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battling a sinus infection...

14 years ago

My manager went on vacation in England and brought something awful back with him, so I've been sick in bed the last two days...

Just wondering what you all do to battle the symptoms of a sinus infection? It seems that every time I get a cold now, it turns in to a sinus infection. The last time it happened, I went to the doctor and got some amoxicillin to get rid of the infection. It worked, but it took a while to kick in, while the antibiotics were killing the bacteria, I still had to battle the intense pain that goes along with a sinus infection. When I get one, I get a "headache" surrounding my entire left eye and it's unbearable. Of course I can't breathe at the same time due to the congestion, so that doesn't help! The doctor told me to buy some Mucinex D the last time, and it seemed to help, but this time it's not helping with the pain or congestion. Is there something better? I would empty my bank account on something if I thought it would make the pain go away and guarantee I'd never have to face it again. I've been using the netti pot and squirting Affrin up my nose (I used to use Zicam and loved it, but I'm scared of it since it was recalled) to try to get rid of the congestion. My face is all red because I've been blowing on paper towels... I tried tissues but I blow holes right through them. Life isn't fun right now!

I don't really need sympathy as much as I need a battle plan! Do you have a product or even method that will help when sinus pain/pressure builds to intolerable levels? Apparently, this is going to be a chronic issue with me so I need to know to attack it properly. I will most likely go to the doctor tomorrow, but if they are going to tell me the same thing they did last time, it isn't going to help much.

I'm off to down a bottle of Nyquil, will look forward to your responses if I wake up tomorrow :o) Thanks for any suggestions you may have!

Comments (23)

  • 14 years ago

    If I have a cold or infection, I use the neti pot with a mild saline and ONE drop of Tea Tree oil (the real stuff, not that fake garbage) three times a day. Once the infection is clear, use the neti once a day. Be sure you're using non-iodized salt at a mixture of 1/4 teaspoon to 8 oz warm water (roughly the same saline % as tears.)

    And put either Vitamin E oil or aloe on your poor nose to help heal it.

    Sorry, I don't really have any other method. I rarely get colds anymore. *touch wood*

  • 14 years ago

    Oh Bobby I feel your pain. Sinus infections are a way of life for me.
    What works for me:
    Use nose-clearing spray (but only for a couple of days, or you'll get the symptoms back when you stop)
    Stand under a shower as hot as you can stand, with your face under the hot water. Breathe as much steam as you can. Steam only doesn't help as much, you need the heat on your sinus area too. With luck you'll loosen up some gunge- blow out as much as you can. Yes, it's gross but better than feeling like you have an icepick through your eyeball and the top of your head about to explode.
    Get a heat pack (if you don't have one, a sock full of salt heated in the microwave works) and hold it over your sinuses as long as you can.
    Sleep sitting up, in an armchair or propped up by lots of pillows. Don't lie flat or you'll block up again.
    Drink lots of hot drinks, keep it warm in there.
    Get a bowl full of boiling water, add a teaspoon or so of Vicks and lean over it with a towel over your head to keep the steam in. Breathe the steam.
    Good luck, sinus infection pain is really nasty.

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  • 14 years ago

    I have the same problem, a cold quickly ends up as a sinus infection, and since, over the years I've become allergic to some of the most useful antibiotics, I work hard to prevent them now.

    I keep a supply of Sudafed - the real deal from behind the counter, not the new PE junk. At the first sign I might be getting a head cold, I start taking it and keep well hydrated, mostly hot tea - any type will do. so the stuff in my head will drain.

    Mucinex D, by the way, is just Guaifenesin (600 mg Expectorant for cough), Pseudoephedrine HCl (60 mg) (Nasal Decongestant), you can buy the individual ingredients for much less money.

    I also use a humidifier at night, next to my bed, all winter (and late fall and early spring). I got one of these Crane humidifiers this year from Target. I have the elephant and the frog. (I needed the second one when the grandchildren visited). Silly as they are, these humidifiers work very well and are easy to use, and you can control the amount of mist coming out. The have no filters, etc, and are reasonably priced.

    Take a day off and sit numbly in front of the TV with soup and tea and tissues and doze all day. It really matters to get enough rest.

    Hope you feel better soon.

  • 14 years ago

    I just got over one of the worst colds of my life that morphed into my very first sinus infection. Horrible! The z-pac (antibiotic) got rid of it but the mucus draining down my throat was horrendous. The taste and smell was beyond belief. I used a neti pot for the first time and now I swear by it.

    Anyway, your head may not be draining because your sinuses are swollen. Take something that will reduce swelling.

    The Sudafed PE also helped me. I didn't try Mucinex but if you do, be prepared to be constipated, too. Sorry.

    I do feel bad for you Bobby. What a misery. I was just there. And quit blowing your nose on paper towels! They are too rough. USe kleenex with lotion, double it over if you must.

  • 14 years ago

    Get thee to the Dr. and get some antibiotics! And while you are there ask him for a scrip for nasonex.
    And take mucinex often, it's not constipating.....and drink water, tea, juice....soup whatever.
    But you have gotten into the spot where your sinuses are so swollen they can't drain well and you need to kill that infection before it goes to your chests and turns into bronchitis TOO!
    Linda C

  • 14 years ago

    In addition to sinus irrigation, I use Colleen's method of pouring boiling water into a bowl and then put my face over the bowl with a towel covering my head and the bowl. I use a very large glass bowl and put crushed Eucalyptus berries in it. There are lots of Eucalyptus trees along the bike path that I ride, and so I get the berries there. You probably have some Eucalyptus trees somewhere close to you as well. The advantage to the bowl with steam is that it also gives you a facial at the same time and cleans your pores.


  • 14 years ago a preventative, lay off dairy. It creates mucus, which builds up in your sinuses. If you're eating it while you have an infection, you're not helping yourself. It's why I don't eat much cereal anymore, and though I like a little dairy in my coffee, I only have it in moderation.

    I hope you can lick it soon. I know there's nothing plesanat about a sinus infection.

  • 14 years ago

    I feel so bad for you itÂs no fun being that miserable especially when you canÂt breathe, your nose hurts, and all you just want to lay down but it makes it worse. Put some Vaseline on your nose every time you blow and at least it wonÂt get to raw.

    I was on antibiotics for the most part of 3 years because of sinus infections that just wouldnÂt go away. It would get better for a few weeks and come back my Dr. kept giving me all the nasal sprays and amoxicillin. One appointment my Dr. was on vacation so I had to see someone else. This Dr. said she had sinus infections and the problem was most DrÂs give you amoxicillin for 10 day and sometimes all it does is make the infection kind of go to sleep not really getting rid of it and it will come back. She gave me a stronger antibiotic, canÂt remember what is was, for 30 days and I havenÂt had a sinus infection since.

    Take care of yourself and drink plenty of fluids and stop using paper towels or your nose will just get worse and bleed.


  • 14 years ago

    I'm glad I am not the only one to go through this, but I wish that no one had to! Most of the sinus pressure is gone today, but I'm still stuffed up. Last night, after typing this, I staggered over to Wal-mart (say what you will about them, they are open 24 hours :o)) to look for something that might help me feel better. I think I already have every OTC counter sinus medicine on the market. Before I left, I spread a green cucumber facial mask on my face to try to soothe the places where it was red from blowing so much. Well, I forgot to washing it off before going to Wal-mart... I wondered why everyone was staring at me. I didn't realize until the cashier made a comment that I looked like Herman Munster waddling down the aisles.

    I got two things... This was before I even got any responses here, so I'm glad you all confirmed what I did. The first was a box of Puffs with lotion. I figured I would just have to blow through them if I had to, but they would be better than the sandpaper I'd been using. The other thing was a "facial sauna". It looks like a blender at the bottom, but has a plastic shroud molded to conform to the face. It heats a small amount water and puts steam out to cleanse the face. I remember my aunt using one as a child ever time she got sick, so I thought it might help. Of course a box of double stuffed oreos also followed me home, and even though they didn't help me with the infection, they did make me feel better. Of course I had them with a glass of milk, I guess I better not do that again!

    The steamer is helping a little bit, and I did add some Vicks to the water after reading the suggestion here.

    Momj47, thanks for telling me about those humidifiers. I bought a Relion at Wally world about a year ago and it was awful. Hard to put together, and a filter that constantly got dirty, and didn't put out much moisture at all. I took that sucker back within a week of trying to make it work for me. I was expecting it to be like the old ones "grandma" used to have... the kind that was just a square bucket with a big round spout and you could actually see the vapor coming out of it. Target is on the way to the doctor, so I will be stopping by, probably tomorrow, I don't have energy to leave the house today and it's so late now. I've seen them there before, but I thought they were silly toys, I never imagined they would actually work well!

    Thanks once again, you all are great!

  • 14 years ago

    Aw honey! I feel bad for you. Sorry no advice, just hugs and get well wishes. xoxox

  • 14 years ago

    Bobby, go back to Walgreens and get a netti pot. Used regually, you will not have another sinus infection or cold. This literally washes the sinus cavities clean and clear.

  • 14 years ago

    I just got over a bad head cold and I don't know what I'd have done without my neti pot. The salt water is soothing and helps fight infection, just like when you have a sore throat and gargle with salt water. Thanks, Renee...I never thought about adding some tea tree oil. High octane neti, lol.

  • 14 years ago

    Katie - I can't take credit; my doctor suggested it. I figure it's a good first step to fighting an infection. Never had to go to Plan B, thank goodness. Even my doctor knows I won't take an anti-biotic unless there is NO other option.

  • 14 years ago

    I swear it was the Neti Pot that finally cleared all the disgusting gunk out of my sinuses. I love that thing.

    Poor you, Bobby. I just went through this so I know what it's like. I promise it will all be better -- in about three weeks.

  • 14 years ago

    Everytime a front moves through in the winter, I feel the pressure in my sinuses. I'm in Lakeland so not far from you and our weather with the fronts moving through doesn't help the sinuses. Use that neti pot, it really helps.

    Drink hot drinks, soups, etc as it washes the bacterias out of your system.

  • 14 years ago

    Sorry for all your pain but thank you for the laugh... The idea of a grown man walking through Wall Mart's in the middle of the night with a green facial mask was just too, too, funny...

    I second the use of Vaseline on a sore nose...

    If you do decide to get a Netti Pot, make sure you get the pot and not the squirt bottle... I just couldn't get past the smell of the plastic bottle 'cap'...

    For me, when one nostril is blocked I find that laying on the opposite side helps to open it for a while... In other words, if the left is blocked lay on your right side for a while...

    I've also found that the generic Hall's cough drops help my breathing.


  • 14 years ago

    As stated in the OP, I do have a netti pot, but if I had an idea that it would have prevented this, I'd have used it even before I got sick! I have a blue plastic one with a lid. I have a friend with a ceramic one, but no lid or handle makes that kind more difficult to use. Last night, the pain returned with a vengeance. It was awful! It seems to go away during the day and come back in the evening last through the night. I did pick up some Sudafed so we'll see if that helps.

    I can't believe I did that Rita, but the pain is so mind numbing that I haven't been thinking straight. I tried to do a little cleaning last night, but the pain was too much, so I parked the vacuum outside the bedroom door and got in bed. Then I got up in the middle of the night to get a glass of water. I tripped on some shoes I had beside the bed and fell into the Dyson. At least it diversified the pain a little so I didn't have to only think about the sinus infection! I tried to make some hot tea yesterday, but I dropped the tea bag under the pot and it caught on fire (gas stove you know)... I gave up and used the microwave instead, but I half wanted to stick my head in the flaming tea bag! Gotta go back to work today, so we'll see how I manage there. Hopefully this doesn't last much longer, I don't think I can take it! I'll use the netti pot every day for the rest of my life if it means I'll never endure this again.

    Here's what's left of the tea bag after I poured a cup of water over it to put out the fire.

  • 14 years ago

    Use some Afrin spray. You won't get adicted to it if you stop using it when the cold goes away. It is better for you than the stuff you take by mouth because it works more directly on opening things up and doesn't cause as many side effects like increased blood pressure, etc. Sudafed isn't as good of a decongestant as it used to be because they changed the formulation. The Sudafed you probably bought is phenylephrine. If you want the original Sudafed (pseudoephedrine), I think you can still get it by asking the pharmacist for it. You will probably have to show ID and sign for it, though. It's used in making meth, so they regulate it now. They might require a prescription for it where you are. I'd just go with the Afrin, though. That is all I ever use to treat my symptoms unless I get a cough, then I need a little codeine.

    I have had a very bad cold this week and have been using the Afrin, 2 squirts in each nostril 3-4 times a day for the last 5 days (I usually only use it twice a day, but that wasn't cutting it with this cold). When I woke up this morning I was finally better and haven't needed any yet -- I can breathe!!!

  • 14 years ago

    My boss gets chronic sinus infections and she swears by her neti pot, she says it has saved her life.

  • 14 years ago

    I have never heard of a neti pot until today.

  • 14 years ago

    barnmom, get thee to youtube. heh heh.

    I also use cortisone for my nose when it gets too red/chapped.

    Here is a link that might be useful: empty bladder first

  • 14 years ago

    When is your Quilting class? You need to get better so you can go! Call the Doctor and get some medicine. If it is a sinus infection, and you are susceptible to them, you need an antibiotic. I know some recent reports say they will go away by themselves, but if you are not getting any better, you really do not need to suffer any longer than necessary. I get sinus infections - I know how awful they are.
    Neti pots are wonderful and yes they are very gross when you have an infection, but keep using it. I also have the blue pot and like the solution that is made for that brand. It is a little bit more gentle - PH balanced I beleive.
    I hope you feel better soon - you must not miss your class, and you can't learn to quilt if you are sick :-(

  • 14 years ago

    I'd never heard of a netti pot either, until about a year ago when a friend told me about them. Tonight, no sinus pressure/agony, so that's great! Still stuffy, but much less than before.

    Magothyrivergirl, my quilting class is this coming Tuesday. I thought about calling the teacher and canceling or postponing it, but I am starting to feel better and I've really been looking forward to it. I wouldn't mind going sick for my own sake, but I'd sure hate to get the teacher or other students (if there are any, it will likely one on one) sick.

    I also buy the pre-packaged salt packets for the netti pot made by the same manufacturer... not cheap, 8 dollars for 50 packets, but when you're sick, convenience matters more than money. I can't imagine me trying to measure 1/4th teaspoon of anything while enduring that kind of pain... I' probably miss the spoon and dump all the salt on the floor. Plus, I buy iodized salt normally, so I'd either have to buy another jug of non-iodized just for that or used kosher if that will work too (does anyone know if it will in a pinch?).

    Colleen, thank you for the heat pack suggestion. Last night when the pain was so intense, I filled my hot water bottle (you know the puke orange/pink rubber thing that is also used for enemas) with hot water and just pressed it against my face. After about a half hour it really did seem to help. I just wish there was something instant! I guess prevention is the thing to remember from here on out.

    About the Sudafed... I have gotten the kind from behind the pharmacy counter before, but it was so long ago that I forgot how well it worked or even if it did. This time I got the Sudafed PE, the pharmacy counter was closed at 2 AM :o), and I'm taking it every 4 hours like the package says. I'm keeping it in my system, and I think that's the reason I didn't have pain tonight.

    No pain induced mishaps today... I did put apricot exfoliating facial scrub on my Sonicare thinking it was toothpaste, but that's just because I'm absent minded :o) And I realized it before sticking it in my mouth!

    Thank you all for helping me get through this! Hopefully, I can resume life now!

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