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When the sinuses are inflamed, the nose is stuffy or the head aches from congestion, finding a quick way to get sinus relief is obviously a desired goal. There are many ways that people may find to produce some sinus relief. These can include taking medications to treat allergies or decongest the nose, taking medications that directly treat sinus swelling, and using things like sinus rinses or humidifiers to clear congestion.
Short-term sinus relief may often be achieved by taking a decongestant. These may not be fully effective when people have extreme congestion, and they usually are stimulants so they should be taken with plenty of water or they may dry the nose out too much. Even over the counter medications aren’t recommended for certain people who might take other stimulants like Ritalin®, other medications or who have heart problems. They also may not be the best choice for competitive athletes, as even drugs like pseudoephedrine can be considered performance-enhancing.
An additional short term medication called oxymetazoline hydrochloride is available in nasal sprays in products like Afrin®. While it may temporarily relieve congestion, these sprays are not thought to be a good long-term solution. After use of the spray consistently for three days, it can cause what is known as rebound congestion, which actually makes the sinuses stuffier.
Instead, those suffering from regular congestion may be better off with trying to treat its source. If allergies are the problem, there are oral allergy medicines that may help keep the sinuses from getting stuffy or swollen. To treat swollen sinuses directly, a number of corticosteroid nasal sprays exist which may remedy the problem. These may be used for a short time or long term, depending upon the condition.
Sinus headaches may be treated by a combination of the above, but sometimes they’re also associated with sinus infections. If the sinuses harbor bacteria they can make the face ache. People who have unrelieved congestion for a week or more, especially if accompanied with fever, pain in the face, or with greenish nasal secretions, should see a doctor. When infection is present, the best relief is by treating the infection with antibiotics.
In addition to medicines, many people swear by daily nasal rinses to promote sinus relief. These rinses are usually a combination of water, and a small amount of salt and baking soda. The water is either poured or squeezed into the nose and allowed to run out. This helps clear the sinuses of dirt, secretions, and allergens, and may work well in providing decongestant relief. There is some evidence rinses may also help reduce sinus infections.
Another common way to get some sinus relief is through humidifiers and vaporizers. Sometimes the sinuses get irritated in low humidity environments. Running a humidifier or vaporizer may prevent the sinuses from drying out, which can in turn prevent sinus soreness or irritation.
Those who suffer from sinus problems regularly and are not getting help from current treatments might want to seek a consultation with an otolaryngologist (ear, nose, throat or ENT) doctor and possibly an allergist. Sometimes severe allergies cause chronic sinus problems that need prescription medications. In other instances there is actually some problem with the way the sinuses work or drain that might require treatment to provide sinus relief.
Don't you hate sinus headaches? They're awful. Sometimes, eating something spicy will make my nose run and I can get relief, but really, for me, the only thing that will absolutely knock out a sinus headache is some form of decongestant and an NSAID, like Ibuprofen or Naproxen.
I know it's a sinus headache because I usually feel pressure around my eyes, across the bridge of my nose, and in my forehead. Two Advil Sinus capsules will usually take care of it in less than an hour.
The worst is waking up with a sinus headache. Those are the kind that can last all day, in spite of what I do to relieve them. Sometimes, going back to bed with a warm cloth over my nose and under my eyes is the best remedy.
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