The sinus specialist will prescribe different medications (antibiotics, decongestants, nasal steroid sprays, antihistamines) and procedures (nasal and sinus saline irrigation) for treating acute sinusitis. Nasal steroid sprays with or without antihistamine sprays are the primary foundational medical therapy for nasal and sinus problems. At least for those with chronic or recurrent problems. In most cases medical therapy consists of a nasal steroid spray or inhaler. In those with polyps (or hypertrophic disease) a topical medicated rinse may be needed.
Treatments for Acute and Chronic Sinusitis
Sinusitis can be difficult to treat depending on the cause. Fortunately, there are a number of treatments available. In most cases, it is a combination of treatment and self-care that yields the best results. Depending on the cause, severity of sinusitis, and the individual’s response, some treatments will be more effective than others.
Goals of Sinusitis Treatment
- Alleviate sinusitis symptoms
- Keep the nasal passages draining
- Reduce sinus inflammation
- Eliminate the underlying cause of sinusitis
- Reduce the frequency of sinusitis flare-ups
Medical Treatments for Sinusitis
The most effective treatment or combination of treatments will depend on the underlying cause of sinusitis. Typically, treatment should begin with less aggressive therapies and move to more aggressive therapies if symptoms continue or progress.
- Decongestants: Over-the-counter (OTC) decongestants can be used to reduce the amount of mucous in the sinuses making it easier for air to flow through the nasal passages. Decongestants can be found in the form of nasal sprays such as Afrin® (oxymetazoline) or pills such as Sudafed® (pseudoephedrine). However, using a decongestant for more than a few days can result in rebound congestion and make symptoms worse.
- Pain Relievers: Many people find that OTC pain relievers such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen can minimize the discomfort associated with sinusitis.
- Antihistamines: When allergies are the cause of sinusitis, antihistamines can help control the allergic reactions that cause sinusitis.
- Antibiotics: If the cause of sinusitis is a bacterial infection, antibiotics may be prescribed. For acute sinusitis, the course is typically 10 – 14 days. A longer course of antibiotics may be necessary to treat chronic sinusitis that is caused by a bacterial infection.
- Steroids: Nasal or oral steroids may be prescribed to reduce swelling in the sinuses and nasal passages.
- Allergy Shots: Allergy shots, also known as immunotherapy, are a long-term treatment that reduces a person’s sensitivity to certain allergens.
- Sinus Surgery: In some cases, surgery is the best option to treat chronic sinusitis and recurrent acute sinusitis. Endoscopic sinus surgery allows the doctor to see inside the sinus passages using a thin, flexible tube (an endoscope) and remove obstructions and diseased tissue.
- Balloon Sinuplasty: Balloon Sinuplasty allows the doctor to dilate the sinus passages by threading a small balloon into the sinuses and then inflating it to widen the sinus opening promoting better drainage.
In addition to medical treatments, there are a number of home remedies that can be used to treat and prevent sinusitis. However, if symptoms persist, it is important to seek medical attention. Please contact Dr. Monty Trimble if you suffer from chronic sinsitis.
- Nasal and Sinus Irrigation: Using a sinus rinse or neti pot can promote drainage.
- Breathing steam: Breathing steam vapors, usually from a hot shower, can reduce congestion and swelling of the nasal passages.
- Use a humidifier: When the air is dry, a humidifier can help alleviate symptoms.
- Drink fluids: Dinking plenty of fluids such as water and juice can help thin mucous secretions.
- Rest: Getting plenty of rest helps the body fight infection and recover faster.
- Apply warm compresses to the face: This can relieve pain and help open the nasal passages.
If you suffer from chronic sinusitis, call the Southlake & Snoring Center at 817-251-9930. We also have an office near downtown Fort Worth.