WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW:
Sinusitis is inflammation or infection of your sinuses. Sinuses are hollow spaces located behind your cheeks, eyes, and forehead. Sinusitis is most often caused by a virus. Acute sinusitis may last up to 12 weeks. Chronic sinusitis lasts longer than 12 weeks. Recurrent sinusitis is when you have 3 or more episodes of sinusitis in 1 year.
- Decongestant: This medicine relieves nose congestion.
- Acetaminophen: This medicine decreases pain and fever. Acetaminophen is available without a doctor's order. Ask how much to take and how often to take it. Follow directions. Acetaminophen can cause liver damage if not taken correctly.
- NSAIDs: These medicines decrease swelling, pain, and fever. NSAIDs are available without a doctor's order. Ask which medicine is right for you. Ask how much to take and when to take it. Take as directed. NSAIDs can cause stomach bleeding and kidney problems if not taken correctly.
- 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.
Manage your symptoms:
- Drink liquids as directed: Ask your primary healthcare provider how much liquid to drink each day and which liquids are best for you. Liquids will help loosen the mucus in your sinuses and help it drain.
- Inhale steam: Inhale steam from a vaporizer or a warm cup of water 20 to 30 minutes, 3 times each day. This will help you breathe easier and loosen dry mucus.
- 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. It will also help reduce swelling so you can breathe normally. Ask your primary healthcare provider how often to do this.
- Keep your head and back elevated when you sleep: Place extra pillows under your head and neck. This will help mucus drain from your sinuses.
- Do not smoke: If you smoke, it is never too late to quit. Ask for information about how to stop smoking if you need help. Avoid secondhand smoke.
- Use heat: Heat helps decrease pain. Apply heat on the area for 15 to 20 minutes every hour for as many days as directed.
Prevent the spread of sinusitis:
Wash your hands often with soap and water. Wash your hands after you use the bathroom, change a child's diaper, or sneeze. Wash your hands before you prepare or eat food.
Follow up with your primary healthcare provider as directed:
Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.
Contact your primary healthcare provider if:
- Your symptoms get worse after 5 to 7 days.
- Your symptoms do not go away after 10 days.
- You have nausea and vomiting.
- Your nose is bleeding.
- You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.
Return to the emergency department if:
- You have vision changes, such as double vision.
- You are confused or cannot think clearly.
- You have a headache and stiff neck.
- You have trouble breathing.
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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.