keeping your sinuses clear
Home sinusitis treatments may relieve the symptoms of sinus pain and pressure associated with short-term sinus infections. These methods can help improve the drainage of mucus from the sinuses and prevent a more serious bacterial or fungal infection due to build-up.
- Stay Hydrated
Drink plenty of fluids to help keep your mucus thin.
- Apply Heat
Apply moist heat (using a hot, damp towel or gel pack) to your face for five to ten minutes, several times a day.
- Breathe Steam
Breathe warm, moist air from a steamy shower, a hot bath, or a sink filled with hot water. Avoid extremely cool, dry air. Consider using a humidifier to increase the moisture in the air in your home.
- Rinse with Saline
Use saltwater nasal washes (saline lavage or irrigation) to help keep the nasal passages open and wash out mucus and bacteria. You can purchase saline nose drops at a pharmacy or make your own saline solution at home. It may also help to gargle with warm salt water.
- Try a Decongestant
Try over-the-counter medicines such as pain relievers and decongestants (for example, nasal spray) to relieve symptoms.
- Cough and cold medicines may not be safe for young children or for people who have certain health problems. Before you use them, check the label.
- If you do use these medicines, always follow the directions about how much to use based on age and in some cases weight.
- Be careful when using some nasal-spray decongestants. They usually should not be used for more than three days. Longer use can lead to further swelling of the sinus membranes after the medicine wears off (called rebound congestion), which makes pressure and swelling worse. You may end up dependent on the medicine if you start using more and more of it to get rid of the pressure and swelling.
- Blow Your Nose Correctly
If you need to blow your nose, do it gently. Forceful blowing may force thick mucus back into your sinuses and block them. Keep both nostrils open when blowing your nose.
If you have chronic sinusitis, you'll probably need to continue the above home treatment measures for a long period of time to keep your sinuses clear.
If you have taken antibiotics and other medications for a long time but still have sinusitis symptoms or if your symptoms have worsened, you should visit your primary care physician. Your doctor may refer you to an Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) specialist who will determine if you require further medical treatment or surgery.