Sinus Treatments FAQ

Acute sinusitis is often caused by viruses —  many cases will resolve without specific treatment. Regardless of the cause, there are over-the-counter treatments that you can take to reduce the pain, swelling, fever and cough.

Read more about over-the-counter treatments for the symptoms of colds, flu and sinusitis

Cleansing the nose with warm, normal saline (salt solution) is the fastest way to improve drainage, remove pollen and bacteria and loosen thick secretions in the nose.  Saline is especially useful for chronic sinusitis and for patient who have undergone nasal surgery.

Read more about saline nasal sprays and sinus irrigation

Antibiotics are effective only for sinusitis caused by susceptible strains of bacteria. Typically, antibiotics are recommended when sinus symptoms last longer than ten days, or if they are getting worse after the first week.

Read more about antibiotics and sinusitis

Many patients fear that nasal steroids will suppress the immune system and should be discontinued if they get sinusitis.  To the contrary, Dr. Armstrong and colleagues demonstrated that steroids actually shorten the course of sinus infections.[1]

Read more about steroids and sinusitis

Balloon Sinuplasty is an alternative to sinus surgery, in which the surgeon dilates the sinus openings with an inflatable balloon catheter.  Patients generally return to work the next day and pain is comparable to a dental procedure. Most of our patients return to normal activity within one day.

Read more about Balloon Sinuplasty

Endoscopic Sinus Surgery (ESS) is a surgical procedure to remove diseased tissue from the sinuses. When limited tissue is removed to open the sinus drainage pathways without damaging the lining of the sinus, it is referred to as Functional Endoscopic Sinus Surgery (ESS).

Read more about Endoscopic Sinus Surgery

[1] Dolor RJ, Witsell DL, Hellkamp AS et al.: Comparison of Cefuroxime With or Without Intranasal Fluticasone for the Treatment of Rhinosinusitis.  JAMA 286:3097-3105, 2001.