Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Sinus Infection & Treatment

A sinus infection, or acute sinusitis, develops when the nasal passages become swollen and inflamed, causing mucous to build up. Sinus infections are common, affecting about 37 million Americans each year, according to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Common symptoms of a sinus infection include a yellowish or greenish nasal discharge, pain in the upper jaw and teeth, pressure and tenderness around the eyes, nose, forehead and cheeks and a cough. Most sinus infections are caused by the common cold, which is a viral infection.

No Treatment

Because most sinus infections are caused by a virus, antibiotics will not be an effective treatment. In many cases, the infection will resolve on its own within about two weeks without medical treatment.


In patients whose sinus infections are caused by a bacterial infection, antibiotics will be prescribed to kill the bacteria. Common antibiotics such as amoxicillin and doxycycline can be prescribed, and patients will usually start to feel better within a few days of starting treatment. However, even if patients are feeling better, it is important to take all the prescribed medication to prevent the infection from returning.

Over-the-counter Medications

Several types of over-the-counter medications can help people suffering from a sinus infection. Pain relievers such as acetaminophen, ibuprofen and aspirin can help alleviate pain and lower a fever. However, parents should never give aspirin to children with a fever because of the possibility of a life-threatening condition called Reye's syndrome. Over-the-counter decongestants can also help treat the severe congestion and stuffiness that often accompanies a sinus infection. These medications are available in several forms, including liquids and pills, but they should only be taken for a few days at most.

Nasal Sprays

Over-the-counter nasal sprays can help clear out nasal passages, providing some relief from the congestion. These products can typically be used several time a day. Prescription nasal corticosteroids can also be used to help treat the inflammation caused by a sinus infection. These products, including Nasonex and Nasacort, are typically prescribed to be used once or twice a day.

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