5 Do consider what’s causing persistent congestion. OTC nasal sprays are intended to relieve short-term congestion from such infections as the common cold, not to treat prolonged congestion. If your stuffiness lingers, ask your doctor what might be causing it, rather than overdoing it with sprays and risking the rebound effect. You could have an underlying problem such as allergies or a sinus infection. In those cases, the doctor might recommend a medication that’s more appropriate for chronic congestion, such as an antihistamine or a prescription nasal spray that contains a steroid.
Sinus infections, the cause of untold misery, strike about 37 million people in the . each year.
On the surface of things, the cause of sinus trouble is clear. Teeny holes that connect your nasal passages to your sinuses (basically a collection of hollow, moist cavities that lurk beneath your nose, eyes, and cheeks) get blocked. Then gunk builds up in your sinuses, germs may grow, and you feel, well, hideous.
But the cause of the blockage is sometimes trickier to figure out. Here are 13 things that can cause an acute sinus infection (the most common type) and, in some cases, lead to a chronic sinus infection.