08
April
2013

Cures for a sinus infection

Medical treatments and natural remedies for sinus infections

Sinus infections are common manifestations of many different diseases, including the flu, cold, and bacterial infections. When mucus builds up in the nasal passages due to a cold, allergies, or a congenital defect (deviated septum), the causal pathogen, usually a bacteria or fungus, lodges in the excess mucus, producing the infection. This typically results in nasal congestion, stuffiness, and discharge, with post-nasal drip that can also produce a sore throat and cough. Here, we will describe some of the best methods for relieving the typical symptoms of sinus infections.
Sinus infections are common manifestations of many different diseases, including the flu, cold, and bacterial infections. When mucus builds up in the nasal passages due to a cold, allergies, or a congenital defect (deviated septum), the causal pathogen, usually a bacteria or fungus, lodges in the excess mucus, producing the infection. This typically results in nasal congestion, stuffiness, and discharge, with post-nasal drip that can also produce a sore throat and cough. Here, we will describe some of the best methods for relieving the typical symptoms of sinus infections.
Self-Care
Most sinus infections are self-limiting, and so do not require medical treatment. Most options for self-care are focused on alleviating the symptoms of sinus infections, and a variety of methods have shown proven success. These methods include both non-prescription medications and natural home remedies.
Non-prescription medications
Over the counter drugs are available at most pharmacies, and can be purchased in the form of nasal sprays or oral decongestants.
Nasal sprays
Nasal sprays come in small vials that emit a fine mist when pumped into the nostril, loosening the accumulated mucus therein. Nasal sprays come in both medicated and un-medicated forms. Medicated nasal sprays available without a prescription in the US usually use a topical decongestant for reducing inflammation, in addition to loosening the mucus. Anti-histamine nasal sprays are only available with a prescription in the US, but can provide excellent relief, especially for those who suffer chronic sinusitis due to allergies. Un-medicated, or natural, nasal sprays are generally simple saline solutions designed to irrigate the sinuses and promote mucus drainage. These may contain supplemental ingredients such as ginger or capsaicin (the compound that makes peppers spicy).
Precautions
While nasal sprays bring a great deal of relief to many who suffer sinus infections, over-use can produce nasal bleeding, reduce the efficacy of the spray, or even produce increased inflammation in what is known as a “rebound effect”. Always carefully follow instructions for use on the product label for nasal sprays. Try applying the spray to only one nostril at a time, and limiting use to a maximum of 5-7 days.
Oral decongestants
Oral decongestants such as Sudafed are available for non-prescription sale in most states. These medications act by narrowing the blood vessels in the sinuses, allowing for mucus to flow more freely. However, they also cause narrowing of blood vessels throughout the rest of the body, and so are contraindicated in patients with conditions such as high blood pressure and glaucoma. Consult your physician if you are unsure.
Home remedies
A variety of home remedies exist that involve natural ways for alleviating the symptoms of a sinus infection:
  • Steam infusion: inhaling steam helps loosen the mucus in your sinuses. Take a hot shower with the windows and doors closed and deeply inhale the steam through your nose. Another option is to cover your head with a towel draped over a pot of hot water, but be careful not to scald yourself!
  • Drink plenty of liquids to stay hydrated and thin the excess mucus.
  • Soak a washcloth in warm water and drape it over your face several times a day.
  • Eat spicy foods or wasabi no make your nose run.
In some cases, these measures are insufficient for combating the sinus infection. Chronic sinusitis lasts for more than one month, and may be an indication of a more serious infection. In these cases, prescription antibiotics may be necessary to combat the disease. Call your doctor if any of the following symptoms occur:
  • Nasal discharge and congestion, possibly with a cough, that lasts for more than 3 weeks
  • A fever greater than 102°F
  • Severe headache or pain around the face that is not alleviated by normal pain medication
  • Severe swelling around the nose and eyes
  • Changes in your vision
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Categories: Sinuses

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