Most people develop some sinus issue or other at least once in their life.
When it strikes, it’s tempting to ask your doctor for some antibiotics, but that’s not always the correct course of action.
Dr. Ricky Friend with the University of Alabama’s College of Community Health Sciences says even the worst sinus infections are rarely bacterial, and even those association with fever, facial pain or thick green drainage usually don’t require antibiotics.
Despite that, if you’ve have a lengthy episode lasing longer than 14 days, or if you have a chronic medical illness like diabetes or have a suppressed immune system because of medications or chemotherapy, see a doctor as soon as possible.
So if you find yourself with sinusitis, remember you can probably handle it without getting a doctor involved. Some tips:
- Don’t use antihistamines, because they can thicken mucous
- Instead, use a decongestant, which thins mucous
- Try a saline rinse or neti pot to clear your sinuses — there are several brands and formulations at any grocery or drug store
- If you’ve gone two weeks without improvement, it’s time to see a doctor