A chronic sinus infection can be frustrating. The constant congestion, aches, and nasal pressure may send you searching for ways to get rid of your sinus infection for good. Here are five ways you can prevent and treat chronic sinus infections:
1. Circulate warm, moist air
Warm, moist air can relieve the symptoms of your sinus infection and help your sinus passages drain excess fluid. Use a warm vaporizer or humidifier while you sleep at night. To relieve pain and congestion during the day, hold your face over a steaming bowl of water with a towel over your head. The steam will encourage the movement of mucus, which will relieve pressure in your face.
2. Find the cause of your sinus infection
The key to preventing future chronic sinus infections is to go to your doctor and find the cause. Your doctor may refer you to an allergist or an ear nose and throat doctor who will do diagnostic tests to determine what's causing your sinus infections. Tests may include imaging of your sinuses including x-rays and CT scans to find structural abnormalities. Testing may also include allergy testing to see if allergies are the cause.
3. Use corticosteroids
Corticosteroids are inhaled nasal sprays that can reduce the inflammation and swelling that cause the symptoms of your sinus infection. Corticosteroids can also treat allergies that may be the cause of your sinusitis. You can use over-the-counter nasal sprays to start. If over the counter treatments don't work, your doctor may prescribe prescription strength corticosteroids, or corticosteroid injections.
4. Change your habits
Certain behaviors can trigger sinus infections in those prone to chronic sinusitis. Here are some behavior changes you can make to prevent a future sinus infection:
- Avoid swimming in pools for long periods. The chlorine and other chemicals in the pool can irritate your nasal passages and trigger inflammation.
- When you fly, take a decongestant or an over-the-counter nasal spray. The air pressure changes can cause a sinus infection.
- If you're a smoker, stop smoking. Chemicals, smoke, and other irritants can aggravate your nasal passages.
5. Undergo aspirin desensitization
Certain people can have sensitivities to aspirin, which can trigger sinus infections. If other treatments and habit changes don't prevent sinus infections for you, your doctor may recommend a treatment called aspirin desensitization. In aspirin desensitization, you're given a tiny dose of aspirin at first, and your doctor increases the dose slowly over time to larger amounts to reduce your body's reaction to aspirin.