How to Treat a Sinus Infection

May 7th 2016

In most cases, sinus infections are not considered medical emergencies and typically clear up easily with the help of antibiotics, anti-inflammatory medications and nasal sprays. Understanding the common signs of a sinus infection and consulting with a medical professional at the first onset of symptoms can help to ensure an appropriate diagnosis and effective treatment, allowing sufferers to move swiftly toward recovery.


Oral antibiotics are the most common treatment for sinus infections, as the bacteria that develops in the event of an infection must be eradicated to ensure a full recovery. Antibiotic course durations are typically five to seven days for adults and 10 to 14 days for children.

Corticosteroid Nasal Sprays

Corticosteroid nasal sprays are often recommended to individuals suffering from sinus infections, as the medications work to minimize inflammation and soothe swollen tissues. Corticosteroid sprays may also be prescribed for those who suffer from chronic infections due to nasal polyps. Nasal polyps are noncancerous swellings that develop in the nasal cavities that can impede the movement of nasal secretions and cause severe congestion. When corticosteroids are applied to nasal polyps, they work to minimize swelling and provide relief from discomfort.

Saline Irrigation

Salt water irrigation treatments work well to flush bacteria and excess nasal secretions out of the nasal cavity. The irrigation rinses are often recommended as an accompanying treatment to antibiotics. In addition to flushing out the nasal passages, salt water is naturally soothing and helps to decrease inflammation.

Over-the-Counter Pain Relievers

Over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen or naproxen work to reduce the pain, fever and inflammation that accompanies sinus infections. The medications can also help to reduce fever. While anti-inflammatory medications are generally considered safe, individuals who take antibiotics to treat their sinus infections should consult with a health professional before implementing any type of additional medication into their treatment regimen.


Sinus infections are bacterial infections of the nasal passages and sinus cavities that often develop as secondary infections following bouts with the common cold or flu. The symptoms of a sinus infection are similar to those of a cold and include nasal congestion, mild fever and facial pain. Individuals with sinus infections may also experience painful sensations in the forehead, especially when bending over.

Left untreated, sinus infections can lead to complications such as visual disturbances and bone infections. With appropriate treatment, the chance of full recovery from a sinus infection is high. If you suspect you have a sinus infection due to a recent cold or respiratory illness, it is important to seek medical attention as soon as possible.

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