Sinusitis: Over-the-Counter Medicines
Medicines available without a prescription may help relieve
pain and promote sinus drainage.
pain relievers such as aspirin, ibuprofen, or acetaminophen to relieve facial
pain and headache. Do not give aspirin to anyone under age 20 because of the
- Try using a decongestant
nasal spray or decongestant nose drops. Avoid using these products for more
than 3 days in a row because it increases your risk of developing "rebound"
nasal congestion. Frequent, prolonged use of a nasal decongestant can actually
prolong your problems with congestion when you try to stop using the
- Try taking an oral decongestant that contains
phenylephrine. These are safer for prolonged use than decongestant nasal
- Try using a
medicine that thins mucus and improves
sinus drainage (mucolytic). Guaifenesin is a commonly used mucolytic.
Mucolytics are often combined with other medicines such as
Be careful with cough and cold medicines. They may not be safe for young children or for people who have certain health problems, so check the label first. If you do use these medicines, always follow the directions about how much to use based on age and weight.
Many doctors do not recommend using
antihistamines unless your symptoms are related to
having allergies. Antihistamines and decongestants may dry out the mucous membranes in your nose
and sinuses and slow the movement of the cilia (the tiny hairs that line the
nose, sinuses, and the air passages inside the lungs and that remove
irritants). This can make mucus thicker, adding to drainage problems. But
other experts believe antihistamines may help treat sinusitis by reducing the
amount of mucus that builds up in the sinus cavities. Don't give antihistamines
to your child unless you've checked with the doctor first.
- Nonprescription Medicines and Products
- Quick Tips: Giving Over-the-Counter Medicines to Children
|By: ||Healthwise Staff ||Last Revised: September 12, 2012|
|Medical Review: ||Patrice Burgess, MD - Family Medicine|
Donald R. Mintz, MD - Otolaryngology
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