Sinus Infection Signs, Symptoms, and Treatment
Sinusitis means your sinuses are inflamed. Sinusitis occurs as the result of an inflammatory reaction or infection from a virus, bacteria, or fungus. Your sinuses produce mucus which drains into the nose, but if your nose is swollen it can block your sinuses and cause symptoms.
Sinusitis can be acute – with symptoms lasting under 4 weeks, or chronic.
Chronic sinusitis may be diagnosed if sinus inflammation and symptoms persist beyond 3-4 months.
Signs and Symptoms of Sinusitis
Common symptoms of sinus infections include:
- Runny nose
- Stuffy nose / Congestion
- Facial pain or pressure
- Pressure-like pain behind the eyes or tenderness in the face
- Mucus dripping down the back of the throat (known as postnasal drip)
- Sore throat
- Bad breath
- Loss of smell
- Fatigue and general unwell feeling
Treating a Sinus Infection
There are a number of steps you can take at home to help reduce nasal congestion!
Drink plenty of fluids
This may sound simple – but drinking extra fluids will help thin your mucus. While you are experiencing nasal congestion symptoms drink plenty of water throughout the day.
Saline Rinse / Nasal Irrigation (aka Neti Pot)
One of the best ways to reduce symptoms of a stuffy nose is rinsing the sinuses with saline. Many nasal irrigation systems are now available, and they all work in a similar fashion. While nasal irrigation can be one of the best ways to treat congestion symptoms and loosen thick mucus, there are steps to take in order to maximize your health and safety.
You must only rinse with distilled, sterile, or previously boiled water – tap water is not safe to use for nasal irrigation. Be sure and follow instructions for the particular nasal irrigation system or device you are using.
Read this detailed guidance from the FDA on the proper and safe usage of Neti Pots.
Use a humidifier
Dry indoor air can aggravate nasal congestion, and humidifiers can help increase the moisture in your home. Using a humidifier can help relieve a stuffy nose and break up and thin your mucus. If you utilize a humidifier be sure and follow some basic humidifier safety and maintenance tips and ensure you keep your humidifier clean.
Some people may find relief by applying hot packs to the area surrounding the sinuses. You can also try a hand towel dipped in hot water over the nose and forehead to help relieve sinus pain and pressure. Taking a hot shower or breathing in steam from a bowl of hot water can also be effective in loosening mucus.
See your Port Huron ENT provider
If you aren’t feeling well and are continuing to experience nasal congestion symptoms, please make an appointment with your Ear, Nose, and Throat provider. Your ENT provider will determine if you have a sinus infection by asking about your symptoms and performing a physical examination.