There are several medical and at-home treatments available for sinus infections, and while often times sinus infections will go away on their own, these treatments will speed up the recovery time of a patient.
- Rest as much as possible
- Do not smoke, and avoid cigarette smoke whenever possible
- Drink plenty of fluids (water, hot teas, etc)
- Inhale steam from a bath or shower, or sit in a sauna
- Use saline nose sprays as directed
- Place an extra pillow under the head at night to promote drainage
- Warm compresses placed in the sinus area (brow) of the head will reduce pressure and promote drainage
- Take expectorants to thin out mucosal discharge
The primary goal in treating a sinus infection is to reduce the swelling and inflammation in the sinuses, promote drainage, and ultimately do away with the sinus infection entirely. Medications that help in reducing inflammation include over the counter nasal sprays, or a simple saline wash a person can make at home through mixing warm water and a pinch of salt. If a person uses OTC or prescription nose sprays, they need to be sure to use them as directed or else there will be an increased chance of dependency on this medication.
In order to completely wipe out the infection, doctors usually prescribe a basic penicillin based antibiotic like amoxicillin. While this may cause other side effects like a swollen throat, upset stomach, or hives, these are only temporary. Along with antibiotics, antihistamines like Allegra, Claritin, or off-brand antihistamines work well for clearing out the sinuses and keeping them clear for prolonged periods of time.
Chronic Sinus Infections
For people who suffer from chronic sinus infections, surgery may be the only treatment that will ultimately help. If a person has chronic sinusitis, they should talk to their doctor about a possible sinus surgery.
CDC. Sinus Infection (Sinusitis).http://www.cdc.gov/getsmart/antibiotic-use/URI/sinus-infection.html. 30 June, 2009.
Oregon Dept. of Human Services. Oregon AWARE Sinus Infection Treatment Guide.http://www.oregon.gov/DHS/ph/antibiotics/pdfs/tg_sinus.pdf.
Kantz, Barnett. Sinusitis: Causes, Symptoms, Tests and Treatment.http://www.webmd.com/allergies/sinus-infection?page=4. 2007.