The majority of sinus infections with a duration of less than a week are viral in origin. In these cases, antibiotics are usually not helpful. What are the best home remedies for sinus infections? Take a look at the list below.

  • Topical intranasal steroids: over the counter topical nasal sprays (like Flonase or Nasacort) are often very helpful in reducing inflammation in the sinonasal passages.

  • Nasal saline irrigations: the mechanical wash by these over the counter products are effective in cleaning out the sinus passages and washing away allergens. My favorite irrigation is the NeilMed Sinus Rinse though there are multiple alternatives available that effectively do the same thing.

  • Oral or topical decongestants: a few day course of decongestants can be effective for alleviating sinus congestion and pressure. Topical decongestants such as Afrin or oral decongestants such as Sudafed work by constricting bloodflow to the nose and sinuses resulting in decreased swelling. It is important to not use decongestants for more than 3 to 5 days because of the risk of rebound congestion.

  • Humidification: increasing the air humidity can help the lining of sinuses function more efficiently to clear out the nasal passages. Options for increasing humidity include cool mist humidifiers, steam inhalation devices, or hot showers.

  • Hydration: staying well hydrated helps thin out mucus. Avoiding caffeine and alcohol also helps with avoiding dehydration.

  • Rest: your body needs rest to be in optimal shape for fighting off infections.

  • Antihistamines: if you have underlying allergies, topical antihistamines or oral antihistamines (like Zyrtec) can help with reducing nasal congestion.

If your sinus symptoms last for more than a week and/or the above home remedies do not alleviate your symptoms, it is likely that you would benefit with a visit to the doctor. In such cases, a course of antibiotics and other prescription medicines are often helpful.

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