WILKES-BARRE, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Sinus infections are the cause of so much misery. But how do we get them and what’s the best way to get relief?
Those infections happen when tiny holes connecting your nasal passages and sinuses get blocked. Treating them sometimes is tricky depending on what’s causing that sinus infection in the first place.
Larry Lantz made his way to the pharmacy looking for relief from a stuffy nose and sore throat. “If you get post nasal drip, then you have that constant irritation.” The Wilkes-Barre man blames his misery on the common cold and something else quite common this time of year. “The past three weeks since I got a cold and pollination and cold at the same time.”
That’s a double whammy that can cause what roughly 37 million Americans suffer from each year: sinus infections. “Your sinuses are going to swell up and then it’s going to make it harder for them to drain and then the mucus sits there,” said Commonwealth Health Family Physician Joseph Anistranski, MD.
Dr. Anistranski says that gunk can build up in your sinuses providing a breeding ground for germs that trigger the sinus infection. While colds and allergies are the most common causes, something called a deviated septum is also sometimes to blame. It’s when the bone and cartilage that divide the nasal cavity are off-center. “If you have a deviated septum then the airflow will be wrong. There’s little openings called ostia that are supposed to drain your sinuses.” The problem can cause a blockage and then we’re back to that bacterial build-up.
Mr. Lantz is trying an over-the-counter antihistamine to treat his sinus problem. “Hopefully, I just take them as needed,” he said. While antihistamines will work for many, experts say if you’re dealing with sinus congestion or infection your first line of defense should be irrigation.
Harrold’s Pharmacy Owner and Pharmacist Bruce Lefkowitz recommends flushing your blocked nasal passages. “It’s like a saline irrigation squeeze bottle where you can put up the sinus area in your nose and just kind of gently squeeze and it seems to go deeper into the sinuses. Very effective.”
Nasal sprays are also helpful for many with sinus issues. Experts also recommend simple things as well, like washing your hands to rid them of germs and avoiding irritants like allergens, dust mites and mold. If you decide to self-medicate, discuss with your doctor or pharmacist about possible harmful drug interactions.