Home Remedies for Sinus Infection

Home Remedies for Sinus Infection

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  1. You know it’s coming when you wake up with that terrible tickle in your throat. Next thing you know, it’s a full-blown cold. If your nose is stuffed and your head aches a week later, chances are you’ve developed sinusitis, better known as a sinus infection. The tissues in your nasal passage swell up and make it difficult to breathe. Your face aches with the pressure. You probably have a post-nasal drip cough. You may even have a fever. But take heart; there are a number of remedies you can use at home to treat and soothe your sinus infection.


    When your nose is stuffed and dripping, all you can think about is getting it clear again. There are a few methods that may open your sinus passages. Salt water is one of the best solutions for reducing the swelling and thinning the mucus. You can purchase a saline solution nasal spray or do it the old-fashioned way: tilt your head over the sink and slowly pour salt water into one nostril while holding the other closed. A neti pot, which you can find at most drugstores, is designed for just this purpose. Gargling with salt water can also be an effective treatment. 


    Warmth can help soothe aches and pains, and a sinus infection is no different. Use a warm washcloth or hot water bottle to ease the pressure on your face and head. Steam has the advantage of providing warmth and opening up the nasal passages. Boil a pot of water and remove it from the stove. Lean over the pot to inhale the steam. You may even throw a towel over your head and the pot to enclose the steam.


    Drink plenty of clear fluids; this will keep your body hydrated and help thin the mucus in your respiratory system. Avoid any dairy products such as milk or cheese; they can make you even stuffier. You can hydrate your sinus passages directly as well; steam them (as described above) and sleep with a humidifier.


    Of course, a healthy diet will improve your rate of recovery by providing your body with the fuel it needs. But there are a few foods that can boost your immune system and speed things up. Garlic is an excellent immune booster, for instance. Foods high in vitamin C will help your body cope as well. Spicy foods may make you feel better and open your sinuses a bit; wasabi and horseradish are particularly refreshing to a stuffy nose (don’t overdo it, though!) Most important, avoid sugar and sugary drinks, as these will drain your energy and sap your body’s ability to fight illness.


    Prevention is the best cure. Remember common-sense cold prevention measures like frequent hand-washing. Make sure you are getting enough rest. If you feel the onset of a cold, echinacea and zinc are wonderful to help stave it off. Exercise and good nutrition, of course, are the mainstays of staying healthy.

    When to call a doctor

    Even with the best intentions, sometimes illness gets the better of us. If your sinus infection persists or gets worse after a week, or if your fever rises, call your doctor; you may need antibiotic treatment. 

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