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Nasal sprays for sinusitis

Relief for irritating symptoms

Sinusitis is more than a stuffy nose. It's an inflammation or infection of your sinuses that can cause a dull throb behind your eyebrows, pain in your cheeks and teeth, and a low-grade fever.

Every year, about 37 million Americans get sinusitis. Because the causes vary from one person to the next, effective treatments vary, too.

How it works

Sinuses are hollow air spaces. You have four pairs of sinuses, called the paranasal sinuses, located around your nose and eyes. each sinus has an opening into your nose so air and mucus can be exchanged.

Colds, allergies, and weather changes can trigger sinusitis. Because the sinuses and nostrils share the same membrane, anything that stuffs up your nose can also stuff up your sinuses. When sinuses can't drain, they breed bacteria, which can complicate sinusitis.

If your sinuses are infected, your doctor will probably prescribe an antibiotic. Nasal sprays, including saline solutions, decongestants, steroids, and antifungals, help keep the sinuses open and relieve symptoms.

saline nasal spray -- a salt water spray you can buy a any drugstore. It loosens and rinses away mucus and moistens dry membranes.

decongestant spray -- an over-the-counter spray that temporarily unblocks sinus openings and reduces nasal congestion. Afrin and Neo-Synephrine are two of the better-known brands.

steroid spray -- reduces inflammation and mucous production in chronic sinusitis. It does not provide immediate relief and may require several weeks of regular use to be effective. Rhinocort, Nasacort, and Flonase are steroid sprays.

antifungal spray -- used to treat chronic sinusitis triggered by a fungus.


Choose the right spray for the job

Saline sprays are safe for everyone, not addictive, and can be used as often and for as long as needed. Curiously, they haven't received much attention from researchers. Nevertheless, they receive "honorable mention" in studies about other types of nasal sprays.

Evidence doesn't support decongestant sprays as a lasting treatment for sinusitis. they will reduce sinus inflammation for a few hours but shouldn't be used for more than three days at a stretch. Overuse results in rebound -- congestion returning with a vengeance once you stop using them. And don't be surprised if these sprays make your nose run, sting, or itch.

Steroid sprays, also called corticosteroids, are designed to treat indoor and outdoor allergies. Since most acute sinusitis isn't caused by allergies, it's not surprising that clinical trials on acute sinusitis haven't found steroid sprays to be very effective. If you have chronic sinusitis, your doctor might suggest using a steroid spray every day.

Clinical trials show that antifungal sprays might help if your immune system overreacts to common airborne funguses. the degree to which funguses contribute to sinusitis is still up for debate. Some researches think most sinusitis is a reaction to funguses, while others believe they only affect a certain group of people.

over-the-counter and prescription nasal sprays can help treat the symptoms of sinusitis but only as  complement to antibiotics, surgery, or other treatments prescribed by your doctor.


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