A woman laying on a couch surrounded by tissues while using a nasal spray.

9 Ways to Treat a Sinus Infection

How to Treat a Sinus Infection

We have all experienced it: the annoying, sensitive, constant pressure of a sinus headache or the pain of a migraine, and the unpleasant post-nasal drip that just won’t stop. Maybe you have experienced it during the winter, after catching a bout of the common cold. Or perhaps you experience it in the spring, during allergy season when the pollen has you feeling stuffed up. No matter how you ended up here, it is not fun! There is nothing worse than trying to get through a day while the pressure in your head builds. Let’s talk about what you can do at home to help relieve some of that pressure, so you know how to treat a sinus infection.

1. Rest

The best thing you can do for yourself when you have a sinus infection is to rest. Your body needs energy to fight off the inflammation and infection. Resting will help your body recover more quickly.

2. Stay Hydrated

Staying adequately hydrated by drinking plenty of water will also help your body flush out the infection. Drinking a hot tea can help you stay hydrated while also encouraging the mucus in your sinuses to drain.

3. Neti Pots

Regular rinsing of your nasal passage, whether it be with a saline solution or just plain water, is an excellent at-home remedy for releasing sinus pressure. Neti pots and squirt bottles designed specifically for this purpose are often available at your local drugstore.

4. Hot Water

A hot shower or placing your head over a steaming bowl of hot water can also help reduce pain and boost mucus drainage.

5. Eat Right

You may not feel like eating much, and that is okay, but it is still important to nourish your body as best as you can while fighting off the infection. Easy-to-make and comfort-type foods, such as soups or toast with peanut butter and banana, are great options for when you are feeling down.

Aim to have a bit of protein with each snack or meal; this will give your body the energy it needs to heal. Even a few bites are better than eating nothing!

6. Antihistamines

Taking a non-prescription allergy medication with an antihistamine will help prevent further allergy-like symptoms, such as a runny nose and watery eyes.

7. Decongestants

Like antihistamines, this over-the-counter medication will help ease the symptoms of a stuffy nose. It works by reducing inflammation associated with a sinus infection. Decongestants come in many forms, including nasal sprays and tablets.

8. Saline Spray

A simple, yet effective treatment to help relieve sinus symptoms is to rinse your nasal passage with a saline solution or spray. This can be done several times a day, and it helps by naturally clearing your airways.

9. Corticosteroids

These are the nasal sprays you often see advertised during cold and flu season. There are several brand-name options available, and there are different types of corticosteroids, but they all work to reduce inflammation.

In many cases, our sinuses will calm down on their own, and the inflammation with subside after a few days. At-home treatments for sinus infections can help ease your symptoms and make things more bearable. We hope this above option offer you relief so you can heal quicker.

When to See a Doctor

In most cases, sinus infections will resolve on their own. However, if you have persistent sinus pressure, an unmanageable headache or symptoms that worsen after seemingly getting better, it is important that you see your health care provider. Sometimes a prescription antibiotic is necessary to help treat a stubborn sinus infection.

If your doctor advises an antibiotic prescription, it is very important that you take the medication exactly as prescribed; always finish the entire course of medication. Reoccurring and persistent symptoms may return if you stop taking the medication prior to completion.

If reoccurring sinus infections are a problem for you, it may be advisable to request a medical exam that can determine the root cause of the issue or rule out other possible conditions. Diagnostic testing may include allergy tests, CT scans or sample analysis. Talk to your doctor if this is a concern for you.

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