These Are The Best Sinus Infection Medications On Amazon For Fast Relief

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It's that time of year again when you start seeing a whole lot more of sinus infections. You know the signs (even though you wish you didn't)—the headaches, the stuffy nose, and that awful feeling that a 900-pound weight is sitting on your face. The good news is there are tools to get rid of all that unpleasantness, fast: the best sinus medicine your local pharmacy has to offer.

Something to keep in mind, though: You may want to check in with a doctor about your symptoms if they go beyond stuffiness and general misery, says Craig Zalvan, MD, 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 have a run-of-the-mill cold, there are over-the-counter (OTC) medications and tools that doctors say can help you find relief from icky symptoms like sinus pain, congestion, drainage in throat, and more. (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 your 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 Dr. Zalvan.

“This is portable, preservative-free, sterile, and most importantly, aerosolized, allowing for deeper access to the sinuses,” he says.

2. Tylenol

Go ahead and count on this old classic to relieve head pain and body aches associated with sinus pain, says Kristin Dean, MD, the associate medical director at Doctor On Demand. “Tylenol is also an antipyretic, which means it can help to treat [a fever],” she says.

3. Motrin

In addition to Tylenol, Dr. 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

Dr. 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 exampleallows for decongestion and anti-inflammation “by working on the white blood cells and decreasing the release of inflammatory mediators,” Dr. 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.

Worth noting: Flonase can also help with postnasal drip, according to Jamie Alan, PhD, an associate professor of pharmacology and toxicology at Michigan State University.

Even better, it won’t make you drowsy or cause other side effects that you might get with a pill. “The nasal steroid sprays are very safe to use, and studies have shown that they are not absorbed to any significant extent into the bloodstream, so there is no risk of systemic side effects like one would have with oral steroids like prednisone,” says Justin McCormick, MD, an assistant professor in the department of otolaryngology - head and neck surgery at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School.

6. Aromatic Salt Premium Ceramic Neti Pot

Richard Nass, MD, 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 a 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 it well between each use (this one's dishwasher safe).

7. Rhinocort Allergy Spray

Dr. Dean says Rhinocort, like Flonase and Nasacort, is another nasal steroid spray that can be used to relieve sneezing, itchy or runny noses, and sinus congestion.

8. Sudafed

Sudafed’s little red pills are a staple in the whole battle against sinus pain. Dr. Dean recommends them to knock out nasal congestion. How exactly does it work? Sudafed, aka pseudoephedrine, “has an effect on the muscles around the blood vessels and airways,” Dr. McCormick says. “Within the nose, pseudoephedrine causes the blood vessels to constrict, or get tighter—that reduces swelling within the nose,” he says.

There are a few types of Sudafed on the market, and they’re slightly different. It all comes down to the dosing. Sudafed PE has 10 milligrams of pseudoephedrine HCl (a decongestant) and you take it every four hours, while Sudafed Sinus 12-Hour Pressure and Pain contains more pseudoephedrine HCl, along with naproxen, a pain reliever, and should be taken less often.

While most people can take Sudafed, it shouldn’t be used in people who take monoamine oxidase inhibitors, a type of antidepressant, Dr. McCormick says. “Pseudoephedrine should also be used with caution in people who have high blood pressure or other heart disease, patients who have glaucoma, and patients with severe seizure disorders,” he adds.

9. Mucinex

Mucinex, aka guaifenesin, works by loosening mucus that may be stuffing up your nose, Alan says. “It will help with mucus, particularly if you have mucus in your chest or nose,” she explains. The medication specifically increases hydration in your respiratory tract to get things moving, Dr. McCormick explains. “This helps to thin the mucus that coats the respiratory tract and makes it easier to clear by coughing or blowing the nose,” he says.

How long will it take to feel better?

Sinus infections are usually caused by viruses and typically will get better over five to seven days, Dr. McCormick says. “If the symptoms persist for longer or the symptoms get better but quickly return, patients should see a doctor to determine if they need antibiotics or if there is another cause for their symptoms,” he adds.

While these medications will help you feel better, they won’t necessarily wipe out your symptoms completely. And, because sinus infections are usually caused by a virus, you just kind of have to ride it out. Dr. McCormick also recommends doing saline irrigations with a nasal spray or neti pot to help you feel more comfortable while you wait.

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