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The Prevention Steps For Sinus Infection

Jul 23, 2008
People whose symptoms of a sinus infection do not go away despite the use of antibiotics should follow up with their doctors or ear, nose, and throat specialist quickly.

Prevention of a sinus infection depends on its cause. Avoid contracting upper respiratory tract infections. Obtaining the influenza vaccination yearly will help to prevent the flu and subsequent infection of the upper respiratory tract. Other flu medicines, such as zanamivir (Relenza) and oseltamivir (Tamiflu), if taken at the onset of symptoms, may also help to prevent infection.

Maintain strict hand-washing habits and avoid people who are obviously suffering from a cold. In some studies, zinc carbonate lozenges have been shown to reduce the duration of many cold symptoms. Stress reduction and a diet rich in antioxidants, especially fresh, dark-colored fruits and vegetables, may help strengthen the immune system. Plan for seasonal allergy attacks.

If sinus infection is caused by seasonal or environmental allergies, avoiding allergens is very important. If avoidance is not an option, either OTC or prescription medication may be helpful. OTC antihistamines or decongestant nasal sprays can be used for an acute attack. People who have seasonal allergies may benefit from nonsedating prescription antihistamines during those allergy-season months.

Avoid spending long periods outdoors during allergy season. Close the windows to the house and use air conditioning to filter out allergens when possible. Humidifiers may also be helpful.

Allergy shots, also called "immunotherapy" may be effective in reducing or eliminating sinusitis due to allergies. Shots are administered by an allergist regularly for 3 to 5 years, but they often offer a reduction to complete remission of allergy symptoms for years.

Stay hydrated and maintain good sinus hygiene by drinking plenty of fluids to keep nasal secretions thin. Avoid air travel. If air travel is necessary, use a nasal decongestant spray prior to departure to keep the sinus passages open and frequently instill saline spray during flight.

Saline nasal sprays (available at drug stores) help keep the nasal passages moist, helping remove infectious agents. Inhaling steam from a bowl of boiling water or in a hot, steamy shower may also help.

Avoid allergens in the environment. People who suffer from chronic sinusitis should avoid areas and activities that may aggravate the condition, such as cigarette smoke, secondhand smoke, and diving under water in chlorinated pools.

Sinusitis or sinus infections usually clear up if treated early and appropriately. Aside from those who develop complications, the outlook for acute bacterial sinusitis is good. People may develop chronic sinusitis or have recurrent attacks of acute sinusitis if they have allergic or structural causes for their sinusitis.
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