If you’ve been struggling with sinusitis, you’re not alone. About one in eight adults has the condition each year. Although most sinus infections clear up on their own, you should seek treatment if symptoms persist.
1. Drink lots of water
Your sinuses are air-filled spaces in your skull that are located behind your nose, cheeks, and eyes. Healthy sinuses are usually clear and don’t contain any bacteria or germs. When the sinus openings become blocked or too much mucus builds up, bacteria and germs can grow more easily.
2. Get rid of irritants
The most common causes of sinusitis are viruses, allergens, and nasal polyps. To keep your sinuses free from these triggers, eat healthy foods and make certain lifestyle changes.
3. Get plenty of rest
It is important to get enough sleep and stay hydrated during a sinus infection. Getting plenty of rest will help your body fight off the bacteria that cause this inflammation and relieve your symptoms.
Your doctor may prescribe an antibiotic if your sinus infection is caused by a bacterial infection. Antibiotics can treat the infection and help to keep it from coming back in the future.
5. Antibiotics can also prevent bacterial resistance to the drugs you use.
Some of the bacteria that can cause sinusitis carry a gene for antibiotic resistance, which turns on when they’re exposed to the drugs. This resistance is a serious problem, especially in Richmond and other places where bacterial infection is common.
6. Over-the-counter medications
OTC medications like acetaminophen (Tylenol) and ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) can help relieve your pain and other symptoms of sinusitis. You can also try a decongestant spray or saline solution to loosen up your mucus and relieve pressure in your sinuses.
7. Breathe steam
You can help relieve your symptoms by inhaling hot steam 2 to 4 times a day. This can come from sipping a cup of tea, taking a shower, or using a humidifier or vaporizer.
8. Take a warm compress
A warm compress placed on your forehead can help to relieve sinus pressure. You can also soak a washcloth in hot water and place it over your nose and forehead to help ease the discomfort.
9. Clean your nose regularly
If your sinuses are clogged, the small hairs that move mucus out of the sinuses can’t do their job. This is called “sinus blockage.” In most cases, this happens when your cold or allergies cause the sinuses to swell.
10. Other home remedies
You can use a saline nasal spray or a Neti pot to flush your sinuses and remove debris. You can also rinse your nose with a solution of equal parts salt and baking soda, which will help thin the mucus and clear your sinuses.
11. Talk to your healthcare provider about medication
If you have a chronic sinus infection, you may be referred to an ear, nose and throat specialist. An ENT doctor can use a special instrument to examine your sinuses and determine the best treatment for you.