Sinus Setback

If your nose begs for a tissue, and your head feels full, chances are you’re 1 of 17 million Americans who suffers from sinusitis — inflammation of the sinuses that connect to the nasal cavity.

Allergies often cause chronic conditions (lasting 12 weeks or more), and viruses — not bacteria — typically trigger acute infections. Yet 70% and 80% of all cases, respectively, are treated with antibiotics — overkill, according to recent studies. Overprescribed antibiotics remain a concern thanks to the development of drug-resistant bugs, and Swiss researchers determined those medicines do little to improve quality or duration of recovery anyway — even in severe sinus infections.

So should you pop a pill or ride it out?

If you’re battling multiple symptoms (facial pain, pus, foul-smelling or greenish discharge, and fever) for more than 7 days, see your doctor.

Always inquire about alternative treatments. Sometimes doctors are afraid to play the wait-and-see game, but if you ask about a less aggressive course of action, you might get a temporary prescription reprieve to give your body and Mother Nature a shot at healing.

Help keep your sinuses clear by cleansing them with a saline rinse. If trouble has already set in, squirt the salt-water mixture into each nostril 4 times a day.

Try steam treatments to help open up the cavities and drain mucus.

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