-fungal medications might be needed for treating fungal sinusitis, Getting treatment for allergies that might be contributing to an acute or chronic sinus infection can help, and endoscopic surgery may be needed in some cases of chronic sinusitis.
Treatment of chronic sinusitis may complicated, as abnormal tissue blocking the sinus cavities could require surgery.
Verywell / Tim Liedtke
Sinus Infection Treatment In Children
Sinus infections affect children similarly.
If your child has a sinus infection, the aforementioned home remedies may help, but make sure to follow your pediatrician‘s recommendations to treat your child’s illness.
Note that various over-the-counter medications may not be suitable for your child:
- Babies 6 months old or younger should only receive acetaminophen for pain relief
- Children older than 6 months can receive acetaminophen or ibuprofen
- Children should never receive aspirin and teenagers recovering from chicken pox or flu-like symptoms should not take aspirin because of the risk of a rare and severe illness called Reyeâs syndrome
Children younger than 4 years should not receive cough or cold products unless directed by a pediatrician .
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How Naturopathic Doctors Treat Sinus Infections
Sinus infections are a common complaint for both adults and children. In fact, it is the most common reason for doctor visits in the US. The main symptoms include: a stuffy nose, post nasal drip, thick yellow to green, offensive smelling discharge from the nose, pain and pressure around the nose, eyes and face, cough, fever, brain fog, and fatigue. Naturopathic doctor, Amy Rothenberg, ND shares what to expect from naturopathic medicine when treating a sinus infection.
When you have a sinus infection the tissues in the maxillary sinuses become inflamed and swollen, which can also happen with a common cold or from allergies. So how do you tell the difference between a cold and sinus infection? A cold starts as a virus with a runny nose for a few days, followed by a stuffy nose for another few days and then it typically subsides. The mucus will be clear and the whole uncomfortable situation will be done in about 7 days.
On the other hand, a sinus infection is caused by a build-up of mucus and bacteria that lingers and causes an infection. A small percentage of colds may turn into sinus infections, which is why its important to stay hydrated and flush out your sinuses with saline so bacteria doesnt get trapped and get infected.
There are recognizable differences between a cold and sinus infection: duration and fever. Sinus infections last longer than colds , the mucus is colored green and you may have a fever from the trapped bacterial infection.
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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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.
What Would Doctors Prescribe For Sinus Infection
Although they are rare, more serious cases of sinus infection warrant a doctor visit. If you find yourself talking to a doctor about chronic sinus infection, your doctor will likely recommend antibiotics. Severe sinus infections are usually of the bacterial variety, which means antibiotics will help kill off the foreign bacteria. Note that antibiotics will not help with viral sinus infections, which are also usually far less severe.
Steroids can typically reduce inflammation, so if your infection is due to a virus causing severe inflammation, you may require sinus infection medication that involves steroids.
You can get prescriptions for sinus infection medication from licensed physicians on our sister site PlushCare. All you have to do is make an appointment online, speak to a doctor about your symptoms, and they will help you develop a treatment plan, which may include prescribing sinus infection medication.
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Other Options To Try Before Taking Sinus Infection Medications
Besides inhaling steam to relieve pressure in your sinuses:
- Keep yourself hydrated
- Avoid irritants to your sinuses
- Nasal irrigation
Nasal irrigation, another treatment for sinus infections, means flushing out mucus and debris from the nose by pushing fluids through the nostrils. Some patients find this method uncomfortable, but overall more effective than simple steam.
What Medications Are Used To Treat Sinus Infections
First and foremost, if you are suffering from an active bacterial sinus infection you may be treated with antibiotics. Depending on whether you have acute sinusitis or chronic sinusitis will determine your course of therapy.As acute sinusitis may require 10 -14 days of antibiotic therapy chronic sinusitis may need to be treated for up to 30 days with medication.Remember Most cases of sinusitis are caused by viruses such as the common cold and will clear up within 10 or so days. In this case, antibiotics will not be helpful as antibiotics kill bacteria not viruses. Based upon your symptoms, medical history and physical examination your doctor will help determine if antibiotics are necessary.
Sinus headaches hurt. Sometimes the pain and pressure can make basic everyday activities impossible to do. So many times those suffering from sinusitis will take an over the counter medication such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen . Make sure to follow the labeled directions and see your doctor if your symptoms havent improved after a week or if they worsen.
Aerosolized antibiotics, steroids and antifugal treatments:
These may be administered through an aerosol or a nasal rinse. Frequently a compounding pharmacy is required to create this rinse.
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When Do You Really Need Antibiotics For That Sinus Infection
- By Monique Tello, MD, MPH, Contributor
It was February, and clinic was teeming with respiratory infections of all kinds: mostly the common cold, but also bronchitis, pneumonia, and sinus infections. The patients were coming in usually thinking that they needed antibiotics for their sinus infection, or another respiratory infection.The first patient on my schedule was a healthcare provider with sinus infection written down as her main issue.* Shed had about two weeks of nasal and sinus congestion which she blamed on a viral upper respiratory infection . Her two young kids had been sick with colds all winter, so she wasnt surprised to have these symptoms, along with endless postnasal drip and a cough.
Her congestion had improved a bit at one point, and she thought that she was finally getting better. But then, the day before her appointment, she awoke with throbbing pain between her eyes, completely blocked nasal passages, and, more concerning to her, green pus oozing from her left tear duct. She had body aches, chills, and extreme fatigue.