When you have a sinus infection, you often have to go through your day in pain and in a fog. Sinusitis, or infection of the sinuses, is incredibly common, but many people suffer through it rather than get it treated. At Asthma Allergy Centre in Tigard, McMinnville, or Beaver, OR, we use a variety of sinus management treatments to reduce the inflammation and immune response that are likely behind your sinus problems.
What Is the Fastest Way to Get Rid of Sinusitis?
While there are numerous at-home treatments for sinus infections, the fastest way to get rid of one is to seek treatment from a professional. The reason this is the fastest solution is that we use advanced diagnostic tools to determine the root cause of your infection. This is especially important if you suffer from chronic sinus infections that interfere with your ability to live your life the way you want to live it because of pain or activity avoidance.
For example, you might avoid going to an outdoor barbecue with friends because you’re afraid the environment will trigger an allergic response that leads to a sinus infection. Our office can help you identify the allergens that cause your sinus infections and either treat you with allergen immunotherapy or help you manage your allergies so that you don’t have to skip social functions or stay inside just because an allergen might be present.
We also use Pneumovax to test your immune response to pneumonia germs, which are often responsible for chronic sinus infections. People who suffer from recurring sinus infections often lack the appropriate immune response, so we treat them with immune globulin replacement therapy, which builds up their body’s ability to properly respond to pneumonia germs and prevent sinus infections. These methods that identify the root cause of your infections mean a quicker resolution to your sinus problems.
Flush Your Sinuses
One home remedy that can be effective in getting rid of a sinus infection is using a Neti pot to flush your sinuses. This has been an effective way to relieve the pressure and pain related to a sinus infection for hundreds of years. Neti pots use filtered water and a salt solution to flush the nasal passages. You can use this treatment daily or weekly as a maintenance option to prevent sinus infections in the first place.
Use a Medicated Over-the-Counter Nasal Spray
This could be the quickest way to get relief from the stuffiness associated with a sinus infection because the medicine contained in an over-the-counter (OTC) nasal spray enters your sinus passages immediately and reduces the inflammation almost instantaneously. However, pay attention to the type of spray you use. Some medicated sprays can only be used for three days or your condition could get worse. A spray that contains saltwater can be used longer and gets more effective over time.
Use a Humidifier
Dry air increases inflammation by irritating the lining of your sinuses, which will only lead to more pressure and pain from your sinus infection. Humid air, on the other hand, reduces inflammation and makes it easier to breathe through your nose. This is especially important in climates that are naturally dry and don’t have much water in the air, such as states in the western United States. Humidifiers can be found for a reasonable price in pharmacies and big box stores.
If you don’t have a humidifier handy and can’t get one, you can create a humid environment by creating steam. Turn your shower on its hottest setting or breathe in steam from a bowl of hot water. These actions put steam into your nasal passages to help reduce inflammation and open them up. Placing a warm, damp towel over your nose and eyes can also help reduce the pain associated with a sinus infection, while a cool towel reduces swelling.
Even though getting yourself properly hydrated won’t have a fast effect on your sinus infection, it’s still an effective way to reduce the inflammation that comes with sinusitis. Water helps thin the mucus in your body, making it easier to remove through blowing your nose or flushing your sinuses. Be sure to avoid dehydrating beverages like soda, alcohol, caffeinated coffee, and caffeinated tea, as they can cause inflammation and make the mucus thicker and more difficult to remove.
Get Plenty of Rest
As with staying hydrated, getting rest won’t relieve your sinus infection symptoms immediately, but it will help your body heal more quickly. In conjunction with other home remedies on this list, rest will increase their effectiveness. You may have to elevate your head to help your sinuses drain and increase your ability to sleep, but rest is critical for recovery, as your body is able to fight the infection better when it’s not busy doing other things.
Take Vitamin C
Another prevention strategy for sinus infections is to increase the amount of vitamin C you take on a daily basis. Vitamin C not only protects and boosts your immune system but also reduces the severity of allergic reactions. Since both immunity and allergies could be responsible for your sinus infections, vitamin C should be a part of your defense. While vitamin C won’t relieve your current symptoms, it will help prevent infections in the future.
Eat Some Spice
As you may be aware, your nose, ears, and throat are all connected by the eustachian tube, and as such, what you eat affects your nasal passages. By eating spicy food like hot peppers, wasabi, horseradish, or hot sauce can open up your sinuses fairly quickly. However, this response may only be temporary, especially if you have a bacterial infection. Still, spice can provide you with almost instant relief that can last for a few minutes to a few hours.
Take Over-the-Counter Medications
Depending on the underlying cause of your sinus infection, OTC medications like antihistamines and decongestants can help provide quick relief. If allergies are the problem, antihistamines can be a solution, whereas decongestants are appropriate for bacterial infections or stuffiness related to a virus, like a cold. You’ll find a variety of formulas available from many brands, but we can help you choose the best one for your needs and eliminate the guesswork that can be part of choosing a medication.
Inhale Diffused Eucalyptus Oil
Eucalyptus oil has a strong odor that often helps patients find instant relief from sinusitis. Research has found that cineole, the main ingredient in eucalyptus oil, helps people recover from sinus infections more quickly than those who don’t use eucalyptus oil. You can inhale eucalyptus oil through a diffuser, or rub some on your temples and chest to open your breathing passages. You can even use food-grade eucalyptus oil and place a drop on the roof of your mouth.
Inhale Menthol and Camphor
Another inhaled odor that can help open up sinus passages is menthol, which is an ingredient in popular ointments that are used specifically to treat a stuffy nose. These ointments also contain eucalyptus oil and camphor, which combine with menthol to create a powerful scent that immediately relieves sinus pressure. This ointment can be rubbed on your chest and under your nose to deliver its soothing benefits. Unlike eucalyptus oil, this ointment should not be placed in the mouth.
Get a Prescription
When OTC medications and at-home remedies don’t provide you with the relief you need from your sinus infections, it’s time to see a doctor to possibly get a prescription. As mentioned earlier, before we’ll write a prescription, we’ll take the steps to find the root cause of your sinus infections. This is important because if your sinus issues are due to an immune system deficiency or allergies, an antibiotic prescription won’t help at all.
Instead, we may treat your chronic sinus infections with a nasal medication like budesonide, or macrolide medications like erythromycin, azithromycin, or clarithromycin to reduce the inflammation in your nasal passages. These medications have anti-inflammatory properties that result in quick relief of your sinus infection symptoms and can be especially effective for people who suffer from recurring sinus inflammation that’s not solely related to an immune deficiency or an allergic response. We may use medications in combination with other treatments.
To determine whether a medication prescription will be beneficial in your case, we’ll take a complete medical history during your initial visit with us. Then, after a full examination, we’ll perform some diagnostic tests, including using Pneumovax to test your immune response to infection-causing bacteria, as previously mentioned. Once we determine the underlying cause of your sinus issues, we’ll develop a treatment plan to address more than just your symptoms, which is what many of these other treatments do.
How to Tell if You Have an Actual Sinus Infection
Even though we often say we have a sinus infection even if it’s just inflammation or an allergic response, there are symptoms of an actual infection that may be treatable with antibiotics. Nasal congestion and pain under the eyes or around the temples are, of course, main symptoms, but others include the loss of the sense of smell, green nasal discharge, mucus dripping down your throat, cough, fever, fatigue, sore throat, and even bad breath.
Sometimes, a sinus infection will clear up without intervention, but if you develop a fever of 100.4 degrees or higher, have your symptoms for 10 or more days, notice that your symptoms are getting worse and are not improved by OTC medications, or you have multiple infections in a year’s time, you should seek medical treatment as soon as possible.
You don’t have to live with chronic sinus infections or the pain that comes with them. Call Asthma Allergy Centre in Tigard, McMinnville, or Beaver, OR today to discover how we can diagnose the root problem and treat your sinus issues quickly and effectively.