Can you clear up a sinus infection without antibiotics?

Regardless of the type of sinusitis you have, there are a number of treatments that can help. The key to finding relief is to figure out what’s really causing the underlying problem that’s causing your sinusitis.

Your doctor may recommend any of the following treatments to help relieve your symptoms:

Over-the-Counter Remedies

If your nose needs a little extra help, try some over-the-counter medications. An OTC nasal decongestant spray (such as Afrin®) may be needed in order to help unblock congestion and treat inflammation. Make sure you read the directions of the decongestant spray you choose carefully – these types of sprays should NOT be used for longer than three days. Allergy sprays, such as Flonase, Rhinocort, and Nasacort, can be used for longer periods of time, but take longer to work. Oral decongestants may also help, but again is not a medication that should be taken long-term. Tylenol and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (e.g. ibuprofen, naproxen) can be used to relieve any headache/facial pressure that may accompany your sinus infection.

Oftentimes, no matter how hard you try to clear the infection on your own, your symptoms may not resolve. As a general rule of thumb, check with your doctor if your sinus infection symptoms last for 10 days or longer. During the visit with your doctor, they will determine whether you’re dealing with a bacterial or viral infection. Most of the time, antibiotics such as amoxicillin, Augmentin, cefdinir, or doxycycline are used to help your body get rid of the infection. Typical courses of antibiotics last anywhere from 5 to 21 days.

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Schedule an Exam with a Local ENT

Are you tired of chronic, recurring sinus infections? Then it’s time to talk to a specialist about your treatment options. Our team provides the individualized care that you deserve, including one-on-one treatment with an ENT. We get to the root of the problem with an accurate diagnosis, then custom-design a treatment plan based on the unique needs of each patient.

If you live near the Collin County or Dallas area, then you’re invited to talk to one of our experienced ENTs at Collin County Ear, Nose, and Throat. We offer convenient offices in Frisco and Plano, TX. Request an appointment online, or call our office at (972) 596-4005.

Two Types of Sinus Infections

Let’s differentiate between acute and chronic sinus infections. Acute sinus infections can last up to 4 weeks. If you are experiencing sinus infection symptoms for longer than 2 weeks, it doesn’t mean you have a bad case of sinusitis – this is normal. If you experience symptoms for longer than 4 weeks, this can be considered subacute; anything that lasts longer than 12 weeks is considered chronic.

Now, let’s differentiate between bacteria and viruses. Either of the two can infect the body, and each warrants a different course of treatment. Bacterial infections require antibiotics, while viral infections do not; they resolve themselves. All you can do in the latter case is to drink plenty of fluids, rest, and take decongestants. The majority of cases are viral, in which case your doctor can’t prescribe you with anything other than decongestants.

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What to do for chronic sinusitis

If you’re suffering from chronic sinusitis (nasal congestion, drainage, facial pain/pressure, and a decreased sense of smell lasting 12 weeks or longer) or you are getting frequent sinus infections you should see your doctor, says Dr. Sindwani.

Your doctor will swab your nose to collect mucus. Culturing it in a laboratory will reveal which type of bacteria is causing the infection so the right antibiotic can be prescribed.

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