According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), sinus infections (sinusitis) affect roughly 30 million people each year. And based on the severity of the infection, it can last anywhere from 10 days (acute sinusitis) to up to 12 weeks (chronic sinusitis). Sinus infections can often be the result of allergies, or a simple common cold, and are typically diagnosed when your sinuses become inflamed or irritated. Symptoms are similar to those of a cold such as the face or headache pain, stuffy or runny nose and congestion. Severe sinus infections are typically caused by a bacterial infection and can lead to additional symptoms of fatigue, fever, coughing and a change in mucus color.
Sinusitis Treatment Options
If your sinus infection symptoms do not improve within a reasonable amount of time, it may be necessary to see a doctor to get diagnosed and treated as soon as possible. As with any illness, it is extremely important to get plenty of rest and to remain hydrated while you are battling a sinus infection. In addition, the following treatments are highly effective and widely used options:
• Antibiotics are one of the best and most commonly prescribed treatment options, especially if you develop a bacterial infection. Antibiotics must be taken exactly as prescribed to ensure that the bacteria is completely cleared.
• Painkillers such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen to help with headaches and face tenderness.
• Decongestants can come in the form of nasal sprays or an oral tablet intended to reduce the amount of mucus and congestion.
• Antihistamines are a good option if your sinus infection is caused by allergies.
• Steroids to help reduce swelling and inflammation in your sinuses.
• Home Remedies are effective for less severe infections and include warm face compresses, humidifiers, saline solution, steam vapors and nasal irrigation.
For chronic sufferers of sinusitis, your doctor may recommend surgery to enlarge the size of your sinus passages if other treatment attempts were not effective. The good news is that this is a fairly simple surgery with a relatively quick recovery time. While there are a few different options for surgical procedures, the most common and least invasive sinus surgery is endoscopic surgery. Patients typically go home the same day of surgery and experience mild, if any, discomfort.
The bottom line is, if you think you might have a sinus infection, don’t wait to treat it. Visit your doctor to discuss what the best treatment option is for you.