A sinus infection may often be mistaken for a bad cold but is a common health problem. In fact, sinusitis is an inflammation and congestion of the nasal passages. The condition may be triggered by a number of causes such as airborne allergens, dietary irritants, common pollutants, viruses, polyps, or even the overuse of nasal products in some cases.
Many people recover from sinusitis without any prescribed medication by following a number of natural remedies to get better and minimise the discomfort associated with the condition.
Staying hydrated helps the body in many ways including keeping the sinuses moist. When suffering from a sinus infection it is important to drink enough water throughout the day while staying clear of caffeinated beverages and alcoholic drinks since they can cause dehydration.
Other helpful ways of staying hydrated include drinking warm teas, having clear broths, soups and juices with no sugar added. All these fluids can help thin out the mucus and aid to drain it from the irritated sinuses. Fluid intake while promoting nasal drainage will also help the sinuses restore to their normal state.
Try a face massage
To seek temporary relief from the discomfort of blocked nasal passage, try giving the face a massage. A face massage can allow the individual to breathe easier by activating pressure points. To perform the massage, start with the index fingers of both hands on either side of the nostrils and rotate until both nostrils are closed. Continue for 10 seconds.
Now, apply the same rotating pressure with both index fingers but a little above the inner corners of the eyes for 20 seconds. Next perform the same rotation over the cheek bones and apply pressure for 10 seconds.
The next step involves stroking the cheekbones to the ears and applying pressure behind the earlobes using both index fingers. Continue this motion for 20 seconds and finish by massaging the earlobes for 30 seconds at least.
The total time it takes to perform this face massage is no more than a minute and a half yet it can provide temporary relief much like any over the counter medication. Repeat whenever you feel the sinuses blocking up again.
Hot water vapor can help moisten the sinuses. One way to take some steam is to add a few drops of eucalyptus or menthol in the bath and steam up the bathroom. A hot, steamy bath or shower can also help loosen mucus and debris stuck inside the nose.
Or inhale steam directly by dropping a few drops of eucalyptus or peppermint oil in hot water. Drape a towel over the back of the head and place face close enough to the scented water to be able to inhale the steam until nasal passages open up.
The same can be done with a few drops of essential oil added to the water in a humidifier.
As an alternative use a warm compress to the face. Applying a warm compress can help keep the nasal tissue moist and provide relief from sinus discomfort.
Flush nasal passages
A saline wash has the ability to thin out mucus and help flush it out of the nasal channels. Saline washes have been observed to be highly beneficial for sinus infections. In fact, they should be used as one of the first remedies for a sinus infection. It is recommended to use a saline solution via a neti pot or other similar device to maintain moisture in the nasal passages.
These nasal clearing devices are very helpful in irrigating the nasal cavity by clearing out any unwanted mucus and other inhaled contaminants that may have been trapped in there. For optimal results, use a neti pot or other easy squeeze bottle systems two times a day until relief is found.
Spicy food is known to help with clearing out the sinuses. Foods like hot peppers, mustard, curry horseradish and wasabi can help open congested sinuses, leading to nasal discharge. Spicy foods have also been linked with opening nasal cavities and promoting the restoration of normal and regular breathing. A return to unobstructed breathing will relieve the sinus pressure so characteristic of sinusitis discomfort.
Cayenne is one spicy ingredient that can be relied upon for its fiery disposition. It contains the active ingredient capsaicin that can be used to address sinus related issues. Add to food or sprinkle a small amount on beverages to not only add a kick to your food but also benefit from its healing potential.
And while spicy food cannot cure a sinus infection by keeping nasal passages open, it can permit the body to get rid of the thick mucus prolonging the infection.
Both turmeric and ginger root are common additions in meals and can yield a number of health benefits to the body. One common perk of using both turmeric and ginger root frequently is their accepted therapeutic value in regulating inflammation. While turmeric contains curcumin, ginger boasts protease, both of which have potential anti-inflammatory properties.
Additionally, turmeric is also an antioxidant and when combined with spicy ginger root and brewed for tea, this combination can assist in loosening mucus from clogged nasal passages. Add a boost of vitamin C by squirting tea with lemon juice. Drinking this concoction can also help alleviate sinus pressure and make an individual feel better overall.
To prepare, use one cup hot water, a half inch piece of ginger, half a teaspoon of turmeric, half a teaspoon of cinnamon, a quarter teaspoon of black pepper, pinch of ground cayenne pepper and juice from half a lemon.
Combine all ingredients and stir. Let stand for a few minutes and then drink up.
Apple cider vinegar
Given its natural antibiotic, antiviral, antifungal and anti-inflammatory activities apple cider vinegar can target the microorganisms causing the infection. Plus, apple cider vinegar helps maintain healthy alkaline pH levels which can assist in breaking up mucus and discourage the proliferation of disease. Finally, apple cider vinegar has an established repute as an immunity booster meaning it can prevent sinus infections from occurring in the first place.
To use, one or two tablespoons of unfiltered apple cider vinegar can be added to a cup of hot water or tea and taken a couple of times of a day to help thin out the mucus relieving congestion and sinus pressure. Mix the beverage with honey or lemon to taste.
To prepare an apple cider vinegar brew, use a quarter cup of water and unfiltered apple cider vinegar each. First bring the water to a boil and then add in the apple cider vinegar. Mix well and add in a tablespoon of honey and cayenne pepper each. Stir to mix well and top off with a squeeze of lemon. Drink the brew to benefit from the antibacterial properties of apple cider vinegar and the heat of cayenne to find relief from the discomfort of sinus symptoms.
Bromelain is a protein that is primarily sourced from pineapple stems. It is recommended to add some pineapple into the diet, or bromelain is available as a supplement and one of its therapeutic properties are associated with reduction of swelling among other things. Bromelain has been observed to be helpful in reducing the swelling in the nasal passages.
Bromelain has also been credited with breaking down fibrin and supporting proper drainage of tissues.
However, it has been known to interact with other drugs so it is recommended to use bromelain with caution.
Experts agree that adding humidity to indoor air is helpful for improved sinus health. In the face of forced heating systems in home and workplaces the indoor air can often become excessively dry triggering allergies and aggravating sinusitis. When the air breathed is too dry, the mucus that accumulates during a sinus infection will not drain as well as it should. This will encourage mucus buildup leading to faster congestion and then sinus discomfort.
Humidified air, on the other hand, is good for sinusitis. But it is important to remember that while a humidifier can keep the air moist, it is important to keep it clean especially if the individual is prone to mold allergies.
Allergy proof the premises
Many symptoms of a sinus infection and allergies can be very similar. Both conditions can present issues like congestion, runny nose, headaches, difficulty breathing and nighttime coughs among others. In instances where the individual also experiences facial pain and fever, the likelihood of an infection is greater.
The two, however, are related as allergies can aggravate a sinus infection. Typically, sinuses are filled with air but when nasal passages get clogged with fluid, germs like fungi, viruses and bacteria can breed and result in an infection.
Therefore, it becomes important to minimize common allergens that can infuriate sinus symptoms. This includes getting rid of dust mites, installing an air filter system, using bedding with allergen barriers and keeping any pets out of the bedroom to help control nasal allergies.