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Sinus Headaches

Sinus headaches can cause a gnawing pain behind the nose and eyes. The pain most often gets worse in the afternoon and evening. You may also run a fever. Sinus headaches are caused by colds or allergies that make the nasal passages inflamed or infected.

Woman getting ready to use nasal spray.

To help prevent sinus headaches:

  • Treat colds promptly to keep mucus from backing up.

  • Avoid things that trigger sinus problems, such as pollens, dust, smoke, fumes, and strong odors.

  • Take allergy medications as directed by your doctor.

To relieve the pain:

  • Keep your sinuses open and free of mucus. Try over-the-counter sinus rinse products.

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

  • Drink fluids to keep the mucus thinner. This helps it drain more easily. You can also use a humidifier.

  • Apply hot packs to the area around your sinuses. Use a hot water bottle.

  • See your doctor if your sinus headache lasts more than two weeks. You may need medication for a sinus infection.

Online Medical Reviewer: Emanuel, Ivor A, MD
Online Medical Reviewer: Landers, Stephen A, MD
Last Review Date: 6/19/2012
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