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6. Treat Sinus Problems

Medications can help control your sinus symptoms.

Decongestants help reduce the swelling in your nasal passages and can ease the stuffiness and sinus pressure. Decongestants are available in nasal sprays such as naphazoline (Privine), oxymetazoline (Afrin, Dristan, Duramist, and others), or phenylephrine (Neo-Synephrine, Sinex, Rhinall, and others), and in pills such as phenylephrine (Lusonal, Sudafed PE, Sudogest PE, and others), pseudoephedrine (Aleve-D, Sudafed, and others). Don't use a spray for more than 3 days, and don't use an oral medicine for more than seven days.

Pain relievers and anti-inflammatory medicine available at supermarkets and drugstores can help ease the pain caused by sinus pressure. Be sure to read and follow the label and dosing instructions carefully. Don't use these medications for more than 7 days in a row without consulting with your doctor.

Antihistamine allergy medicines may help if your sinus problems are related to allergies. Over-the-counter antihistamines include cetirizine (Zyrtec), diphenhydramine (Benadryl, Genahist, and others), fexofenadine (Allegra) and loratadine (Claritin). If you have recurring allergy related sinus problems, talk to your doctor about getting an allergy skin test.

Intranasal or oral steroids decrease inflammation (swelling) and mucus production in the lining of the nose. Nasal steroids can also treat nasal polyps that often cause obstruction. Most nasal steroids are available by prescription and include budesonide (Rhinocort), fluticasone propionate (Flonase), funisolide (Nasarel), and mometasone (Nasonex). Two steroid sprays -- Nasacort and Flonase -- are available over the counter. 

If medications don't help, your doctor may recommend you see a specialist. Sometimes, sinus surgery may help to remove polyps, scar tissue and adhesions in the nasal passages that are obstructing drainage.


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