Ep. 18: Which Sinusitis Treatment Options are the Best?
My previous posts have introduced you to the sinus cavities , discussed tests to help diagnose sinus infections and highlighted dangerous complications of sinusitis. Today’s episode of the Dr. Momma Says Podcast allows me to share information to help you understand sinusitis treatment options. This can be confusing for people since the treatment may change based on how long the symptoms have been present as well as if another underlying problem is present.
It is also important to remember that sinus infections start when the nose functions are not working properly. Specifically, understanding that allergies are present or realizing you have one of the “surprising” symptoms of allergies allows you to begin treatment sooner. Therefore, you can treat allergies better by identifying and preventing the underlying causes.
Acute sinusitis treatment usually is the most simple because the symptoms have been present for less than 3 months. However, if the sinusitis episodes are recurrent, or become chronic (lasting more than 3 months), a wider range of treatment options should be considered.
Sinusitis Treatment Options (check out the podcast for lots of details!)
Nasal Saline Spray
- My #1 favorite treatment of most nasal problems
- Learn 6 Salty Secrets of Using Nasal Saline
- Rinses out mucus as well as viruses, bacteria, and allergens
- Using a large enough volume is important
- Consistency is important (whether during infection or as prevention)
- Discover 10 Tips for Successful Use
- The most common treatment; however, they often are not needed
- Ranges from 7 – 21 days (most often 10 days)
- Different antibiotics are used for recurrent infections to treat different bacteria
- There is a huge difference in the antibiotic not working compared to the symptoms coming back after antibiotics are stopped.
- Important to treat underlying allergies
- Often the second most common treatment given
- Block the effects of chemicals your body makes that cause the allergic reactions
- Helps to reduce the production of mucus; however, they do not work well to reduce congestion
Nasal Steroid Sprays
- My #1 favorite way to use medications to treat nasal problems
- Reduces inflammation of the lining of the nose, regardless of cause
- Reduces swelling in the nose which also reduces mucus production
- Available over the counter and by prescription
- Works best when used daily for a prescribed length of time instead of only when symptoms happen
- Best results may not be seen for 1-2 weeks
- Singulair (Montelukast) is most commonly used
- Initially used for asthma; however, it is outstanding for chronic nasal problems
- Serious side effects need to be monitored
- Only my most severe, chronic patients are on this medication
Nasal Antihistamine Sprays
- An excellent add-on medication that I use for allergies, but rarely for sinusitis treatment
- If you have known severe allergies, this can be a great option to help with sinusitis
- Begins to work very quickly
- Often only used on an as-needed basis
- My LEAST favorite choice to treat most nasal symptoms!
- These medications simply shrink blood vessels which leads to short-term improved nasal swelling
- Can be used directly in the nose (Afrin) but nose may become addicted to the medications
- Often used in combination with antihistamines (Zyrtec-D, Claritin-D)
- Sudafed is the king of this category
- Remove enlarged adenoid
- Repair crooked nose
- Reduced enlarged turbinates
- Actual sinus surgery
Bonus Home Remedies
- Facial Steamer (with or without Vicks VapoRub)
- Warm, wet towel across the face
- Drink plenty of water
- Reduce alcohol intake which can make nasal congestion worse
- Get some rest and allow your body to heal!
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