May 15th, 2017 by Sepehr Oliaei, MD

I am often asked by patients about ways of dealing with the common cold. It seems like a trivial issue but many of my patients tend to lose productivity due to very simple upper respiratory viral infections particular if they affect their sinuses. That awful head pressure, facial pain, heavy feeling in the face, thick nasal drainage, lots of nose blowing can last anywhere from 3 days up to 2 weeks or more. It can affect our feeling of well being, productivity and concentration during our day to day activities. These symptoms have propped up a whole industry of over the counter cold and flu medications taking up whole aisles at grocery stores and pharmacies. The selection of brand names and variations within each brand can be somewhat disorienting and confusing.

With drug costs and side effects in mind, I have come up with a “secret sauce” recipe for dealing with these sinus colds or acute URIs that maximizes my patient’s productivity, and minimizes duration of symptoms. Please talk to your doctor to see if there are any contraindications for you to undergo this treatment.

  1. Saline irrigations (not sprays) start as soon as the earliest symptoms twice daily until symptoms are fully resolved
  2. Topical decongestant nasal spray. Start when runny nose and/or congestion of the nose starts becoming a problem and use twice daily x 3 days [CAUTION: DO NOT EXCEED 6 DOSES IN A ROW, CAN BE HABIT FORMING]
  3. Steroid nasal spray. Start when nasal drainage starts transitioning to a thicker yellow/white colored gel. Use once a day for 7 days or longer  until symptoms fully resolve.

Best part of this recipe: NO PILLS! This is a great recipe for dealing with early phase (congestion, thin water nasal drainage) and late phase (sinus pain, thick yellow/white mucous) nose and sinus symptoms associated with a cold.

Do you have any personal experiences with specific sinus cold regiments or with this one? Please share in comments section below. (note: comments are publicly visible)


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