Congestion (Nasal)- Sinusitis

Signs and Symptoms:

  • Stuffy nose
  • Difficulty breathing through nasal passages
  • Headache – usually around the forehead area
  • Facial pressure/ jaw pain
  • Ear discomfort: popping sound, clogged feeling, muffled sounds
  • May or may not have fever


Treatment Suggestions:

  • Decongestants (i.e. pseudoephedrine (Sudafed)) may help with congestion, sinus pressure and sinus headaches. Available in 4 hour and 12 hour dosages (ask for at the pharmacy). Nasal strips or sprays may also help, but do not use decongestant nasal sprays for more than 2-3 days as overuse can cause your symptoms to worsen.
  • Pain relievers (i.e. acetaminophen (Tylenol), Ibuprofen (Advil/Motrin), naproxen (Aleve)) can help relieve pain, headache, as well as help reduce fever.
  • Humidifiers work well for putting moisture back in the air to help open nasal passages.
  • Breathing steam or taking a hot shower can also help relieve congestion.
  • Increase liquids to help thin out mucus.


When to visit Student Health Services:

If you have attempted taking over the counter medicine for several days without relief and/or your symptoms seem to be getting worse, it may be time to see a provider to evaluate your symptoms. An antibiotic may need to be prescribed if the issue has progressed into a bacterial sinus infection. The suggestions listed above may still need to be taken to relieve symptoms in addition to taking an antibiotic.