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The Doctors Lounge - Primary Care Answers

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Forum Name: Ear Nose and Throat

Question: Sinus infection


Mills - Sat Dec 11, 2004 12:29 am

I have a thick mucous draining into my throat for the past few days and cannot get rid of it. I don't have any symptoms and my sinuses are bothering me between my eyes and under my eyes. I do not have a Headache. I am flying to Germany on Tuesday, 12/14 and would love to know what to do before I leave. I used Benedryl the night before and I am feeling somewhat better, but I am not sure if I am treating it correctly.
Thank you so much.
Carolyn Merritt, LPN - Sun Dec 12, 2004 1:03 pm

Hello:
Below is some information you may find useful in dealing with your sinus infection.

Home care can help open the sinuses and alleviate their dryness.
Promote drainage

Drink plenty of water and hydrating beverages. Hot tea is often recommended.


Inhale steam 2-4 times per day by leaning over a bowl of boiling hot water (not while the water is on the stove) or using a steam vaporizer with a towel over the head and bowl to prevent the escape of the steam. Inhale the steam for about 10 minutes. Taking a hot, steamy shower may also work. Mentholated preparations, such as Vicks Vapo-Rub, can be added to the water or vaporizer to aid in opening the passageways.


Thin the mucus: Expectorants are drugs that help to expel mucus from the lungs and respiratory passages. They help to thin mucous secretions, enhancing drainage from the sinuses. The most common is guaifenesin (contained in Robitussin, for example). Over-the-counter (OTC) liquid Cough medications or prescription tablets can also combine decongestants and Cough suppressants to reduce symptoms as well as to eliminate the need for the use of many medications. Read label ingredients to find the right combination of ingredients or ask the pharmacist for help.


Relieve pain: Pain medication such as Ibuprofen (Motrin and Advil are examples), Aspirin, and Acetaminophen (Tylenol is in this category) can reduce pain and inflammation. These medications help to open the airways by reducing swelling.

|Medical Treatment|
The main goals in treating a sinus infection or sinusitis involve reducing the swelling or inflammation in the nasal passages and sinuses, eliminating the infection, promoting drainage from the sinuses, and maintaining open sinuses.

|Reduce inflammation
Decongestants help to reduce airway obstruction and are important in the initial treatment to alleviate symptoms.

Eliminate infection
The chief goal of treatment is wiping out bacteria from the sinus cavities with Antibiotics. This helps to prevent complications, relieve symptoms, and reduce the risk of chronic sinusitis.
The basic rule of thumb is to take the Antibiotic until the symptoms disappear, then continue to take the Antibiotic for 1 more week.
Maintain open sinuses
To treat acute sinusitis, 1 or more OTC or prescription therapies may be all that is necessary. However, for those with recurrent bouts of acute sinusitis or chronic sinusitis, the addition of an intranasal steroid may reduce symptoms. Commonly prescribed medications are Beconase, Flonase, Nasacort, Nasalide, and Vancenase.

I hope this information helps and have a great trip.
Carolyn

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