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The right treatment for sinus infection


Sinus infections are one of the most common reasons people see a doctor, according to the New England Journal of Medicine. Infection develops when swelling and congestion caused by a cold or allergy prevent bacteria in the nose and sinuses from moving down to the throat. (In the throat, they are removed by swallowing.) The bacteria become trapped in the sinuses. There they multiply, creating an infection. The bacteria are usually unrelated to the initial cold, which is almost always caused by a virus. Dr. Phillip Perlman, an ear, nose, and throat specialist, says many sinus infections will get better by themselves. But if colored nasal discharge is present or there is fever and facial pain, antibiotics should be prescribed. To ease the symptoms of a minor sinus infection, try the following: * Use a vaporizer, inhale steam from a teakettle, or take a hot shower. * Put a warm compress over your face. * Drink plenty of fluids to liquefy mucus. * Use a nasal decongestant spray such as Afrin or Neo-Synephrine, but for no more than three days. * Take decongestant pills for up to seven days, but see a doctor if you still need them after that. People who suffer more than three sinus infections a year should be evaluated by an otolaryngologist to detect the cause. They could have a deviated septum or nasal polyps which could be the reason for repeated infections.

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