Do stuffy nose, debilitating pain, and pressure around the face or yellow/green nasal discharge sound familiar to you? You might ignore it as a common cold and wait for it to go away on its own. But the chances are that the symptoms won’t budge or might even amplify. This can be an indication of a sinus infection.
Sinus infection, also known as sinusitis, is the inflammation in the air pockets around your nose. The sinuses help to humidify the air we breathe, but once inflamed, the sinuses and the nasal passage swell up and get filled up with fluids. This leads to nasal congestion and infection. (8)
- Causes of Sinusitis
- Symptoms of Sinusitis
- Prevention of Sinusitis
- Home Remedies to Get Rid of Sinus Infection
- Method 1: Use a Neti Pot
- Method 2: Use Saline Water
- Method 3: Use Hydrogen Peroxide
- Method 4: Inhale Steam
- Tips to get relief from a sinus infection
Causes of Sinusitis
- Common cold
- Allergens such as dust mites, pollen, and pet dander
- Air pollutants
- Benign nasal growth, also known as nasal polyps
- Deviated septum - bone, and cartilage that divide the nasal cavity
- Sensitive sinuses
- Regular smoking
- Regular swimming or diving can make you prone to sinusitis due to pressure changes in the nasal cavity
Symptoms of Sinusitis
Some common symptoms include:
- Pain or pressure around the nose
- Stuffy or a runny nose
- Cough and congestion
- A cold that doesn’t go away
- Bad breath
- Pain in the teeth
Prevention of Sinusitis
It is usually difficult to predict or prevent a sinus infection as it can be triggered by a number of reasons. You can still adopt some healthy habits to steer clear from infections in general.
- Avoid smoking or passive smoking.
- Wash your hands regularly during the flu season to avoid catching an infection.
- Do not touch your face too often if suffering from cold. It allows more germs to enter your nasal cavity and aggravate the condition.
- Use a humidifier, as dry nasal cavities can lead to irritation.
- Keep your home clean and clutter-free to avoid dust mites. You can also use dust mite covers for pillows and mattresses.
- Drink lots of water to keep the mucus membranes hydrated.
- Consume foods rich in Vitamin C to increase your immunity against infections.
Home Remedies to Get Rid of Sinus Infection
You surely have several antihistamines and decongestants at your disposal to give partial or complete relief from the symptoms. However, popping pills now and then badly affects your body.
There are few home remedies that you can try to get relief from sinusitis. However, these remedies are no magic and can’t cure the infection in a jiffy, but they can surely help to flush out fluids from your sinuses and restore normal breathing.
You can continue using the remedies for a few days along with other medications to recover from the sinus infection fully.
Here are the four home remedies to clear out your sinuses and get relief from the sinus infection naturally.
Method 1: Use a Neti Pot
Though it sounds fairly gross and uncomfortable to shove a spout into your nose, neti pots can provide instant relief by opening up your sinuses. (5)
Neti pot looks like a hybrid of a teapot and Aladdin’s magic lamp. The neti pot, usually made of plastic or ceramic, is used to irrigate your nasal passage by taking saline water up through one nostril and draining it through the other. You can buy one online or from a drug store.
- Prepare a saline solution (1) by adding ¼ teaspoon of salt to 1 cup of tepid water. Always use sterile or distilled water while preparing a saline wash. Also, do not use excess salt as it can irritate and burn the tissues of your nasal cavity.
- Pour the solution into the neti pot.
- Lean over a sink and tilt your head to one side so that your face is parallel to the sink.
- Insert the spout of the pot in your nostril and pour in the water and let it flow out from the other nostril. Don’t panic if the water doesn’t come out instantly. It may take a few seconds for the water to start draining.
- Keep yourself relaxed and breathe through your mouth while you carry out the procedure.
- Retain half of the solution for rinsing the other nostril.
- Tilt back and blow out the remaining solution from your nose.
- Repeat the same process for the other nostril by tilting your head in the opposite direction.
Irrigating your nasal cavities with neti pot will relieve the congestion within an hour. However, you will have to use it at least once a day for 3 to 4 weeks to completely cure the sinus infection.
You can also get rid of congestion-induced snoring with the help of a neti pot.
There are several herbal washes available in the market that can be used instead of saline water. However, opt for ones that are zinc-free as zinc can lead to loss of smell. Also, herbal washes are not recommended for pregnant women.
Method 2: Use Saline Water
Remember your grandma injecting saline water into your stuffy nose? Well, it is not an old wives’ tale but a scientific remedy to decongest your nasal cavity. (2) Rinsing your sinuses with saline water helps to thin down the sputum. (3) As a result, it opens up the nasal blockage, allowing you to breathe normally. (4) It also helps kill the infection and reduce postnasal drips. (6)(7)
Step 1. Prepare the saline solution
- Add ¼ teaspoon of salt in 1 cup of warm water. It is preferable to use sea salt.
- Stir thoroughly till the salt completely dissolves in the water.
- Transfer the solution to a squeeze bottle. You can also use a bulb syringe or a squirt bottle.
Step 2. Pour a few drops of saline water in each nostril
- Lie down and tilt your head upward.
- Pour 3 to 4 drops of the saline solution in each nostril and wait for a few seconds. The solution might drain into your throat. Don’t gross out. Just spit it out.
- The saline drops will open your nasal passages within 5 to 10 minutes.
You can continue to use it 2 to 4 times a day for a week till you are relieved from the congestion.
Method 3: Use Hydrogen Peroxide
Hydrogen peroxide is an effective remedy to unclog your sinuses. It has strong antibacterial properties that can kill the infection and hasten your recovery.
Step 1. Prepare a solution of hydrogen peroxide and water
- Pour 1 teaspoon of 3% of hydrogen peroxide into ½ cup of water.
- Transfer the solution to an air-tight bottle.
Step 2. Pour diluted hydrogen peroxide in the nostrils
- Take the solution in a dropper.
- Lie down and tilt your head upwards.
- Pour 2 to 3 drops of the diluted hydrogen peroxide in each nostril.
- Wait for a few seconds and blow out any remaining liquid. The solution will drain out your sinuses instantly.
You can continue to use hydrogen peroxide nasal drops once a day for 2 to 3 weeks to clear out the infection completely.
You can also pour the diluted solution in a neti pot and use the pot to flush your sinuses. However, prepare the solution in 1:10 ratio of hydrogen peroxide to water.
Method 4: Inhale Steam
If the idea of pouring liquids in your nose leaves you nauseated, try the old school method of inhaling the steam. Steam helps to moisten your sinuses and relieve sinus pressure. It also thins down the mucus, making it easier to drain out.
You can either keep it plain and simple or add in some essential oils or the very potent Apple Cider Vinegar. Inhaling steam can also be helpful in reducing chest congestion.
# Use Essential Oil
Essential oils have antibacterial, antifungal, and antiseptic properties. They turn water into a potent elixir that can kill bacteria or any other micro-organism in your nasal cavity. Some of the types of oil that you can use are eucalyptus, lavender, peppermint, thyme, or tea tree oil.
Things you’ll need:
- Boiled water — 1 quart
- Peppermint essential oil (antibacterial, antifungal, and antiseptic properties)
- Eucalyptus essential oil (antibacterial, antifungal, and antiseptic properties)
Step 1. Add a few drops of essential oil to boiled water
- Boil 1 quart of water in the microwave or on a gas oven. It is preferable to use distilled water, but you can also use tap water and boil it thoroughly to remove impurities.
- Remove from the heat and transfer water in a large bowl.
- Add 8 to 9 drops of peppermint oil and eucalyptus oil to the water.
Step 2. Inhale the steam
- Carefully place the bowl on a table and sit in a comfortable position.
- Cover your head with a towel and bring your face above the bowl so that the steam can enter your nose. Keep your eyes closed and maintain adequate distance from the bowl so that you don’t burn yourself.
- Inhale the steam through your nose and exhale through the mouth. Continue breathing for 10 minutes or till the water is steaming.
Repeat 3 times a day for 1 to 2 weeks.
# Use Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is another effective remedy to get rid of sinus infection. The antibacterial and antiseptic properties of the vinegar kill the bacteria and create a hostile environment for the infection. As it is acidic in nature, it also helps break down the sputum and drain it out from the sinuses.
Single-Step Method: Heat diluted apple cider vinegar & inhale the steam
- Add around a ½ cup of apple cider vinegar to ½ cup of water.
- Heat the solution for 5 to 7 minutes.
- Once boiled, remove it from the heat and place it on your table.
- Inhale the steam as mentioned in Step 2 of the previous method.
- You will get relief from the congestion within 10 to 15 minutes.
Repeat twice a day for a month to prevent the reoccurrence of infection.
Tips to get relief from a sinus infection
- Using warm compresses around the nose can ease sinus pain.
- Eating garlic also helps relieve sinus infection as it is a powerful natural antibiotic.
- You can also add a few drops of grapefruit seed extract to warm water and inhale it frequently to get relief. You can also add it to warm water in a neti pot and rinse your sinuses.
- Inhaling through a piece of onion or horseradish can also open up your sinuses because of their high sulfur content.
- Consuming a nice hot cup of ginger and lemon tea can provide comfort during a sinus infection and also improve immunity.
- Limit your intake of dairy products and refined grains as they produce mucus and can worsen the condition.
- Check with your doctor before trying any remedy if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or taking any medication.
- LY C, K H, C H, et al. Cochrane. Saline irrigation for chronic rhinosinusitis. https://www.cochrane.org/CD011995/ENT_saline-irrigation-chronic-rhinosinusitis. Published April 26, 2016.
- Inanli S, Ozturk O, et al. The Effects of Topical Agents of Fluticasone Propionate ... The Laryngoscope. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/11474655. Published March 2002.
- BK K, MH N, MW R. Effects of buffered saline solution on nasal mucociliary ... Otolaryngology. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15523448. Published November 2004.
- Rabago D. Efficacy of daily hypertonic saline nasal irrigation among ... The Journal of Family Practice. https://www.mdedge.com/jfponline/article/65458/efficacy-daily-hypertonic-saline-nasal-irrigation-among-patients-sinusitis.
- Tomooka LT, Murphy C, Davidson TM. Clinical Study and Literature Review of Nasal Irrigation. The Canadian Journal of Chemical Engineering. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1097/00005537-200007000-00023. Published January 2, 2009.
- Berg JW, M. de Nier LMde N, Kaper NM, et al. Limited Evidence: Higher Efficacy of Nasal Saline Irrigation over Nasal Saline Spray in Chronic Rhinosinusitis-An Update and Reanalysis of the Evidence Base. Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery. http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/0194599813510885. Published November 15, 2013.
- Wabnitz DAM, Wormald PJ. A Blinded, Randomized, Controlled Study on the Effect of ... The Laryngoscope. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1097/01.MLG.0000157284.93280.F5. Published January 3, 2009.
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Summary of How to Get Rid of Sinus Infection
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