How do I Choose the Best Sinus Infection Medication?

Meshell Powell
Meshell Powell
There are a number of different types of sinus infection medications.
There are a number of different types of sinus infection medications.

If a case of sinusitis, or sinus infection, is believed to be caused by a virus, no prescription-strength sinus infection medication is typically needed. Viral infections do not respond to antibiotics, so over-the-counter medications are generally used to treat symptoms. This type of infection is generally not severe and will resolve on its own. If there is pain or pressure present, over-the-counter pain relievers such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen may be taken. Decongestants can also be purchased over the counter and can be useful in relieving sinus pressure. Bacterial infections may be treated with antibiotics, as prescribed by a doctor.

Sinus pressure can often be relieved by using a nasal decongestant.
Sinus pressure can often be relieved by using a nasal decongestant.

A sinus infection, also referred to as sinusitis, is an inflammation of the nasal passages in the head, frequently caused by a bacterial infection. Common symptoms include headache and pressure around the cheeks, nose, and eyes. Some patients may also experience a cough, fever, or nasal congestion, sometimes with a thick nasal secretion. Common sinus infection medication choices include the use of over-the-counter pain relievers and prescription antibiotics.

Bacterial causes of sinus infections are more common than viral causes and often lead to sinus pressure and headaches. Over-the-counter pain relievers and decongestants may be used, but in many cases, a prescription antibiotic is chosen as the most effective sinus infection medication. While antibiotics cannot cure viral infections, they can often kill or suppress the bacteria that cause sinusitis. If over-the-counter medications have not provided any relief after a week or so, a bacterial infection is often suspected.

When an antibiotic is chosen by a physician as the most appropriate sinus infection medication for the patient, the medication is generally taken for 10 or 14 days. It is important for the patient to take all of the antibiotics exactly as prescribed by the physician. Often the symptoms will begin to subside before the infection has disappeared. Stopping the medication too early may cause symptoms to return, leading to prolonged discomfort for the patient.

An antihistamine may be chosen as an appropriate sinus infection medication if the sinusitis is caused by an allergic reaction. Such allergic reactions are often triggered by such things as dust or pet dander. Some patients may need to take this type of sinus infection medication all year long in order to prevent chronic infections from developing. Over-the-counter antihistamines are often recommended at first, with prescription-strength antihistamines being prescribed if the over-the-counter versions do not provide the desired symptom relief.

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Discussion Comments

turquoise

My sinus infections are always caused by allergies, so I always take allergy medications for it. The allergy medication I use works like a decongestant, so it's mostly enough. I also do some home remedies like cleaning my nasal canal with a neti pot and using a humidifier. That's all I do.

burcidi

@ankara-- Aspirin cannot treat an infection per se , but it might help with some of the symptoms of a sinus infection or sinusitis.

Aspirin is an anti-inflammatory and a pain reliever. So if you have sinusitis (inflammation of the sinuses) and/or a sinus headache, an aspirin can help relieve them.

Aspirin is not the first medication that comes to my mind when I have a sinus infection though. I usually use decongestant medication or a nasal spray. If it's a bacterial infection, then my doctor prescribes me an antibiotic.

bluedolphin

Can aspirin help treat a sinus infection?

I took one today and I kind of feel a little bit better. I'm not sure if it's just in my head though.

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    • There are a number of different types of sinus infection medications.
      By: takasu
      There are a number of different types of sinus infection medications.
    • Sinus pressure can often be relieved by using a nasal decongestant.
      By: Picture-Factory
      Sinus pressure can often be relieved by using a nasal decongestant.