Most cases of sinusitis heal on its own and you may not need to see a doctor. If the symptoms are mild then you can take care of yourself at home. However, if symptoms don’t clear up within a week or it the symptoms get worse then you must seek medical help.
Self care measures
Mild cases of sinusitis can be cleared up by following the tips given below.
- For relieving congestion and to unblock your nose use over-the-counter nasal decongestant sprays or drops. These should not be used for more than a week at a time.
- Applying warm packs to your face can relieve the pain and help the mucus to drain out from your sinuses.
-Take over-the-counter painkillers like paracetamol or ibuprofen to relieve symptoms of pain or fever. Never give aspirin to children below the age of 16.
-Clean out your nose with a saline solution regularly.
Use of nasal corticosteroids
Corticosteroids is a group of medications that helps to fight inflammation. Your doctor may prescribe nasal corticosteroids medication if you have persistent symptoms of sinusitis. These are nasal sprays that help relieve inflammation of the sinuses. Some nasal sprays used include beclomethasone, mometasone, and fluticasone. If these sprays do not work, then nasal drops may be prescribed.
Corticosteroids are drugs that contain steroids. These steroids will reduce swelling and inflammation. They are also used to treat nasal polyps through injection. When administered orally, corticosteroids should only be implemented short term, as prolonged use can cause extreme side effects. Side effects may include a sore throat or nasal irritation.
Use of antibiotics
Antibiotics are normally prescribed to patients with bacterial infections in their sinuses to treat the condition, though it is necessary that they be taken within a finite amount of time. Some of their side effects may include abdominal pain or diarrhea.
This treatment option is available for people whose sinus infection is caused by allergies. They work by minimizing the reaction of your body to the allergens thus improving your overall condition.
Surgery is used to treat extreme cases, where other treatment options have failed to improve conditions for the patient. This type of surgery is called Functional endoscopic sinus surgery (FESS). It can be done to help drain out the mucus or to remove any obstructions in the sinuses. During the procedure, the doctor inserts an endoscope into your nose to examine the potential causes.
An endoscope is a thin flexible tube with a camera fixed at the tip. If nasal polyps are detected, then they will be removed using small instruments. The doctor can also utilize a balloon catheter dilation which helps in draining mucus from your sinuses by expanding them.
Side effects of surgical treatment may include nose bleeds, risk of infection, or a feeling of discomfort within the nose.
In all of the cases above it is important to follow the advice of your doctor. If are given antibiotics ensure that you complete the course. If corticosteroid sprays were prescribed ensure you follow the recommended method of usage. Avoid or cut down on smoking as it prevents the body from healing itself and irritates the lining of the nose and sinus. Avoid going to crowded or dusty places, as well as people with colds in order to prevent repeat infections. Eat a healthy diet, with plenty of liquids like water to keep your secretions loose. If you notice your symptoms worsening then do contact your doctor.
What other treatment options are available?
Since sinusitis is a condition that can dissipate on its own, you can give it time to heal before rushing to see a doctor. In the meantime you can try these home remedies to help ease symptoms:
- Inhale steam from hot water. Steam helps in draining mucus from the sinuses.
- Stay dehydrated by drinking plenty of fluids, especially water. In addition drink hot tea or chicken soup. Water helps in thinning out the mucus, which making it easier to drain out.
- Try eating spicy foods such as hot pepper, curry and horseradish. These food items have elements that help in relieving discomfort associated with sinusitis.
- Avoid places that may trigger allergies. In the event that you are frequently exposed to pollen, smoke and car exhaust consider wearing a mask to keep these irritants out of your airway. Also try to allergy-proof your home.
- Avoid smoking and stay away from people who smoke.
- Sleep with a pillow propped up to help to ease congestion, swelling and discomfort.
- Having food allergy and sensitivity to gluten, diary and sugar can cause sinus infections. Try eliminating these foods from your diet if you suffer from frequent sinus infections.
- Also try to wash your hands often especially during the flu and cold season and avoid touching your face.
Alternative treatment methods for sinusitis
Nasal Saline Irrigation – In this process the nasal cavity is irrigatedwith salt water to flush out debris and excess mucus from the nose and sinus. Although several methods of nasal irrigation exist the most common method is the ‘Jala-Neti’ using the Neti pot. Jala-Neti is an ancient Indian yogic practice which means to cleanse the nose with water. This is done using a special pot called the ‘Neti’ pot. Most people tolerate this practice well and it is reported to be beneficial with only few side effects noted. In patients with chronic sinusitis, nasal irrigation has shown to provide relief. In fact, studies have shown that daily saline, nasal irrigation decreases symptoms of sinusitis and reduces dependence on medication. Previously boiled lukewarm water should be used for this process. It is important not to use tap water as it could be contaminated.
Other alternative treatment methods for treatment of sinusitis include Homeopathy, acupuncture, dietary supplements, inhalation of essential oils and hydrotherapy.
The Bottom Line
There are quite a number of treatment options available for sinusitis. Try out some of these remedies before visiting your doctor. If symptoms persist for more than three weeks, you should seek immediate medical attention.