One in seven Americans suffer from sinus infections. If you’re one of the over 30 million Americans diagnosed with sinusitis every year, it’s likely you’re looking for a way to end your suffering. Sinus infections occur when your sinus tissue linings are inflamed.
Typically, healthy sinuses allow constant air flow. However, when your sinuses are clogged or swollen, they’re more likely to trap germs and cause infection. Common causes of sinus infections can be congestion from a cold or for greater reasons like a deviated septum or nasal polyps. These infections are common in people with allergies, contagious illnesses, drinking water while laying down, and being surrounded by smoke.
There are different types of sinus infections. For instance, acute sinusitis resembles a standard cold’s congestion and only lasts up to four weeks. Subacute sinusitis lasts up to 12 weeks, chronic sinusitis lasts at least 12 weeks and recurrent sinusitis occurs multiple times through the year.
Usually, sinus infections go away on their own, but if you don’t want to wait for your symptoms to clear, there’s a number of remedies you can use to get relief almost immediately. Here’s a list of sinus infection remedies.
Water is a great way to remedy a sinus infection for many reasons. For one, drinking fluids thins nasal mucus, making it easier to drain your sinuses. You can drink plain water or hot water. You can even add lemon and honey to make a warm, soothing tea.
You can also use a warm compress to loosen mucus. To start, heat your water as hot as you can stand. Place your washcloth in the water and after you wring it out, place it on your nose and the surrounding areas causing you pain. If you have a humidifier, use it to add moisture to the air and your nasal passage.
If you don’t own a humidifier, you can get similar results with steam inhalation. Boil some water and pour it in a bowl. Place a towel over your head and inhale the steam to unblock your nasal passages.
2. Consume antibacterial-rich foods.
Sometimes, eating certain foods help clear your nasal passages. Since some sinus infections are caused by a virus, there’s a variety of herbs and sinus-clearing foods you should consume. For instance, garlic is a great way to clear congestion.
Crushed garlic releases allicin, which kills both bacteria and viruses. You can crush and swallow raw garlic, or you can add honey to a spoonful of garlic and swallow. Not only does honey mask the strong taste, it also has antibacterial properties. You can also drink ginger tea to relieve sinus infection-related congestion.
In addition to the best foods to consume, there are some foods to avoid during your sinus infections. It’s wise to eliminate dairy when you’re experiencing flare ups. Dairy products like milk and cheese increase mucus production. They also thicken your mucus, causing even more congestion and pressure. You should also avoid sweets and comfort foods until your inflammation goes down.
3. Experiment with essential oils.
Essential oils are gaining popularity based on their many healing properties. Essential oils are great for sinus infection relief. Whether you inhale them directly, add them to a steam bowl, or put them in a diffuser, essential oils are a natural way to get rid of congestion and relieve inflammation.
Peppermint oil’s cooling effect works wonders for sinus infections. This oil’s menthol content makes it a decongestant agent that fights the bacteria responsible for sinus infections. Eucalyptus oil, a common ingredient in over-the-counter decongestants, also helps with sinus infection symptoms including headaches, runny nose, and nasal obstruction.
If you’re looking for a calming agent to help you sleep during sinus infections, try lavender oil. Lavender oil is great for pain relief and is also believed to assist with inflammation. Whichever oil you decide to use, be sure to dilute them, especially if they’re coming in contact with your skin.
4. Use over-the-counter mediation.
If natural remedies don’t help your sinus relief symptoms, speak with your doctor about trying over-the-counter medication. Depending on the cause of your sinus infections, there may be a medication to specifically reduce your symptoms. For example, there are antihistamines for allergy sufferers.
Pressure buildup may be relieved by aspirin. If you have high blood pressure, make sure you speak to your doctor about the appropriate medication to avoid further complications.
If you regularly suffer from sinus infections, it’s just as important to take preventative measures. To start, be gentle when you blow your nose. When you blow hard through both nostrils, the additional pressure encourages pain and inflammation. Instead, lightly blow one nostril at a time.
You should also carry around a water bottle. If you’re regularly hydrated, it’s harder for your mucus to thicken and cause inflammation. When you’re in the shower, consider lingering in the steam for a few minutes. This loosens your mucus and also helps you relax.
When you’re sleeping, make sure your head is propped on a pillow. It’s harder for mucus to form pools when your head is elevated. If your humidifier is on while you sleep, make sure you clean it continuously to avoid inhaling mold.
If you believe your sinus infections are triggered by allergies, you should make an appointment for an allergy test. That way, you know which allergens to avoid. Penn Medicine Becker ENT & Allergy is the place to find a quality sinus doctor in New Jersey. They specialize in identifying allergens and creating patient-specific solutions to be allergy-free.
Sinus infections can be a pain. While they usually go away on their own, it can be difficult dealing with the pain and inflammation for however long your symptoms last. However, by incorporating these tips and remedies into your everyday routine, you can keep your sinusitis at bay.