After diagnosing you with a sinus infection, your health care provider can suggest treatment options based on the underlying cause of the infection.
Some commonly used treatments include:
Over-the-counter or prescription decongestants
Antibiotics to control a bacterial infection, if present
If bacteria are the cause of your sinus infection, your health care provider may prescribe an antibiotic that fights the type of bacteria most commonly associated with sinus infection, although many cases of sinus infection with subside without having to use antibiotics, and are treatable with self-care measures.
Specific self-care treatment options your health care provider may recommend include:
Using a humidifier.
Spraying with nasal saline several times per day.
Inhaling steam 2 - 4 times per day (for example, sitting in the bathroom with the shower running).
Drinking plenty of fluids to thin the mucus.
Appling a warm, moist wash cloth to your face several times a day.
Avoiding temperature extremes, sudden changes in temperature, and bending forward with your head down.
Taking acetaminophen or ibuprofen.
Avoiding flying when you are congested.
Decongestant nose drops and sprays should only be used for only 3-5 days as they can lead to even more congestion and swelling of your nasal passages.
If the above treatment options are not working, your health care provider may consider prescription medications, further testing, or referral to an ear, nose, and throat (ENT) specialist.
Treatment of chronic sinus infection (lasting 8 weeks or more) is more difficult than acute sinus infection (lasting less than 4 weeks). Treatment options usually include antibiotics, decongestants, steroid nasal sprays, and oral steroids. When these treatment options are unsuccessful, surgery may be the only option, but is only considered after failure of medical treatment.