Acute Sinusitis Treatment

Most cases of acute sinusitis clear up on their own within 7 to 10 days. However, some cases will not go away without treatment. Options to treat acute sinusitis include:
  • Nasal decongestants and steroid nasal sprays.
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen (Advil®, Motrin®), naproxen (Aleve®), or acetaminophen (Tylenol®), for pain relief and/or fever.
  • Irrigating the nose with a non-medicated saline solution or spray several times a day. This helps clear the nasal passages and decreases the need for pain medicine.
Over-the-counter (OTC) or prescription decongestant nose drops and sprays are effective in treating nasal congestion. Examples of this type of medicine include oxymetazoline (Afrin®, Sudafed OM, and a number of other brands) and phenylephrine (Neo-Synephrine®). They should not be used for more than two or three days. If you use them for longer periods, they can lead to even more congestion and swelling of your nasal passages.
Because most cases of acute sinusitis are caused by a virus, antibiotics are typically not prescribed. However, even if a bacterial infection is suspected, antibiotics may not always be used. This is because many cases of acute bacterial sinusitis will get better without such treatment.
(Click Sinusitis (Sinus Infection) Treatment for a more comprehensive discussion of acute sinusitis treatment. This article also talks in greater detail about nasal irrigation and other home remedies that may provide relief.)
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