shortcut to content

Minnesota State University, Mankato

Minnesota State University, Mankato
Student Health Services

Sinus Infection

Page address: http://www.mnsu.edu/shs/caringforacutesinusitis.html

What causes a sinus infection?

Anything that blocks your sinus opening can cause sinusitis. A build–up of mucus makes a good place for germs to grow.

Common causes of Sinus Infection include:

  • Colds or upper respiratory infections
  • Hay fever or allergies
  • Cigarette smoke
  • Air travel or underwater swimming

Some sinus infections get better on their own. Some many need to be treated with an antibiotic.

Here are things you can do help a sinus infection:

  1. Get plenty of rest. when you go to sleep, try lying on the side that is least congested (where you breath best), because lying down increases nasal congestion.
  2. Sip hot liquids and drink plenty of fluids.
  3. Apply moist heat by holding a hot, wet towel against your face or breathe in steam. (if you're inhaling steam, be sure to cover your entire face with a cloth or towel first, so you don't burn yourself).
  4. Use over–the–computer medicines such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) for pain. Don't use aspirin if you're allergic to it or under age 20.
  5. Talk with your doctor before using cold remedies. Some cold medicines can make a sinus infection worse by drying out mucous membranes and blocking sinus openings. Other medicines, disturb your sleep, make you nervous or raise your blood pressure or pulse.
  6. If you use a nose spray with a decongestant in it, don't use it for more than three days. If you use more than three days, your nasal swelling may get worse when you stop the medicine. Use a short–acting nasal decongestant (brand names: Neo–Synephrine, Afrin 4 Hour), since long–acting kinds (brand names: Dristan 12 hour, Afrin 12–hour) may slow healing.