Sinus infections, or sinusitis, are a common illness among the general population. They occur when the nasal passages get inflamed and can cause serious discomfort. They’re also quite common, happening to everyone sooner or later. Sinus infections can happen with different levels of severity. Acute sinusitis is the shortest duration, only lasting a week or two. Subacute sinusitis lasts around three weeks to three months, and chronic sinusitis hangs around much longer. Anyone can get a sinus infection, especially if you have a history of allergies or have recently been around an infected individual. You’ll know if you have a sinus infection based on several different symptoms including a runny nose, cough, excessive sneezing, fever, swelling, and issues smelling. While there are numerous treatments for a sinus infection, here are a few of the most common.
Over the Counter Medication
Sometimes the best way to address a sinus infection is to go with over the counter medications like Flonase, Mucinex or Sudafed. Per the Mayo Clinic, over the counter medications are useful for reducing some of the pain and congestion that comes with acute sinus infections (the least severe type that lasts about a week or two). Always consult a doctor before taking any over the counter medications and follow package directions precisely. Over the counter medications might also be recommended by your doctor as a supplemental treatment to any other mitigation methods or prescription medicines they might decide to use for your treatment. Ultimately, a good consultation with an online doctor (for convenience, speed, and accessibility reasons) can shed plenty of light on the best ways to treat your sinus infection regardless of its severity.
Nasal Spray and Irrigation
Because sinuses are your nasal cavities, it makes sense that washing, irrigating, and treating those areas is an effective way to help reduce sinus infection severity. Some doctors might even recommend using steam, humidity, or a Neti Pot to clean out your sinuses. Unless you require a prescription nasal spray, most of the time you can make do with a simple saline solution purchased over the counter. If you’re going to use the irrigation method, Harvard Medical recommends using a home-made solution of non-iodized salt, baking soda, and lukewarm distilled water to perform the irrigation. It’s also possible to get better without treatment, but that means you’ll have to suffer through the symptoms and other issues without any kind of relief. Why take that chance, when there are so many effective methods of addressing and relieving sinus trouble?
When over the counter medication, drinking plenty of fluids, and using various home remedies just won’t do the trick, a doctor might decide to prescribe some kind of medication to help reduce your symptoms and treat the issue. This might be a steroid nasal spray or a stronger version of an over the counter medication (a prescription only variant), among other things. If you need a prescription, you can see an online doctor for a prescription or refill at a reputable telemedicine organization/provider. That’s the simplest and quickest way to get a prescription if you need one.
While antibiotics might not be a viable treatment option for every sinus infection, they can be useful for certain types of sinus infections. Keep in mind that sinus infections can either be bacterial – meaning they’re caused by bacteria – or viral. Viral sinus infections are not only contagious, but they can be pretty bad. Thankfully, antibiotics exist specifically to treat such ailments and illnesses. In most cases, however, sinus infections typically go away without the need of an antibiotic. But in the situation where you might need them, your doctor can prescribe something to treat your infection if they deem it to be necessary.
In some cases, a sinus infection might become severe enough to require a drainage procedure. This is almost exclusively reserved for those suffering from longer-term chronic sinusitis. Again, your doctor will ultimately guide you toward this route if they determine it to be the best way forward. When performing the surgery, a surgeon will enlarge the openings between the sinuses and the inside of the nose. That way, air can move in while the drainage can move out. During this procedure, a surgeon can also remove any infected sinus tissue or polyps. There are a few different kinds of sinus surgery, but none of them are terribly invasive and allow you to return to normal quickly after recovery.
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