How to Treat Viral or Bacterial Sinusitis

How to Treat Viral or Bacterial Sinusitis

Are you constantly sniffling, coughing, sneezing, and congested? You may be suffering from sinusitis. Sinusitis is another description for a sinus infection, and determining the type of infection you have is key to treating it effectively. Viral and bacterial sinusitis are two of the most common types.

Sinusitis occurs when your sinuses become inflamed and blocked. This blockage leads to a sinus infection because the mucus in the nose holding bacteria or viruses can’t drain.

What are Sinus Infections and Symptoms? (Bacterial Sinusitis vs Viral Sinusitis)
Determining the actual cause of a sinus infection can help find the best treatment options. Most symptoms from a viral or bacterial sinus infection are the same and include:

  • Runny nose
  • Facial pain
  • Facial pressure
  • Congestion
  • Sore throat
  • Cough

The critical difference between bacterial sinusitis and viral sinusitis is its longevity and recovery time. Viral infections typically get better within five days, while bacterial infections can last longer than seven days and worsen if not properly treated.

The main difference between bacterial and viral sinus infections is the duration and severity. Most people will see an improvement of symptoms after a few days if the infection is viral. However, if there isn’t any improvement or patients see an increase in symptom severity, it may be time to visit a doctor to get an official diagnosis and treatment plan.

How Do You Treat Bacterial and Viral Sinusitis?
There are several treatment options for sinusitis. Although there are plenty of over-the-counter medications and others medical professionals can prescribe to help clear up the infection, it’s important to note that viral infections cannot be treated with antibiotics. Doing so can lead to possible side effects and developing antibiotic resistance, making future infections challenging to treat.

However, there are options to help support the healing process, including:

Home Remedies

  • Drinking plenty of water
  • Using cool and warm compresses
  • Breathing steam or water vapor in through the nose


  • Antibiotics (only for bacterial infections)
  • Over-the-counter medication (decongestants, cold medicine, etc.)
  • Pain relievers


  • Wash your hands
  • Avoid sick individuals
  • Humidifier usage will moisten at-home air

Get the Treatment You Need in Cape Coral
If you feel your condition is a true emergency, call 911. If you’re experiencing extreme pain or have severe sinusitis symptoms, seek medical attention immediately and visit ShorePoint Health Emergency & Urgent Care.

As one of the only health systems in Cape Coral with ER and urgent care services under one roof, ShorePoint Health Emergency & Urgent Care offers affordable pricing, quality care and trained staff. Patients are only billed based on the level of care received, and there are no appointments needed for in-person visits. The ER is available 24 hours a day, every day, and the urgent care walk-in clinic hours of operation are from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily.

ShorePoint Health Emergency & Urgent Care Cape Coral, a department of ShorePoint Health Port Charlotte, is located at 2521 Del Prado Blvd. N. in Cape Coral and may be reached at 239-356-0740.