Sinusitis is a painful condition that affects the tissues in the lining of your sinus cavities. It can be very uncomfortable with symptoms of pressure, headaches, facial pain, and stuffiness. Steroid shots are used when home remedies and antibiotics not work. They can quickly reduce severe inflammation to help your body heal and recover. The effects of one shot are “short-term” and side-effects minimal with only one injection. Read on to see when the doctor may use this treatment, side-effects to watch out for, and other home remedies that may bring you quick relief.
When to Give a Steroid Shot for Sinus Infection
Doctors will want you to try home remedies in the first few days to avoid antibiotic or steroid use if possible. If the infection lasts for a number of days to weeks without improvement, your doctor may give you antibiotics, topical nasal steroids, or even a steroid shot. There are many different types and forms of steroids that may help a severe sinus infection. And the doctor will only administer the shots if you have the following issues with your recovery:
- Swelling that is interfering with your breathing.
- Nasal polyps that block air flow or mucus flow.
- You have taken antibiotics, and/or oral steroids, nasal steroids (topical form).
- You have seasonal allergies that cause repeated sinusitis
NOTE: Your doctor may not want to use steroids for sinus infection due to side-effects that can complicate other conditions you currently suffer from, including diabetes, osteoporosis, high blood pressure, and other chronic conditions that your doctor thinks are not safe to use steroids with.
How Does Steroid Shot Work for Sinus Infection?
If a sinusitis is severe enough, your doctor will administer steroid shot for sinus infection inflammation. The sinuses are hollow cavities that surround the nose, eyes, cheekbones, and forehead. When you get an infection or large amount of mucus that doesn’t drain out, bacterial growth can take over these hollow cavities. This causes inflammation and pressure, which leads to facial pain and headaches. Even if you take antibiotics and decongestants, sometimes the body needs help to reduce the inflammation.
Steroid shots can help quickly reduce the inflammation and bring relief from symptoms so your sinuses can fully heal from the infection. The anti-inflammatory action of the steroid reduces the immune system response to infection. Keep in mind that this action can put you at risk for other infections because it lowers the immune system. However, with antibiotic treatment your body will also continue to work to fight the infection.
How Fast Will Steroid Work?
A steroid shot for sinus infection will work within 24 hours after the injection if you are on antibiotics meanwhile. If the infection and inflammation are severe, it may take a few days to experience relief from symptoms. The steroid shot does not cure the infection, but will help speed up your recovery time.
If you are not taking antibiotics, the injection may take a little longer to work and may even slow down your immune response and delay recovery. Talk about this with your doctor to make sure you get the best treatment possible.
What to Expect—Possible Side Effects to Monitor
Corticosteroids, the most commonly used steroid shot for sinus infection, can have mild and serious side-effects. This is why doctors hesitate to use them until absolutely necessary. Keep in mind that any medication you use will have some side-effects and you have to outweigh the benefits of the medication against possible risks.Think about these few points:
- Sinusitis can cause severe effects if left untreated. The side-effects of steroids may not be as bad as permanent damage to the sinus tissues.
- Usually, the side-effects from steroid shot will be very short-lived after the first dosage. Yet, symptoms caused by side effect of steroid shot may remain for several days after the first shot.
- If you are on oral steroids and have side-effects, never skip a dose or stop taking this medication suddenly. Steroids must be tapered down to allow your body’s natural steroids to come back. Call your doctor immediately if you have severe side-effects.
Side Effects of Steroid Shot for Sinus Infection
Common Side Effects List
Serious Side Effects List
Call emergency care or 911 right away with difficulty breathing or facial, tongue, or throat swelling.
Seek your doctor’s advice if you have:
How Different Steroids Work
Before using steroid shots, there are other forms of steroid that can be applied to deal with sinus infection. They are:
When you are first diagnosed, your doctor may try a topical nasal steroid. These are sprayed into the nose and place steroid medication right on inflamed nasal tissues. These can’t always get deep into the sinuses. This is especially true if you have polyps in your nose or sinuses that can block inhaled medications.
Before trying a steroid shot for sinus infection, your doctor may want to try a short course of oral steroids. A “steroid burst” of oral prednisone taken for five to seven days may help to reduce inflammation. It may even help shrink the size of any polyps in the nose and sinuses. This can also help inhaled steroids get where they need to go.
More Choices for Sinus Infections
- Decongestants: These can help shrink the blood vessels in the nasal passages and sinuses and make it easier to breath. This can also help inhaled medications get where they need to go and take away stuffiness.
- Antihistamines: These reduce your body’s response to allergies. They lower the histamine and help reduce inflammation, congestion, and mucus production related to seasonal allergies.
- Home Remedies: You can try warm compresses on the sinuses or humidifying the air in your room. Your doctor may also suggest plain saline nose drops to help loosen mucus.