The typical cause of acute sinusitis is the common cold, a viral infection, though sometimes the inflamed, swollen, and congested sinuses create ideal conditions for bacterial growth.
While a viral infection clears up in 7-10 days, life can be miserable along the way. When bacteria take hold, you may be suffering longer and require an antibiotic to clear your breathing.
We’re ready to help you at Lawrence Otolaryngology Associates in Lawrence or Ottawa if your sinusitis won’t clear. Most of the time, though, your body will fight off the virus and prevail. There are things you can do at home to make living with a viral infection easier.
Consider these strategies to relieve your acute sinusitis symptoms as your immune system fights the virus.
Is it sinusitis?
The symptoms of sinusitis are often synonymous with having a common cold. Thick and discolored mucus drains from your nose or down your throat.
Breathing may be difficult or impossible through the nose, and sinus pressure causes pain or tenderness around your nose, under your eyes, beneath your cheeks, and even into your forehead.
Your teeth may ache and ears can feel plugged. You might have a cough, and your senses of smell and taste may be off. It’s common to be tired and easily worn down.
How to relieve your acute sinusitis symptoms
If you feel the near-constant urge to lie down and rest, your body is pointing you in the right direction. Rest and sleep are the most important things you can do to support your immune system.
Your body heals best when it’s not interrupted by the demands of waking hours. If you feel like a nap and you’re able to take one, it may lessen the duration of your sinus infection. Along with rest, consider adding some of these additional home care strategies.
Close the bathroom door and run a hot shower. Getting into the shower is optional; the benefit here is the relief offered by the warm, moist air. The other tried-and-true steam therapy method is a bowl of hot water. Trap steam with a towel over your head and inhale. Room humidifiers are another way to ease conditions as you sleep.
Keep up your fluid intake, but avoid alcohol and caffeine, which can dry you out. Staying hydrated thins the consistency of mucus, making drainage easier.
Chicken soup doesn’t have magical powers, but it still makes sense when your nose is plugged. Hot soup provides aromatic steam to ease your breathing, while the salty broth builds your thirst.
Over-the-counter (OTC) medicines can tame your symptoms.
Saline nasal sprays may dilute mucus and soothe inflamed tissue. Neti pots are also a way to breathe easier. If your sinusitis stems from allergies, steroidal nasal sprays may be a better option. Decongestants can dry up mucus, a big help when you have a head cold.
Cough suppressants work well when you have a dry cough. If your cough produces phlegm from your chest, you may want to avoid suppressing your cough to decrease the chance of getting pneumonia.
When your sinusitis lasts more than 10 days, it’s time to visit the head and neck specialists at Lawrence Otolaryngology Associates.
Your infection may be bacterial and in need of prescription antibiotics. We assess your condition and offer our suggestions for fast relief. Call our most convenient office directly to arrange a visit or request an appointment here on our website as soon as you need it.