Feeling like your face was used as a punching bag with congestion, fatigue, headache, facial pain around your nose, eyes or upper teeth? Perhaps you think it is a sinus infection and you decide to go the doctor and you may be prescribed antibiotics, but is this what you really need? Most likely not!

Many cases of sinusitis are caused by viruses and not bacteria, meaning that antibiotics won’t help if you have a viral infection, rather than a bacterial infection. Sinus inflammations that cause the pain and pressure in your face can have many causes, including seasonal allergies, infection by viruses, bacteria; food reactions or environmental substance; or the response to indoor/outdoor air pollution.

The best way to know the difference between a viral or bacterial infection is to have a sample looked at under a microscope. It is always best to seek the advice of your health care provider at Atlanta ENT to determine the cause of sinusitis.

In addition to visiting your provider, here are some things you can do at home to help you feel better:

Painkillers: Ibuprofen or acetaminophen (up to 10 days)

Steam & Humidity. Hot shower, humidifier, boil water and breath over pot, or warm washcloth over face.

Flush out your sinuses. Nasal irrigation with salt water to clear out mucus (and other debris) and keep your sinuses moist. Use distilled, sterile, or previously boiled water.

Drink lots of fluids. Keeping hydrated not only helps flush an infection, it helps thin the mucus.

Rest. Try not to overdo it. Get plenty of sleep and give your body a chance to recover.

Ramie Tritt, MD, President, Atlanta ENT