How Do You Get Rid Of A Sinus Infection Naturally
For those who want to limit their intake of all medications, including over-the-counter drugs, there are several natural home remedies that can provide relief from sinus pressure.
Many home remedies for sinus infections rely on hydration of the nasal passages. This can take the form of anything from holding a warm compress to your face, keeping your head over a bowl of hot water to breath in the steam, or even taking a hot shower. Increasing the amount of moisture in the nasal cavities can help flush irritants out of your nose, which will reduce your inflammation.
One of the most popular ways to treat a sinus infection at home is with the use of a neti pot. This treatment involves nasal irrigation where the sinuses are flushed with saline solution or distilled water either by pouring water from a neti pot or injecting it carefully into the sinuses with a bulb or syringe.
Just because nasal irrigation with a neti pot or small syringe is natural does not mean it is universally safe. It is vital that you use distilled water, as further infection can result from untreated tap water being placed in the sinus cavities. The infections caused by improper use of a neti pot have resulted in death, and for this reason some medical professionals are hesitant to recommend this treatment.
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How You Can Treat Sinusitis Yourself
You can often treat mild sinusitis without seeing a GP by:
- getting plenty of rest
- taking painkillers, such as paracetamol or ibuprofen
- avoiding allergic triggers and not smoking
- cleaning your nose with a salt water solution to ease congestion
If you have a high temperature or you do not feel well enough to do your normal activities, try to stay at home and avoid contact with other people until you feel better.
You do not need to use all of the solution, but make a fresh solution each time you clean your nose.
Clinical Course And Management
Details of the natural history of the illness have been obtained from the placebo-control groups of antibiotic trials. Sinusitis sufferers usually recover spontaneously without antibiotic treatment, even if the infection is bacterial. Most adult patients become well or nearly well after 7 to 10 days, but 25% are still symptomatic after 14 days. The signs and symptoms of acute bacterial sinusitis and of a prolonged head cold are very similar, which makes diagnosis difficult. Complications are very rare.
- Most cases of acute sinusitis will get better without treatment.
- Most patients will be better within 7 to 10 days.
- When symptoms persist beyond 7 days, bacterial sinusitis is more likely.
- Complications are very rare.
There are no robust decision rules for diagnosing bacterial sinusitis as there are for sore throat sinusitis is a clinical diagnosis. Cultures from the nose or the pharynx are of no value transillumination and sinus x-ray examinations have limited sensitivity. Ultrasonography is not considered useful for acute sinusitis. Computed tomographic scans of the sinuses are more sensitive than plain film radiographs or ultrasounds, but up to 87% of adults with early cold symptoms show some sinus abnormalities on computed tomographic scans. At present, there seems to be no place for routine diagnostic tests for sinusitis in primary care.
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Getting Rid Of A Sinus Infection Without Antibiotics
How can I get rid of a sinus infection without antibiotics? Here are a few non-antibiotic treatment options you might consider:
If you find that these at-home sinus infections dont work, then it might be time to talk to a doctor for medical treatment.
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Risk Of Unnecessary Antibiotics For Sinus Infections
Taking unnecessary antibiotics for a sinus infection is not only ineffectual, but can actually be harmful to the patient. Risks of taking unneeded antibiotics include:
- Increased chance of getting an antibiotic-resistant infection at a later time
- Destruction of healthy stomach bacteria, which can allow harmful bacteria to grow
- Possible side effects, such as upset stomach, rash, or dizziness
- Allergic reaction
According to studies conducted by the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology , 60-70% of patients with sinus infections fully recover without the use of antibiotics. Additional research shows that almost 90% of U.S. adults diagnosed with acute sinusitis are prescribed antibiotics.
This overuse of antibiotics for sinus infections, as well as other conditions, can lead to antibiotic resistance, a state in which bacteria change over time as a reaction to antibiotic treatment, in order to survive and multiply, thus making the antibiotics less effective.
Treatments For Sinus Infections Other Than Antibiotics
#1: Saline Nasal Wash
Saline nasal wash can be a great way to thin out the mucous in the sinuses enough to clear out the blockage. I recommend starting this early on in the course of the illness to prevent the infection from worsening.
You can even make this at home using 2 cups of water and a 1/2 teaspoon of salt. I would add a 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of baking soda to prevent burning that can occur with use. There are also plenty of over the counter saline nasal sprays that you can purchase. You can use this 4-6 times per day.
Vaporizers are great because they can also thin out the mucous and make you feel a lot better. An easy home remedy, steam is probably the best way to use this treatment. Beware if you are an asthmatic as the steam could cause worsening of the asthma symptoms.
#3: Steroid Nasal Spray
Steroid nasal sprays such as Flonase have been my go to remedy recently and the great news is that they are now over the counter. The general recommendation is to use 1-2 sprays per nostril daily.
But I have found great relief using 2 sprays in each nostril twice daily. At these higher doses it is important to remember that you should use this short term, no more than 5-7 days.
These medications can significantly reduce inflammation allowing the congestion blockage to clear and significantly alleviate symptoms.
Guaifenesin such as Mucinex can certainly break up the mucous, allowing the congestion to clear more quickly.
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When Do I Really Need Antibiotics For A Sinus Infection
When do I really need antibiotics for a sinus infection? is a question many patients have when suffering from bothersome sinus and allergy problems. While sinus infections can be quite painful, antibiotics often do not help in treating the condition.
Sinus infections affect approximately 37 million people in the U.S. each year and can be caused by:
- Nasal polyps or deviated septum causing nasal obstruction
The majority of sinus infections are viral in nature, and antibiotics do not cure viral infections. Taking antibiotics for viral infections also will not:
- Keep you from being contagious to others
- Relieve symptoms or make you feel better
In order to distinguish a bacterial sinus infection from an infection caused by a virus or other contributing factor, your doctor will observe your symptoms and possibly conduct other tests, such as a CT scan or cultures.
Antibiotics are only effective on bacterial infections, and even in cases involving bacteria, the body can often cure itself of mild or moderate infections within a few days.
What Home Remedies Help Soothe Sinus Infection Or Sinusitis Symptoms
Sinus infections caused by viruses can use home treatments such as pain and fever medications , decongestants, and mucolytics. In addition, some health care professionals suggest nasal irrigation or a sinus rinse solution to help relieve symptoms of sinus infections, even chronic sinusitis symptoms. This irrigation is accomplished with a Neti-Pot or a sinus rinse kit . The last reference of this article shows a video of a sinus rinse procedure. In 2012, the FDA issued a warning about the use of Neti-Pots. The FDA cautions people not to use untreated tap water for rinsing, as contaminated tap water rinses lead to two deaths.
Bacterial and fungal sinus infections usually require antibiotic or antifungal therapy so home treatments without them are often not successful. However, some authors suggest home treatments may reduce symptoms after medical therapy has begun some healthcare professionals recommend nasal irrigation after sinus surgery.
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How Is Sinus Infection Diagnosed
Diagnosis depends on symptoms and requires an examination of the throat, nose and sinuses. Your allergist will look for:
- Discolored nasal discharge
- Bad Breath
If your sinus infection lasts longer than eight weeks, or if standard antibiotic treatment is not working, a sinus CT scan may help your allergist diagnose the problem. Your allergist may examine your nose or sinus openings. The exam uses a long, thin, flexible tube with a tiny camera and a light at one end that is inserted through the nose. It is not painful. Your allergist may give you a light anesthetic nasal spray to make you more comfortable.
Mucus cultures: If your sinus infection is chronic or has not improved after several rounds of antibiotics, a mucus culture may help to determine what is causing the infection. Most mucus samples are taken from the nose. However, it is sometimes necessary to get mucus directly from the sinuses.
Knowing what kind of bacteria is causing the infection can lead to more effective antibiotic therapy. A fungus could also cause your sinus infection. Confirming the presence of fungus is important. Fungal sinus infection needs to be treated with antifungal agents, rather than antibiotics. In addition, some forms of fungal sinus infection allergic fungal sinus infection, for example do not respond to antifungal agents and often require the use of oral steroids.
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What Happens If A Sinus Infection Is Left Untreated
A sinus infection can cause a long list of annoying problems, but if left untreated, your symptoms could continue for months on end. And in rare cases, very serious complications can develop.
In this blog, the board-certified physicians at New York ENT explain more about sinus infections and what can happen if theyre left untreated.
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When Does Antibiotic Resistance Occur
Antibiotic resistance occurs in a persons own body and within the community when certain drugs no longer work for a specific type of germ. This can occur when bacteria change in response to exposure to antibiotics so that the antibiotics no longer work efficiently against the bacteria.
Therefore, allergists and other specialists recommend limiting the use of antibiotics unless:
- Symptoms last over seven to 10 days
- Specific symptoms are present
- A fever is present
When To Seek Medical Care
See a doctor if you have:
- Severe symptoms, such as severe headache or facial pain.
- Symptoms that get worse after improving.
- Symptoms lasting more than 10 days without getting better.
- Fever longer than 3-4 days.
You should also seek medical care if you have had multiple sinus infections in the past year.
This list is not all-inclusive. Please see a doctor for any symptom that is severe or concerning.
Other conditions can cause symptoms similar to a sinus infection, including:
- Seasonal allergies
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Can You Treat A Sinus Infection At Home
Whether it is allergies, a cold, or the flu, most of us have experienced the unique discomfort of extreme sinus congestion. While there are many things that can make it feel like someone has stuffed an entire pillow inside your face, the sinus infection is a unique form of misery that is worse than a simple common cold or seasonal allergies.
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Is It Possible To Get Over A Sinus Infection Without Antibiotics
While antibiotics are often recommended treatments for sinus infections, this medication isnt a one-size-fits-all solution for every patient. While many sinus infections are caused by bacteria or fungus, viral infections can also be the root cause.
For example, if the root cause is a viral infection, then antibiotics wont help in clearing up the infection. You will need to wait for the virus to run its course. Sometimes a secondary bacterial infection develops with the virus. Have you come down with a head cold, then the congestion worsens, and sinus pain develops a week later? The symptoms of the viral infection likely created the perfect conditions for the development of a bacterial infection in the sinuses.
In fact, with the rates of antibiotic resistance increasing, doctors are working to reduce the number of antibiotic prescriptions. There are times when antibiotics are needed for treatment. But each patient needs to be evaluated individually before jumping to conclusions about treatment options.
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Untreated Sinus Infection Risks
Sinus infections often start to improve on their own after about 10 days. If your symptoms last longer without improving or if they worsen, a doctor may need to treat the underlying cause of the infection.
If a sinus infection affects a sinus cavity close to the brain, it can spread to the brain if left untreated. Though rare, an infection can also pass into the eye socket and cause vision changes or blindness. These types of infections are more common in kids.
While uncommon, a serious fungal sinus infection left untreated may pass into the bones.
Make an appointment with a doctor if you have severe symptoms, or if the following symptoms last longer than 10 days or keep coming back:
- facial pain
Because the cause of your sinus infection can affect your treatment options, its important to see a doctor for a diagnosis. The Healthline FindCare tool can provide options in your area if youre looking for a doctor.
If you believe you have chronic or recurring sinusitis, consider asking for a referral to an otolaryngologist, also known as an ear, nose, and throat specialist. You may need imaging and other tests to determine the cause of your symptoms.
An ENT specialist can take a culture of nose drainage to better understand the cause of an infection. The ENT specialist can also examine the sinuses more closely and look for any problem in the structure of the nasal passages that could lead to chronic sinus problems.
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What Tests Diagnose The Cause Of Sinus Infections And Sinusitis
Sinus infection is most often diagnosed based on the history and examination of a doctor. Because plain X-ray studies of the sinuses may be misleading and procedures such as CT and MRI scans, which are much more sensitive in their ability to diagnose a sinus infection, are so expensive and not available in most doctors offices, most sinus infections are initially diagnosed and treated based on clinical findings on examination. These physical findings may include:
- redness and swelling of the nasal passages,
- purulent drainage from the nasal passages ,
- tenderness to percussion over the cheeks or forehead region of the sinuses, and
- swelling about the eyes and cheeks.
Occasionally, nasal secretions are examined for secreted cells that may help differentiate between infectious and allergic sinusitis. Infectious sinusitis may show specialized cells of infection while allergic sinusitis may show specialized white blood cells of allergy . Physicians prescribe antibiotics if the bacterial infection is suspected. Antibiotics are not effective against viral infections many physicians then treat the symptoms.
In addition, both rigid and flexible endoscopy has been used to obtain diagnostic material from sinuses. These procedures are usually done by an otolaryngologist under topical and local anesthesia. Occasionally, there may be a need to sedate the patient. Some investigators suggest that endoscopy specimens are comparable to those obtained by needle puncture.
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