Sinus Infection Alternative Solutions

sinus_remedyWinter is the prime time of year for sinus infections, thanks to dry indoor air.

Sinusitis, or sinus infection, affects as many as 37 million Americans with symptoms such as stuffy and runny nose, sinus pain and fullness around the eyes and cheekbone, postnasal drip, sore throat, headache, trouble breathing, snoring, fatigue, puffy eyes, bad breath and yellow or green nasal discharge.

In spite of volumes of scientific evidence showing that sinusitis is rarely a bacterial infection, and that antibiotics are a largely ineffective treatment, doctors persist in prescribing them. Due to widespread antibiotic-resistant sinus bacteria, even the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the FDA have  recommended against prescribing antibiotics for sinus infections unless absolutely necessary.

Doctors also prescribe decongestants and steroids, which may help symptoms in the short run, but are almost guaranteed to create a rebound infection.

The underlying cause of a sinus infection can range from dry air and allergies to a viral or fungal infection. Many sinus infections set in during a cold and flu and never clear up. Surgery involving the nasal passages, gums or teeth can be a trigger for a sinus infection.

Natural Remedy for Sinus Infection

Perhaps the simplest and most effective natural remedy for a sinus infection is warm salt water. If you don’t have access to swimming in the ocean, try a Neti pot, which allows you to pour the salt water into the sinuses without dripping it down your front. The key to using a Neti pot is to tip the head sideways, so the water runs out the other nostril, rather than tipping the head back, which makes it run down the back of the throat and cause gagging. Just use a pinch of salt for a cup or so of water.

It’s also important to drink plenty of water and stay hydrated, with a humidifier if necessary. This helps thin the mucus so it can be moved out of the sinuses. If you have allergies, get an air filter for the bedroom and wherever you spend the most time during the day.

Another simple remedy is to boil some water in a pot, add a few drops of lavender and eucalyptus essential oils to it, and inhale the steam. You can put a towel over your head and the pot to make it even steamier, but be very careful not to burn your nasal passages or bump the pot and spill the hot water.

Chinese medicine can be effective in clearing up sinusitis, with acupuncture and herbal remedies specifically for sinus infections.

Persistent use of these safe commonsense alternative solutions, even for chronic sinus infections, works well most of the time.

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13 Responses to "Sinus Infection Alternative Solutions"

  1. Rosie Brown   February 5, 2011 at 9:17 am

    Virginia, this is such an AWESOME article – just what I needed to know. THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!! I have had a chronic sinus infection followng a cold from last fall. I just can’t seem to get over it. My doctor has wanted to put me on an antibiotic, but intuitively I have resisted his recommendation. Now I feel empowered to heal it finally, thanks to you! You are awesome! : ) Rosie

  2. Alice   February 18, 2011 at 7:04 pm

    Be sure to use non- iodized salt!

    Since starting to use a neti pot, I have not had one sinus infection. I used to get them all the time. Love my neti pot and buy one for all the people I love.

  3. Nancy   March 6, 2011 at 7:25 am

    I use a Neti pot religiously and have reduced the number (or at least the amount of time I normally have a sinus infection – down from 4 months to a week or so), BUT, sadly, I still can’t get rid of them without an antibiotic.

  4. Anita   March 6, 2011 at 1:50 pm

    It’s unfortunate – as well as dangerous — that so many of the US’s physicians seem to learn all they know from Big Pharma and it “studies”. Thank you for all you do to counteract this, Virginia.

    I had trouble using a neti-pot – so I bought the NeilNed SinuFlo Ready Rinse a couple of months ago. It’s a plastic squeeze bottle with great instructions. You fill will salt solution and put in one nostril and squeeze gently over the sink — I have found it MUCH easier to use than the neti-pot – I couldn’t quite get the angle of my head right….

    Anyway, this product does provide almost immediate relief, and I’m sure that my sinus problems would go away if I used it more consistently. With spring and allergies coming, I’m going to try to use it daily.

    My mother has had a sinus infection for several months now. Guess what her doctor prescribed? (yes – antibiotics!)

  5. Linda Matthews, RDH   March 6, 2011 at 2:18 pm

    I have never been able to get over a sinus infection without antibiotics. I’m sorry to tell you this, because you don’t want people to use them, but, as an asthma sufferer, I cannot allow a sinus infection to drag on and on. Plus, I don’t have the luxury of being able to take weeks off of work. I know that allergens trigger sinus infections, and I’ve learned the hard ways which ones make me get them. But, I need an antibiotic to get over mine. Maybe others don’t.

    Be advised that “BIG PHARMA” isn’t the enemy. They are producing the things that we Americans and those in other countries demand. Some of the biggest and most successful, life-saving medications and antibiotics were discovered before the pharmaceutical companies even existed and people the world over have been demanding these products for years. I agree that many antibiotics are over-prescribed and over-used (that started in the 50s and 60s). But, where would we be without them? We all must weigh the GOOD with the BAD and re-evaluate this issue. If you don’t understand this concept, I highly recommend a visit to a 3rd-world country.

  6. Weavermomo   March 6, 2011 at 3:06 pm

    Yes, unfortunately Big Pharma is the enemy….they are motivated by money and greed. Also, the FDA is not our friend either. Sad but true and hard to take, but reality. Yes, there are many life saving medications but also there are many life saving natural remedies as well that are overlooked because they cannot be patented by BIG PHARMA.

  7. Cynthia Zava   March 7, 2011 at 7:25 am

    I kicked my sinus infections with neti pot irrigations (which I was hesitant to use). After awhile, the rinsing even feels soothing. When I feel my sinuses begin to get stuffy, feel a cold coming, or spring allergies, I pre-empt an infection with the neti. If you get it early, it doesn’t sting. Using a neti during a full-blow infection, it can sting bit. Re the comment above about Big Pharma “producing the things that we Americans ….demand,” yes, they do, much like diet cokes, fat free cookies, microwavable food in plastics and reality tv. Sometimes a need for the pharma, often times not. Best defense is education.

  8. OkCoral   March 7, 2011 at 8:13 am

    Everyone’s ‘health” is 100% their responsibility. You are an adult who can DECIDE what works for you. If you have helpful tips…please blog…if not….go find yourself.

    The neti pot has no side effects and helps clean sinus system clean. Clean is the answer.
    Use it weekly during the winter to keep your system cleansed. Only use pure salt. If you are feeling very dry…boil a big pot of water to add moisture to air. I don’t use humidifiers because they harbor bacteria and too timely to clean.

  9. Margaret   March 14, 2011 at 10:37 am

    I have been plagued with sinus infections. This past fall after finding a wonderful holistic Chiropractor, I got a Neti Pot and used it every time I began to feel any sign of sinus problems. I am very pleased to say so far I have not had one sinus infection this season. I have also increased my daily water intake.

  10. Beth   March 15, 2011 at 6:46 am

    From the age of 20 to 35, I used to get one or two sinus infections per year and often ended up with antibiotics. However, once I eliminated dairy and boosted my nutritional support which was lacking due to leaky gut, I don’t get them anymore. If I do feel any sinus symptoms, I use something like a neti pot, the steam bath’s and the chinese herbal supplements which clear it up. Now my goal is to heal the leaky gut and eventually reintrodudue some healthy organic dairy back into my diet.

  11. Catherine   June 20, 2011 at 12:57 pm

    After suffering for two weeks with sinus issues, and doing all of the afore-named procedures, I still had to go to doctor and get anti-biotics for infected sinuses.

  12. Kathi   July 10, 2011 at 12:03 am

    I have found the neti pot helpful, but one caveat is to be careful & lean forward. I think it washed some infection into my ears because I wasn’t bending forward right.

    As far as leaky gut, that can come from candida infestation in the gut. I need to work on getting rid of that after 3 bouts of antibiotics last fall with prolonged off & on respiratory infections.

    Just qualified for Medicare so now I have health insurance I selected a dr recommended by a friend who she said uses natural approaches. he’s ordered blood tests including hormones.

  13. Paula Haynes   July 11, 2011 at 11:03 am

    I’ve found the netti pot to be helpful…. However, some years ago I learned that the use of antibiotics contributed to yeast overgrowth which caused a multitude of unpleasant symptoms, so I began resisting the temptation to take antibiotics. Well, just about every physician I saw and compained of the sinus problems would write the prescription for antibiotics. So, I decided that if the sinus pain was my only symptom, I’d avoid doctors and try anything else I could find unless the symptoms persisted more than a week or so. Much to my suprise, I learned that I wasn’t really experiencing “infections” but I was suffering from inflammation. The key is yellow to greenish mucus. Without the coloful mucus=no infection. Problem came to determining what allergens were causing the allergic response. My sinus pain, between the eyes and in my forehead becomes so severe that I’m unable to function. It makes me loose my appetite and often I’m too sick to even get off the couch or bed. I’ve noticed a correlation between my headaches and upto an hour before it rains until it stops raining. I also have the headaches at times when it’s not raining or about to rain. But, the rain + headaches correlation is about 99%. I saw a medical news blip on tv with a doc/neurologist and his patient who also suffers from the headaches. This doc stated that his patient has migranes that are triggered by a change in barometric pressure. I’ve wondered for some time whether the barometric pressure was causing my headaches. I’ve been told by a few physicians I’d seen that my headaches weren’t sinus, but were actually migranes. This confused me because I read that migranes are not located in the face & nasal area. And, I do notice an improvement in my symptoms, the severity and the frequency, when I take antihistamines coupled with decongestants and expectorants. I’ve found that if I want to minimize my chances of having a debilitating headache, I have to take these meds I get over the counter daily. This does not elliminate them, it just limits their frequency and shortens the duration.