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How are Sinus Headaches Treated?

Nicole Madison
Updated May 17, 2024
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There are two goals for treating sinus headaches: fighting infection and symptom relief. To fight infection, your doctor will probably prescribe an antibiotic. It is important for you to take your antibiotic exactly as you are directed by your doctor and complete the entire course of medication, even if you start to feel better before your prescription runs out. If you stop too soon, the bacteria that caused the infection may return, and they might be harder to eradicate the second time around.

Sometimes sinus headaches result from the congestion and inflammation that accompany colds and allergies. In such cases, you can typically use over-the-counter cold and allergy medications, such as antihistamines and decongestants, to help relieve the uncomfortable pressure. Your doctor may even recommend the use of corticosteroid nasal sprays as well. These treatments are aimed at making you feel better.

There is a full range of treatment options for those looking to relieve the pain of sinus headaches. Pain-relief medication is helpful, and over-the-counter medications, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen, typically do the trick. Some people also gain at least temporary relief from putting warm compresses on the painful area. A similar effect may be achieved by standing in a steaming shower or holding your head over a bowl of steaming water. Unfortunately, these methods only offer pain and pressure relief for a short time.

A big part of treating and preventing sinus headaches is taking optimal care of your immune system. This means eating healthy, balanced meals and getting plenty of rest. These steps can help to keep your body's resistance up, fighting current infections and warding off new ones. Take naps during the day if you can. If you are tired and dealing with stress, your sinus headache may feel worse.

Drinking lots of water is also important when treating sinus headaches. When your body is well hydrated, your sinuses are more likely to drain properly. Besides water, you may also try hot tea, as the steam that emanates from it may help to relieve your congestion. Avoid caffeinated beverages, however, as caffeine may aggravate pain from sinus headaches and make resting difficult.

WiseGEEK is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
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Nicole Madison
By Nicole Madison , Writer
Nicole Madison's love for learning inspires her work as a WiseGEEK writer, where she focuses on topics like homeschooling, parenting, health, science, and business. Her passion for knowledge is evident in the well-researched and informative articles she authors. As a mother of four, Nicole balances work with quality family time activities such as reading, camping, and beach trips.

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Nicole Madison

Nicole Madison


Nicole Madison's love for learning inspires her work as a WiseGEEK writer, where she focuses on topics like...
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