How do I Choose the Best Sinusitis Medicine?

Madeleine A.

Choosing the best sinusitis medications depends upon how severe symptoms are and how well side effects are tolerated. Oral decongestants are the most commonly recommended sinusitis medicine, but they can cause fast heartbeat, inability to sleep, and nervousness. In addition, nasal decongestants are also used to reduce sinus inflammation, as they can facilitate breathing. Using nasal sprays excessively can have an opposite effect and even encourage sinus symptoms. Frequently, symptoms are caused by a sinus infection, and when the infection is cause by a bacteria, antibiotics are the best choice of sinusitis medicine.

Taking an antihistamine may be helpful in treating sinusitis.
Taking an antihistamine may be helpful in treating sinusitis.

Sinus infections usually cause facial pain and pressure, headache, and green nasal discharge. Also, pain and pressure above and under the eyes is often present. When antibiotic treatment is complete, symptoms of infection usually disappear. Sinus symptoms, however, can become chronic and last for months or even years. Ibuprofen is a common sinusitis medicine because it relieves inflammation in the nose, which can make breathing easier. In addition, ibuprofen or other types of anti-inflammatory medications can ease headache and facial pain.

Ibuprofen can relieve the headache and facial pain associated with sinusitis.
Ibuprofen can relieve the headache and facial pain associated with sinusitis.

While sinusitis medicine is often the treatment of choice for sinusitis, other remedies for sinus infections are sometimes equally effective. Rinsing or irrigating the nose with a saline or saltwater solution can help flush out toxic bacteria and ease inflammation. Small nasal irrigating pots are available at most drug stores, and are easy to prepare with the enclosed pre-mixed saline solution. People should not use these irrigation systems excessively, because the high salt content in the solution can dry out nasal passages and worsen symptoms.

Sinus infections can cause facial pain and pressure.
Sinus infections can cause facial pain and pressure.

Since sinus infections can also be accompanied by a runny nose, antihistamines are sometimes appropriate forms of sinusitis medicine. Typically, antihistamines dry up nasal secretions and prevent post nasal drip, but they do little to relieve nasal congestion and sinus infection. Antihistamines also cause drowsiness, dry mouth, urinary retention, and dizziness. Infrequently, antihistamines can cause excitability, heart palpitations, and anxiety, especially in children. While taking antihistamines, people should never drive or operate machinery, because these medications can affect reaction time and cause visual disturbances.

Occasionally, when sinus infection symptoms do not improve, other sinusitis medicine such as anti-virals might be in order. These medications can shorten the duration of an infection, when the infection is caused by a virus. In some cases, sinus conditions are caused by fungal infections, which can be treated with an anti-fungal preparation. The physician can conduct diagnostic testing to determine if the sinus infection is bacterial, viral, or fungal, and after determination has been made, appropriate treatment can begin.

Using nasal sprays excessively to treat sinusitis can do more harm than good.
Using nasal sprays excessively to treat sinusitis can do more harm than good.

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