What Exactly Is Sinusitis?
Congestion from colds or allergies provides a breeding ground for viruses and bacteria, which can lead to sinusitis. The dead giveaway that you’re dealing with sinusitis, however, is a heavy feeling of pressure in your face. You can also blame sinusitis for a pounding headache that gets worse when you lean over, a toothache, and green or gray nasal drainage and postnasal drip. Many of our remedies mimic those we recommend for allergies and colds, since you’re trying to attack many of the same issues, especially thick mucus and inflammation. Here’s how to treat a sinus infection.
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How to Treat a Sinus Infection: Fast Relief
Start with nasal irrigation. Add 1/4 teaspoon salt to 1 cup warm water. To get it into your nose, use an ear bulb syringe (like the kind used to clean out a baby’s nose), a neti pot, available in health food stores, or a waterpick. To use the waterpick, you’ll need a Grossan nasal adapter, available in drug and health food stores. Run the waterpick on its lowest setting. Flush your nasal passages two to three times a day.
Practice postural drainage. Wet a washcloth under hot water, squeeze out the excess water, assume the proper position depending on where you’re most congested, then apply the cloth for 10 to 15 minutes per sinus. To drain the frontal sinuses (behind the forehead), sit upright. To drain the maxillary sinuses (behind the cheekbones), lie on the opposite side (i.e., if your left sinus is clogged, lie on your right side). To drain the ethmoid sinuses (behind the bridge of the nose), lie on your back.
Clear clogged sinuses. Mix 1 teaspoon horseradish with 1/2 teaspoon olive oil and 1 tablespoon lemon juice. Eat 1/4 teaspoon at a time until you feel your sinuses start to drain. Eat it mixed with rice or mashed potatoes if necessary to protect your mouth and stomach from burning.
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How to Treat a Sinus Infection: Nasal Spray
Here’s another way to treat a sinus infection. Studies find that using nasal irrigation before you turn to antibiotics and decongestants helps these medications penetrate the nasal cavities better. The salt water also decreases swelling, which improves drainage. Nasal irrigation may also help flush out bacteria. The heat of the horseradish helps thin mucus, encouraging drainage.