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People should try to get as much rest as they can while they have a sinus infection. This will help the body recover and allow it to spend its energy fighting the infection.
Staying at home and resting can also help prevent spreading the infection to other people.
Drinking plenty of clear fluids will help people stay hydrated and can also help loosen mucus and clear congestion.
Good choices for fluids to drink when a person has a sinus infection include:
- plain water •hot water with lemon, honey, or ginger
- herbal teas •vegetable broth
Applying a warm compress to the face can help ease pain and relieve pressure from the blocked sinuses.
To make a warm compress, soak a facecloth in hot water, wring it out, and place it on the affected areas of the face.
Treatment for a sinus infection works to unblock and drain the sinuses.
If a person has had a sinus infection for over 7–10 days, a doctor may prescribe antibiotictherapy, but only if the infection is bacterial. Viral sinus infections often improve without treatment.
Another option is to use a prescription nasal spray to reduce swelling in the nasal passages. This allows mucus to drain more easily from the sinuses. A doctor may also prescribe a saline solution for flushing excess mucus out of the nose.
If a person has a fungal infection in their sinuses, a doctor will prescribe antifungal medicine. If antifungal medicines do not work, or if a sinus infection is very severe, a doctor may prescribe oral steroids. These are strong medicines and people should discuss any possible side effects with their doctor first.
In very severe cases, such as when the sinus infection does not respond to medication or has spread to other parts of the face, a person may need a surgical procedure to clear the blockages.
How do I know if I have a cold or sinusitis?
Is it sinusitis or a cold with sinus congestion? Learn about the differences here.
Symptoms of a sinus infection include:
- a stuffy nose •extra mucus in throat
- headaches •a feeling of pressure in the face
- coughing •a sore throat •a fever
- bad breath •tiredness •an aching jaw or teeth
When to see a doctor
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), people should see their doctor if a sinus infection lasts for over 10 days, or if symptoms continue for longer than 10 days after treatment.
A person may have chronic sinusitis if the infection lasts for longer than 8 weeks or if they have more than four sinus infections in a year. A doctor can help reduce the symptoms of chronic sinusitis.
Both children and adults should also see a doctor if they have:
sinus infection for more than 10 days
several sinus infections in a year
no improvement after taking OTC medications
a temperature above 100.4°F (38°C)
A doctor will ask about a person›s symptoms and examine their nose and throat. They may also take a swab of the inside of the nose for culture testing.
If a sinus infection is not responding to antibiotics, a doctor may examine the sinuses in more depth using a nasal endoscope. This is a flexible tube with a light and camera attached to the end.
They may also carry out a CT scan to examine the sinuses further.
It is often possible to treat a sinus infection using home remedies, such as taking OTC medications, trying nasal irrigation, and applying warm compresses.
Getting plenty of rest and staying hydrated are also essential as the body heals.
If people have symptoms of a sinus infection for longer than 7–10 days, they should see their doctor for treatment.
Antibiotics or nasal sprays and irrigation may help fight a sinus infection. In chronic cases, people may need oral steroids or more complex medical interventions.