3 Treatment Options for Sinus Infections

May 7th 2016

Treatment for sinus infections can vary depending on the cause and severity of the condition. The worst cases may need surgery, while some infections need antibiotics or steroids. Fortunately, most sinus infections are mild and clear up on their own.

Wait It Out

Most sinus infections clear up on their own after about a week. Although it would be nice to have them clear up sooner, sometimes the best option is to simply let the infection run its course. Over-the-counter treatments such as decongestant pills or sprays can ease the symptoms and help you feel better. Be sure to use these medications as directed, as overuse can prolong the infection.

Other treatments can also make the waiting period more comfortable. Inhaling warm steam often helps clear your sinuses, as does nasal irrigation using a neti pot or similar device. You can also apply warm compresses to the bridge of your nose.

Prescription Medication

You may need to use prescription drugs to help clear up your sinus infection if it does not clear up after seven to 10 days. Antibiotics are one of the most common drugs prescribed for sinus infections because many cases of acute sinusitis are bacterial. Be sure to take the full course of antibiotics, even if you begin to feel better earlier. Occasionally, symptoms go away before the infection is gone, and stopping the drugs can allow it to come back.

If you suffer from chronic sinusitis, your doctor may prescribe corticosteroids to help reduce inflammation and clear up the infection. If your sinusitis has an underlying cause, your doctor may focus on treating that to help clear it up. Allergies are a common cause of sinus infections, so allergy tests and shots may be helpful.

A fungal infection may also cause a sinus infection, and it requires a different treatment. Your doctor may prescribe oral or inhaled steroids, which are usually paired with an antifungal drug to remedy the root cause.

Sinus Surgery

Surgery should be a last resort, but it may be necessary if you suffer from serious and frequent sinus infections. Surgical intervention may also be necessary if your infection is likely to develop serious complications, although these are rare. There are three main types of sinus surgery, each targeting different sinuses or underlying causes. Your doctor can help you determine if you need surgery.


Sinus infections are a common but unpleasant part of life for many people. Although your doctor may recommend one treatment over another depending on the cause and severity of the infection, a number of options are available.

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