If you have ever experienced a sinus infection, you know all about the pain and discomfort that it can cause. A sinus infection is also known as sinusitis. It occurs when the cavities around your nose are swollen and inflamed.
Sinusitis can be triggered by a virus, allergies, a deviated septum, a tooth infection, or in rare cases, bacteria or fungus.
There are two main types of sinusitis: chronic and acute. With acute sinusitis, the infection is usually part of a cold or allergies—it will generally last for a short period of time. A chronic sinus infection typically lasts for more than eight weeks.
Acute and chronic sinus infections have very similar symptoms, so the best way to find out if you have an infection is to see your doctor.
Sinus Infection Symptoms
- Sinus discharge: The pain from a sinus infection or discharge can be uncomfortable and painful. If you have a sinus infection, you may feel the need to constantly blow your nose. A greenish-yellow discharged may clog your nose and seep down through your throat. If this occurs, you may feel a tickle or an itch at the back of your throat—this is called post-nasal drip.
- Congestion: While you are dealing with the drainage, your inflamed sinuses could restrict how you breathe through your nose. The infection will cause swelling in your sinuses and passages. You may also experience a reduced sense of taste or smell due to the nasal congestion.
- Pain: Pain is the most common symptom of sinusitis and will often be the most unpleasant for people. Your body has several different sinuses that are above and below your eyes, and behind your nose. If you develop a sinus infection, any of these can hurt. The inflammation and swelling in the sinuses cause them to ache with pressure. You may also feel pain in your forehead, on either side of your nose, upper jaws and teeth, or between the eyes.
- Cough: As the discharge drains down your throat, it can cause irritation, especially over a long period of time. This may cause an annoying and very persistent cough. The cough tends to be worse at night, which can make sleeping difficult. Try sitting upright while resting to help reduce how often the cough occurs and the intensity of it.
- Headache: The pressure and swelling in your sinuses can flow throughout your skull and leave you with a pulsing headache. Sinus pain can also give you earaches, toothaches, and pain in your jaw and cheeks.
- Sore throat: Once the infection has ended, the post-nasal drip can leave you with an aching throat. If the infection lasts for a few weeks, the mucus can irritate and inflame your throat.
10 Home Remedies for Sinus Infection
This is a protein-digesting enzyme sold as a supplement. Research indicates that bromelain can help with a speedy recovery of acute sinusitis. It can help reduce the swelling in the nasal passage, but you should speak to your doctor first. Bromelain could interact with other medications you may be taking.
2. Flush Your Nasal Passage
Saline sprays and washes, such as a neti pot, will help thin out the mucus and flush it out of the nasal passage. Using a saline solution can restore moisture to the nasal passages and reduce inflammation.
3. Drink Up
Staying hydrated will also restore moisture to your sinuses and keep them moist. Try to consume at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day. One trick to tell if you are drinking enough fluids is if your urine is clear.
4. Steamy Shower
Hot water vapor can moisten the sinuses. Taking a hot steamy shower or bath can help loosen the mucus and debris that is stuck inside your nasal passages.
Consuming spicy foods, such as hot peppers, mustard, horseradish, curry, and wasabi can help clear the nasal passages.
6. Apply Warm Compresses
Fill a pot with boiling water and place your face over it, but not too close where you could burn yourself. Place a towel over your head and inhale the steam.
7. Allergy-proof Your Bedroom
Allergies can make the sinus pain considerably worse and cause it to flare up. Use dust covers on your pillows and comforter. If you have a pet, do not let it sleep in the bedroom.
A humidifier will keep the air moist and clean, but be sure that you keep the humidifier clean. Do not use it during humid months, only dry months. Humidity levels should be between 35- 50% in the home. One way to tell if the humidity level is too high is if the windows begin to fog.
9. Know When to See Your Doctor
If natural remedies don’t help with the sinus pain, your doctor may perform a CT scan of your nose and sinuses to look for blockages. If your sinus pain lasts for over a week and you have also developed a fever, you should see an ear, nose, and throat specialist. A more aggressive form of treatment may be required.
10. Try Natural Remedies Before Asking for Antibiotics
Your body can become resistant to antibiotics if you use them when not needed. Antibiotics are sufficient at killing bacteria, but not viruses. In most cases, sinusitis is triggered by a virus, so antibiotics may not work. Seek advice from a medical professional.
Sources for Today’s Article:
Ellis, M., “Sinus-Stricken? Symptoms of an Infection,” Healthline web site, September 13, 2013; http://www.healthline.com/health/cold-flu/sinus-infection-symptoms#Congestion5.
Mann, D., “10 Natural Remedies for Sinus Pain,” Everyday Health web site, September 19, 2013; http://www.everydayhealth.com/sinus-health-guide/natural-remedies-for-sinus-pain.aspx.