If you believe you have a sinus infection, then you should seek treatment by a health care provider. They can help determine if you have an infection that requires the use of antibiotics. At the same time, there are a few measures you can take to ease your discomfort and congested sinuses. Try the following remedies and follow your physician's advice.
1. See the Doctor for Medication
If you have been diagnosed with a sinus infection, then your symptoms may include the chills, a fever, sinus pressure, and congestion. When someone has a sinus infection, bacteria are trapped in the sinus cavities and needs to be eradicated by taking prescribed antibiotics. You need to finish taking all of the antibiotics, even if you start to feel better, to completely get rid of the infection.
In addition to the antibiotics, the doctor may recommend the use of an oral decongestant. This will help shrink swollen nasal passages and help your sinuses drain. Take this medicine only as directed. Because decongestants may raise blood pressure, your doctor may not recommend this treatment if you have high blood pressure.
In addition, you may be able to take pain relievers to ease your facial pain and temporarily reduce fever, but discuss this with your doctor.
2. Inhale Some Steam
Inhaling steam is a natural way to help unclog your sinuses and facilitate drainage. You may find relief from the sinus pressure and stuffy nose by taking a long, hot shower. Alternatively, you might run the hot water from your shower and keep the door closed. Sit in the steamy bathroom for 10-15 minutes and breathe in the steam.
You might also try a personal steam inhaler you can purchase at the drug store. You fill this with hot tap water and plug it in to heat up the water. As the water heats up and boils, it produces steam, which you inhale through an attached hood. As your sinuses begin to drain after the steam treatment, gently blow your nose to get rid of the mucus.
A steam inhaler may provide systematic relief from sinus congestion, but you need medication to get rid of the infection.
3. Irrigate Your Sinuses With a Saline Spray
If inhaling steam sounds uncomfortable, then you could try a sinus rinse to flush out mucus and trapped bacteria. If you want something quick and easy, then simply use a saline nasal spray, which is purified salt water. Tilt your head to the side, then spray into one nostril at a time. As the mucus becomes flushed out, blow your nose to help relieve congestion.
4. Raise the Humidity in Your Home
Dry air may make your stuffy nose and sinus pressure feel even worse. Raising your home's humidity will help you breathe more easily and help your sinuses drain. If you don't have a central humidifier in your home, then purchase a portable unit. You must follow disinfection instructions to keep the humidifier free of bacteria. Also, keeping watered houseplants of any kind may also help release moisture into the air.
During winter when you use your heat, you might place a metal bowl of tap water on top of your heating vent. Moisture will evaporate into the air, raising the humidity levels in your room.
5. Stay Hydrated
It is important to drink adequate amounts of water to help your nasal passages retain moisture and to help your body get rid of the infection. Aim for about 6-8 glasses of water per day. You might also drink a cup of hot tea during the day. The steam may help open up your stuffy nasal passages.
6. Place a Warm Washcloth Over Your Sinus Area
Take a washcloth and soak it in hot water. Ring it out, then place the cloth over your sinuses. It may help relieve the pressure and facial pain often associated with a sinus infection.
Remember, if you're unable to get an immediate appointment with your personal physician, see your urgent care provider. Visit the team at Access Urgent Medical Care for walk-in health care without an appointment.