How To Get Relief From Sinus Issues
Remedies And Medications For Sinus Relief
Written by Dr. Edward Lewis - Genexa Healthcare Provider & Partner on September 6, 2021
Medically reviewed by Camille Freking, MS Pharmacology
Sinus issues are painful and inconvenient. The pain and pressure associated with congested sinuses can derail your entire day with a headache, stuffy nose, and other uncomfortable symptoms.
For those who want to know how to get relief from sinus issues, it’s important to understand that there are both medications and home remedies that can be used to find relief.
Medications for Relief From Sinus Issues
When you’re suffering with sinus issues, you want relief fast. Often, the quickest way to get relief from sinus issues is through the use of medications that are specifically designed to treat sinus congestion.
There are three types of medications that are commonly used for treating sinus issues, including nasal corticosteroids, decongestants, and over-the-counter pain relievers.
Nasal corticosteroids are steroid medications that are sprayed directly into the nostrils. They are used to reduce inflammation in the nasal passages and sinuses, which can help relieve congestion.
Nasal corticosteroids like fluticasone, budesonide, mometasone, and beclomethasone are among the most effective nasal steroid sprays, but they may take up to two to four weeks to provide maximum relief.
As a result, they’re most helpful for preventing future sinus issues when used daily.
Decongestant medications work more quickly than nasal corticosteroids to relieve sinus congestion and pressure. They can be found in the form of nasal sprays, tablets, and liquids and are available both over the counter and with a prescription.
While decongestant medications work quickly to provide relief from sinus issues, they can make your sinuses worse when used for more than three days in a row.
Therefore, it’s best to use them for a short period of time while waiting for other medications or treatment options to start working.
Over-the-Counter Pain Relievers
Sinus congestion can be painful, causing pressure to build up in the area around the eyes, nose, and cheeks.
If your sinus issues are causing you pain, try taking over-the-counter pain relievers like acetaminophen, ibuprofen, or aspirin. Just remember to follow the instructions on the package carefully and make sure that you are following the dosing instructions.
If you are taking multiple medications for your symptoms, make sure you are not taking too much of the same active ingredient as some combination medications contain similar active ingredients, such as acetaminophen.
Other Options for Relief From Sinus Issues
If you aren’t comfortable using medication or would like to try and find some relief from sinus issues naturally using home remedies, some of the tricks below may be able to help. These tips are also good for supporting sinus health in general and can be used in conjunction with medication to provide extra relief.
Use a Neti Pot To Flush Out Your Sinuses
Using a neti pot to flush out your sinuses is a quick and easy option that can provide relief from sinus issues. A neti pot is a container that is shaped somewhat like a teapot, with a large basin for water and a long spout. The neti pot is used to rinse out your sinuses, flushing out irritants, fluids, germs, and excess mucus in the process.
When used as directed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), neti pots are safe to use and are very gentle. It’s important to rinse your nasal passages with a commercially prepared buffered solution. Unboiled tap water should never be used, as tap water has not been filtered or treated to remove all forms of bacteria, viruses, and other microorganisms that could get trapped in your sinuses and contribute to an increased risk of infection.
If you choose to use a neti pot to get relief from sinus issues, start by filling the container with the buffered solution. Position your head over a sink or stand in the shower, then insert the spout of the neti pot into one nostril. Slowly raise the container so that the solution flows from the spout into your nose. The solution will flow through your nostril and nasal passages, eventually emptying out the other side. Continue to rinse out your nasal passages for about one minute, then repeat on the other side.
Take a Hot Shower
A relaxing and comforting way to get relief from sinus issues is to take a warm or hot shower. The steam will rise into your nostrils as you breathe, adding moisture to your nasal passages and helping to thin and loosen the mucus in your sinuses, making it easier to expel. Additionally, the steam will help reduce the amount of inflammation in your sinuses.
If you prefer to skip taking a shower, you can also run the hot water and steam up the bathroom, then stand in the bathroom and breathe in the steam for about ten minutes. It’s also possible to run a sink with hot water and stand over the sink with your head near the steam, breathing in the vapor. Place a towel over your head to trap the steam, take deep breaths and avoid getting so close to the water that you burn yourself.
Use a Warm Compress
A warm compress is another good option for relief from sinus issues, particularly for children. Run water in the sink until it is warm or hot, then wring out the excess fluid. Place the towel over your nose and forehead, allowing the warm water to encourage the nasal passages to open from the outside.
In addition to reducing congestion, this trick is also effective at reducing inflammation and clearing the way for excess mucus to drain. This trick can also help ease the pain associated with sinus pressure and is also a helpful method for young children, plus it is easy to repeat for as long as needed to find relief.
Use a Humidifier at Night
When you’re sick or dealing with allergies, your body often responds by producing too much mucus or by producing mucus that is too thick to be easily expelled from the body. The mucus may also end up being dry as a result of dehydration, so one way to help loosen and thin the mucus, making it easier to expel, is to use a humidifier by your bedside at night.
A humidifier turns water into either steam or a cool mist vapor which is released into the air, providing moisture. As you breathe in while you sleep, the extra moisture is inhaled into your nostrils and sinuses, helping to soothe inflamed nasal passages and sinuses. When you wake up, the mucus in your nasal passages and sinuses will likely be thinner and looser, making it easier to blow out of your nose.
When using a humidifier, make sure to always use sterile, distilled water and regularly clean the machine. If you place a humidifier in a child’s room, make sure to use a cool mist humidifier rather than a steam humidifier.
Use a Saline Nasal Spray
Saline nasal sprays are another option if you’d like to avoid the use of medication but still want to get relief from sinus issues. Saline nasal sprays are used the same way as corticosteroid nasal sprays or decongestant nasal sprays, as they are sprayed directly into the nostril, but they do not contain medication. As a result, they are safe for use multiple times per day and can be used by people of all ages.
Saline nasal sprays work by adding moisture to the sinuses and tissues of the nasal passages. This helps to loosen and thin the mucus in your sinuses and nasal passages, making it easier to expel. Additionally, saline solution can help soothe irritation and inflammation in the nasal passages.
When you want to get relief from sinus issues, there are several options. The use of medications like steroid nasal sprays, decongestants, and over-the-counter pain medications can provide relief.
If you’d prefer to avoid using medication and try to soothe your issues naturally, you can try home remedies like flushing your sinuses with a neti pot, using a saline nasal spray, using a humidifier at night, using a warm compress, or taking a hot shower.