Are you 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
- Blood Pressure/Heart Complications
- Disrupted sleep patterns
- 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 the nasal cavity involve the use of steaming water or a sinus rinse.
Water vapor (steam) is created when water is heated. Steam is one of the most effective decongestants, because the heated vapor can easily break through a blocked nasal passage and provides quick relief. As the steam travels through the nasal passage, it thins mucus and allows it to flow out as intended. Once the nose is cleared, the sinuses can begin to drain. In addition, steam can soothe inflamed sinuses and reduce pain surrounding the sinuses.
The benefits of steam can be accomplished through several simple and inexpensive solutions:
- Steam Bowl – Place your face a safe distance above a bowl of warm water and cover your head with a towel to trap the steam. Take slow and deep breaths through the nose to help break up blockages. It is important to take all precautions when working with heated water. Never place your face above boiling water or water that is on a heated stove. Be very careful when transporting hot liquids as water and steam can both cause serious burns.
- Vaporizer (Steam Machine): – Much like a steam bowl, a vaporizer is an effective tool that heats water and produces steam. These machines are inexpensive and may be a safer alternative to transporting pots of boiling water. They can be placed anywhere in a room for convenient treatment and symptom relief.
2. Sinus Rinse (Neti Pot)
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 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.
3. Drink Plenty of Water
One of the most powerful solvents on earth is nothing more than pure water. Water is used in many applications as a thinner, cleaner, and diluter. When it comes to a sinus infection, water can be used in much the same way to thin mucus, clean the sinuses, and dilute a blockage. Natural sinus treatments may involve the use of liquid, mist, or vaporized water.
Other Solutions for Sinus Infection 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 the 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.
- 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.