Does your nose constantly feel stuffy and blowing it doesn’t seem to help? Are you experiencing pain or pressure in your cheeks, around your eyes, or in your forehead? Has your sense of taste or smell diminished? If you answered ‘yes’ to any of these questions, you may be suffering from a sinus infection.
A sinus infection, medically referred to as ‘sinusitis’ is a condition that causes the tissues that line the sinuses to become swollen or inflamed. The sinuses are hallow cavities located throughout the skull. They are lined with mucosa, a soft, pink tissue. Other than a thin layer of mucus, when they are healthy, the sinuses are empty. However, they can become blocked with fluid, which can allow germs to grow, causing an infection.
There are several conditions that can cause a sinus infection, including the common cold, a deviated septum, and allergic rhinitis (the swelling of the lining of the nose.) No matter what the cause of a sinus infection, one thing is certain: it can cause discomfort. Symptoms range from a stuffy and/or runny nose, a sore throat, and a headache. The headache can become so severe that it could be confused with a migraine.
If you’re suffering from a sinus infection, there’s no doubt that you want fast relief. While prescription medications can do the trick, if you prefer a natural approach, here are remedies that ease your discomfort.
One of the most annoying problems associate with a sinus infection is a stuffy nose. Steam can be a highly effective way to unclog the nose; plus, it’s easy. All you have to do is boil a pot of water. Remove the pot from the stove and place it on a flat surface. Position your face above the pot and drape a towel over your head. Take deep breathes through your nose to inhale the steam. The heat of the steam can break up the mucus clogging your sinuses, and it could also kill the bacterium that is causing the infection.
2. Stay hydrated
It’s always important to stay hydrated, but it’s particularly important when you have an infection. Drinking water will flush your system and support the immune system, thus driving the bacterium that is causing the infection. Additionally, water can assist in the dilution and breakup of the mucus that has collected in your sinus cavities as a result of the infection. Lastly, if you are experiencing a cough or a sore throat with your sinus infection, cold water can be very soothing, calming the cough and easing the pain in your throat. Make sure to drink at least eight 8 ounce glasses of cold water a day.
3. Apply a warm compress
A warm compress can provide relief for sinus pain and pressure, and it could help to break up the mucus that is clogging your sinuses and blocking your nose. To use this natural remedy, simply wet a clean cloth and heat it up in the microwave for about a minute. Wait until the cloth is cool enough to touch, yet still warm, and drape it over your eyes, nose and forehead. Hold the compress in place until it becomes cold, and repeat the process as necessary. This method can ease your stuffy nose, as well pain and pressure.
4. Apple cider vinegar
ACV has become a homeopathic cure-all, and for good reason, as it contains powerful components that can cure infections. You can use apple cider vinegar to treat a sinus infection two ways. One option is to mix a teaspoonful with a glass of cold water and drink it down. Another option is to mix a few drops into lukewarm purified water and use it as a wash for your sinuses. You can use a Neti pot, a simple apparatus that is specifically designed to flush the nasal passages and the accompanying sinuses. Make sure to use apple cider vinegar in the raw, as the mother contains enzymes that are helpful for fighting inections.
5. Flush the nasal passages
Flushing the nasal passages with a saline solution can be a highly effective treatment for sinus infections. Not only does it alleviate the pain associated with an infection, but it can also help cure it. Saline washes thin the mucus that overfills the sinuses when an infection occurs. These washes also keep the sinuses moist, which provides further relief. They have been extensively studied and proven to be highly effective for afflictions of the sinuses. Fill a neti pot with the saline solution. Tilt your head to one side and pour the solution through the uppermost nostril, allowing the fluid and mucus drain out of the other nostril.
6. Eat spicy foods
Spicy foods can also provide relief for a sinus infection. Foods like spicy brown mustard, horseradish, curry, hot peppers and wasabi can actually open up the nasal passages. When the passages are opened, the excess mucus that is blocking them will drain out. If you can tolerate spice, try eating dishes that contain spicy ingredients. You might be surprised to find out how much relief a bowl of hot chili can help to improve the annoying and uncomfortable symptoms that are associated with a sinus infection.
7. Give bromelain a try
Bromelain is a naturally occurring enzyme found in the stems of pineapples. It has been proven to be an effective solution for reducing swelling and inflammation. If you are suffering from a sinus infection, this could be very beneficial, as the sinuses become inflamed. Try eating pineapple or drinking the juice of this tropical fruit. You can also try taking a bromelain supplement. However, it’s important to note that this enzyme can react with other medications. Make sure you check with your doctor or read the precautions provided with any medications you may be taking. Also, you’ll want to be sure to follow the exact dosing instructions.
8. Use a humidifier
A humidifier can provide relief from the pressure, pain and congestion that is experienced with a sinus infection. It adds moisture to the air, which can reduce the swelling in the nasal passages. It can also help to loosen the buildup of mucus, allowing it to pass through the opened nasal passages with greater ease. A warm mist humidifier is recommended. Be sure to pay attention to the humidity level in the room; if the windows are fogging up, you’re adding too much humidity to the room. You also want to make sure that you clean your humidifier after each use, as a dirty one can breed mold.
9. Tumeric tea
This golden yellow, fragrant spice is an ingredient commonly used in many Indian and Middle Eastern dishes. It provides a wealth of physical benefits, thanks to the curcumin it contains. Curcmin is has anti-inflammatory proprieties that can help reduce the swelling associated with a sinus infection. It is also an antioxidant, which can provide even more benefits for a sinus infection. When turmeric is combined with ginger root and steeped in hot water as a tea, the two can ease sinus pressure and loosen mucus in the nasal passages. Plus, ginger can sooth an upset stomach, which is a common side-effect of a sinus infection.
10. Garlic could work, too
Though it is commonly used as an herb to flavor food, garlic is actually a vegetable, and it can provide great relief for a sinus infection. The reason? – Garlic contains the nutrient allicin, which has natural antibiotic, antiviral and antifungal properties. It also has anti-inflammatory properties, so it can help to reduce swelling in the nasal passages. Try adding garlic to your meals and even to smoothies. Take care while you’re preparing it, though; make sure to remove only a small piece from a glove at a time and allow it to sit for a few minutes before cooking it. Doing so will allow the vegetable to retain more of its nutritional benefits.