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Sinus Infection (cont.)

Sinus Infection Prevention

Prevention of a sinus infection depends upon its cause.

  • Avoid contracting upper respiratory tract infections. Maintain strict hand washing habits and avoid people who are obviously suffering from a cold or the flu.
  • Obtaining the influenza vaccination yearly will help to prevent the flu and subsequent infection of the upper respiratory tract.
  • Antiviral medicines to treat the flu, such as zanamivir (Relenza) oseltamivir (Tamiflu), rimantadine (Flumadine), and amantadine (Symmetrel), if taken at the onset of symptoms, may also help to prevent infection.
  • 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 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
    • Maintain good sinus hygiene by drinking plenty of fluids to keep nasal secretions thin.
    • 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 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 nasal spray during the flight.
  • 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.

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Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Sinusitis, Acute »

Sinusitis is characterized by inflammation of the lining of the paranasal sinuses.

Read More on Medscape Reference »


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