A sinus infection is one of the most common reasons for a clinical visit in the US. Also referred to as sinusitis, a sinus infection is a condition where the tissue that lines the sinuses becomes inflamed.
The sinuses are cavities located in four areas of the head: behind the forehead, between and behind the eyes, and in the cheekbones. When sinuses become inflamed, sinus infection symptoms may range from mild to severe, making you feel miserable.
What Causes a Sinus Infection?
If you are struggling with symptoms of a sinus infection or want to avoid sinusitis altogether, knowing the causes and what to avoid is paramount. Sinus infections may be caused by viruses, bacteria, or even fungi. In most cases, sinus infections are caused by a virus such as the common cold.
Some risk factors of developing a sinus infection include:
- Seasonal allergies
- Nasal polyps
- A deviated septum
- Nasal allergies
In addition, exposure to pet dander, smoke, pollen, and other airborne irritants may lead to a sinus infection. By avoiding sinus infection triggers, you may be able to lessen the severity and frequency of sinusitis.
What Are the Signs of a Sinus Infection?
Sinus infection symptoms may vary from person to person, but there are some common signs of sinusitis that most people experience.
- Facial pain or pressure
- Stuffiness or nasal congestion
- Runny nose
- Reduced sense of smell
- Ear pain or pressure
Chronic vs. Acute Sinus Infections
The above symptoms may range from mild to severe, and sinus infections are typically classified as either acute or chronic.
Acute sinus infections are the most common and usually last for less than four weeks. These sinus infections are typically caused by a virus such as the common cold or seasonal allergies. Acute sinusitis typically does not require treatment beyond home remedies and over-the-counter medications.
Chronic sinus infections last for more than eight to twelve weeks and often require sinusitis treatment from a doctor. These sinus infections are usually caused by an underlying condition such as nasal polyps or a deviated septum. If you are struggling with chronic sinusitis, antibiotics may be required to treat the condition.
Ways To Treat Your Sinusitis
Whether your sinusitis is acute or chronic, there are sinus infection remedies that may help lessen the severity of your symptoms. When dealing with a sinus infection, it may be difficult to think of anything other than relief. However, by trying these sinus infection remedies, you may be able to find relief and get on with your day.
1. Drink Plenty of Fluids
When you are struggling with sinusitis, it is crucial to drink plenty of fluids. Drinking fluids helps thin out mucus, making it easier for your sinus cavities to drain. However, it is best to avoid beverages that contain caffeine, alcohol, and sugar, as these may exacerbate your symptoms.
Instead, try sticking to water and herbal teas. The hot water and steam from herbal teas may help open up your sinuses. In addition, consuming hot drinks work to loosen mucus, making it easier to drain.
2. Consider Using a Neti Pot
If sinus issues are something you struggle with regularly, you may want to invest in a neti pot. Neti pots are used to rinse the sinuses with water and a saline solution. This sinus rinse helps remove mucus, bacteria, and other irritants from the sinuses.
Be sure to use filtered or distilled water in your neti pot. Using unfiltered water may lead to bacteria entering your sinuses which may cause an infection.
To use a neti pot:
- Tilt your head to the side over a sink
- Then, place the spout of the neti pot into your upper nostril
- Next, while breathing through your mouth, gently pour the saline solution into your nostril
- Allow the solution to drain through the lower nostril
- Repeat on the other side
After each use, rinse your neti pot with boiling water and allow it to air dry.
3. Try Over the Counter Antihistamines
If your sinusitis is caused by allergies, over-the-counter antihistamines may help to lessen your symptoms. Antihistamines work by blocking histamine, a substance that is released during an allergic reaction.
There are many different antihistamines available, so be sure to speak with your doctor or pharmacist to determine which one is right for you. Taking an antihistamine at the first sign of allergies may prevent sinusitis.
4. Moisturize Your Sinuses
Moisture helps thin out mucus, making it easier for your sinuses to drain. To moisturize your sinus cavities, try taking a hot shower and take slow deep breaths. The steam from the shower may open up your sinuses and loosen any mucus that is present.
Using a humidifier in your home may also help to moisturize sinus cavities and reduce sinusitis symptoms. A humidifier works by adding moisture to the air, helping to prevent sinusitis. Be sure to clean your humidifier regularly to prevent the growth of mold and bacteria.
5. Use Cold or Warm Compresses
Using a cold or warm compress may help to reduce sinus pressure. A cold or warm compress may also open up sinus cavities and passages.
To make a cold compress:
- Fill a clean cloth with ice cubes
- Wrap the cloth in a thin towel
- Use a hair tie or rubber band to secure the towel in place
- Apply the compress to your sinuses for five to ten minutes
A warm compress may be used to thin out mucus. The heat from the compress also helps open sinus passages. A heating pad or warm washcloth can be used as a sinus compress.
6. Relax and Get Rest
When dealing with sinusitis, it is essential to get plenty of rest. Your body needs time to heal and fight off the infection. In addition, relaxing and getting enough rest helps reduce stress levels, which may lessen your sinusitis symptoms.
If you are having trouble sleeping, try propping your head up with pillows. Sleeping with your head elevated may help to drain sinuses and reduce congestion.
7. Visit a Sinus Specialist
If home remedies and over-the-counter treatments are not helping to reduce sinusitis symptoms, you may need to see a sinus specialist. The Ear and Sinus Institute offers sinus treatment options tailored to each patient. From chronic to acute sinusitis, our specialists may help you find the relief you need.
Contact The Ear and Sinus Institute
From ear infections to sinusitis, the specialists at the Ear and Sinus Institute are here to help. If you are struggling with an ear infection or are looking for sinus infection remedies, contact the Ear and Sinus Institute today.
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