Treatment of a sinus infection

Treatment options

A sinus infection (sinusitis) is usually caused by viruses or bacteria. Treatment for sinusitis is aimed at reducing inflammation of the lining of the nose and restoring the drainage of mucus from the sinuses. First and foremost, measures should be taken to liquefy the mucus, which will improve the excretion of the mucus. This is achieved, for example, through increased fluid intake (e.g. drinking), but high humidity, steam inhalations and nasal rinses or showers with isotonic saline solutions or seawater sprays can also help to alleviate the symptoms of sinus infections.

In addition, nasal sprays or drops to decongest the mucous membranes (e.g. active ingredients: xylometazoline, oxymetazoline) and herbal secretion removers (medications containing myrtol or cineol) can be used. Using nasal sprays that contain cortisone can help reduce inflammation. Over-the-counter pain relievers with active ingredients such as paracetamol or ibuprofen help against headaches and facial pain. There are also herbal medicines such as Sinupret ®forte or Sinupret ® drops. In the case of sinusitis with severe symptoms or if a bacterial infection has been found, antibiotics may be indicated. In some cases with severe disease, an operation may be necessary to facilitate the drainage of mucus (e.g. removal of polyps, straightening of the nasal septum).

Is Sinus Infection Contagious? Find out more at How contagious is a sinus infection

What drugs are used for sinus infections?

The healing of a sinus infection can be helped by the use of some medications. Medicines that are always used are nasal sprays. They are very suitable for decongestant treatment, but should not last longer than max. 1 week to be used. In addition, herbal medicines such as Sinupret have established themselves in the treatment of sinus infections. Sinupret® is a combined preparation with various active ingredients from gentian, verbena, elder, sorrel and cowslip. In protracted cases of sinusitis, the treatment can be extended with nasal sprays containing cortisone. Examples are Nasonex® or Rhinocort®.

Medicines often used to treat pain are ibuprofen, paracetamol or Aspirin®. In rare cases, antibiotics must also be used. Amoxicillin is a commonly used drug. Antibiotics may only be used if they are found to be bacterial with a severe clinical picture or complications that occur. But then they are essential to prevent further discomfort.

You can find more information on the subject here: Drugs for a sinus infection

Antibiotic therapy for a sinus infection

When treating a Sinus infection is the use of Antibiotics extremely rarely necessary, as both bacterial and viral inflammations heal without complications in 60 to 80 percent of cases within fourteen days.
Even so, acute sinus infection is one of the most common reasons for prescribing antibiotics. Antibiotic therapy is only indicated in the case of severe symptoms or impending complications. Antibiotics are recommended for certain symptoms such as high fever, swelling around the eyes, severe facial pain, sensitivity to light or stiff neck.

In cases where antibiotics are indicated, the active ingredient is the most important Amoxicillin recommended. However, sinus infections are most commonly caused by respiratory viruses. In these cases antibiotics have little or no effect.
Treatment without antibiotics, aimed at reducing the swelling of the mucous membranes and enabling normal discharge of secretions and adequate ventilation of the sinuses, is sufficient in most cases to alleviate the symptoms of sinusitis and accelerate the healing process.

Read extensive information under our topic: Treating sinusitis with antibiotics

Home remedies for sinus infections

Various home remedies are suitable for treating sinus infections. As soon as the first symptoms appear, it is advisable to tackle the symptoms with simple home remedies. For example, it makes sense to inhale warm vapors in order to swell the irritated mucous membranes. To do this, put eucalyptus oil or chamomile flowers in a bowl of hot water and inhale the vapors under a towel for 10 to 15 minutes several times a day. Not only the warmth of the vapors can have a beneficial effect, infrared light, which is directed onto the sinuses, can also accelerate the healing process. However, the use of heat only makes sense if it is perceived as pleasant. In the case of very severe inflammation, the symptoms can be aggravated by heat.

Other home remedies for sinus treatment are compresses made from warm water and eucalyptus oil or lemon. A linen cloth or washcloth is soaked in it and then placed on the sinuses. A very important home remedy for sinus infections is high fluid intake to liquefy the mucus. Herbal and peppermint teas can also have a decongestant effect. In addition, care should be taken to ensure that the humidity in the living rooms is sufficient and that cigarette smoke is avoided in the area, as it irritates the mucous membranes.

If sinus infection symptoms do not improve despite using home remedies, a doctor should be consulted so that the disease can be completely cured and a chronic course can be prevented.

Homeopathy for a sinus infection

Naturopathic treatment methods such as homeopathy, Schüssler salts or acupuncture can also be used for the typical symptoms of a sinus infection. Homeopathic remedies are usually well tolerated and can be used to treat acute or chronic inflammation of the sinuses. A balanced combination of different homeopathic active ingredients can also be used specifically against the symptoms of sinusitis. The homeopathic active ingredients have a decongestant effect on the nasal mucous membranes, reduce the feeling of pressure in the sinuses and facilitate nasal breathing. In addition, homeopathy can help to strengthen the body's immune system and relieve pain. Most homeopathic remedies can also be used in children from two years of age, but the use should be discussed with the attending physician in each individual case.

Therapy without antibiotics

Sinusitis is often treated well without antibiotics. Most infections heal after 1 or 2 weeks, even if they are bacterial. In the treatment of acute sinusitis without antibiotics, decongestant and calming measures are in the foreground. So nose drops or sprays are used. They lead to the swelling of the mucous membranes in the nose and sinuses, so that the accumulated secretion can flow away better. Herbal remedies also promote the healing of a sinus infection without antibiotics. Successfully used active ingredients are e.g. Gentian, elder, chamomile or peppermint. In addition to the decongestant effect, they also have an anti-inflammatory component and can be taken in tablet form or inhaled as a vapor. Painkillers are also used to treat sinusitis. Treating chronic sinusitis without antibiotics may require additional measures. Nasal sprays containing cortisone can be used here. In rare cases, chronic sinusitis requires surgery.

Treatment of sinusitis during pregnancy

Swelling of the nasal mucous membranes often occurs during pregnancy, around one fifth of all women suffer from so-called pregnancy rhinitis. Frequently there are fears of harmful side effects of typical medications for sinus infections (e.g. antibiotics or nasal drops to reduce swelling). Home remedies such as herbal teas, steam inhalations or infrared light can be used without hesitation during pregnancy and have a soothing effect on the symptoms of sinus infections.

Decongestant nasal drops are generally not recommended during pregnancy; very short-term use is justifiable if the symptoms are severe. On the other hand, natural nasal sprays, for example with the active ingredient dexpanthenol, can also be used during pregnancy in order to moisten the mucous membranes without side effects. A bacterial infection should be treated with antibiotics even during pregnancy, despite the possible side effects. The active ingredient group of penicillins is ideal here, as these drugs can be taken relatively safely even in the first trimester of pregnancy.
Read more about the topic here: Antibiotics in Pregnancy

During pregnancy, especially if the symptoms are severe, you should definitely not do without medication for sinusitis, as inadequately treated sinusitis also poses risks during pregnancy. However, low doses of the medication and the combination with suitable non-medicinal measures to alleviate the symptoms are recommended.

Which medication (e.g. antibiotics) and which dosage are useful for a sinus infection during pregnancy should definitely be agreed individually with the attending physician.