It’s a dark time for cold and flu season and everyone you meet seems to have the sniffles. People don’t want to skip work because they have so much to do. Yet, close quarters with out co-workers and colleagues only helps to spread infection.
While colds don’t typically cause sinus infections, they do provide great breeding grounds for them. Bacteria and viruses are causes of sinusitis with swelling and inflammation around the nasal passages along with allergies.
Swelling blocks the sinus openings and this inhibits drainage and mucus buildup. This can lead to a nasty sinus infection.
Symptoms typically include:
- Pressure, pain, swelling and tenderness around nose, eyes, forehead and cheeks
- Cough, which may increase in bed
- Thick, green or yellow discharge draining from nose or throat
- Nasal congestion or obstruction lasting more than a week
- Difficulty with nasal breathing
- Diminished smell and taste
- Dizziness on position changes
Additional signs accompanying the symptoms may be:
- Ear pain
- Ache in upper jaw
- Halitosis (bad breath)
Treatment of acute sinusitis can most often be treated with home remedies. Check out the following list.
Drink Lots of Fluids. Water and juices will dilute mucous secretions, making it thinner and easier to drain. Avoid alcohol, which can increase swelling of the nose and sinuses. Avoid caffeinated beverages, which can be dehydrating.
Get your needed sleep. Rest will help speed recovery as your body’s natural defenses fight the infection. If you find it difficult to sleep, take decongestants and elevate your head on two pillows to help the sinuses drain, thereby decreasing the congestion and pressure.
Nasal Lavage. This is a process of rinsing out your nasal passages using a squeeze bottle designed for this purpose. This helps clear the sinuses.
Sinus irrigation. A neti pot is used to flush out the nasal passages and sinuses using a mixture of distilled water and salt.
Apply warm facial compresses. Alleviate pain to the face by placing warm, moist towels around your eyes, nose, and cheeks.
Moisten your sinus cavities. Prepare a bowl or mug of hot water and direct the vapor toward your face while wearing a draped towel over your head. Take a hot shower or let a hot shower run in the bathroom with the door closed to create a steam room. Breathe in the moist warm air to help drain the mucus and relieve the pain.
When to See the Doctor
Get medical consultation right away if you experience:
- Double vision
- Stiff neck
- Severe headache
- Swollen forehead
- Shortness of breath
- Pain and swelling around the eyes
- Worsening symptoms
- Persistent fever
- Known history of chronic or recurrent sinusitis (sinusitis that keeps reappearing or lasting more than 8 weeks.
If your home remedies aren’t providing relief, seek an examination with your physician. Antibiotics, steroids and pain medication may be prescribed.
Other conditions will be ruled out such as:
- Nasal polyps
- Tumors blocking the nasal passages
- Infected tooth
- Allergies (e.g. hay fever)
- GERD (gastroesophageal reflux)
Stay warm and comfortable. The infection will pass. Feel better!