Try the following measures to help reduce congestion in your sinuses:
- Apply a warm, moist washcloth to your face several times a day.
- Drink plenty of fluids to thin the mucus.
- Inhale steam 2 - 4 times per day (for example, while sitting in the bathroom with the shower running).
- Spray with nasal saline several times per day.
- Use a humidifier.
- Use a Neti pot to flush the sinuses.
Be careful with use of over-the-counter spray nasal decongestants. They may help at first, but using them for more than 3 - 5 days can make nasal stuffiness worse.
To help ease sinus pain or pressure:
- Avoid flying when you are congested.
- Avoid temperature extremes, sudden changes in temperature, and bending forward with your head down.
- Try acetaminophen or ibuprofen.
MEDICATIONS AND OTHER TREATMENTS
Most of the time, antibiotics are not needed for acute sinusitis. Most of these infections go away on their own. Even when antibiotics do help, they may only slightly reduce the time it takes for the infection to go away. Antibiotics may be prescribed sooner for:
- Children with nasal discharge, possibly with a cough, that is not getting better after 2 - 3 weeks
- Fever higher than 102.2° Fahrenheit (39° Celsius)
- Headache or pain in the face
- Severe swelling around the eyes
Acute sinusitis should be treated for 10 - 14 days. Chronic sinusitis should be treated for 3 - 4 weeks. Some people with chronic sinusitis may need special medicines to treat fungal infections.
At some point, your doctor will consider:
- Other prescription medications
- More testing
- Referral to an ear, nose, and throat (ENT) or allergy specialist
Other treatments for sinusitis include:
- Allergy shots (immunotherapy) to help prevent the disease from returning
- Avoiding allergy triggers
- Nasal corticosteroid sprays and antihistamines to decrease swelling, especially if there are nasal polyps or allergies
Surgery to enlarge the sinus opening and drain the sinuses may also be needed. You may need to consider this procedure if:
- Your symptoms do not go away after 3 months of treatment.
- You have more than two or three episodes of acute sinusitis each year.
An ENT specialist (also known as an otolaryngologist) can perform this surgery.
Most fungal sinus infections need surgery. Surgery to repair a deviated septum or nasal polyps may prevent the condition from returning.