Treatments For Sinusitis

November 12, 2012

Treatments For Sinusitis

Sinusitis, also called rhinosinusitis, is an inflammation of the sinus cavities, which are mostly hollow cave-like openings behind the throat and nose. There are two main types of sinusitis, acute (temporary) and chronic. Most people suffer from acute sinusitis as some point in their lives. Chronic sinusitis that lasts more than two months can be a symptom of another more serious health problem such as nasal cancer.

Both types of sinusitis are treated the same way in order to relieve the symptoms. These include medications and home remedies. Additional diagnostic tests such an X-ray or blood test may be given for patients with chronic sinusitis to determine why they are suffering from sinusitis for so long. In worst case scenarios, a patient with chronic sinusitis may need surgery.

Medications for Sinusitis

Patients may be given prescribed medications for sinusitis treatment or may be instructed to take over the counter medications. These medications may be given in combination or by themselves. They include:

  • Antibiotics, if it is determined that a patientÂ’s sinusitis was caused by bacteria. Antibiotics are useless against sinusitis infections caused by viruses, fungal infections or cancer.

  • Decongestants, which help relieve swelling of the sinus tissue and open up clogged airways.

  • Mucoylictics, which help make a patientÂ’s mucus more watery and easier for the body to eliminate.

  • Painkillers, often of the analgesic class such as ibuprofen, which can help with headaches. These painkillers should be taken with food or at least milk.

  • Corticosteroid pills or nasal sprays, which help reduce inflamed skin.

Home Remedies

The University of Maryland and many other conventional medical institutions tout home remedies in helping to relieve symptoms and help any medications to work better. These remedies include:

  • Eating spicy foods to help drain the sinuses

  • Drinking plenty of clear fluids in order to help thin the mucus

  • Cleaning the nostrils out gently with salt water or salt water sprays

  • Leaning over a bowl of steam for a few minutes to help open up clogged sinuses. Placing a towel over the head and bowl of steam can intensify the effect. Ideally, this should be done only for a few minutes or a person may faint.


Symptoms of sinusitis are similar to other ailments such as a viral infection of the upper respiratory system, so it is possible for a patient to be misdiagnosed. Some patients may be unable to get diagnostic tests due to money problems, scheduling or other complications, so a doctor may take a best guess and hope for the best.

If a patient is prescribed antibiotics, the patient must take all of the antibiotics in order to successfully kill of the bacteria causing the sinusitis. Unfortunately, antibiotics can cause annoying side effects like diarrhea and intestinal cramping. Doctors prescribe the mildest antibiotic they can in order to decrease the chance of these side effects. Some patients report feeling better after beginning antibiotics and then feeling worse before they get better. This is called “double sickening” and is normal but doctors should be told of this situation.

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