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Any advice for congestion/sinus issues that just won’t go away?


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DH is on abx already but his head still feels full and is so congested. He won’t do the Netinpot, has done some gargling. He’s just suffering, this happens twice a year (fall and spring) but this particular one is just not going away. I have good advice for him on how NOT to get to this point (some of which he even takes), but not sure what to do now he’s at that this point. Thank you for any tips!

Edited by madteaparty
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That happens to my dd, and her sinuses become so inflamed that they just stay congested.  When it gets really bed, the only thing that opens things up again is a few days worth of prednisone.  (It doesn't usually get that bad, but when it does, it works like a charm!)

Otherwise, hot steamy showers, heat applied on chest, hot tea, and Robitussin help.  (Not a fancy Robitussin with extra letters, just the traditional Robitussin.  It thins the mucus allowing it to drain better.)

 

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A cortisone shot will help tremendously (and quickly). Two a year is no issue imo. The pills can will also help but the shot much more so - it's a sharp improvement within the day for me, and it helps energy levels a great deal as a bonus. 

To try and prevent it: is he on daily allergy meds? If not, he should start taking something daily a few weeks before the usual flare-up (or just all the time if he has milder issues the rest of the year). It was a game-changer when a doctor finally read my chart thoroughly and took the time to explain why I should take allergy meds on the regular and not symptomatically. Just otc like zyrtec or claritin, whatever works best. This improved my daily quality of life tremendously - as the doctor said, I did not have a good baseline for feeling good, lol. I was so used to the low-level symptoms that I thought it was normal. 

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I had some kind of chronic sinus issues that was making my asthma worse. Nothing I did worked. Our final theory is that I had some kind of fungal infection because there's a lot of mold where I work. I tried the NeilMed system on the advice of my allergy NP, and it cleared up within a week. I still have to do it, but I'm 100% better. If I come home and am really stopped up, it clears me out enough that I can sleep and am fine the next day.

I find the NeilMed squirt bottle to be easier to use than a Neti pot. I do it in the shower.

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if he wont' do a neti pot, he can try a steaming pot of water into which you'd dropped 5 or 6 cloves of crushed garlic.  garlic contains allicin - an antimicrobial. (allicin breaks down quickly - so the crushed garlic needs to be fresh each time.)  the steam will also moisturize the sinus passages and help to get things moving.  20 minutes several times a day.  have him make sure he does his best to breathe through his nose so it will do better getting into his sinuses.

my ND gave me a custom sinus blend essential oil - and I would sniff that.  I put it in a diffuser - but it was more helpful to put it on something and actually sniff it straight.  I could feel it work its way up into my sinuses. -

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I’d also recommend going to get a cortisone shot, but if he’s only looking for otc stuff then I’d go with Sudafed 12-hour (the kind behind the pharmacy counter) and some Flonase long term (it’s not a quick working drug). 

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He saw his doctor and was given antibiotics for an infection?  How long has he been taking them?  It sometimes takes awhile to make a difference, especially if the infection is bad.  If he's 3/4 through the Rx and not seeing improvement, he should call the doctor again for further instructions.

Did the doctor suggest using nasal rinses or taking decongestants in addition to the antibiotics for symptom relief?  Rinses are often helpful, but only if the sinuses aren't already so closed up the water gets in there and won't drain out.  That's really painful.  For decongestants, pseudoephedrine products are often more effective than pheylephrine; likely he would need to pick up the card from the decongestant aisle for the one he wants, then go to the pharmacy to get it, as it's not over the counter.  If he decides to use a decongestant, he needs to be careful to follow the use instructions, as using it too long can actually cause the body to produce more mucus and congestion. 

You said this happens twice a year, so I assume it's allergy related, but this time it's worse because he has an infection, too.  FWIW, I know someone who uses daily Rx nasal steroid spray to deal with allergy-related congestion.

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I remember many times as a kid that my mom would have me use steam to try to clear up 'congestion' - it wasn't until I was an adult and saw an allergist that we realized that my nasal passages were often swollen completely shut.  I'd try some combo of antihistamines (a daily plus benedryl until it kicks in), and maybe a flonase-type nasal spray.  I would also get ear pain due to their being so much inflammation that fluid couldn't drain, and that was usually helped with a bit of tylenol in addition to the antihistamines.  There's a prescription - sta-hist (not sure about spelling) - that for me is a miracle drug - a combo of sprayable antihistamine and steroid, I think.  Obviously if there's infection, none of this will help, but the 'twice a year, fall and spring' sounds more like an allergy than a recurring infection.  And, have him wash his face or rinse off frequently - just washing away the allergens can make a big difference.  

 

Edit - stahist is a pill and works really well, but the spray is dymista.  I keep both in my cabinet,even though I use them very rarely.  My allergist gives them to me as my emergency plan for when I start coughing and it won't go away.  

Edited by ClemsonDana
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Sudafed, the kind behind the pharmacy counter that you have to show your ID for. Get the 12 hour kind. 

Or Afrin, but Afrin can cause rebound congestion, so I only take that if Sudafed isn't working, which is really rare. 

Oh, and take some ibuprofen as well, along with the Sudafed. 

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DD14 suffered from almost birth from this. Always a low level of never ending sinus struggles then massive flare ups in spring and fall. Finally became untenable because it flared up and persisted for so long. I finally relented and had her allergy tested. I cried in the office. I can’t believe what I had put her through all those years.  Poor thing. I had resisted all her life regular allergy/sinus medications. I just didn’t want her on regular drugs if any kind. She’s pretty severely allergic to everything. Ugh. We opted for daily sublingual drops in stead of weekly allergy shots. Absolute heaven! She no longer has to carry Kleenex with her and have a constant red, irritated nose. She isn’t miserable anymore! Happily it has helped her overall immune system since her body is no longer “fighting” all.the.time. The allergy meds aren’t steroids, etc. I highly, highly recommend allergy testing. At least you would have the information to move forward. 

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The only antihistamine that works for me is benadryl.  I take it daily at night, when it won't matter if it makes me sleepy.  When it starts making me feel better/more awake in the evenings because of  seasonal allergies I take it multiple times a day. If you're having allergies it won't make you sleepy unless you took a little bit too much. 

I agree with KTGROK that only real sudafed is worth it.

My mom had similar symptoms every year.  It mostly cleared up when she had nasal & sinus surgeries.  It cleared up the rest of the way when she went on a low carb diet.  I suspect she has a mild wheat allergy (like I did before it turned severe) and when she's low carb she avoids meat wheat.  She actually went off all the medications she was taking for years, including sleeping stuff.

Edited by Katy
why, autocorrect, why?
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My allergist suggested using Afrin for 3 days 20 mins prior to then using NASACORT or Flonase.  It helps open things up so the steroid can actually get in the nasal passages to start working.  He said to do it for 3 days only and then 10 days later do it again for 3 days.  

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A few things:

- if the antibiotics are not helping, he may need others.  I got an abx resistant something-or-other with my last bad sinus infection and after the ENT did a culture, we saw that I needed a different family of abx.  

- prednisone

 

I have only sympathy.  I'm having my deviated septum repaired Tuesday in the hopes of preventing my constant recurrent sinus issues.  

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thanks so much everyone. We know he’s allergic as he’s had that testing done as a young adult. He won’t take long term meds for the allergies so that’s sort of a moot point. We are usually able to prevent the worst of it except twice a year it seems. 

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16 minutes ago, HeighHo said:

Is your basement damp?  Right now the ground water level is pretty high; it helps to run a dehumidifier.  Then warm shower to clear out nasal passages.

No, and we run two dehumidifiers anyway owing to the crazy weather last year. 

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7 hours ago, madteaparty said:

I’m googling this now!

you can do a yeast free diet (re: NO sugar of any kind. not even honey, agave, etc. - they are sugar as far as yeast is concerned, not even fruit). low carb.  it can take a month.  I did it once - not only were my sinuses totally clear, I had tons of energy and the formerly dry skin on my legs was no longer dry.

 

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7 hours ago, gardenmom5 said:

you can do a yeast free diet (re: NO sugar of any kind. not even honey, agave, etc. - they are sugar as far as yeast is concerned, not even fruit). low carb.  it can take a month.  I did it once - not only were my sinuses totally clear, I had tons of energy and the formerly dry skin on my legs was no longer dry.

 

There’s no way he or anyone here signs up for that. 😐

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4 hours ago, lovelearnandlive said:

Flonase. It will take a few days to start shrinking inflamed tissues. But one it starts working all the gunk will start coming out. I’ve only used it twice but had the same experience both times. Used it for a month each time. 

 

This is what my husband uses when things get bad.

He believes in using saline frequently as a preventive and things have improved over many years.

 

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