The pain, facial pressure and congestion of sinus infections affect more than 26.9 million Americans– roughly 11 percent of adults, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Most sinus infections, also called sinusitis, do not need to be treated with antibiotics, and will usually go away within 7-10 days.
One of the most annoying symptoms is the sinus pressure around the eyes, head and cheeks. Fortunately, there are several home remedies and medications that can help provide relief.
What causes a sinus infection?
A sinus infection can be caused by several different things including:
• Seasonal allergies
• A deviated septum: The septum is the part of the nose that divides it into right and left nostrils. Some people have crooked or deviated septums, which makes them more susceptible to sinus infections.
• Nasal polyps
• Respiratory tract infections
Sinus infections may be acute (lasting for a shorter period of time) or chronic (recurring for several months).
What are the symptoms of a sinus infection?
Common signs of a sinus infection include:
• Facial pain
• Congestion and a runny nose
• Sore throat
• Post nasal drip
• Bad breath
What causes sinus pressure?
The throbbing pain you feel when bending over when you have a sinus infection is caused by a buildup of fluid around the sinus cavities. Inflammation blocks the narrow sinus passages, making it difficult for fluid to drain. As a result, bacteria or viruses develop and cause an infection.
What are five ways to relieve sinus pressure?
Some of the most effective home remedies include:
1. A WARM COMPRESS
Putting a warm compress on your forehead and over your nose helps open the sinus passages to reduce the swelling.
2. SALINE NOSE SPRAY
A nose spray or nasal irrigation helps wash away germs and allergens that are causing swelling. The saline acts as a humidifier and helps sinus mucus move so it can drain.
3. STEAM FROM A HOT SHOWER OR A BOWL OF HOT WATER
By inhaling steam, you can reduce swelling, which in turn will alleviate pressure.
4. A HUMIDIFIER OR VAPORIZER
Keeping your environment moist can help your sinus passages open. Be sure to keep your humidifier or vaporizer clean.
5. OVER-THE-COUNTER MEDICATIONS
A variety of OTC medications can help relieve the discomfort associated with sinus pressure, particularly acetaminophen, ibuprofen or naproxen; however, be sure you check to ensure that they won’t react with any prescription medicines or natural remedies that you may be taking. Be sure to follow the dosing instructions carefully.
While decongestants like pseudoephedrine and phenylephrine may help with congestion, you should always check with one of our providers or your pharmacist to be sure these are safe to take with any medications or herbal remedies you are currently taking.
It’s important to realize that certain medications like Afrin may cause immediate relief, but can actually cause “rebound” stuffiness, so it’s best to limit your use of this OTC medication.
What is the long-term relief for sinus infections?
Sinus infections are primarily caused by allergies. The most common allergens are pollen, dust mites and pet dander. Those with repeated sinus infections may have chronic sinusitis, which means long-term solutions may be a better option.
Immunotherapy can help. These allergy shots enable your body to decrease sensitivity to common allergens. The Raleigh sinus doctors at Raleigh Medical Group specialize in helping patients with chronic allergy and sinus problems. While immunotherapy is effective, the treatment can take as long as one year to achieve noticeable results and maintenance treatment will likely be needed.