Acute sinusitis, or acute rhinosinusitis, is a short-term condition characterized by the inflammation of the membranes that line the sinuses. The most common cause of acute sinusitis is the common cold (a viral infection). A host of unpleasant symptoms can be associated with this and the most common of which include the following:

  • Nasal obstruction, congestion, drainage
  • Sinus pain, pressure, swelling, tenderness
  • Difficulty breathing

With proper treatment, acute sinusitis that does not involve a bacterial infection will resolve in 7-10-days.

Treatments for Acute Sinusitis

Patients with acute sinusitis can use the following home remedies and over-the-counter treatment options to help with their symptoms:

  1. Home remedies. A warm cloth can be placed over the sinuses to help loosen mucus and relieve pressure, pain, and throbbing. A humidifier can be used at night to moisten dry air and help patients breathe.


  1. Saline nasal sprays. A simple saline solution can be gently sprayed into the nostrils to help loosen mucus and treat and prevent dryness. There are many different brands of saline nasal sprays that are readily available at pharmacy stores.


  1. Acetaminophen (Tylenol) and ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin). Pain relieving medications. When taken as directed, acetaminophen and ibuprofen decreases sinus pain.


  1. Oral and nasal spray medications that loosen mucus in the sinuses and prevent it from building up again. These medications should only be used as a short-term treatment option as they cause mucus buildup to become worse if they are used too frequently. Patients who take decongestants should always follow the instructions on the medication label.


  1. Allergy medications. Some patients may experience acute sinusitis because of allergies. Antihistamine medications can be used to help manage the symptoms of an allergy attack. Avoiding allergy triggers can help allergy attacks from becoming worse.

Patients should be aware that antibiotic medications are not used to treat acute sinusitis that does not involve a bacterial infection. Patients should never take antibiotics unless they are prescribed by a physician.

Seeking Treatment for Acute Sinusitis

If acute sinusitis does not resolve after 7-10-days or if the severity of symptoms becomes worse, patients should contact an ENT specialist to arrange an appointment. Once the cause of symptoms is identified, a formal diagnosis is made and an appropriate treatment plan is prescribed. Dr. Neil Goldhaber is the founder of Goldhaber Sinus and an expert in the treatment of acute sinusitis.  To make an appointment, please contact one of our four Florida offices today.

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