Sinus Infections

How to Take Care of a Sinus Infection

September 30, 2016

3 minutes

Reviewed by Michael Kaplan, MD

A sinus infection, also known as sinusitis, is caused by a virus, or in some cases, bacteria. This infection leads to inflamed and swollen nasal cavities.

Healthy and normal sinuses are air-filled, but when liquids invade them, this creates the ideal environment for germs to thrive.

There are primarily three types of sinus infections:

Acute Sinusitis

Acute sinusitis bears similar symptoms to those of a common cold, such as a runny and stuffy nose and some facial pain. In most cases, it lasts less than four weeks.

Subacute Sinusitis

Subacute sinusitis starts more like acute sinusitis, with facial pain and pressure, but lasts between four and eight weeks.

Chronic Sinusitis

Chronic sinusitis is more severe and lasts well over eight weeks. In some cases, it can last for years. The patient will experience congestion in the nasal cavity, a runny nose, and discolored postnasal drainage.

Treating a Sinus Infection

A sinus infection will result in headaches, congestion of the nasal cavity, stuffiness, and some forms of allergies. Using antibiotics might not help, as viruses, which you cannot treat by using antibiotics, cause most of the infections. Common symptoms of sinusitis and their treatment are:


A sinus headache feels slightly different from a regular migraine, owing to the feeling of fullness on the face and the pressure on the bridge of your nose.

To reduce the inflammation and clear the passage of your nasal cavity, you could take an antihistamine such as Benadryl®, or a decongestant such as Sudafed®.


You could irrigate your nose using a saline solution to get rid of the stuffiness. If the allergy causes you to sneeze or have a runny nose, antihistamines could come in handy.

Nasal Congestion

You could treat a congested nose using a spray decongestant, which will open your nasal passage and allow the stuffed sinuses to drain. They are quite effective, but have a rebounding effect if used for longer than three days.

Balloon Sinuplasty

If your sinusitis is chronic, you might need to undergo a more complex form of treatment for them. Balloon sinuplasty is ideal for those patients who have had more than four infections in one year, and for whom regular medication is not working as expected.

The procedure is minimally invasive and involves placing tiny balloons strategically in the nose and the sinuses to expand the drainage and create a clearer passage. The procedure only takes about 20 minutes.

Endoscopic Sinus Surgery (ESS)

Just like balloon sinuplasty, ESS is recommended for patients with chronic sinusitis. It involves surgically removing the blockages in the sinuses.

A camera rod with a light at the end of it is used to light the way and aid in the removal of the obstructions, such as scar tissue and polyps. The method does not involve any skin cutting. It is performed through the nostrils.

You should consult your doctor before embarking on any treatment for your sinus infection. They know the treatment that could work best for your condition.


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