With temperatures dropping, many of us are experiencing the effects of cold and flu season. A common illness many people face during this time is a sinus infection, or sinusitis. Sinusitis can feel debilitating depending on how severe the pressure is in your head, along with other symptoms. However, the good news is that there are many ways of treating a sinus infection.
It’s easy to mistake a sinus infection with a common cold, but they are not the same thing. Having a cold can lead to a sinus infection as more bacteria and viruses are brought to your nose each time you touch it. The swelling in your nose and sinuses can prevent proper drainage, which creates a warm and moist environment for bacteria and viruses to thrive in.
Common symptoms of a sinus infection include, but are not limited to, a runny or stuffy nose that lasts more than a week, pressure in the eye or cheek area, fever, cough, and postnasal drip.
Ways of preventing a sinus infection include drinking plenty of fluids, avoiding people with the flu or a cold, reducing stress, eating an antioxidant-rich diet, and getting a flu vaccine annually.
If you find that you are suffering from a sinus infection, there are multiple methods of treatment. Sinus irrigation is a naturally remedy where you flush out your sinuses with a saline solution. One example of this is a neti pot. Bromelain supplements, which stem from an enzyme in pineapple stems, can help reduce swelling as well. It’s important to consult with your primary care provider prior to taking any new medications or supplements.
Other ways to help reduce sinus infection symptoms include take a hot shower, as the steam can help to loosen mucus. Adding a few drops of menthol or eucalyptus can help the steam be even more effective. Eating spicy foods can also assist with opening up your nasal passages. Foods such as mustard, curry, wasabi, and horseradish tend to work best. There are also many over-the-counter options such as nasal sprays and decongestants that can help lessen symptoms. Once again, consult with your primary care provider prior to using any new medications.
If you, or a loved one, is experiencing symptoms of a sinus infection, cold, or flu, schedule an appointment with a primary care provider at Murray County Medical Center today by calling (507) 836-6111. Walk-in flu vaccinations are also available.