Sinusitis (Sinus Infection) Treatment
Rinsing the nose with salt water (saline) is called nasal irrigation. It is helpful for people with chronic sinusitis because it removes nasal secretions and keeps the sinus passages moisturized. This can help with nasal congestion and blockage, as well as postnasal drip. It can also clear the nasal passages, which makes medicines more effective.
A number of different saline products and techniques can be used inside the nasal cavity. Saline drops or sprays are easier to use than nasal irrigation; however, in most cases, nasal irrigation is more effective for treating chronic sinusitis.
A variety of devices can be used to irrigate the nostrils. These include bulb syringes, bottle sprayers, and Neti pots. Nasal irrigation kits are available over-the-counter. The saline mix itself can also be purchased, or you can make your own solution.
How often the nose is irrigated will vary based on the person's particular situation and how severe the symptoms are. It could be on an as-needed basis, or up to as much as four times a day.
(Click Nasal Irrigation to learn more about irrigating the nose, along with a recipe for making a saline solution.)
To treat chronic sinusitis, your healthcare provider may prescribe one or several different types of medicines. This could include steroids (nasal spray and/or oral steroids), antibiotics, leukotriene modifiers (medicines approved to treat allergies and asthma), and/or antifungals.
These medicines may be combined in a variety of ways, depending on a person's particular situation. It may take several different medicines or combinations of medications before your healthcare provider finds the ones that work best in your situation.
For treating chronic sinusitis, healthcare providers commonly prescribe steroid nasal sprays to reduce inflammation. When combined with nasal irrigation, these medicines are helpful in treating nasal congestion and blockage.
Although it is thought that chronic sinusitis is caused more from inflammation than an infection, antibiotics are often prescribed. These are usually needed at one time or another because people with chronic sinusitis will almost always develop a bacterial infection from time to time.
Your healthcare provider may prescribe oral steroids, such as prednisone. However, oral steroids are powerful medicines and can have significant side effects. Therefore, they are often given for only short periods.
Leukotriene modifiers may be useful in patients with nasal congestion and postnasal drainage that does not get better with other treatments.