A sinus infection, also known as sinusitis, is characterized by inflammation of the tissues in the sinuses. The condition can cause a variety of unpleasant symptoms such as facial pain and swelling, a blocked or runny nose, headaches, and bad breath. Sinus infections usually clear up on their own within 2-3 weeks, but treatment is available that can help relieve symptoms.
What Is Sinusitis?
Sinusitis refers to inflammation in the sinus passageways – the spaces in the forehead, cheeks, and nose that are usually filled with air. When the sinuses become inflamed or filled with fluid, it can make it difficult to breathe through your nose and cause pressure and pain around your cheeks, nose, eyes, and forehead. Sinusitis is usually caused by a virus, such as the common cold, but bacteria and allergies can also cause the condition.
Acute sinusitis typically lasts less than 4 weeks and is most frequently caused by viruses. For sinusitis symptoms that periodically recur or last longer than 12 weeks is known as chronic sinusitis, and it is usually caused by bacteria. However, there is a strong link between sinusitis, allergies, and asthma, meaning sinusitis may be the result of an allergic response. Also, there is an increased risk of developing chronic sinusitis if you suffer with allergies or asthma.
Effective Relief for a Sinus Infection
Treatment for sinusitis will depend on your symptoms, how long you’ve had them, and the underlying cause of the condition.
Home Remedies for Sinus Infections
Mild sinusitis can often be treated successfully at home with self-care remedies. These can include:
- Getting lots of rest.
- Drinking plenty of fluids.
- Using a nasal saline rinse (nasal irrigation) to cleanse the sinuses and ease congestion.
Over-the-counter medications can often help relieve symptoms of a sinus infection. If symptoms persist for more than 10 days, your healthcare provider may recommend prescription medication to relieve your symptoms. Medications for a sinus infection can include:
- Pain relief medications – if a sinus infection is causing symptoms such as a headache or facial pain.
- Allergy medications – to help symptoms, such as decongestion if the sinusitis is related to an allergy.
- Decongestants – to reduce congestion and sinus pain and pressure.
- Nasal (corticosteroid) sprays – aim to treat and prevent inflammation. (They are only recommended for use short-term to avoid side effects.)
- Antibiotics– sinusitis related to a bacterial infection will usually require these.
- Antifungal treatments – for sinus infections related to a fungal infection.
Treatment for Chronic Sinusitis
If you have persistent or recurring sinusitis, your provider may recommend further investigation to establish the underlying cause of the condition. Tests such as imaging tests, allergy testing, nasal swabs, or nasal endoscopy (to view inside the nose) may be necessary to make an accurate diagnosis.
Usually, medication can effectively treat chronic sinus inflammation. If you have allergies or asthma, keeping these conditions under control can help to prevent recurring bouts of sinusitis. However, if your allergies are contributing to your sinus infection, treatments such as immunotherapy may be recommended, which works by desensitizing the immune system to specific allergens to help reduce symptoms.
If sinusitis is related to an obstruction or structural issue in the nasal passageway, such as nasal polyps, surgery may be considered to remove excess tissue or to enlarge the openings in the sinuses.
Sinus Infection Relief Near Me in Northeast Illinois
If you have chronic sinusitis, let the allergy and asthma specialists at Oak Brook Allergists identify the root cause of your sinusitis symptoms – especially if they are caused or exacerbated by allergies or asthma. Our dedicated allergists will make sure you get the treatment best suited for your needs.
At Oak Brook Allergists in northeast Illinois, we provide comprehensive allergy and asthma care for patients of all ages. We offer a wide range of diagnostic allergy tests and effective treatments such as oral immunotherapy, medications, and allergy shots to keep your unpleasant symptoms at bay.
To find out how we can help your recurrent sinus issues, call us at (630) 574-0460 or you can request an appointment online. We offer extended and weekend hours at four convenient locations to ensure you get the care you need right away.