How should I treat a sinus infection?

Here are some tips to help treat your sinus infection, feel better, and get well faster:

Get plenty of rest and fluids. This will help your body fight the illness.

Take medicine if needed: For pain, use acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil). Follow the instructions for timing and dose. Do not give aspirin to a child or teenager -- it increases risk for a serious problem called Reye's syndrome. For a runny or stuffy nose, try a medicine with a decongestant.

Try nose spray. Look for one that contains a decongestant. Do not use for more than 3 days.

Rinse your sinuses with salt water once or twice a day. It's a bit messy, but it's a great way to help clear a sinus problem. Here's how to rinse your sinuses:

  • First, make a salt water rinse from 1 cup of water mixed with ½ teaspoon of salt. (You can also use a saline rinse from a store.) Put the salt water in a rubber bulb syringe. For a baby, use an eye dropper.
  • With your head over a sink, hold your head sideways.
  • With the syringe or eye dropper, squirt a stream of salt water into the top nostril.
  • Let the salt water run from your top nostril to the lower nostril. Some of the water will come out of the lower nostril. Some may drain down the back of your throat.
  • Repeat this with the other nostril.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.