Help Me Get Rid of My Sinus Infection

Updated on September 08, 2012
S.H. asks from Ankeny, IA
19 answers

My dr prescribed me a zpack for a sinus infection because I was congested and my right ear hurt down to my throat and my neck. I am going through a rough time with some hypochondria for other things (yes, I have been panicking for 4 days straight about the brain eating amoebas after swimming and getting water in my nose at the lake). So...taking meds also panics me...especially the zpack after reports of heart trouble (I have palpitations often that have been ruled out to be benign).

So...I don't want to take the zpack. I don't have a fever and don't even have to take anything for pain or pressure. I am just so clogged up and when I sneeze or can get anything out it's big globs of yellow mucus. Yuck.

How can I treat this without antibiotics? I have tried green tea...and I think it's all from my allergies so I continue to take those meds.

Also....has anyone's sense of taste and smell come and gone with a sinus infection?

I am all around a big mess right now....thanks for some guidance!

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So What Happened?

Thanks everyone. I got myself a neti pot and looked up how to use it. It didn't flow all the way through on one side...guess I'm really stuffed up. Hot showers are good and relaxing. Am taking vitamin c and feel better today.

I went to the doctor for my anxiety/panic. Since I recently moved to another state I didn't know where to go, so I went to the same day care clinic. Before I moved I saw a therapist and it was helping tremendously. Haven't gotten around to find someone here since my anxiety levels were low. Until the last few days when they were the worst I remember in years. After the doc and I discussed a therapist and short term anxiety meds...he asked I'd there was anything else. I told him me ear throat and neck hurt a little and he diagnosed me with sinus infection, now.....I have had allergies all my life and they are not happy in this new climate. I am used to this congestion and have had sinus infections before and this did not feel to me antibiotic worthy. I'm sorry, but I do think they over prescribe for sinus issues. I will take it if I start feeling worse or get a fever.

I have been to a cardiologist for my heart palpitations and cheat pain when I run. Everything was good. So I shouldnt have a problem with zpack.....darn anxiety that clouds my rational thinking.

I had to wait three months to get in with a pcp, so when I go next month I am going to beg for a referral to an allergist for testing...I need to know what is bothering me so much here. I do take my Allegra everyday and need to add Benadryl on top of that sometimes. Hopefully allergist will have better options.

Thanks everyone for the help. I really appreciate all the guidance especially to prevent further ones. It is so much worse here this summer and I hope the winter gives me reprieve.

Featured Answers



answers from Denver on

Neti pot. I used to get 3-4 sinus infections a year, but rarely get them anymore because I use the neti pot daily. On the rare occassion that I do get one, I use the neti pot and it clears it up fairly quickly- it's a must. Totally gross, but a must! Feel better soon!

4 moms found this helpful

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answers from Chicago on

Get a saline nasal wash. Preferably a netti pot, although they make them in cans where you can flush your sinuses just with the spray can, instead of the pot and the mix.
This is not snorting saline...this is letting the solution run through your nasal passage and out the other side...takes some practice if you're not used to it.

Flush each side 3-4x/day. It should clear up in a day or two.

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answers from Norfolk on

Neti pots are easy and my ENT recommended using them to rinse out my sinuses.
You can make your own saline, it feels great if it's slightly warm when you use it, and it really helps to wash out irritants and soothes sinus membranes.
You can use it as often as you like.
per 2 cups of warm (not hot) water
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Most sinus infections will go away on their own if you continuously flush your sinus passages with saline solution (you can buy sprays over the counter, or use a neti pot). I prefer the OTC saline sprays.

Also, please see a cardiologist for the palpitations. Arrhythmias can be non-life threatening on their own, but can progress to life-threatening conditions, or contribute to other conditions. I know first-hand.

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answers from Chicago on

I second (or it is third?) the neti pot. You can get it at any Walgreens. My doctor is not a prescribe meds person unless really necessary. I had a sinus infection last year that just plain hurt. It took me a couple of tries to get it done right. I kind of made a bit of a mess in the bathroom the first time or 2 with the water. And the first time made me nauseous-kind of like when you go swimming and get water up your nose. but after the 2nd day, I felt so much better. It really does help clear it up But, if it is really bad, you just may need to take that zpack.

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answers from Boston on

Flush out the sinuses with a neti pot (available at all drug stores and many health food stores, sometimes large supermarkets). Add a pinch of salt (and some people say a pinch of baking soda) to warm water. Follow the directions or ask the pharmacist - it's pretty simple, just do it over the sink. It feels weird and you will feel extremely full (if you already have an infection, the pressure might be uncomfortable but it passes as soon as the water drains and your blow your nose).

Sense of taste and smell can absolutely change. Post nasal drip and clogged eustachian tubes affect taste, and of course the sense of smell is all messed up, partly from the congestion and partly (sometimes) from the odor created by the bacteria.

You may need antibiotics to clear this up - I'm not sure - BUT you can do a lot through nutritional supplementation to prevent future infections. I used to get them periodically, and a friend of mine got several infections every year. I have had nothing since, and he has only had 1 in 11 years. If you don't like drugs, there is another way.

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answers from Dallas on

So you went to the Dr. but you are not going to do what he recommends to relieve your issue? I am not one to take Rx very often myself other than an occasional aspirin and regular OTC allergy meds, so I get that some people prefer not to take Rx.

You first need to get your excessive worry under control. You will be fine.

Get a netti pot or the sinus rinse and use it. It helps a LOT.

Also, our Dr. recommended that you gargle, preferably with Listerine 3-4 times a day. It helps loosen mucas as well.

We do take Zyrtec daily this time of year... the 24 hr pill. It does help with allergies.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

I think it might be good to sit down and talk with your doctor regarding your concerns.

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answers from Dallas on

Hi Stephanie,
I hope you're feeling better. if you have a sinus infection, stay away from dairy products. you can take garlic pills (if you don't want to make the tea). also, what are you allergic to? if you're allergic to ragweeds, here is a tidbid of info (which turned out to be HUGE for me!) Lettuce is in the ragweed family and so are sunflower, safflower, echinecia, and chamomile. alternatives to lettuce: arugula, kale, watercress, cabbage.
Basil and thyme are natural antibiotics... make tea with basil and thyme 2-3 times per day for a few days (you can add ginger root and elderberries to the tea too!).
here is another vote for the neti pot
Get well soon! ~C.~

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Houston on

Nasal irrigation/ Neti pots can help with symptoms. Now I just use a spray since I'm too lazy to buy distilled water to heat up and make my own sterile rinse solution:

I ended up having sinus surgery to help with sinus infections, but in the past my ENT attributed my use of nasal irrigation as what kept my infections from getting worse than they were.

Lots of hot steamy showers are good too.

If you get worse or start running a high fever please reconsider taking the abx as prescribed.

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answers from Lakeland on

Get a neti pot and rinse your sinuses, just be sure to use boiled water and add some salt to it (not too much). FreckleMama listed some supplements to take that will also help or go to your local health food store and find some homeopathic remedies to help with your symptoms.

Your taste and smell will be affected by a cold not just a sinus infection but it will come back when the cold is gone. Also put a hot compress on the side of your head and neck where the pain is, that will help draw out and dry up any fluids in your ear.

Be sure to drink lots of fluids, eat lots of fruits (vitamin C) and veggies.

Just an FYI, the amoebas you are worried about are usually here in Florida lakes (because of the heat). I haven't really heard of anyone getting sick from them in other parts of the country.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

Saline nasal spray--as much as 7x/day. Neti pot just wasn't my thing, but I've heard other people say it works for them. However, as a veteran of many sinus infections it does sound to me like you might need antibiotics for this one. Is there something other than the Z pack that you could take that wouldn't have the same concerns about side effects? Maybe ask your doctor. If your right ear hurts you might also have or are susceptible to an ear infection. I also have experience with that and they HURT.

Yes, it is normal to lose taste and smell with a sinus infection. If your ear is plugged you may also lose some hearing temporarily. I did.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Anchorage on

hot showers and sitting in a steam will help, also warm compresses.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Nashville on

Drink some garlic tea with honey. It's not as yucky as it sounds, and it will help

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

You really have to know how to drain your sinuses when using the Neti pot and if you don't, you will make is worse. I would get Sudafed (CVS) - don't buy Sudafed PE, buy the real stuff behind the counter. It will dry up your sinuses within a week.

Take it on the first sign of a cold and you shouldn't ever get another sinus infection again.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Antonio on

My MIL is a supplement nut! We rarely, if ever, go to the doctor. We take care of it with the supplements she recommends. For you, she would likely recommend that you take:
-Pneumotrophin - one per meal, till you clear up, then continue for another week or two. She always has me take these (and my son take his) when we have chest congestion that won't go away with mucinex. Made by Standard Process
- Congaplex - also made by Standard Process. We take this in addition to the pneumotrophin when we have bad coughs or when my son has a bad fever and is sick. There is "chewables" but those are for kids and are not as strong as the plain ol congaplex here: I forget how many she doses us on these. I think 2 a day.
- Ultra Potent C - a huge dose of Vitamin C. She claims that it's not the same "junk" found in Emergen C - this is way better apparently. I like it better than drinking EmergenC that's for sure. And my son takes the "chewable Potent Cs" whenever he is coming down with something. He clears up pretty quick and I think sometimes it nips his ailments in the bud if I give it to him early on. MIL says it's a "super-immune-booster." Found here She'd likely tell you to take two a day. If you get too much vit C you'll get diarreah. So you could always take 3, see how your body does, and go down to 1 or 2 a day if need be.

Good luck! I dont' know what allergies you have. My MIL is all about hormone-free, gluten free, etc. She swears these supplements are what keep her alive each day. And I have seen the effects of these "meds" myself with my child and myself.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

Could the heart palpitations be related to your anxiety? Either take the zpak or call the doctor for an alternate antibiotic because big globs of yellow mucus indicate infection which = antibiotic.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

Take the antibiotics. If you have yellow mucus it is an infection....near your brain. :). Did that help you forget about the heart stuff?
Otherwise get a neti-pot and some distilled water and get neti-ing! They are awesome (but a little gross) things!


Take the antibiotics. If you have yellow mucus it is an infection....near your brain. :). Did that help you forget about the heart stuff?
Otherwise get a neti-pot and some distilled water and get neti-ing! They are awesome (but a little gross) things!



answers from Minneapolis on

Please do what your doctor says and take your z-pack. You need antibiotics to get rid of this sinus infection.

Can you call someone to talk about your hypochondria fears and anxieties? It seems like that would help, too.

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