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Sinusitis: Symptoms to know and tips for relief

Upper respiratory infections are among the top reasons people visit urgent care clinics. Sinus infections -- also known as acute sinusitis -- are a common occurrence, particularly during cold season.

Common symptoms of sinusitis

Sinusitis is generally caused by the common cold -- it causes the nasal passages to become inflamed, which, in turn, causes mucus to build up due to lack of proper drainage. This blockage can make it difficult to breathe through the nose and can even cause some pain in the face around the eyes. When sinusitis develops, people may experience symptoms such as:

  • Postnasal drainage

  • Congestion

  • Ear pressure

  • Headache

  • Jaw pain

  • Fever

  • Fatigue

“Fortunately, most cases of sinusitis are like the common cold and can be treated at home,” says Jillian Weissman, MD, a physician at Multicare Indigo Urgent Care. Dr Weissman recommends these tips to help relieve your symptoms:

  • Breathe in warm, moist air from a hot shower or a bowl of hot water

  • Elevate your head while you sleep to encourage drainage and reduce congestion

  • Place a warm, damp cloth around your nose, eyes and cheeks

  • Drink plenty of liquids, but avoid caffeinated or alcoholic beverages

  • Get extra rest so your body can fight the infection quicker

However, there are some cases where a visit to an urgent care center may be necessary.

When to see a doctor

While most people who develop acute sinusitis don't need to visit a doctor, if symptoms don't lessen within a few days or if there is a persistent fever, a trip to the doctor may be required. Doctors can usually diagnose sinusitis by simply looking inside of the sinuses through the nose.

Treatment for sinusitis could include decongestants, pain relievers and saline nasal sprays. But if the condition worsens, a bacterial infection may be developing, which would need more aggressive treatment, including antibiotics. So if you come down with sinusitis, try basic cold remedies at home. If the condition persists or gets worse, make sure to visit a local medical clinic for further tests and treatment.

Being sick is no fun, and sinusitis is certainly no exception. But like the common cold, this condition is rarely serious and should clear up on its own. However, make sure to seek medical attention if the condition continues to worsen. Keep these symptoms and treatment options in mind in case you get sick this cold and flu season.

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