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What to do about a sinus headache

Sinus headaches affect the area around the nose. They usually follow an infection and cause pain across the bridge of the nose and the cheeks. They can also be the result of allergies.

Sinuses are spaces in the bones of the face. There are four pairs across the cheeks, bridge of the nose, and above the eyes. Scientists are not entirely sure what role the sinuses play in the body. It is possible that they make the skull lighter, prevent heat from escaping the head, or help make the voice louder.

Treatment for a sinus headache depends on the underlying cause. A mild sinus headache can often be treated at home.

Fast facts on sinus headache:

  • The primary symptom of a sinus headache is a pain in the sinuses.
  • Treatment for a sinus headache will usually target the underlying cause.
  • Sinus headaches are usually caused by an infection or an allergy.The sinuses are lined with a membrane similar to the lining of the nose. If a person has an infection or allergy, this membrane can swell up and cause a sinus headache.
  • A person may feel this pain in their cheeks, the bridge of their nose, and in the area above the nose.
  • Sometimes, these areas might look swollen. A sinus headache might affect one or both sides of the face.

Sinus headaches are usually caused by an infection, such as sinusitis. A person who develops sinusitis is likely to have other symptoms, including:

  • fever
  • a blocked nose
  • a lessened sense of smell
  • green or yellow mucus when a person blows their nose
  • Some people find that the pain feels worse after coughing, leaning over, or bending down.Treatment options
  • If a sinus headache is not causing too much pain, a person may be able to manage it at home. A person should rest, drink plenty of fluids, and take painkillers.

However, anyone experiencing severe pain from a sinus headache should see a doctor. A person may also need to seek medical advice if:

  • the pain worsens
  • symptoms do not get better after a week
  • painkillers do not help
  • For a sinus headache caused by sinusitis, a doctor may prescribe decongestants or antibiotics.
  • A sinus headache caused by an allergy will usually be treated with a nasal spray that contains antihistamines or steroids.
  • If a person repeatedly gets a sinus headache or has sinusitis for 3 months, a doctor may refer them to an ear, nose, and throat specialist.
  • The specialist will likely ask about symptoms, take a medical history, and examine the person's head, nose, and face. They may also take images of the head with an X-ray or MRI scan.
  • Some people may require surgery to widen the sinuses. The procedure might involve removing a small amount of tissue from the sinuses or inflating a tiny balloon device within the sinuses to widen the sinus passages.A person who has a sinus headache caused by sinusitis might be able to treat it with home remedies. These treatments may not work if the pain is very severe, or symptoms last for over a week, however.
  • Breathing in steam

Breathing in steam can help to open up the nasal passages and sinuses, which may help to relieve pressure and pain:

  • boil some water and allow it to cool slightly
  • pour the water into a large heatproof bowl
  • lean the face over the bowl
  • cover the head with a small towel
  • breathe slowly in and out through the nose
  • Cleaning the nose with a salt water solution
  • Using a salt water solution can help to decongest the nose:
  • boil roughly 1 pint of water and allow to cool
  • dissolve 1 teaspoon (tsp) of salt and 1 tsp of baking soda in the water
  • wash hands with soap and water
  • pour a small amount of the solution into a cupped palm
  • sniff the water into the nostril, one at a time
  • repeat until the nose feels clearer
  • A warm washcloth

Holding a warm washcloth to the face can ease pain and pressure:

  • run a clean washcloth under hot water and wring out
  • apply across the bridge of the nose and cheeks
  • hold the washcloth in place for a few minutes
  • repeat several times per day

Sinus headaches affect the area around the nose. They usually follow an infection and cause pain across the bridge of the nose and the cheeks. They can also be the result of allergies.Sinuses are spaces in the bones of the face. There are four pairs across the cheeks, bridge of the nose, and above the eyes. Scientists are not entirely sure what role the sinuses play in the body. It is possible that they make the skull lighter, prevent heat from escaping the head, or help make the voice louder.

Treatment for a sinus headache depends on the underlying cause. A mild sinus headache can often be treated at home.

Fast facts on sinus headache:The primary symptom of a sinus headache is a pain in the sinuses.Treatment for a sinus headache will usually target the underlying cause.Sinus headaches are usually caused by an infection or an allergy.The sinuses are lined with a membrane similar to the lining of the nose. If a person has an infection or allergy, this membrane can swell up and cause a sinus headache.

A person may feel this pain in their cheeks, the bridge of their nose, and in the area above the nose.

Sometimes, these areas might look swollen. A sinus headache might affect one or both sides of the face.

Sinus headaches are usually caused by an infection, such as sinusitis. A person who develops sinusitis is likely to have other symptoms, including:

  • fevera blocked nosea lessened sense of smellgreen or yellow mucus when a person blows their noseSome people find that the pain feels worse after coughing, leaning over, or bending down.Treatment optionsIf a sinus headache is not causing too much pain, a person may be able to manage it at home. A person should rest, drink plenty of fluids, and take painkillers.
  • However, anyone experiencing severe pain from a sinus headache should see a doctor. A person may also need to seek medical advice if:
  • the pain worsenssymptoms do not get better after a weekpainkillers do not helpFor a sinus headache caused by sinusitis, a doctor may prescribe decongestants or antibiotics.
  • A sinus headache caused by an allergy will usually be treated with a nasal spray that contains antihistamines or steroids.
  • If a person repeatedly gets a sinus headache or has sinusitis for 3 months, a doctor may refer them to an ear, nose, and throat specialist.
  • The specialist will likely ask about symptoms, take a medical history, and examine the person's head, nose, and face. They may also take images of the head with an X-ray or MRI scan.
  • Some people may require surgery to widen the sinuses. The procedure might involve removing a small amount of tissue from the sinuses or inflating a tiny balloon device within the sinuses to widen the sinus passages.A person who has a sinus headache caused by sinusitis might be able to treat it with home remedies. These treatments may not work if the pain is very severe, or symptoms last for over a week, however.
  • Breathing in steam

Breathing in steam can help to open up the nasal passages and sinuses, which may help to relieve pressure and pain:

  • boil some water and allow it to cool slightlypour the water into a large heatproof bowllean the face over the bowlcover the head with a small towelbreathe slowly in and out through the noseCleaning the nose with a salt water solution
  • Using a salt water solution can help to decongest the nose:
  • boil roughly 1 pint of water and allow to cooldissolve 1 teaspoon (tsp) of salt and 1 tsp of baking soda in the waterwash hands with soap and waterpour a small amount of the solution into a cupped palmsniff the water into the nostril, one at a timerepeat until the nose feels clearerA warm washcloth
  • Holding a warm washcloth to the face can ease pain and pressure:
  • run a clean washcloth under hot water and wring outapply across the bridge of the nose and cheekshold the washcloth in place for a few minutesrepeat several times per day

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