Having the sniffles is no fun, but most of the time you can chalk it up to a light cold or to seasonal allergies. Sometimes, however, your symptoms are too aggravated and too drawn out for you to only suspect a touch of a cold sometimes, those sniffles develop into a sinus infection.

But if you’ve never really had a sinus infection before and/or you’re on your own with the illness for the first time in your life, you probably don’t know what to do to fix it or how to feel better. So if you’re looking for a no-fuss guide for what to do when you contract a sinus infection, then here’s what you need to know.

Gather Your Meds

As sinus infections come with a myriad of symptoms, so too will you need a couple different medications in order to treat all of them. The sinus headache that almost always accompanies a sinus infection can be easily treated with over-the-counter pain relief medications such as ibuprofen, while the runny or stuffed nose can be treated by cold or allergy medications such as diphenhydramine and phenylephrine, respectively. If your sinus infection comes with a bit of a cough, find an expectorant (which thins mucus) such as guaifenesin or a cough suppressant with dextromethorphan.

Identify The Cause

Sinus infections can be caused by many different factors, and is usually a result of two or more triggers. These include a preexisting cold (which is by far the most common trigger for a sinus infection), allergies, a deviated septum, and even a toothache. It’s important to identify what could have caused your sinus infection so that you can gain peace of mind and also so that your doctor can have all the information they’ll need if you decide to go in to see one about your sinus infection.

Settle In

Sinus infections, while annoying and (at times) painful, simply cannot go on forever – in fact, the general time for an acute sinus infection to appear, cause havoc, and leave is somewhere under four weeks. That’s not to say you have to take a month off of work or school or any other daily duties–it’s just a ballpark of how long you can expect the sniffles and a headache. As long as you wait three days after contracting your infection to go back to work (as to not infect anyone else) and keep up on your meds as needed, you should be able to weather this sinus infection until it finally disappears.