Clearing the sinuses – this is what patients are aiming for first and foremost. This is understandable, since unimpaired breathing through the nose is a basic human need. Comprehensive treatment, however, involves many very different therapy options. The most important thing to clarify first is whether it is an acute or a chronic sinus infection. Your doctor will design the treatment plan accordingly.
A nasal rinse with natural salt solutions is a classic home remedy that is also scientifically recognised and often recommended or prescribed by doctors. Nasal rinses can reduce swelling of the mucous membranes and encourage the discharge of the mucus. Pollen and germs are flushed out through the nose. Treatment with herbal products includes high dosage extracts derived, for example, from gentian root or eucalyptus. You should, however, always seek advice on the application and side effects of such products.
Decongestant nose drops or sprays can help you breathe through your nose more easily. It is essential to restrict their use to short periods of no more than seven days because otherwise your body can get used to them and once the effect of the product has subsided, the mucous membranes swell up again – usually even worse than before. Those affected then have to keep reaching for “the bottle”. This makes the mucous membranes dry out. Comprehensive advice on the correct use of the preparations is essential here.
In certain cases the use of a cortisone nasal spray can accelerate healing. This includes, for instance, acute cases of chronic or recurrent infection, known allergic mucosal responses or sinusitis in a patient who also has nasal polyps. Over-the-counter pain killers from the pharmacy can help for the headache and sore face. You should get detailed information from your doctor or pharmacist about this.
The treatment of chronic sinusitis is also based on what is causing the disease. Often locally acting cortisone preparations are used, as they fight the infection. No harmful effects are known to date as a result of long-term treatment. Sometimes surgery is a viable option: for example, to straighten the nasal septum, to widen the passages of the sinuses or to remove polyps. Nasal rinses with isotonic salt solutions are also recommended as a complementary treatment. They help to ease symptoms and can be used for weeks. If your disease is caused by allergies, hyposensitisation or avoiding the allergen can be helpful.
Comprehensive therapy is made up of a number of different components. The immune system has an important role to play. You can boost it with regular exercise, by getting enough sleep and eating a balanced diet.
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