Managing Sinus Problems During Covid
Updated: Aug 24, 2020
Almost every disease management ground to a halt earlier this year. Now, slowly, despite
increasing cases and hospitalizations, televisits and physician visits are ramping up under “a
caution flag”. So how does a sinus sufferer manage sinus pressure, headaches, postnasal drip, stuffy nose or smell problems during this time?
Over the counter nasal steroids such as fluticasone two sprays in each nostril daily for adults along with saline nasal irrigation or sprays or even netipot may be helpful. For allergies, OTC medicines such as Claritin, allegra or Zyrtec might be helpful. Steam inhalations done carefully with Vicks can also provide symptom relief and open the sinus passages. If sinus problems persist, a televisit with a sinus specialist such as me might be in order to discuss if an oral steroid or an antibiotic might be necessary. If thick greenish or yellowish nasal discharge or postnasal drip is noted, an antibiotic might be recommended. If there is a history of nasal polyps, an oral steroid might be prescribed. OTC pain medications such as Tylenol or ibuprofen in limited quantities may alleviate sinus pressure or headache and occasionally a decongestant may help. Afrin nasal sprays for a congested nose should only be used for a maximum of three days and no more than two sprays in each nostril twice a day.
Sinus symptoms can be confused for Covid so make sure that if fever, cough and shortness of breath are present along with your sinus symptoms, you contact your doctor immediately. Covid should not prevent you from seeing your doctor as long as necessary precautions are in place.
UMANG KHETARPAL, M.D.
Dr. Umang Khetarpal finished his medical school at the young age of 22 and is trained in Otolaryngology-Head and Neck and Facial Plastic Surgery. He completed his internship and specialty residency training in Syracuse, New York. He also has extensive research experience and additional clinical experience through fellowships at Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary and Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School in Boston. He has co-authored book chapters and many publications in peer reviewed journals within the specialty. He has presented at major specialty society meetings and at academic institutions. Topics of his research included hearing loss and balance disorders, sinus problems and sleep apnea. His recent research efforts have been entirely focused on sinusitis, especially recurrent acute rhinosinusitis, allergies and in office balloon sinuplasty and in office sinus surgery. He has recently presented five papers at the International meeting of Rhinology in CHicago, June 2019. He discovered and was the first to describe a novel ear disease in families that resulted in balance and hearing problems. His most innovative research was in the cutting-edge field of genetics in Otolaryngology where he was involved in finding the genetic defects for several different diseases. In addition, he has taken time to observe the surgical techniques of some of the world’s most renowned surgeons in plastics surgery. He had been featured 3 times over the years in newspapers in the Rio Grande Valley for introducing latest treatments in thyroid cancer, sleep apnea and sinus surgery locally. His current interest is in molecular genetics of allergic rhinitis and chronic sinusitis with and without polyps and in finding better cures for these conditions. He now calls Houston his home and is starting his practice in the Woodlands.