Sinus Infection: What Causes It and How To Treat It

Sinus infection involves congestion, pressure, and pain in the area. How to treat a sinus infection includes over-the-counter (OTC) options like sprays and prescription meds like antibiotics. Surgery is another treatment.

Woman blowing nose with tissue

Have you been suffering from a sinus infection? Fun Fact: Around 30% of the United States (US) and European Union (EU) population experiences this condition every year. It involves treatments like stuffy nose, and nasal pain/pressure. It can be tough to deal with these symptoms and sometimes people take more serious steps like medical procedures. It’s important to know what this condition is all about and how you can treat it effectively? It might seem to be related to the common cold, so it’s also helpful to know whether or not there’s a link. This could help with how to treat a sinus infection.

Like other conditions, there’s a wide range of treatments for this sinus problem. They include over-the-counter (OTC) medicines and prescription meds. For example, you can go with nasal sprays or antibiotics. While OTC medicines are less powerful, they also don’t have the strong chemicals of prescription meds. This can help prevent unwanted side-effects. If you want a more permanent solution you could also opt for surgery. These are all some practical steps that can help to deal with the condition’s symptoms. You should also know other information like the cause of this condition so you can treat it more effectively.  

What Exactly Is a Sinus Infection?

A sinus infection (sinusitis) results from different symptoms like congestion, pressure, and pain in the sinus region. This usually involves bacteria that’s built up in the region. You might have a serious sinus infection if you also have symptoms like chills and fever.

Severe sinusitis can cause swelling within the sinus cavities. It could be the result of allergies or infections of the respiratory system that keep happening. There will usually be scar tissue if the sinuses become swollen/inflamed. You can experience sinus infections if there isn’t good drainage.

Some people get a sinus infection after having a bad cold. Sometimes when you have a cold there might be yellow/green mucus. This is a sign there’s a second infection. Sometimes if sinusitis is serious enough and isn’t treated it can result in other health conditions like ear infections.

When people have a serious sinus infection this often causes symptoms like pain/pressure in different areas. They include across the nose bridge, surrounding the eye sockets, and in the cheekbone region. A doctor can help you figure out if you have a head cold or a bacterial infection. One factor is whether you have mild or moderate/high fever.

There are different treatments available. The best one for your situation is mostly based on how serious your sinus infection is. Some of the most common treatments include decongestants to clear up a stuffy nose, and antibiotics to kill bacteria. More on the treatment options later.

There are various causes of sinus infections. One theory doctors have is the over-use of nasal sprays for decongestion. If you misuse or over-use them it can actually make the nasal areas more swollen/inflamed.

There are different fixes but one of the most common ones is saline nasal sprays. Your doctor can help you select the best treatment based on the cause of your sinusitis.

How to Treat a Sinus Infection

1. Nasal Spray

There are decongestant sprays that help to treat stuffy nose caused by this condition. They can be effective if you use them for up to four days. They help to make the swollen nasal passages smaller. This helps the sinuses to drain better. It’s important to avoid overusing these products since it could cause unwanted side-effects.

2. Antibiotics

This is a standard treatment for sinus infections caused by bacteria. Patients usually take them for up to a month based on the kind of prescription drug they use. When people have severe cases, they might have to take antibiotics for longer time periods. However, it’s important to avoid overuse/misuse of antibiotics. This has become a more serious problem in recent years.

3. Surgery

Sometimes this is recommended if prescription drugs haven’t worked. It’s usually the last option. A specialist usually does this surgery.

The surgery usually involves treating physical problems that are causing the sinus conditions. For example, this involves different issues like opening passages, bumps, and bones. In many cases, patients can return home on the same day as the surgery.  

4. Corticosteroids

These are topical treatments that are applied directly to the nasal passages. They can treat/prevent swelling and inflammation. These are some of the main issues related to sinus infection. These treatments can also help to shrink/treat nasal bumps. A plus of these treatments is you could use them long-term without experiencing an addiction.

5. Nasal Washes

These products can help clear the nasal passages. Since they’re made from salt you won’t need a prescription since they include a salt-based solution. This can provide various benefits like lower prices and convenience.

6. Antihistamines

These medicines can provide various benefits. They can block inflammation that results from an allergic reaction. This allows them to fight allergy symptoms that can result in swollen nasal/sinus passages.

How To Treat A Sinus Infection With Home Remedies

1. Use essential oils to clear sinuses

There are various options including eucalyptus oil. Studies show that they can help clear the sinuses of mucus. Various studies show that breathing in eucalyptus oil can help to recover from sinusitis faster. It’s always important to use essential oils that are food-grade. Apply one drop of oil to the mouths’ root then consume one glass of water.

2. Add moisture

Keep your sinus hydrated in order to reduce pressure. You have several options:

  • Apply saline nasal spray during day and at bedtime
  • Take hot showers so your sinuses contact steam
  • Use a humidifier in the bedroom at night

These are some basic steps you can take to keep your nasal passages moist.

3. Apply warm compress

This can help to reduce sinus pain. Put warm/damp towels around areas like nose, eyes, and cheeks to reduce facial pain. This step can also help to clear your nasal passages, which is another benefit.

4. Drink H2O

Fun Fact: Water makes up to two-thirds of the human body. It’s important to stay hydrated to get rid of the infection-causing virus. Every few hours make sure to drink 8+ ounces of water. This will help to prevent dehydration and flush out the root cause of your infection. You could add some lemon/lime for extra antioxidants.

5. Try “neti pot”

A neti pot with saline solution can help reduce symptoms related to serious sinusitis.

It’s important to follow the instructions for a particular neti pot product to make sure you’re getting the best results.  

6. Immune-boosting Foods

There are various foods that can help boost your immune system. They include onions, garlic, and ginger. The World Health Organization (WHO) suggests consuming up to 5g of fresh garlic daily. Another good option is ginger tea with high-antioxidant honey for how to treat a sinus infection.

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