Dear Ask The Doctor: A few weeks ago I was treated for a sinus infection. I was prescribed cephalosporin, and I finished all my pills, but I don't think it completely fixed it. Now I don't have health insurance and everything feels swollen to the touch. My eye looks like I have pink eye, my ear feels infected, and my sinuses don't feel much better. What over the counter medications should I be taking to treat this myself?
Dear Mae: Sinusitis is the inflammation of the paranasal sinuses usually seen after a viral upper respiratory tract infection or in the presence of allergies. Sinusitis usually resolves in 7-10 days but sometimes due to obstruction of sinus tracts by mucus and bacteria cause a more serious infection. You have mentioned that you've completed the antibiotic prescription but have experienced no symptomatic relief.
You may try out these few therapies that may aid in the clearance of symptoms :
i) Steam inhalation and application packs can provide symptomatic relief.
ii) Saline nasal irrigation is usually a first choice due to the low cost and increased effectiveness.
iii) Nasal sprays containing oxymetazoline helps in reducing nasal edema
iv) Corticosteroid nasal spray (beclomethasone) is helpful if there is an allergic component.
v) Oral mucolytics may make the secretions thinner and promote drainage
vi) Lifestyle changes such as stopping smoking and avoiding smoke and allergens.
vii) Surgical drainage is everything else fails.