Sinusitis can be a painful and uncomfortable condition, which is why treatment is especially important in order to heal your sinuses and be able to sustain the results to ensure proper breathing.
The main goals to treat sinusitis can be listed as follows:
- Ease pain and pressure
- Reduce any infections present
- Rectify drainage problems of mucus and decrease inflammation and swelling of the sinuses
- Avoid the presence of scar tissue, and circumvent long-lasting damage to the delicate tissues in both the nose and sinuses.
The types of treatment for sinusitis can be classified into three major categories:
(1) PRESCRIPTION & OTC (Over-the-Counter) MEDICATIONS
(2) NATURAL, HOME REMEDIES
Option 1 – Prescription & Over-the-Counter Medications
Having your doctor prescribe various medications may be the most effective method of treatment for those suffering from any form of sinusitis, primarily if the root cause of the condition stems from a viral or bacterial infection. Different methods to treat sinusitis exist for all degrees of severity. Some medications will require only three days of treatment, while other plans might require taking medicine for weeks or even longer.
There are several different types of medicines that your doctor may prescribe to treat your sinusitis, ranging from:
- ANTIBIOTICS -the purpose of which is to kill bacteria [i.e. amoxicillin],
- DECONGESTANTS -the purpose of which is to reduce the swelling of the mucus membranes [i.e.pseudoephedrine]
- ANALGESICS -the purpose of which is to relieve pain [i.e.acetaminophen or ibuprofen]
- MUCOLYTICS -the purpose of which is to thin the mucus [i.e.guaifenesin]
- CORTICOSTEROIDS -the purpose of which is to reduce inflammation in the nasal passages [i.e. beclomethasone, prednisone, or a nasal spray steroid]
Note, your doctor may require that you take only one of the medications listed above, or could require that you combine a variety of these medicines to ensure the most effective treatment possible.
Additionally, it is also important to mention that it’s possible to develop what is referred to as a“double sickening”during treatment of either acute or chronic sinusitis. This condition is described as an initial feeling of recovery upon taking the first of your antibiotics or other treatments, however, the symptoms may soon reappear, whereby the patient needs additional prescriptions in order to fully recover.
Treatment of Acute vs. Chronic Sinusitis
Due to the differences in the cause of acute sinusitis versus chronic sinusitis, there are usually different treatment methods.
Acute Sinusitis Treatment
Typically, for acute sinusitis, the standard treatment plan is two-fold. First, your doctor will begin “support treatment” via the use of saline nasal irrigation, decongestants, antihistamines, and expectorants for a period of typically 5 – 10 days. For more serious conditions, a longer period is suggested. Second, antibiotics may be prescribed after the 5-10 day support treatment, if symptoms continue. However, for those patients who suffer from more than merely mild-to-moderate symptoms, antibiotics will be used in conjunction with the nasal irrigation and decongestants.
Chronic Sinusitis Treatment
Patients who have been diagnosed with chronic sinusitis usually follow a different treatment plan. Your doctor may recommend that you use a more “all-inclusive” antibiotic, so that many different types of bacteria may be eliminated.
Secondly, patients may also use the antibiotic along with a corticosteroid nasal spray, in addition to saline nasal irrigation. After resolution of the sinus infection symptoms, the antibiotics are stopped, although the patient will be encouraged to continue using the irrigation and nasal spray. Alternatively, if improvement has not yet come about, your doctor may discuss with you the possibility of surgery. This is quite common for many patients who suffer from chronic sinusitis, in that they do not respond to normal treatment plans, and must take further action in order to improve their quality of life.
Note: It is important that your doctor conduct a thorough check-up in order to discover any additional, pre-existing conditions that may be aggravating or contributing to your chronic sinusitis. For example, allergies, asthma, smoking, immune problems, gastroesophageal reflux disorder, and nasal passage structural problems are just a few examples of conditions for chronic sinusitis that your doctor needs to know about.
Option 2 – Home Remedies
When medications don’t work, or are not the best method of treatment, your doctor may ask you to consider various helpful home remedies to treat sinusitis. These remedies are typically for those who have a mild case of sinusitis, but may decrease symptoms for those who suffer from the chronic variety of the condition.
The most efficient home remedies may be broken down into the following groups:
- FLUIDS -Staying hydrated is key to maintaining a proper moisture level in the body and ensuring that your nasal passages and mucus membranes remain moist. Accomplish this by drinking plenty of fluids, such as water, and pairing it with an equal amount of rest to assist with the pain and general discomfort experienced with sinusitis. Carrying around a bottle of water at all times is recommended.
- SINUS-FRIENDLY FOODS -A good diet can help heal your sinuses faster than eating the wrong types of food -like greasy food that is high in fat and cholesterol content. Instead, consider eating a bowl of chicken soup to ease the sinus pains of congestion. Also foods that contain horseradish sauce or habanero peppers may help clear the sinuses.
- SINUS-FRIENDLY DRINKS -Just as different types of foods act to help rid your sinuses of bacteria and infection, sometimes beverages and hydration can help as well. Beverages like hot ginger tea, sugar-free fruit juices, and herbal tea with honey and lemon all work to promote healthy sinuses
- STEAM INHALATION -Another very effective home remedy is to inhale steam between two and five times each day. This remedy is easy to do, and requires only the items you have available in your house. Simply boil a bowl of hot water, place it on a table in front of you, and then cover your head and the bowl with a towel so the steam is trapped. Inhale continuously, taking deep breathes, for 10-15 minutes. The effect is essentially akin to a sauna. Note that you can also get the same effect from taking hot showers or via the use of vaporizers.
Option 3 – Surgery
Although many of us see our symptoms vanish after taking antibiotics, some do not always see their stuffy nose and inflammation disappear. In fact, some people’s sinusitis may only be cured through surgery. This option is usually for those who experience recurrent episodes of acute sinusitis or chronic rhinosinusitis. The overall objective of surgery is to treat sinusitis by permanently improving sinus drainage and reducing the blockages in the sinuses and nasal cavities.
There are several operations that doctors may perform in order to treat chronic sinusitis, and some people will require all or maybe only one, in order to start feeling better again:
- Expand the normal, ordinary openings of the sinuses
- Open swollen and blocked sinus cells
- Remove sites of infection and pus within the sinuses
- Rid the nasal cavity of any and all nasal polyps
- Repair structural abnormalities inside the nose (i.e. deviated septum)
After surgery and a proper recovery period, most individuals feel as if their sinus problems will no longer be a burden in their life. However, chronic sinusitis is called “chronic” for a reason, and there is a possibility that the same problems could potentially reveal themselves once more, upon which you are encouraged to consult with your doctor immediately.
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