Sinus problems are a common complaint among teens. Your sinuses may become irritated and inflamed for a variety of reasons, and determining the specific cause can be key to finding the right treatment.
Colds and Flu
Many teens develop colds or the flu throughout their high school years, and it is common to get sick with a cold multiple times during the school year. Colds among teens can spread quickly, especially during the winter months when teens spend a lot of time indoors in close contact with each other. Colds are not fun for any sufferer, and you may experience a wide variety of symptoms, including a runny nose, coughing, a sore throat, sinus congestion, fatigue and a headache.
Teens with colds often prefer to go to school and be with their friends instead of staying at home and missing class. A teen who goes out in public while showing symptoms of illness may be spreading a cold to their friends. Practicing good hygiene, such as washing hands frequently and always sneezing or coughing into a tissue instead of out into the open air, can help prevent the spread of viruses.
If you notice the initial signs of a viral illness, you might be able to fight off a creeping cold with natural remedies such as vitamin C drops and lozenges containing zinc or echinacea.
Allergies in Teens
Allergies are often a common problem with teens. You can be allergic to almost anything, but mold and pollen are common allergens. You can tell if your sinus problems are caused by allergies instead of by a virus if they tend to occur every year during the same months and if they tend to mainly affect your nose and sinus cavities, not your throat or chest. Unlike a cold or the flu, which are contagious, allergies can’t be transmitted to anyone else. You can safely go to school even when you have severe allergies. For many teens, over-the-counter or prescription anti-allergy medication can help keep allergy symptoms at bay.
In some cases, a mild cold or bacterial infection can develop into a severe sinus infection. When this happens, the sinuses become inflamed and swollen, which can make breathing difficult. Some people are more prone to sinus infections than others, including teens with asthma. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about eight percent of people in the U.S. have asthma. If you develop sinusitis, you might need antibiotics to treat the problem. Some signs that your sinus infection has become too dangerous for home remedies to treat include:
- A fever over 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit
- Symptoms that don’t go away when you use over-the-counter remedies
- Symptoms that last 10 days or more
- Repeated episodes of sinus problems during the course of one year
Drug Use and Sinus Problems
Some drugs can cause sinus problems, especially those that are inhaled through the nose. Sinus problems caused by drug use can last a lifetime, especially if you use drugs over a long period of time. If you are experiencing sinus issues because of repeated drug use, call 1-888-388-5605 for addiction help. Once you quit drugs for good and start living a sober life, your sinuses can heal and you can breathe easy once again.
Dealing With Sinus Problems
When sinus problems become severe, a teen can suffer mentally as well as experience severe pain. Sometimes, over-the-counter medication is enough to relieve the pressure and allow you to live life normally. In other cases, you might need to see a doctor about having sinus surgery to repair damage inside your sinus cavities or remove nasal polyps that are blocking the airway. A doctor can tell you what you need to know about sinus infections and how to tell if you need more intensive treatment for your sinus problems.