Sydney is a contributing health writer and editor who enjoys shedding light on health topics, making information available to anyone who wants it, and ending stigmas or lack of access to care and treatment.
Po-Chang Hsu, M.D.
Dr. Hsu received his medical degree from Tufts University in Boston, Massachusetts, and holds a Master’s of Science degree from both Harvard University and Tufts University. Outside of the medical profession, Dr. Hsu loves to write, learn new languages, and travel.
March 17, 2021
Various over-the-counter and prescription medications can be used to help ease the symptoms or cure a sinus infection. They include, but are not limited to:
It may come as little surprise that sinus infection medications are to treat sinus infections.
Sinus infections are one of the most common illnesses, as well as one of the most unpleasant. An infection of your sinuses, or sinusitis, is known to cause:
At least 35 million Americans contract sinusitis each year and are all too familiar with the discomfort associated with sinus infections that require medication.
If you have a sinus infection and want to know how to get rid of it, or if you’re lucky enough not to have one and want to prevent one from happening, there are several measures you can take.
If you’re seeking out sinus infection medication, it’s important to know the symptoms, causes, and solutions to your discomfort.
While not immediately life-threatening, sinus infections are an uncomfortable ordeal. The infection comes from more minor symptoms worsening and turning into a chronic issue that requires more robust solutions.
At first, you’ll likely experience a stuffy or runny nose. This usually starts mild but gets worse after the first few days of infection. Then you’ll start to notice a feeling of pressure around your face, eyes, ears, nose, and forehead.
This pressure is what sinus infections are infamous for–it’s what separates sinusitis from a common cold, flu, or seasonal allergies. If you feel pressure in your face that gets worse when you bend over, you most likely have a sinus infection, and it might be time to speak with a doctor!
Some other sure-tell signs of sinusitis that’ll require sinus infection medication include:
Sinus infections can stem from either an initial bacterial or viral issue. Both types of infection cause the mucous membrane lining your sinuses to become inflamed, creating the feeling of pressure in your face.
Bacterial sinus infections are caused by large amounts of foreign bacteria creating colonies in the sinuses, causing inflammation and infection. This happens when you touch your nose, eyes, or ears too often without washing your hands frequently.
There are several bacterial infections that may result in a sinus infection if symptoms worsen over time.
If over-the-counter medications are not working, you may need to seek a prescription for antibiotics as a sinus infection medication. Luckily, our sister site PlushCare gives you access to top doctors who can write prescriptions for many medications, including antibiotics for sinusitis–make an appointment through PlushCare to get started.
Viral sinus infections are usually a symptom of the common cold or other viruses. When these viruses take a toll on your body, they sometimes spread to your sinuses and cause inflammation over time.
While you may be able to fend off a full-blown sinus infection with over-the-counter solutions, once you’re at a certain point of inflammation, you might require stronger meds that only a doctor can prescribe.
“Most sinus infections usually get better on their own without antibiotics,” according to the CDC. There are home remedies and activities you can do to clear up sinus infections, especially if you’re at the beginning of your infection. The two most common home remedies involve steam.
Boosting the humidity in and around your sinuses is a quick way to clear your sinuses out and relieve the symptoms for a short time. Some ways to do this include:
Besides inhaling steam to relieve pressure in your sinuses:
Nasal irrigation, another treatment for sinus infections, means flushing out mucus and debris from the nose by pushing fluids through the nostrils. Some patients find this method uncomfortable, but overall more effective than simple steam.
These relieve the symptoms of sinusitis, allowing you to live normally while your body fights the infection. They can also be taken when you first start feeling symptoms, and they might prevent a full-blown infection of your sinuses.
Although they are rare, more serious cases of sinus infection warrant a doctor visit. If you find yourself talking to a doctor about chronic sinus infection, your doctor will likely recommend antibiotics. Severe sinus infections are usually of the bacterial variety, which means antibiotics will help kill off the foreign bacteria. Note that antibiotics will not help with viral sinus infections, which are also usually far less severe.
Steroids can typically reduce inflammation, so if your infection is due to a virus causing severe inflammation, you may require sinus infection medication that involves steroids.
You can get prescriptions for sinus infection medication from licensed physicians on our sister site PlushCare. All you have to do is make an appointment online, speak to a doctor about your symptoms, and they will help you develop a treatment plan, which may include prescribing sinus infection medication.
In the vast majority of cases, no, you won’t need antibiotics for your sinusitis. Most of the time, your body is perfectly capable of overcoming a bacterial sinus infection on its own.
The treatment for a sinus infection is usually a matter of masking the symptoms so you can remain comfortable. At the same time, your body does the work, which can usually be accomplished with over-the-counter medications like antihistamines or decongestants. Using at-home natural remedies can also be very helpful as well.
When sinus infections occur, they’re usually classified as either acute or subacute infections, meaning they go away in one to four weeks and are relatively minor.
The problem is chronic sinus infections, which often won’t go away without intervention. If your sinus infection is persisting for longer than a month, and the symptoms are only getting worse, you may be suffering from chronic sinusitis. At that point, the infection is most likely bacterial, and your body will need the help of antibiotics to purge it.
It’s very important to consult a healthcare professional before considering antibiotics, not only because you’ll require a prescription from a licensed doctor but because taking antibiotics more often than needed isn’t good for your natural bacteria levels.
While most cases of sinusitis are relatively minor, you still shouldn’t underestimate them. Our sinuses are located near very important parts of our bodies:
If left untreated, the bacteria or virus that caused the sinus infection can multiply and infiltrate more sensitive organs.
Although most cases of sinusitis aren’t that serious, if you’ve been suffering for more than a few weeks, it’s a good idea to make an appointment with a doctor. PlushCare is a fast, reliable online resource for doctor appointments. You can speak about your symptoms and discuss sinus infection medication options with a trained physician. Just make an appointment here, and have peace of mind about your sinus discomfort!
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