Seasonal allergies can be a nuisance with all the sniffing, sneezing and nasal drainage, but occasionally, what starts out as allergies can lead to something more. Acute sinusitis (inflammation in your nasal passages) can follow a cold or allergies, increasing sinus pressure and pain, making any season seem impossible to bear. Acute sinusitis can last for days or sometimes weeks. Symptoms include nasal congestion, drainage, cough, and pain and pressure (especially behind the eyes and nose).
Here are 10 things you can do at home to relieve sinus pain and pressure:
- Take a hot shower and breathe in the hot, moist air to break up mucus and help it drain.
- Apply a warm, moist washcloth to your face, for the same reason as the hot shower.
- Use a Neti pot to clean the nasal cavity and make it easier to breathe.
- Drink water or warm liquids to help thin mucus and loosen congestion.
- Use an over-the-counter saltwater nasal spray to wash out thick or dried mucus.
- If the air is dry, use a humidifier to help relieve sinus congestion.
- Avoid bending forward, which can make sinus pain and pressure worse, and instead, lean downward slowly while trying to keep your head upright when picking something up, for example.
- Take acetaminophen or ibuprofen to reduce inflammation in the lining of your sinuses.
- Use an over-the-counter (OTC) decongestant to help clear your sinuses and dry out congestion.
- Avoid sudden changes in temperature, which can also worsen sinus pressure and pain.
When to see the doctor
When self-care isn’t doing the trick or your symptoms continue to worsen over several weeks, you may have developed chronic sinusitis, meaning it could be time to see the doctor. Sinusitis can be caused by things other than allergies, like nasal polyps or an infection. If the cause of your sinusitis is infection, your doctor may prescribe antibiotics or other prescription medicines to treat it.
Need help with your sinus pain or seasonal allergies? Our ear, nose and throat (ENT) specialists perform comprehensive evaluations for children and adults. Schedule an appointment online or call 513-421-5558.