Getting sick is no fun for anyone, and it can leave us feeling weak and sore for days on end. Your sinuses often take the brunt of the illness, making breathing an uncomfortable chore.
How can you get your sinuses back to normal when you are feeling under the weather?
Here are a few natural sinus remedies that you can use the next time you have a nasty cold.
What Are Your Sinuses and Where Are They?
The sinuses are glands in the face that produce mucus to help moisturize the air you breathe. There are three sets of them: a pair behind your eyebrows, a set just between your eyes, and a final pair behind your cheekbones.
The mucus, what we call snot or boogers, that they produce helps to trap dirt, pollen, and other potentially dangerous particles from getting into our bodies through our nose. It's essentially our nose's way of protecting us against diseases.
Once the particles have been trapped, the mucus is moved to the back of the nose and down the throat by small hairs inside of the nose. It will eventually travel into the stomach where it can be properly taken care of.
What Causes Sinus Pain?
Sinusitis, or sinus infections, tend to be quite common. Unfortunately, the sinuses are prone to infection and illness, leading them to become swollen and inflamed. This can cause symptoms such as:
- Stuffy or runny nose
- Thick mucus that is discharged from the nose that is often yellow or green in color
- A loss of smell
- Pain, discomfort, or pressure in the nose or sinuses
- Severe headaches or tooth pain
- Fever of 100 degrees or more
- Cough/sore throat
- Ear pressure
Any number of illnesses can cause sinus pain, though it is often linked to influenza or the common cold. However, nasal blockages can cause sinus pain or inflammation as well; this can be caused by allergies or anatomical abnormalities in the face. Some of the various causes for sinusitis includes, but is not limited to:
- Growths inside the nose known as nasal polyps
- Bends in the wall between the nostrils
- Weakened immune system
- Facial fractures around the nose or sinuses
- Asthma and other breathing ailments
Any of the above issues can cause blockages or other issues inside the nose, leading to the sinuses having a hard time distributing mucus.
When the passages become blocked, the mucus gets much thicker and has a harder time draining from the sinuses and nose. This creates a breeding ground for bacteria and viruses, which can make you even sicker.
Sinusitis can even become a chronic issue in some circumstances. This means that the issue may lessen or change in severity, though it will never fully go away. This is not caused by infection, but rather persistent issues inside of the nose.
Natural Sinus Remedies to Heal Your Pain
Acute sinus infections can be annoying and painful, but don't worry. There are plenty of ways to heal sinusitis on your own without the need for medications. Here are just a few home remedies that you can use to help your suffering nose and sinuses.
Steam is a great way to break up the mucus in your nose and help it work its way down your throat or out of your nose. By taking a bath, a hot shower, or just boiling water and standing over it for a while, you can loosen the mucus and relieve pressure on your sinuses.
Adding eucalyptus oil to your bath or shower can add another level of relief to your sinuses. It works as a decongestant and can help to break up the mucus much faster.
Neti pots and similar nasal cleansers work by pouring water or a medicated solution into one nostril and out the other. Similarly to a steam treatment, this breaks up the mucus and helps give it somewhere to go.
Most neti pots make use of salt water or saline solutions to rinse out the nasal passages. While they can be helpful, be sure to be careful with how many times you use a neti pot for relief; the salt water can cause your nose to dry out, which can be very harmful.
Humidifiers or Other Cool Mist Makers
You can get quick sinus help from humidifier or similar gadgets in your home. These tools help to keep the air around you moist, which helps to make your mucus thinner.
Be sure to keep your humidifier clean. If not checked regularly, they can start to develop mold, which is another issue in itself. However, as long as you take good care of your machine, it will prove to be very useful!
Elevate Your Head While Sleeping
A lot of mucus buildup tends to happen while we sleep since it has no way of getting out of our nose the easy way. It also has to fight against gravity to get down your throat, and because it's already thicker than usual, that's quite the challenge.
Keeping your head at least slightly elevated while you rest is a great way to help your nose do its job. The mucus will be able to move as it should and keep more blockages from occurring.
Keeping yourself hydrated with plenty of water is great for staving off infection. It will also help your sinuses produce additional thinner mucus, and may even lessen the amount of inflammation in your sinuses.
Put Spicy Foods in Your Diet
Have you ever eaten something spicy and felt the effect it had on your sinuses? There's a good reason for that!
Certain spicy foods can actually act as an anti-inflammatory treatment and open up your nasal passages to let more mucus out. Even just smelling food like wasabi can be enough to clear you up!
Similarly to neti pots, nasal sprays are a common treatment against sinus infections and plugged noses. These sprays are commonly saline solutions as well but work by spraying a small amount of liquid directly into each nostril. The liquid then breaks up the mucus and helps relieve pressure inside the nose.
Once again, be sure to be careful about your usage of nasal sprays, and remember to read the instructions to stay safe.
Warm Washcloth Against Sinuses
A warm compress placed against the sinuses can really help to relieve pressure. The warmth helps both to work as an anti-inflammatory treatment and a natural decongestant, so the mucus loosens up and your sinuses start to feel relief almost immediately.
If you can't take a shower or get steam for whatever reason, a warm washcloth compress is a great second option!
Stay Well Rested
Sometimes the best thing you can do for yourself when you're sick is to just rest and recover naturally. Whether you decide to take a nap or just get away from work for a while, resting will give your body a chance to use its energy to fight against the infection instead of going about daily life.
Remove Sources of Allergies from Your Home
Have you noticed that you are regularly getting sinus infections no matter what you do? It might be time to take a good look around your house and see if there is anything inside that could be causing your issues.
Whether we like it or not, allergens can get into our homes with relative ease. Whether you accidentally put a flower you're allergic to on the kitchen table for decoration or didn't notice some mold growing in the bathroom, your body might be reacting to something in your house that you don't know about.
Make sure to give your home a good clean and get rid of anything you might be reacting to. Vacuum, dust, and check for any way an allergen could be getting into your home. It will do wonders for you!
If the Issue Persists...
Has your sinusitis lasted longer than you think it should, or are your symptoms getting worse?
If your symptoms start becoming serious, such as a fever of 102 or higher or changes in vision, then you should see your doctor right away. They can prescribe antibiotics or other medications to help get rid of the infection.
Sniffles Be Gone!
Now that you know how to properly care for your sinuses when you're under the weather, you can breathe happily and easily again! Use these natural sinus remedies the next time you feel sick to give yourself an easier time.
What do you like to do when you're feeling sick? Have you had a chance to try out any of these remedies?
Be sure to continue reading our blog for more helpful health and beauty tips, and stay healthy out there!