Having a sinus infection is never any fun. Sinusitis affects the tissues that are within your sinus cavities. When you get a sinus infection, you may experience pressure in your sinuses, facial pain and headaches. The sinus infection can also cause stuffiness and congestion in your sinuses. When you have a severe sinus infection, your doctor may recommend a steroid shot. While home remedies may help with a more moderate or minor sinus infection, it will probably not give you relief from a major sinus infection.
Antibiotics are not effective for a sinus infection because this infection is caused by a virus. Instead, a steroid shot may be given to reduce inflammation. They only work in the short term to help reduce side effects from your sinus infection. A steroid shot can only be given by your doctor, so you must visit your doctor’s office to be diagnosed if you want to potentially have this treatment option.
When Will You Get a Steroid Shot for Sinus Infection?
Before you get a steroid shot for a sinus infection, your doctor will most likely want to see if your infection can heal on its own. Home remedies or over-the-counter medication may be used to see if you start to heal. If the infection does not heal in a few days or weeks, your doctor may decide to give you medication, topical nasal steroids or a steroid shot. There are many different kinds of steroids that may be used to reduce the inflammation from a sinus infection. In general, your doctor will only want to prescribe this type of shot if you have one of the following problems during the recovery process.
– Nasal polyps that prevent air or mucus from flowing
– Swelling that makes it hard for you to breath
– Seasonal allergies that cause continued cases of sinusitis
– You have already tried antibiotics, nasal steroids or oral steroids without any relief
Since steroids carry side effects, your doctor will probably want to avoid giving you this injection if possible. A steroid shot can also cause complications if you already have conditions like osteoporosis, diabetes, high blood pressure or diabetes. If you have any chronic conditions, make sure to let your doctor know before you are given the shot.
How Long Does It Take for the Steroid to Work?
In most cases, the steroid shot for a sinus infection will start to work within the first 24 hours. If you have a severe infection, it may take several days for the inflammation to be reduced enough to notice. The steroid shot is not going to cure your sinus infection. It will only reduce the inflammation that is making it hard for you to breath.
Often, it takes longer for your sinus infection to heal if you take a steroid shot. If you are not on antibiotics, it may still take a while for your immune system to respond enough for you to recover. Make sure to talk about any of your symptoms or concerns with your doctor before getting the shot.
How Does It Work
Your sinuses are hollow cavities that are around your eyes, forehead, cheekbones and nose. When you develop an infection, it can produce a lot of mucus that fills these cavities. Instead of draining, the mucus causes bacterial growth to occur. When you have a severe sinus infection, the sinuses become inflamed and the pressure increases. This can cause you to have sinus headaches and facial pain. Even when you are using decongestants, you may still need a steroid shot to remove or reduce the inflammation.
A steroid shot helps by quickly relieving the inflammation. This reduces your pain and discomfort while also allowing your body a better chance at healing. Steroids have anti-inflammatory properties that help them reduce inflammation, but this can also make it harder for your immune system to work properly. Because of this, your doctor will probably not prescribe a steroid shot unless the sinus infection is bad enough to cause severe pain or breathing problems.
Possible Side Effects
Like any medication, steroids come with potential side effects. Corticosteroids are the most common option for sinus infection treatments. They can have mild to severe side effects, so doctors tend to only prescribe them when they are a necessity. If the effects of untreated sinusitis is worse than potential side effects of steroids, your doctor may prescribe them. The side effects of steroids also tend to go away fairly soon after you receive your dose. If you are taking oral steroids, make sure to never skip your dose without talking to your doctor.
Some of the most common side effects of using a steroid shot for a sinus infection include:
– Mood Swings
– Increased appetite
– Problems sleeping
– Dry or thin skin
– Abdominal pain
– Feeling lightheaded
If you have any problems breathing, call 911 immediately. Symptoms like swelling of your throat or tongue can indicate that you are having an allergic reaction. Call 911 or go to your doctor immediately.
You should also go to your doctor if you have any of the following:
– Feeling thirst and urinating frequently
– Severe abdominal pain
– Bloody or black stools
– Symptoms of a different infection
– Muscle weakness or cramping
– Pain in the eyes or blurry vision
– Ongoing nausea and vomiting
– Sudden, unexplained weight gain
– Hives, rashes or achiness
What Steroids Can Be Prescribed?
Other than steroid shots, you could also be prescribed an inhaled or oral steroid. An inhaled steroid is sprayed in the nose to immediately work on the nasal inflammation. This type of steroid is unable to get deep into the sinuses. Oral steroids are designed to reduce inflammation and are better at getting deep into the sinuses.
Your doctor may also recommend an antihistamine or decongestant. An antihistamine helps limit your body’s response to allergens. Meanwhile, decongestants may be given to shrink blood vessels within the nasal passages to make it easier for you to breathe.