Many people are plagued with frequent sinus infections. Caused by bacteria or viruses, sinus infections are most common among allergy suffers and those who frequently breathe shared airplane air or are otherwise exposed to a variety of viruses or bacteria. Although frustrating, there are effective ways to treat sinus infections, both over the counter and prescription.
Prevent sinus infections. If you are prone to sinus infections, you may be able to prevent them, or at least make them less frequent. Saline nasal wash can help, as it rinses out irritants and germs that can start an infection. Neti pots work in much the same way and may also help stop sinus infections.
Use a humidifier in the winter. Dry air can irritate the sinuses and lead to infection. A humidifier is not a good idea in humid weather or warm weather, as it can increase the amount of infection-causing mold in the air.
Use antihistamines for allergies. Allergy sufferers who also get sinus infections may want to use a daily antihistamine (remember to check and see if the medication will make you drowsy). This can reduce the swelling in the sinuses.
See a professional. An otolaryngologist can help not only with the diagnosis but in prescribing prescription medication that can help with the pain as well as a prescription decongestant to aid with drainage.
Get tested. For a doctor to treat you appropriately, it is important to know if the sinus infection is a viral infection or a bacterial infection. Bacterial infections need antibiotics, while viral infections are much more likely to respond to home remedies alone.
Use prescription steroid sprays. Obviously only use prescription steroid sprays if they are prescribed by a doctor, but steroid sprays such as Nasacort AQ or Nasonex can reduce the swelling of the sinus membranes.
Consider surgery as a last resort. If you get frequent sinus infections or have a deviated septum, you may want to ask your doctor about surgical options.
Although sinus infections, or sinusitis, can be both annoying and painful, they can be treated. The important thing is to treat a sinus infection immediately, and not allow it to linger.