Sinus Disease: Treatment

The treatment of sinusitis will first and foremost require the use of an appropriate antibiotic.  Selection of an antibiotic is based on several factors, including:

  • Length of symptoms of time symptoms have been present (acute or chronic sinusitis)
  • Severity of symptoms
  • Patient’s past history of sinus infections
  • Patient’s age and abilities
  • Patient's history of allergic reactions to antibiotics

Antibiotics are designed to reduce the bacteria in the sinuses to a level that the patient’s immune system can take over.  In order to improve the chances of this occurring, there are other additional treatment options, including:

  • Nasal saline and/or sinus rinsing: in order to speed up the process of getting the mucus to drain.  Sinus rinsing can be especially effective because the flow and volume of water can effectively flush the sinus and nasal cavities out.  
  • Decongestants: in order to help open the nasal passages.  These are available in oral forms as well as in topical sprays.  
  • Mucolytics: such as guiafenesin, aid in thinning mucus and making it easier to drain.  
  • Oral steroids: these are necessary in patients with especially severe inflammation, when there are nasal polyps present, and for patients with a history of asthma flares with infections.  

In any situation where an antibiotic is prescribed for a patient, it is mandatory that the patient finish the prescribed treatment, especially the antibiotic, unless otherwise instructed.

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