Home Remedies for Sinus Infections
Anyone with seasonal allergies will tell you that sinus headaches can be downright excruciating. There's nothing quite like the pain and foggy feeling that comes with nasal congestion, it can make you feel like you'd do just about anything for relief. But before you overdose on cold medicine or start concocting a witches brew that smells like it belongs in a high school science classroom, consider these quick and easy home remedies for sinus infections and congestion.
Forget the fancy vapor-rubs. Spicy foods are the best way to reduce congestion and stuffiness. Plus, spicy foods release endorphins and might just kick your mood and energy level up a notch. If you don't have any spicy foods in the cabinet or fridge, just add a bit of hot sauce to whatever it is that you're in the mood for - the hotter the better!
If you can't stomach spicy foods, no problem. Just grab a bottle of hot sauce and take a good whiff. You can even put a small dot of hot sauce underneath your nose, but be careful - some of the hotter sauces can actually cause skin irritation.
Yeah, yeah, you haven't bothered with a vaporizer since you lived with your mother. Now might be the best time to try one out however. Not only does steam help to break up some of the congestion, a lot of times congestion is caused by dry air in the first place. Dry air makes for dry nasal passages, which in turn overproduce all kinds of ickiness to try to stay moisturized.
If you're still averse to using a vaporizer, try taking a hot bath or shower, or just sit in the bathroom with the hot water running for a while. Another handy trick is the homemade humidifier. Boil some water, and pour it into a bowl. Put a towel over your head, lean over the bowl and breathe in. Voile, homemade steam relief.
The latest craze for allergy and chronic sinusitis sufferers, the Neti Pot actually does a pretty good job at treating nasal stuffiness. The concept behind the Neti Pot is simple. There is an open passageway between each side of the nasal cavities, right around the bridge of the nose. This spot is prime real estate for mucus buildup. When water from the Neti Pot goes into one side, it will flow through this opening, and out the other side. Along the way it breaks up all the gook and washes it right out.
Neti Pots come with handy little packages of medical grade salt to mix in, and the warm saltwater helps to soothe and reduce nasal inflammation. Neti Pots come in different varieties, the traditional pots look like a mini teapots, while newer versions have different designs and sometimes squeeze bottles to make for easier use. Both are equally as effective, but the newer ones do eliminate the need for awkward head contortions.
When you buy a Neti Pot for the first time, be sure to get a kit that includes the salt packets. Saltwater is a lot more effective, and feels more soothing going through than plain water. In addition, the salt packets are pre-measured and approved for medical uses, while table salt is not.
It feels pretty strange at first, rather like doing a bad cannonball and getting a nose-full of poolwater. The upside to the Neti Pot is that it doesn't burn because a) there's no chlorine in it, and b) unless you fill the pot with ice water, it's not freezing cold. While not the most fun process in the world, it only takes a few minutes and can make the rest of your day much more comfortable.
A massage can be a great pain reliever. Talk your spouse or significant other into rubbing your head and neck for a little while, or try these techniques yourself:
Use the fingertips in a gentle, circular motion to rub the temples and cheekbones. The heat and pressure will help to loosen congestion. Then, place the fingers of both hands together between the eyebrows, then sweep them outwards with a gentle pressure. Repeat, starting at the bridge of the nose, and outward across the cheekbones. This motion will help to move the blockages along and get things circulating again.
Keep a box of tissues handy, you might need them! In addition, tension in our necks or upper backs can also further the pain and congestion, so finishing up with a brief neck and shoulder massage can also help. Plus, who doesn't love a good shoulder rub?
Take It Easy
When you do come down with a sinus infection, remember that your body needs rest and TLC to fight it. Take it easy, you can clean the house when you're feeling up to it, and your best friend isn't going to care if you postpone your lunch date. Drinking plenty of clear liquids and avoiding caffeine and dairy products will also help the congestion to thin out.
Stay hydrated, rest up, and if your condition does not start improving with three days, call your doctor.