Treatment

Most cases of acute sinusitis, those caused by a viral infection, resolve on their own. Self-care techniques are usually all you need to ease symptoms.

Treatments to relieve symptoms

Your doctor may recommend treatments to help relieve sinusitis symptoms, including:

  • Saline nasal spray, which you spray into your nose several times a day to rinse your nasal passages.
  • Nasal corticosteroids. These nasal sprays help prevent and treat inflammation. Examples include fluticasone (Flonase, Veramyst), budesonide (Rhinocort), mometasone (Nasonex) and beclomethasone (Beconase AQ, Qnasl, others).
  • Decongestants. These medications are available in over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription liquids, tablets and nasal sprays. Use nasal decongestants for only a few days. Otherwise they may cause the return of more severe congestion (rebound congestion).
  • OTC pain relievers, such as aspirin, acetaminophen (Tylenol, others) or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others).

    Use caution when giving aspirin to children or teenagers. Children and teenagers recovering from chickenpox or flu-like symptoms should never take aspirin. This is because aspirin has been linked to Reye's syndrome, a rare but potentially life-threatening condition, in such children.

Antibiotics

Antibiotics usually aren't needed to treat acute sinusitis. Even if your acute sinusitis is bacterial, it may clear up without treatment.

Your doctor might wait and watch to see if your bacterial acute sinusitis worsens. However, severe, progressive or persistent symptoms might require antibiotics. If your doctor prescribes an antibiotic, be sure to take the whole course, even after your symptoms get better. If you stop taking them early, your symptoms may recur.

Immunotherapy

If allergies are contributing to your sinusitis, allergy shots (immunotherapy) that help reduce the body's reaction to specific allergens may help treat your symptoms.

Alternative medicine

No alternative therapies have been proved to ease the symptoms of acute sinusitis, but products containing certain combinations of herbs may help. These combination therapies, sold under brand names such as Sinupret and SinuGuard, contain cowslip, gentian root, elderflower, verbena and sorrel.

Possible side effects include stomach upset, diarrhea and allergic skin reactions.

April 28, 2016
References
  1. Sinusitis. American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. http://www.aaaai.org/conditions-and-treatments/allergies/sinusitis.aspx. Accessed Jan. 11, 2016.
  2. Hwang PH, et al. Acute sinusitis and rhinosinusitis in adults: Clinical manifestations and diagnosis. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Jan. 14, 2016.
  3. Hwang PH, et al. Acute sinusitis and rhinosinusitis in adults: Treatment. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Jan. 14, 2016.
  4. Sinusitis (sinus infection). National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease. www.niaid.nih.gov/topics/sinusitis/pages/index.aspx. Accessed Jan. 14, 2016.
  5. Adult sinusitis. American Rhinologic Association. http://care.american-rhinologic.org/adult_sinusitis. Accessed Jan. 15, 2016.
  6. Complications of sinusitis. American Rhinologic Association. http://care.american-rhinologic.org/complications_sinusitis. Accessed Jan. 14, 2016.
  7. Meltzer EO, et al. Rhinosinusitis diagnosis and management for the clinician: A synopsis of recent consensus guidelines. Mayo Clinic Proceedings. 2011;86:427.
  8. Sinupret+. Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database. http://www.naturaldatabase.com. Accessed Jan. 15, 2016.
  9. SinuGuard. Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database. http://www.naturaldatabase.com. Accessed Jan. 15, 2016.