Medicines available without a prescription may help relieve
pain and promote sinus drainage. Be safe with medicines. Read and follow all instructions on the label . You can:
a pain reliever such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen to relieve facial
pain and headache.
- Use a nasal spray, gel, or drops to help a stuffy nose. There's a decongestant kind (such as Afrin, Dristan, or Neo-Synephrine) and a steroid spray kind (such as Nasacort). Don't use the decongestant kind longer than the label says. Overuse can cause rebound congestion. It makes your mucous membranes swell up more than before you used the spray.
- Try an oral decongestant for a stuffy nose or head. It provides longer relief than the ones that are used in the nose, but it may cause more side effects.
- 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.
Be careful when taking over-the-counter cold or flu medicines and Tylenol at the same time. Many of these medicines contain acetaminophen, which is Tylenol. Read the labels to make sure that you are not taking more than the recommended dose. Too much acetaminophen can be harmful.
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