Natural Home Remedies for Sinus Infections
If you are one of the millions of Americans who suffer from sinus infections, then you understand how the coughing, sore throat, headaches, and lack of sleep can make life truly difficult. These symptoms result in lost productivity at work, missed opportunities at home, and a significant decrease in your quality of life.
As a result, you may have found yourself seeking to alleviate your symptoms with over-the-counter (OTC) medications to no avail. You may even feel stuck in an endless cycle of infection, medication, and frustration that leaves you desperately searching for real solutions. Even when OTC medications provide temporary relief from symptoms, they may result in any number of unwelcomed side effects such as:
Over-the-Counter Medication Side Effects
- Disrupted sleep patterns
- Blood Pressure/Heart Complications
- Other complications based on your individual medical history
Some sinus sufferers believe that the only alternative to OTC medications involves risky surgical procedures. These procedures may be irreversible and have extended recovery periods along with the potential for lasting discomfort.
Thankfully, there are sinus treatments that do not require medication or invasive surgical procedures. Natural solutions are available and highly effective in providing safe and lasting relief from the frustration of sinus infections. Some of these natural remedies for sinus infections can even be done from the comfort and privacy of your own home.
What is Sinusitis (Sinus Infection)?
In order to discover the solution, it is necessary to fully understand the problem. A sinus infection begins when one or more of the sinus cavities become infected. This is often rooted in a virus but could also result from bacteria. The infection inflames the spaces around the sinus cavities and prevents mucus from draining naturally. This inflammation causes many of the following symptoms:
- Pain around the eyes, ears, cheeks, or forehead
- Drainage in the throat or nose
- Difficulty breathing
- Nasal congestion
- Sore throat
In addition, the inflammation and lack of drainage may result in a more serious infection as fluids are trapped in the sinus cavities.
Naturally Treating a Sinus Infection at Home
The key to sinusitis relief is to promote natural mucus drainage from the sinus cavities. This drainage can be achieved by reducing the swelling and eliminating the blockage. The most common natural remedies for sinus congestion include the use of sterile water to break up the obstruction so that mucus can drain as intended. Two options for introducing water into nasal cavity involve the use of steamed water or a sinus rinse.
Steamed water is one of the most effective decongestants that nature provides. The vapor increases the humidity in the air and begins to break up the blockage as it is breathed through the nostrils. Steam works naturally to thin the mucus so that it can be expelled from the nose allowing the sinus cavities to drain.
There are several ways to introduce steam into the nasal passages, including:
- Warm Shower – Spending a few extra minutes in a warm shower and slowly breathing through the nose can help to break up blocked mucus.
- Warm Bowl – Pour warm liquid in a bowl and carefully place it on a table or counter. Cover your head with a towel and lean over the bowl to slowly breathe in the steam. Be sure to keep a safe distance from the warm water.
- Steam Machine (Vaporizer) – These machines heat water to produce vapor that can be breathed into the nasal passages to clear a blockage. Vaporizers are similar in effectiveness to cool mist humidifiers; however, the heated water in a vaporizer carries less risk of bacteria growth.
Steamed water is natural and chemical-free, but it is not without risk. When working with steam, remember that burns are possible. Be careful when handling containers of hot liquid to prevent spills. Also, remember that if the steam is too hot, it can burn the eyes and skin. Additional precautions should be taken when attempting to use steam to treat children or the elderly.
Sinus rinses come in many solutions and delivery methods, but most are a mixture of distilled water and various types of sodium (salt). The saline solution can be introduced into the nasal passage through a misty spray or by pouring the water directly into the nose. Once the liquid enters the nasal passage, the water and salt begin to naturally clear the blockage and restore the flow of mucus.
These methods are highly effective in returning the sinuses to their natural working order as well as providing relief from the related symptoms. Sinus rinses are safe, effective, and natural, but are not completely without risk. The majority of risk comes from patients who fail to use the sinus rinse as instructed, please carefully read and follow all instructions. These instructions may include the following:
- Only use sterile or distilled water. Do not use bottled water, spring water, tap water or even filtered water as they may contain bacteria that could be detrimental to your sinus cavities.
- In the case of a severe blockage, the sinus rinse may be blocked from coming back out of the nose. In these cases, discontinue use until the blockage is free as this may cause further infection to the sinuses.
- Clean your sinus rinse container as instructed. Bacteria growth in the container may cause additional complications.
Natural Solutions for Symptom Relief
In addition to the solutions listed above, there are other natural methods that help to minimize the discomfort from sinusitis symptoms. These solutions may not address an underlying infection but can provide relief and improve quality of life during an episode of sinusitis.
- Warm Compress – a warm towel or compress placed on the face in the area of the inflamed sinus cavity may provide relief from pain and inflammation. This is an effective natural home remedy for sinus headaches.
- Hydration – Drinking plenty of water will help the body to naturally fight the infection and promote drainage. Hydration from healthy fruits and vegetables may also promote natural healing.
- Humidifiers – Using a humidifier during the day or while sleeping will keep the nostrils moist and may prevent the build up of blockages. They work both to prevent blockage while also encouraging more effective breathing and sleep. Humidifiers are similar to vaporizers, but generally work with cool rather than hot water. Both humidifiers and vaporizers are effective natural home remedies for sinus congestion; however, be sure to follow the directions and clean your humidifier properly to prevent bacteria growth.
- Elevated Head – Keeping your head elevated when lying down will allow gravity to naturally boost sinus drainage.
When Natural Remedies Fall Short
Natural home remedies are a safe and effective treatment for sinus infections; however, you may find that the results are not meeting your expectations. Have you successfully used natural methods and find that you still struggle with chronic or intense sinusitis? If so, there is a safe and minimally invasive solution known as balloon sinuplasty. This simple procedure is done from the comfort of the doctor’s office and gently dilates the sinus cavity to return the body to its natural condition. Once the sinuses are free of blockage, normal flow resumes and the body continues the natural healing process. Imagine a life free of sinus infections and symptoms. Schedule an appointment today with one of our sinus care professionals.