By Thomas S. Higgins, Jr., MD, MSPH
Dad. Husband. Physician. Sinus Nerd.
Getting rid of a sinus infection depends on the cause. Viruses, bacteria, and fungi are potential culprits. Some non-infectious sources may also mimic the symptoms of sinus infections. Here is a list of remedies to consider based on the cause.
4 Treatments for 4 Different Sinus Conditions:
1. For a snotty nose that just started, the cause is likely a viral "cold" and humidification, decongestants, and saline nasal rinses, are helpful to get you through it.
2. For drainage lasting a week, especially if worsening, the cause is likely bacterial and antibiotics are helpful.
3. For headache and facial pain without drainage, consider something not related to the sinuses, such as tension headache, migraine, and facial muscle tension. The right treatment starts by knowing the right diagnosis.
4. For symptoms lasting over 3 months, you may have "chronic sinusitis" and you should consult a specialist. Things get complicated here and getting help is the way to go. You shouldn't have to go at it alone!
August is upon us again.
August is the last month of Summer Break for the kids.
August is a hot month. August is a great month for swimming, going to the lake, and vacationing.
And August is Ragweed pollination month!
Ragweed pollen starts increasing in August and spreads through the air most actively through September. Just look at the Google search trends for "Ragweed" (below) and you will see how, consistently over the past 5 years, Ragweed has peaked in late August/early September!
Symptoms of ragweed allergy can mimic a sinus infection, but antibiotics are not the way to treat ragweed allergy. Symptoms may include the following:
Treatment includes symptomatic relief and preventative measures, including:
So be ready for that annual oxymoron of a condition, The Summer Cold, to try to interrupt your fun. Get back on those allergy medications or seek help now to prevent feeling miserable when the ragweed pollen counts peak!
To see Dr. Thomas S. Higgins, Jr. a fellowship-trained Rhinologist (Sinus Specialist) , click below
or call (502) 894-8441.
Lisa felt miserable. She couldn't breathe, and therefore, she couldn't sleep at night. She kept going back to the drug store and trying everything on the shelves. This hadn't happened to her before, but this year has been the worst! Is there any hope for relief?
Chronic rhinitis is inflammation of the nasal passages. There are now many treatment available, but you have to know what you're treating before you can find the right combination.
Want to know more about Chronic Rhinitis? Read more here.
By Thomas S. Higgins, MD, MSPH, www.higgins-sinus.com
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”:
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.
Dr. Higgins, along with Dr. Douglas Reh from Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, recently published an invited review article in Current Opinions in Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery that discusses the effect of environmental pollutants on nasal disease. The abstract of the article is available on PubMed here. Many environmental pollutants are associated with chronic rhinitis, including ozone, tobacco smoke (both second-hand and active smoking), particulate matter, and occupational irritants. Some exposures cause local irritation and others can cause severe toxicity to the nasal passages. There are medical options that help limit symptoms, but the most effective therapy is identifying and avoiding the specific exposures.
Welcome to Nose and Sinus News on www.higgins-sinus.com, where we post news, highlights, and interesting stories about nose and sinus disease! Check back often!