Sinus infections

How do you deal with them? prevent them?

I’ve started using a neti pot which hopefully will help since I work in a very dusty environment. I’ve heard from some people that they avoid dairy products although no one has given me a reason why that would make a difference so I’m not sure on that one. I used to go to my doctor but frankly I don’t find antibiotics do much to help me get over them, it’s just as well to wait it out it seems. I’m interested in hearing what others have found works (or doesn’t work).

I’ve always had horrible issues with sinus infections, and have tried every trick in the book. I’ve had my sinuses “roto-rooted”, tried the neti pot, but nothing really seems to help completely.

Recently I had an MRI done and discovered quite by accident that I have a rare but benign cyst (Tornwaldt cyst) in my sinuses. It would certainly explain my propensity to get sinus infections at the drop of a hat, and the difficulty in getting over them, even with antibiotics.

Eventually I’m going to look at having it removed; apparently it’s a fairly easy outpatient procedure and has a great success rate of reducing sinus infection problems. You may want to ask about whether this could be the case with your sinus issues the next time you see your doctor.

Interesting. Won’t hurt to ask, thanks for the input.

Dairy products supposedly increase mucous production, or make the mucous thicker.

I’ve never used a neti pot, but I have had luck with just snorting salt water (not table salt).

I recently found out that doctors are now recommending people with sinus infections take decongestant and Mucinex. Apparently antibiotics are being overprescribed and it can be a cause for bacterial resistance. (Cite)

They do neither.

Nasal irrigation is by far more helpful for reducing nasal and sinus symptoms than antibiotics and even decongestants (chronically, anyway). High doses of mucolytics may help, but one usually needs to take enough to make one nauseated before getting decent mucous-thinning effects.

What works for me is one “12-hour” Claritin-D every day. That, and clean living (almost obsessive handwashing!) keeps me from catching the “Cow Palace Plague” that sweeps through the cast and crew of the Dickens Christmas Fair every year.

I’ve tried nasal irrigation, and more often than not, it resulted in nasal irritation and feeling worse afterward. There may be some selection bias at play - by the time I think of rinsing out the schnozz, infection may already be taking up residence. That, or the little packets of salt also thoughtfully contain germs.

I’m fairly sure my problems aren’t from a Tornwaldt cyst as I just get single-sided pressure, pain and general stuffiness without the nasty draining pus. (Side note - one of the surgical treatments has a totally cool name - marsupialization.)

OP: Can you wear a mask at work?

I have suffered a long time with horrid sinuses, finally having first nasal surgery and then sinus surgery. During my recovery I discovered two things I wish I’d known of many years before.

Firstly, I couldn’t get the neti pot to work, didn’t find it pleasing at all. But after my surgery I was directed to purchase aerosal saline solution from the drug store and use it often. Which I did with wonderful results, healing quickly and well, after the surgery. I only then discovered that it works just as wonderfully with any sinus infection/cold combination. The single caveat is that you must be really careful about not reinfecting your sinuses with anything off of the nasal tip. To avoid this, (it was really important after surgery, but equally so if fighting a sinus infection), I got a baby food jar and filled in half way with rubbing alcohol. I simply dipped the tip into it before and after, then wipe, works perfectly.

Secondly, I discovered apple cider vinegar, it was the surgeon who recommended it to me. You simply take about 1/2 ounce a couple of times a day, I mixed it with chocolate syrup and shot it back but anything else would work as well. Because the apple cider vinegar is made with the skins on the apples in contains an enzyme that actually thins mucus, which, in turn, radically improves sinus drainage and your ability to get the upper hand on the infection. It’s actually half the battle. The really remarkable thing about this is it works really quickly. When I tried it a noticed a difference within a half hour! It’s not expensive, available in your grocery store and won’t hurt you, so give it a try. I wish I had found these two things years ago. I never use antibiotics for sinus infection any more, ever. The only caveat about this is the vinegar is not good for your tooth enamel and it’s a good habit to get into to brush your teeth right afterward.

Good luck to you, my friend, sinus infections are the devil’s work!

I could, yes. I’ve had sinus infections since I was a kid so it’s not entirely work-related. The dusty environment here was what led me to look into the neti pot though. I’m fast becoming a big fan of the neti pot. I’ve only been using it for a month and I have had a sinus infection in that time but it only lasted two days, usually they linger for a week or more. Whether the difference was due to the pot or just a coincidence I don’t know yet but I have seen a difference in how stuffed up I’m getting. A more pertinent work-related aspect of the problem is the shift I work; it’s a swing shift and when we’re switching from nights back to days half the shift gets sick because everyone is so tired. HR keeps asking why so many people use sick days but don’t want to believe it could be related to fatigue but that’s another matter.

Thanks Qadgop the Mercotan, for commenting on the issue of the dairy products. I found mostly anecdotal references through Google so I wasn’t sure what to think about that theory.

ETA: That all sounds like great advice elbows, thanks very much.

Seconded. I get sinus infections all the time (two or three a year) and I’ve been having good luck knocking them out with this. It’s not a cure, obviously, but it apparently assists the body’s own systems in getting the problem under control.

My sinuses got a lot better when I really cut back on dairy. I don’t know why but I don’t think I need to; all I know is that sinus problems that used to be common are now rare for me.

You’ve got nothing to lose by giving up dairy for a week. If it works, you win! If not, hit the ice cream.

My doc suggested something along these lines after a series of sinus infections that just. wouldn’t. die. His reasoning was that sinus congestion is cumulative - I used to refrain from taking allergy meds unless I was absolutely miserable, and then only as rarely as I could get away with it. But now if I take them regularly during the times of year when my allergies are the worst, I don’t get sinus infections. I haven’t had one in, oh, 6 or 7 years now. (Bonus: fewer asthma attacks, and my eyes and nose don’t itch, either!)

I’ve had sinus issues since I was teenager (back when dinosaurs ruled the earth). A few years back a doctor who really listened noticed a pattern. The pain would start on Saturday or Sunday, be awful on Monday, and gradually improve during the week. We don’t have central A/C at home, and we have cats & a dog. During the week I am in a more allergen-free environment. She suggested that since I was not going to consider changing the home environment (by getting rid of the animals, for example) I could try allergy meds. Daily Zyrtec ever since has decreased the problem to almost non-existent.

Apparently I missed this thread last week when I was starting to have sinus headaches. I have a sinus infection now so I decided to search for “sinus” tonight to see if any home remedies have been discussed and low and behold here’s this thread!

I have so much pressure in my head it feels like it’s going to pop. I can’t bend over without feeling like my head’s just going to fall off and I am dizzy. Conveniently I had an appointment with my allergy/asthma doctor yesterday who noted it looked like I had an infection in my nasal passages and offered antibiotics which I declined because I thought it was getting better. Post-nasal drip on Monday gave me the wrong impression that it was draining. I am definitely going to try the saline spray and apple cider vinegar but I just can’t bring myself to try the neti pot, I think I’d drown myself. Maybe I’ll try the steam room at the gym. Does that work for any body?

This is a timely thread; I only recently heard about the new technique of balloon sinuplasty. Rather like angioplasty, a balloon catheter is inserted in the sinus and inflated to enlarge narrowed openings. It’s a way less nasty-sounding procedure than the surgery. My husband has horrible sinus problems, too, and sinuplasty sounds pretty good.

Maybe I’m an outlier, but the 1 or 2 times I had a sinus infection, it was pretty obviously bacterial and antibiotics cleared it right up. In addition to symptoms that were pretty disgusting, if you know what I mean and if you’re reading this thread I think you do, these were accompanied by headsplitting, throbbing pain. I can understand not wanting to rely on antibiotics long-term, but IME they have their place. I haven’t had one in years and I think keeping my allergies under control has made a difference.

I had a chiropractor do somethng very similar to me a few times about 10-15 years ago. IIRC, he’d put a finger cot or similar thing on a BP cuff inflator bulb, lube it with KY, thread it into a nostril and give it a good squeeze. It sounds barbaric and awful, but I’d be able to breathe clearly again for a few weeks.

Since then, I’ve had a traditional septoplasty. The recovery was miserable, and my sinuses have rebelled - every so often, I have thoughts of approaching my doctor with the idea of having it re-done as my right frontal and ethmoid sinuses clog up and do their best to get infected every chance they get.