9 Doctor-Approved Sinus Medicines And Products You Can Buy On Amazon
There’s really no way to sugarcoat it: Sinus infections suck.
The pounding head, the stuffy nose, that awful feeling that a 900-pound weight is sitting on your face—hard pass on literally all of it.
But since you can’t exactly choose when (or if) you’re going to get a cold, it’s important to know there are tools at your disposal to battle those sniffles and sneezes.
Something to keep in mind, though: You’re going to want to talk to a doctor about your symptoms if they extend beyond stuffiness and general misery, says Craig Zalvan, M.D., an associate professor of clinical otolaryngology at New York Medical College. Facial pain and pressure, high fevers, and visual changes, as well as symptoms that don’t get better within a few days, are all signs that it’s time to head to the doctor, he says.
But if you really are suffering from a run-of-the-mill cold, there are over-the-counter (OTC) medications and tools that doctors say can help you find relief from sinus pain. (One note: If you have any underlying health conditions like high blood pressure, make sure these meds are cleared by your doctor before taking them). Keep these in mind for the next time you’re laid up in bed.
1. Arm & Hammer Simply Saline Nasal Mist
Nasal saline is a solid day-to-day way to clear out sinuses and can be used as often as five to six times per day when you’re feeling the brunt of sinus pain and congestion, says Zalvan.
“This is portable, preservative-free, sterile, and most importantly, aerosolized, allowing for deeper access to the sinuses,” he says.
Go ahead and count on this old classic to relieve head pain and body aches associated with sinus pain, says Kristin Dean, M.D., the associate medical director at Doctor On Demand. “Tylenol is also an anti-pyretic, which means it can help to treat [a fever],” she says.
In addition to Tylenol, Dean says she also relies on Motrin to nix headaches or body aches that may show up with sinus pain. Motrin—or any ibuprofen medicine—is also a fever-reducer.
4. Afrin No-Drip
Zalvan says Afrin “greatly opens the sinuses,” which allows for better drainage and breathability. But he warns: “Be careful not to use this spray for more than three to four days, as there can be a rebound swelling of the sinuses, causing even greater blockage.”
5. Flonase Allergy Relief
A nasal steroid like Flonase—Nasacort is another example—allows for decongestion and anti-inflammation “by working on the white blood cells and decreasing the release of inflammatory mediators,” Zalvan says. He adds that, while the OTC version of Flonase can be used for acute inflammation or a long-term issue, you should see an ear nose and throat specialist before doing so.
6. Aromatic Salt Premium Ceramic Neti Pot
Richard Nass, M.D., a Manhattan-based ear, nose and throat doctor and clinical associate professor at the NYU School of Medicine, says he likes to use a neti pot, like this one, to “irrigate” the sinuses. This ceramic version allows you to rinse your nose with sterilized water and salt—or saline solution—for relief from stuffiness.
If you opt for a neti pot, just make sure you’re using distilled, sterile, or previously boiled water, says the FDA—that means no tap water allowed. And always clean them well between each use (this one’s dishwasher safe).
7. Rhinocort Allergy Spray
Dean says Rhinocort, like Flonase and Nasacort, is another nasal-steroid spray that can be used to relieve sneezing, itchy or runny noses, and congestion.
Sudafed’s little red pills are kind of a staple in the whole battle against sinus pain. Dean recommends them to knock out nasal congestion.
9. Ice Wraps Reusable Gel Packs
Nass is a fan of warm compresses to relieve sinus pain and pressure, and these round, reusable packs can be used cold or warm. They also have a cloth backing, so they don’t end up glued to your face (like you need that when you’re already stuffy and miserable).
Once your sinus pain goes away, the 4-inch round packs can be used to de-puff eyes, and really, that’s the silver lining in all of this.
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