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Sinus Headaches

To help prevent sinus headaches

  • Treat colds quickly to keep mucus from backing up.

  • Stay away from things that trigger sinus problems, such as pollens, dust, cigarette smoke, fumes, mold, pet dander, air pollution, and strong odors.

  • Take allergy medicines as directed by your healthcare provider.

To ease the pain

  • Keep your sinuses open and free of mucus. Try over-the-counter saline nasal sprays.

  • Use a nasal decongestant as directed to reduce the inflammation.

  • Drink fluids to keep the mucus thinner. This helps it drain more easily.

  • Apply warm compresses over your nose and forehead.

  • Breathe in steam from a bowl of hot water or shower.

  • See your healthcare provider if your sinus headache lasts more than 2 weeks. You may need medicine for a sinus infection. Or you may need an exam to check for other headache conditions, such as migraines.

Front view of face showing sinuses and proper technique for using nasal spray.
When using nasal spray, keep your chin down and angle the spray away from center.

Online Medical Reviewer: Ashutosh Kacker MD
Online Medical Reviewer: Rita Sather RN
Online Medical Reviewer: Tara Novick BSN MSN
Date Last Reviewed: 12/1/2021
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