Sinus Infections and Allergy Medications

| Modified: Apr 28, 2012
Add New Post
If you are prone to getting sinus infections from allergies, be careful of the over-the-counter painkillers and allergy medications. This list can include pain relievers with Ibuprofen, Acetaminophen and all allergy medications. We have discovered that they can stress the liver unduly, creating more mucous in the body as the liver fights to detox from the medications. So instead of helping with sinus conditions, these sinus prescriptions actually exacerbate them!

One sign of a stressed liver is that your mucous will get thicker and more yellow in color. A test you can do to monitor whether your body is having a hard time processing an allergy medication or pain reliever is to note the color of your mucous before you take the medication and then after. (Note: you can only do this if you aren't already on a pain reliever or allergy medication.)

If your mucous is clear, you have allergies. (Note: clear mucous can also be indicative of a virus.) If within 12 hours of taking a medication, your mucous gets thicker and/or turns from clear to yellow or yellow/green, your body is having a difficult time processing the medication you just took. Moreover, if you are prone to getting sinus infections, be forewarned this is an early warning signal of an impending sinus infection. The time frame from allergy to sinus infection is very fast, so you must take action quickly.

If you've noticed this reaction to pain relievers or allergy medications, please let us know using our reader feedback form.

Reader Feedback

Posted by Cwilly (Kennewick, Wa, Usa) on 02/17/2011

I am a big fan of this site and have been for several months. This is my first question. Does anyone know if using natural remedies for a sinus infection along with augmentin (antibiotic) would pose any problems. My son has a genetic immune deficiency and his Dr. Has prescribed augmentin for a sinus infection that showed up on an xray. He does not have typical symptoms but has had nose bleeds and headaches regularly for several months and has had chronic sinusitis most of his life. I want to avoid the use of antiboitics (he has been on them most of his life as well) and try the natural route of ACV, oil pulling and sovereign silver nasal spray and liquid. But because he has the immune deficiency I don't know if skipping the antibiotics this time would be in error. I was wondering if anyone has used these remedies while taking antibiotics and if one would interfere with the other?

Replied by Lily
Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

Hi cwilly, I wouldn't think that Apple Cider Vinegar or oil pulling would affect the anti-biotics, after all they are pretty much kitchen remedies. I don't know what sovereign silver is but I am sure your doctor would let you know if that one would be a problem. It doesn't hurt to ask. Cheers Lily.

Replied by Cwilly
Kennewick, Wa, Usa

thanks for the reply. I had a friend who is a radiologist take a look at the xrays and she said it doesn't look like a sinus infection at all but signs of chronic inflammation from prior infections.

Replied by Diamond
Merrimac, Mass.

When taking anti-biotics is not good for anyone's body it's only a temp. situation for a perm. problem, by using other chemicals your adding insult to injury, most peoples bodies are like self cleaning oven's(they need a rest too) yet sometimes if & when we may need a boost or two, I try to stick with herbs but be sure to do your foot work/ask a whole lot of questions first. Good luck

Replied by Cwilly
Kennewick, Wa, Usa

I decided not to give him the antibiotics. He has been doing sinus rinses with saline. So far no worsening of "symptoms". I put that in quotes because he had no nasal discharge to begin with, just headaches and nose bleeds. My radiologist friend did not think these were related to the scarring she saw on the xrays. Thanks for the feedback!

blessings, cw

Posted by Joanna (SF, CA) on 04/03/2008
5 out of 5 stars

It's mind boggling how an allergy medication is allowed to sold and it causes more severe conditions. I've been sick 4 times in 8 weeks. with ear/sinus/respiratory infections since I started taking Claritin-D a few months a go then switche dot ZyrtecD both made me execessivley thirsty with constant infrections. I am medicaiton free now and would like to know more about success with holistic tries. I have read that allergies is a symptom of dehydration, maybe an utlra hydrating product

Posted by Judy (Hawkesbury, Canada) on 08/25/2007
5 out of 5 stars

re: using sinus or allergy medication - makes it worse in the long run. Pain diary sounds like I could have written it. Add guaifenesin to the must-use. It's the active ingredient in Robitussin. No dextromethorphan or other fancies - just the plain stuff. Or get capsules. It tastes awful. I noticed pseudoephidrine in the diary. I use it when I can't handle the pain when I have a head cold. I also use Claritin (allergy medication) which also dries things up. It has consequences that don't seem to be listed any where that make things worse for people like us. Your face fills up with dried up mucous - layer after layer. And it won't come out. This impacts the trigeminal nerve. I couldn't even touch my cheek just beside my nose for YEARS - and my tooth ached constantly - but it is already a root canal. And the pressure on the nerve precipitates the attacks and makes migraines worse. So do swollen glands. Clean out the dried up mucous with guaifenesin (active ingredient in Robitussin). Might take awhile, but it's worth it. Also steam and massage. You'll never believe how much gunk is tucked away in your face! Makes you really sick because all the stuff that you dried up is loose again and floating around, but it's coming out - fast and easy.

Posted by Dana (Noblesville, IN) on 06/11/2007
5 out of 5 stars

I have noticed that the mucus becomes more yellow and thick when taking Ibuprofen and Tylenol Sinus meds. The E.R. doc told me to take 600 mg IBU & 650 of Acetominiphen. Thats alot of stress I already thought on the body. I have yet to find anything that will help ail the extreme sore throat and pressure. I plan to try the ACV method. I have also been told the Raw Apple Cider Vinegar will help cure Heartburn, bringing the acidic levels in the digestive trac and system back to a normal by tricking the body. Haven't tried yet as well, but I will.

Posted by Tim (Richmond, VA) on 06/02/2007
5 out of 5 stars

I was having some allergy issues and my brother gave me an Alavert dissolving pill. with in 24 hours I was down with flu like symptoms, and ended up with a terrible sinus infection that sent me to the doctor, I wish I had read this site earlier, trying the acv right now.

Posted by Kathy (Saskatoon, Canada) on 04/30/2007
5 out of 5 stars

Re: Over the counter medicines prolonging sinus infections -- I've noticed a similar problem with over-the-counter cold/sinus medications. Every time I take one of these medications it seems to provide short term gain for longer term pain. I usually end up having to go to the clinic for anti-biotics to get rid of the lingering sinus problem.

Posted by Maria (St. George, UT) on 04/29/2007
5 out of 5 stars

Re: Sinus Infections and Allergy Medications: The Link... I definitely agree with this. I had a mild cold, and took some Theraflu Cold medicine. After the medicine wore off, I felt much worse and have had two weeks of an intense sore throat and nasal congestion.

Posted by Carolyn (Salem, NH) on 04/03/2007
5 out of 5 stars

I have suffered sinus infections for years. This was one of the worst. The pain was intolorable. It was 1:00 am when I googled sinus pressure natural cures and your site came up. I read the feedback and left the house at 1:15am to go to a local all night store to get some ACV. I immediately drank 1/4 cup and tried the steaming. Within 10 minutes my nose was running and the pressure had diminished. I am going to stay up a little longer and steam again and I can't thank you enough for this GREAT natural remedy. Oh, by the way I had been on an antibiotic for 7 days at this point and taking otc decongestants. Nothing helped as much as the ACV. I will never be without it!!!

Posted by Denise (Ely,UK) on 03/31/2007
5 out of 5 stars

Re: Acid Reflux/Sinusitis: After struggling with acid refux doc took me off N S A I D's. I thought it was common knowledge that these cause acid reflux. I just hadn't made the link. However due to severe arthritis, now taking a lot of painkillers! [cocodamol] am now struggling with sinusitis, doc said no link, hence this internet search hope you are right, off to make tomato tea, fingers crossed it will work

Posted by Dianne (Seattle, WA) on 03/11/2007
5 out of 5 stars

I've had minor allergies for most of my life & progressive allergies for about 8yrs. Many of my symptoms are "sub clinical" & even the Allergists have dismissed me as a chronic complainer when I describe my symptoms. My most recent issue is that if I take pain Tylenol or Benedryl I get chills & a weird, creepy-crawling feeling inside of my lower back. I asked the Dr. to check my kidneys but an ultra-sound looked normal. I'm now going to look into liver stress thanks to your article. I can't believe the Dr.s didn't make the connection at the time of my visit

Posted by Richie (Newport, NC) on 02/21/2007
5 out of 5 stars

I have been taking pain killers for four(4) months now, have noticed mucus was becoming very thick and amber in color. being a person who pays attention to what comes out of my body, I became alarmed. I do not not like the idea of taking prescriptions, but at the time this was my option. Anyway, long story short; found your site, agree with most of your cures, but I also know that one size does not fit all. I tried most of your sinus remedies, payed attention to what ingredients were working, and found a simple technique to drain sinuses early morning w/little prep work. Turn on hot water, grab coffee cup, put 1 tsp sea salt, 1/2 tsp H202, small amount of hot water( enough to make paste out of sea salt) take q-tip, dip in solution until saturated, put in nostril , tilt head back and inhale deep. This will make you cry, but your sinuses will drain immediately. I suppose, just based on my own exp. that when taking meds, the binders in the meds that can't/ or don't get broke down find something else to bind to in your body. For me, it has been my mucus. Which also lends me to believe that the cure is worst then the disease, because we don't know how long these things can stay in our system or what else they are attaching them selves to that can become problematic over the course of your life

Posted by Prevaka (NY) on 04/29/2006
5 out of 5 stars


Posted by Mary (Plano, TX) on 02/03/2006
5 out of 5 stars

"I put off taking anything because I was still nursing my 7mo. twin boys until just a few days ago when I took Benadryl Allergy. My mucous immediately got thick and yellow. I didn't take it last night, and I'm back to thin clear. Wow! I guess I won't take anymore!

Posted by Sim (Geldersheim, Germany) on 01/31/2006
5 out of 5 stars

I do not like to take medicines, but I was feeling so awful that I took some sinus medicine last night and went to bed. I woke up this morning feeling worse, this is my third day.

Posted by Jeanne (Austin, TX) on 01/22/2006
5 out of 5 stars

Well, I haven't noticed whether my sinus condition gets any worse after taking a pain reliever, but I can report that I look terrible the next day. 24 hours after taking an Advil or Tylenol I've noticed horrible dark circles under my eyes... my skin looks gaunt and unhealthy. It lasts the whole day. I wouldn't be surprised if the acetaminophen wasn't affecting my liver somehow.

Replied by Sara
Providence, Ri

Cold medications causing sinus infections:

I am absolutely loathe to take any kind of medication. I've caught the plague that was being shared throughout my group of friends. First was the strep like symptoms, with severely swollen glands, sore throat, and fever. Then the flu like symptoms: chills, body aches, low grade fever, sneezing, etc. Then my sinuses became so congested that my ears have been blocked for three days. I became so frustrated by the ear blockage, that I finally decided to take some guaifenesin to thin the mucus and hopefully unblock my ears.

Well, the ears are still blocked and now instead of the clear and free flowing mucus I had before, I have thick brownish yellow mucus, with bloody flecks in it. My sinuses are in serious pain. I wish I had looked further into remedies before going with the cold medicine. I'll be trying the ACV once I get home from work.

Replied by Dave
Fountain Inn, Sc

General comment about sinus infection... Don't forget to try colloidal silver into the sinus cavity. I use an ear syringe to shoot the silver solution way back into the recesses. One good squirt on each side of perhaps a half teaspoon amount in each application. Then ten minutes later do it again. Most infections will be gone in four or five applications. Some viruses are especially hard and you might have to apply for a week or longer. You will likely feel a burning especially on one side where the infection is dominate. If you know someone who home makes the colloidal silver get a bottle from them as the quality is going to be stronger than the brands at the store. If the infection has gone to the lungs, get a good steam maker that is made to fit onto the face so you can breath the silver solution deeply. Do this three or four times daily for about five days. The silver will keep the infection from going further. Breath in deeply the steam for at least five minutes per sitting.

If you suspect a systemic infection you will have to drink the silver in 8 oz doses twice a day on an empty stomach for up to six months. Properly diluted no tinting of the skin will take place. If you have had a serious infection in the past such as chronic ear infection; strep; mono and you never really got your strength back and then persistent headaches such as migraines four or five times a week, then suspect viral miningitus. You will have to be on silver solution for a year or longer. Remember viral miningitus is not a "single" virus but can be any virus that has gotten to the brain. I have had "patients" apply silver solution with drops of DMSO as a peretrator/ carrier soaked into a WHITE paper towel and applied as a poultice to the back of the neck at base of skull twice daily for four days a week for months to try to get the silver to the brain. This is done only if you believe that you did not recover from a serious infection such as listed above and other symptoms demonstrate that the virus is in the brain. For such a serious condition you will also be drinking the solution for months until symptoms are gone. Keep it up until the virus is truly killed. Men may find an added benefit. Some find that frequent urination is reduced with drinking silver solution on an empty stomach. (4 oz to 8 oz. Twice a day)