Okay, the sinus doctor got a sinus infection. And yes, he recovered. And WITHOUT antibiotics.
I tell my patients to try remedies other than antibiotics for the first few days of feeling a sinus infection. Now, there are exceptions: high fever, severe symptoms, a scope examination clearly showing a bacterial infection, etc. However, most early infections are viral or inflammatory, so they do not necessarily require antibiotics.
So, back to my sinus infection. On Friday, I started feeling the congestion. Then came the thick yellow drainage and difficult breathing. By Saturday, I was fatigued, had facial/sinus pressure, and felt warm. I took my temperature: 97.8 degrees Fahrenheit. No fever.
This is the day when many people think that an antibiotic is the answer. I have to say, the thought crossed my mind, but I resisted. I, instead, started “The Dr. Higgins’ Nose & Sinus Relief Routine”:
- Warm soup.
- Nasal decongestant and acetaminophen (sometimes in combination formulas) by mouth every 4-6 hours during the day.
- Sedating antihistamine (such as diphenhydramine) and acetaminophen at night just before bedtime.
- Nasal decongestant spray twice a day followed by nasal saline irrigations.
- Nasal saline irrigations several times a day, particularly after using the nasal decongestant spray.
- Nasal saline spray as needed.
- Nasal steroid spray twice a day.
- Try to stay upright and be moderately active.
The first two days of fatigue were tough, but I could breathe through my nose because of The Routine. I believe allowing myself to breathe served two purposes: (1) It made me feel much more comfortable and (2) It prevented the mucus from getting backed up in my nose, which could prolong or worsen the infection. I started noticing some improvement on days 3 and 4. I started taking the decongestants less often. For the next week, I continued an occasional irrigation to clear thick yellow mucus in the back of my nose. By the end of the week, however, I was off nasal decongestants and irrigations. I felt back to normal, except for a lingering cough, which I knew typically would last on average at least 10 days. I continued the nasal steroid spray until the cough disappeared.
And, aaaahhhhhh. Back to normal. No antibiotics, but aggressive treatment. Now, when I have a true bacterial infection, I do not have to worry that I could have previously created an environment for a resistant bug, and my body will be ready.