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    Sinusitis Treatments and Home Remedies

    Sinusitis is common. But many people who have it use treatments that aren't likely to help. So before you run to the drugstore, you’ll want to be sure you know how to handle this condition.

    The sinuses are small cavities in the skull that are normally filled with air. They make mucus, which helps keep the nasal passages clear of allergens and pollutants.

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    Summer Sinus Problems

    If you’re among the 37 million Americans who suffer from sinus problems, you know just how miserable the symptoms can make you feel. The congestion. The facial pain. The postnasal drip-drip-drip. Summer often brings a bit of a respite, as the cold viruses that trigger most cases of sinusitis are less active in warm weather. And, experts say the sinus problems that do crop up in summer can often be avoided -- if you take these six precautions:

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    Sinusitis is an inflammation of the tissue that lines these cavities. In some cases, this swelling blocks off the sinuses, trapping mucus and air inside them. This can cause pain and pressure. Sometimes, it can lead to a bacterial infection.

    Do you know the two types of sinusitis?

    Acute vs. Chronic

    Acute sinusitis lasts up to 4 weeks.

    Chronic sinusitis lasts several weeks and can linger for years. Its cause can be hard to pin down -- and hard to treat.

    Sinusitis might start because of a cold or allergies. Fungus can cause it for people who have weak immune systems.

    Sometimes, chronic sinusitis is due to problems with the structure of the nasal passages, or a growth such as a nasal polyp that keeps the sinuses from draining normally.

    Acute and chronic sinusitis have similar symptoms:

    • Facial pressure and pain
    • Thick discolored mucus
    • Congestion


    The key is to figure out the cause. For instance, if your sinusitis is due to allergies, then decongestants alone will probably not help much.

    If you have symptoms for more than a couple of days, check in with your doctor. With a good exam -- and sometimes imaging tests, like X-rays, CT scans, or MRIs -- you may be able to figure out exactly what's causing the problem.

    Often, the best sinusitis treatment is a combination of different approaches -- typically medication plus self-care.


    Antibiotics . If your doctor thinks a bacterial infection is to blame, he may prescribe antibiotics. For acute sinusitis, you may take them for 10-14 days. For chronic sinusitis, it might be longer.

    Antibiotics only help with bacterial infections. They won’t help if your sinusitis is caused by viruses or other problems. Some studies suggest that bacteria cause very few cases of the condition and that antibiotics are widely overused.

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