Sinusitis is an inflammation of the sinuses due to bacteria, viruses, and fungi. Everyone can develop a sinus infection most especially people with low immune systems and allergies. If you believe you are experiencing sinus infection, here are eight effective ways to treat them.
Symptoms of a Sinus Infection
Although symptoms may vary and you need a thorough examination of your nose, throat, and sinuses, you need to look out for:
- Nasal tissue swelling
- Nasal discharge discoloration
- Bad breath
- Headache and/or toothache
- Face tenderness
Try Nasal Irrigation
If you don’t want to get invasive treatment, you can opt for nasal irrigation as the first treatment. Nasal irrigation is the process of pouring a solution into your nostril, passing your nasal cavity onto the other nostril. It will flush out mucus and allergens trapped inside your sinus. You can use squeeze bottles, infant nasal bulb, bulb syringe, neti pot, or buy pre-filled containers.
The solution used can also vary, you can buy a saline solution at pharmacies or make one at home. Do it once a day or thrice a week or depending on your doctor’s advice. To ensure that it won’t cause any other infection, follow these tips:
- Ensure that the device and solution are clean and sanitized
- Don’t use cold or hot solution
- Don’t do nasal irrigation if you have an ear infection, facial wound, or neurological or musculoskeletal problems
Take Doctor Prescribed Medications
If you tried Nasal Irrigation and the symptoms of infection is still there, you can get doctor-prescribed medications. You can use decongestants that are available in over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription liquids, tablets, and nasal sprays. Be careful in using nasal sprays as they can cause rebound congestion.
If there’s an allergen involved, you can use antihistamines, however, they can thicken mucus if none. If symptoms persist, you can ask to get a prescription for antibiotics to prevent the infection further. Another medication you can use is oral steroids, it can help lessen the inflammation of your sinus. Both antibiotics and oral steroids should only be taken after a thorough medical evaluation.
Ask for Allergy Evaluation
You can ask your medical provider for allergy evaluation, as this can be a major contributor to your sinus infection. Allergies can make your sinus swell and inflamed, thus leading to more complications. Example of allergies that can cause sinusitis:
- Pollen allergies
- Molds/ dust allergies
- Pet allergies
Minimally Invasive Treatments
Do Turbinate Reduction
Turbinate reduction is a medical procedure done by inserting a needle-like probe into inferior turbinates to reduce the tissue. You can ask your sinus doctor if this can be applicable to you. The doctor will then initiate controlled damage that will create more space for breathing through the nose.
The turbinates may not be a reason for sinusitis, but the procedure can alleviate the symptoms and improve your airflow. It takes about one to two months to recover from turbinate reduction, still depending on your surgery’s extent. Turbinate Reduction procedure can be combined with other medical treatments for faster healing and recovery.
Same as Turbinate Reduction, Rhinitis treatment is an additional treatment to sinus infection. Rhinitis treatment will reduce inflamed sinus and will normalize the drainage. You can go for intranasal remodeling treatment like VIvaer, which uses a stylus to deliver controlled and targeted low-energy radio frequency heating to the nasal sidewall to reshape the tissues gently.
Or Clarifix, also a minimally innovative cryotherapy (localized freezing) that uses a cooling probe to freeze a small, inflamed area in the back of the nose.
Septoplasty is a major surgery done to treat long-term sinusitis, nasal polyps removal, and any other nasal airway blockage treatment. The septum is the part of your nose that separates your left and right nasal cavity. A straight septum provides better airway flow on both sides, and a crooked septum may cause an obstruction on both sides.
The bent cartilage and bone in your septum will be straightened by lifting the mucosa lining that covers your cartilage and bone. After, the surgeon will reshape and remove some parts of your cartilage and bone before putting back the mucosa lining in place. This treatment will improve the nasal blockage problem. The downtime and recovery period can be two to four weeks.
Endoscopic Nasal Polypectomy
Nasal polypectomy is a surgery done to remove polyps on your nasal passages. Nasal polyps are the soft growths hanging inside your nose. They are caused by chronic inflammation from infections, allergies, asthma, and immune disorders. For patients with a sinus infection, the removal of polyps can give immediate relief.
Using an endoscope, the doctor will look for the polyps that are blocking your nasal airway. Nasal polyps removal is relatively painful as you can feel nasal and sinus pressure and pain after the surgery. This can be cured by taking painkillers. Also, the downtime is one to two months with required visits for checkups.
Functional Endoscopic Sinus Surgery
Functional Endoscopic Sinus Surgery, also known as FESS, is a surgery to restore sinus ventilation and normal function. Patients who have recurrent sinusitis infection (acute or chronic) are eligible for this procedure. If the less invasive surgery didn’t provide any relief, Functional Endoscopic Sinus Surgery would improve patients’ symptoms.
This procedure is done with fiber optic telescopes with the help of computed tomography for the assessment of the anatomy and identification of diseased areas. Moreover, it can restore normal sinus function with easier recovery, minimal pain/discomfort, and very quick downtime.
Sinus infections can affect the quality of your life and put a serious risk on your overall health. These 8 effective ways mentioned in the article can help you, but if your sinus infection is not getting better and is longer than seven to ten days, it would be best to get immediate medical help.
Keep track of all your symptoms, medical intakes, and all personal information so you and your healthcare provider can get a better diagnosis and help you in your treatment plan.