Smart Ways to Fight Sinus Infections

picture of person sneezingWhen sinus infections hit, most people pay attention. The absolute misery of it all is hard to ignore. But MayoClinic.org tells us there are ways of fighting them.

Know the Symptoms

According to Mayo Clinic, a sinus infection occurs when inflamed nasal passages interfere with drainage and mucus builds up in the sinuses. Symptoms may include ear pain, sore throat, runny nose, greenish or yellowish discharge from the back of the throat, coughing, difficulty breathing and headache.

A sinus infection, also called sinusitis, may be caused by a virus or a bacteria. Most of the time, according to Mayo Clinic, antibiotics are not necessary to treat sinusitis because the infection usually clears up on its own. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warns against using antibiotics unless absolutely necessary, because overuse can lead to antibiotic resistance.

If you or someone in your family is prone to chronic sinus infections, here are some ways to fight back from Mayo Clinic, Medline Plus, an online resource of the National Institutes of Health and Livestrong.com.

• Eat an antioxidant-rich diet full of fruits and vegetables to boost your immune system and fight infection.

• Steer clear of sick people with colds and wash your hands frequently if you are around someone who is ill. I would also suggest using hand wipes at work, at school, and anywhere else you are around a lot of people.

• Use a humidifier installed in your heating/cooling system or as a portable unit in your bedroom. Humidifiers add moisture to the air and may prevent sinus infections, according to MayoClinic.org.

• Consider over-the-counter decongestants. If you have an upper respiratory infection, Medline Plus recommends taking a decongestant orally or as a nasal spray.

• Take an antihistamine if recommended by your doctor. People with allergies may find they are more prone to sinus infections.

• Avoid common allergens like pet dander, cigarette smoke, mold and pollen. Keep windows closed, avoid having furry pets in the house, especially the bedroom, avoid smoking and clean regularly to reduce allergens.

• Check with your doctor and then get your flu shot annually. Medline Plus recommends the influenza vaccine to avoid sinus infections.

Schedule an Appointment with Your Doctor

• If you have had sinusitis a number of times.
• The condition fails to respond to treatment.
• Symptoms have lasted more than seven days.
• Your symptoms do not improve after seeing your doctor.

See the Doctor or Go to ER Immediately

  • If you develop a high fever, stiff neck, severe pain, confusion, a worsening of symptoms or swelling around your eyes, double vision or other vision changes, or a swollen forehead.  
  • Do not give your child or teenager aspirin for a sinus infection. In rare cases, it can cause Reye’s Syndrome, a potentially fatal condition.

As always see your doctor and recommended specialists as you fight sinus infections.

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