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The inside scoop on sinus infections - and how to relieve them

(NC) Many Canadians can relate to the pain and discomfort of a sinus infection – but while many pay a visit to their doctor to help manage their infection, they may not be getting the treatment they need. Because while antibiotics are prescribed for up to 90 per cent of sinus infections, only two to 10 per cent of sinus infections are bacterial, and can actually benefit from antibiotics.

“Antibiotics are widely over-prescribed for sinus infections – even though in most cases they won't do any good,” says Dr. Jeffrey Werger, Otolaryngologist (Ear, Nose and Throat Specialist) at the Markham Stouffville Hospital, and lecturer at the University of Toronto.

So what should Canadians do to manage sinus infection symptoms? Dr. Werger suggests nasal irrigation – using a salt water nasal rinse to clear out the sinuses in combination with a nasal steroid spray.

“I often recommend that my patients try nasal irrigation with something like NetiRinse to relieve their sinus symptoms,” says Dr. Werger. “It is a safe, effective way to relieve congestion – to clear out the mucous so they can breathe a little easier. My patients often say that they also love how clean their sinuses feel afterward.”

“Bacteria, viral particles and dust can accumulate in the mucous of the sinuses. Nasal irrigation helps clear some of it out. I've used it myself,” he adds.

Nasal irrigation not only helps relieve sinus congestion, but can also help alleviate sinus symptoms of allergic rhinitis and fungal sinusitis.

“This very simple practice of nasal irrigation really has tremendous benefits for sinus health,” says Dr. Werger. “With cold season upon us, viral sinus infections are top of our minds, but it has great value all year round to relieve sinus symptoms of allergies and all types of sinus infections.”

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Infectious Diseases Society of America.

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