Pregnancy has its own set of symptoms. Some days you may feel physically and emotionally well, and other days you may feel ill. Many women experience morning sickness, tiredness, and back pain throughout their three trimesters.
Getting sick with a sinus infection while having these pregnancy symptoms can take a toll on the body.
Here’s how to prevent and treat a sinus infection.
Symptoms of a sinus infection during pregnancy
Sinusitis can develop at any point during the first, second, or third trimester of pregnancy. This is an infection and inflammation in the lining of your sinuses. The sinuses are air-filled pockets located around the face and nose.
A sinus infection can cause different symptoms, including:
The symptoms can be worrisome, but there are ways to treat and prevent a sinus infection during pregnancy.
What causes a sinus infection?
Symptoms of a sinus infection can mimic other conditions like allergies and the common cold. An acute infection can last up to four weeks. Chronic infections can last more than 12 weeks. Sinusitis during pregnancy can be triggered by a viral, bacterial, or fungal infection.
In some cases, a sinus infection is a complication of the common cold. You’re also at higher risk for a sinus infection if you have allergies. In both conditions, mucus can block the sinus cavities and result in swelling and inflammation. This can lead to an infection.
A sinus infection causes unpleasant symptoms. Although it can make you feel worse while pregnant, relief is available.
Treating a sinus infection while pregnant
You may be concerned about taking medication for a sinus infection while pregnant. Your concerns are valid. The good news is that there are over-the-counter (OTC) medications that are safe to take while pregnant.
For example, you can relieve a sinus headache and sore throat with acetaminophen (Tylenol). Make sure you take the pain reliever as directed.
Other medications might be safe to take during pregnancy. Talk to your doctor before you take:
Aspirin (Bayer) isn’t recommended during pregnancy. Likewise, avoid ibuprofen (Advil) unless you’re under a doctor’s supervision. Ibuprofen has been linked to pregnancy complications, such as reduced amniotic fluid and miscarriage.
Consult your doctor if you have questions about safe medications to take while treating a sinus infection during pregnancy.
Home remedies for a sinus infection during pregnancy
Medications like cough suppressants, pain relievers, and decongestants can relieve symptoms of an infection. But if you want to avoid using medications during pregnancy, you can treat your symptoms with home remedies.
Increasing your fluid intake can ease a sore throat, loosen mucus drainage, and clear a stuffy nose. Ideal fluids include:
Here are some other home remedies to relieve your sinus infection symptoms:
If you have facial pain or headaches from sinusitis, relieve pain by placing a hot or cold pack on your forehead, or gently massage your forehead. Taking a warm bath may also provide relief from a sinus headache. Be sure the water isn’t too hot. Hot baths should be avoided in pregnancy.
When to see your doctor
A sinus infection can resolve itself with home treatment. But there are times when you should see a doctor.
Make an appointment with your doctor if your symptoms don’t improve with OTC medications or home remedies, or if your symptoms worsen.
Contact your doctor if you have a fever higher than 101°F (38°C), or if you start coughing up green or yellow mucus. Also see your doctor if you have recurrent sinus infections.
Leaving a severe sinus infection untreated increases the risk of complications, such as meningitis. Meningitis is inflammation of the membranes in the brain or spinal cord.
An untreated infection can spread to other parts of the body, such as the bones, eyes, and skin. It can also affect your sense of smell.
Tests for a sinus infection during pregnancy
If you seek medical attention, your doctor may conduct a variety of tests. These include:
Depending on your specific case, your doctor may also order a nasal and sinus culture to determine the underlying cause of your sinus infection. You may also undergo allergy testing to see whether allergies are triggering your chronic sinus infections.
Getting a sinus infection while pregnant isn’t fun, but there are ways to prevent and lower your risk.
These infections often develop after the common cold, so try to do everything possible to avoid getting sick with a cold. Limit contact with sick people. Consider wearing a facial mask to protect yourself from germs. It’s also important to wash your hands frequently and avoid touching your mouth and nose.
If you have allergies, ask your doctor about pregnancy-safe antihistamines to manage your symptoms (prescription or OTC). Also avoid situations that can trigger an allergy flare-up. Avoid establishments with heavy scents or cigarette smoke. Stop using fragrances and cleaning products with strong odors.
Dry air prevents the sinuses from draining, so using a humidifier to increase the moisture level in your home can also reduce your risk of a sinus infection.
What can I take for sinus headache while pregnant?
Decongestant medications reduce stuffiness and sinus pressure by constricting the blood vessels in your nose, which reduces swelling. Pseudoephedrine and phenylephrine are available over the counter as Sudafed and are safe for many women to use during pregnancy.
What happens if I take Tylenol Sinus while pregnant?
Taking Tylenol Cold While Pregnant In addition to acetaminophen, both contain a drug called phenylephrine, a decongestant found in many sinus and cold medications, that can affect blood flow to the placenta and should be avoided during pregnancy.
What cold and sinus medications are safe during pregnancy?
Pregnancy-Safe Cold & Flu Medication.
Acetaminophen (Tylenol) Safe during the entire pregnancy. Take only as needed. ... .
Pseudoephedrine (Sudafed) Safe in the second and third trimester. ... .
Chlorpheniramine (Chlor-Trimeton) Safe during pregnancy. ... .
Diphenhydramine (Benadryl) Safe throughout pregnancy..
Can you take anything for sinus pain while pregnant?
Medication: How to Alleviate Sinus Congestion While Pregnant: Medications used to treat acute sinus infections include cefprozil (Cefzil) and amoxicillin-clavulanate. Acetaminophen (Tylenol) is also regarded as safe to use during pregnancy for pain relief and/or headaches.