Winter 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.