Acute Bacterial Rhinosinusitis
WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW:
Acute bacterial rhinosinusitis (ABRS) is a bacterial sinus infection. It commonly begins as a virus, often as a common cold. Viruses usually last 7 to 10 days and do not need treatment. Sometimes, bacteria begin to grow after you have a viral sinus infection leading to ABRS. The symptoms of ABRS include a runny nose with yellow or green mucus, fever, and pain or pressure in your face.
- Antibiotics: This will help fight or prevent an infection. Take your antibiotics until they are gone, even if you feel better sooner.
- Decongestants: This helps reduce swelling and drain mucus in the nose and sinuses. Decongestants may help you breathe normally.
- Antihistamines: This helps dry mucus in the nose and relieve sneezing.
- NSAIDs: These medicines help lower a fever or decrease pain. This medicine can be bought without a doctor's order. Always read the medicine label and follow the directions. NSAIDs can cause stomach bleeding or kidney problems if they are not taken correctly.
- Acetaminophen: This helps reduce fever and pain. You can buy acetaminophen without a doctor's order.
- Take your medicine as directed. Call your primary healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.
Follow up with your primary healthcare provider as directed:
Follow up if your symptoms are worse or not better after 3 days of treatment. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.
- Rinse your sinuses: Use a sinus rinse device to rinse your nasal passages with saline (salt water) solution. This will help thin the mucus in your nose and rinse away pollen and dirt. It will also help reduce swelling so you can breathe normally. Ask your primary healthcare provider how often to do this.
- Breathe steam: Heat a bowl of water until you see steam. Make a tent over your head with a large towel. Hold your face over the steam and breathe deeply for about 20 minutes. Be careful not to get too close to the steam or burn yourself. Do this 3 times a day. Also breathe deeply when you take a hot shower.
- Sleep with your head elevated: Place an extra pillow under your head before you go to sleep to help your sinuses drain.
- Drink extra liquids: Liquids will thin the mucus in your nose and help it drain. Avoid drinks that contain alcohol or caffeine.
- Do not smoke or go to smoky places: Smoke will worsen your symptoms.
Contact your primary healthcare provider if:
- Your symptoms are worse or not better after 3 days of treatment.
- You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.
Return to the emergency department if:
- Your eye and eyelid are red, swollen, and painful.
- You cannot open your eye.
- You have double vision or you cannot see.
- Your eyeball bulges out or you cannot move your eye.
- You are more sleepy than normal or you notice changes in your ability to think, move, or talk.
- You have a stiff neck, a fever, or a bad headache.
- You have swelling of your forehead or scalp.
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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.