As the weather changes, the sniffles and sneezes you hear around you tend to increase. And this is a fact; as the weather changes, the body takes some time to adjust, during which period we experience a temporary lowering of our immunity. While the common cold and flu are seen the most around this season, another illness that affects a large population of people is sinusitis.
What is Sinusitis?
To understand sinusitis, we first need to understand sinuses. Sinuses are cavities present in different parts of our skull – in the cheekbones, on either side of the nose, between the eyes and in the forehead. The sinuses are connected to each other and are usually filled with air. The sinuses are lined with a mucous membrane that keeps the sinuses clean by catching dirt or other particles in the air.
When the sinuses get blocked with fluid, the lining can swell and it can lead to the entry of germs which end up causing an infection which we call sinusitis. This can lead to a buildup of mucus, which can cause pain, discomfort and difficulty in breathing.
Causes for Sinusitis
There are many causes for sinusitis which may include:
- Common cold
- A change in air pressure
- Hay fever or Allergic Rhinitis, a swelling of the lining of the nose
- Nasal Polyps, or small non-cancerous growths in the lining of the nose
- Structural deformities in the nose like a deviated septum or turbinate hypertrophy
In infants or toddlers, sinusitis can also be caused by the use of pacifiers or by drinking from the bottle while lying flat on the back.
Sinusitis is mostly identified by pain or tenderness in the areas where the sinuses are present, like the cheeks, around the eyes, sides of the nose. It can also appear as severe headaches. The pain tends to increase when bending down. General symptoms also include cough, fever, bad breath or fatigue. More specific symptoms are a blockage in the nose, snoring, loss of sense of smell, green discharge from the nose or feeling the mucus dripping down to the throat.
Most experts an, therapists and doctors recommend alternative therapies to treat sinusitis. Most cases of sinusitis infections get resolved in a matter of days, although they can reappear in cases of chronic infections. Here are some simple natural remedies for sinusitis that offer almost instant relief and have no side effects whatsoever.
8 Natural Remedies for Sinusitis Relief
1. Nasal Irrigation
One of the most agreed upon remedies for sinusitis is nasal irrigation, also called a saline wash. This involves flushing out the passages of the nose with a saline solution which helps to thin the mucus and wash it out. This can be done either using a spray bottle or a Neti pot.
Make a solution using 1/2 a cup of sterile or distilled water, 1/2 tsp of salt and a pinch of baking soda. Pour this into a squeeze bottle. Tilt your head and spray a few drops into one nostril and let it flow out the other. Repeat on the other side.
If using a Neti pot, fill it with sterile or distilled water and lean over a tub or sink, tilting the head sideways. Insert the spout of the pot into the higher nostril and pour the water in. Let it fall out the other nostril. Breathe through the mouth during the process.
It is important to use sterile or distilled water to avoid the risk of further infection. Boiled and cooled tap water also works.
2. Steam Inhalation
Steam is a popular home remedy in many parts of the world to treat all kinds of cough and cold symptoms. It helps to open up blocked nasal passages and loosens up the trapped mucus. The heat also helps to relieve pressure in the sinuses, easing pain.
One way to do this is to sit in a hot shower and soak up the steam. A more targeted way to inhale steam would be to use a vaporizer or to sit over a tub of steaming water, covered with a towel to trap the steam. Be careful to avoid burns. Adding a few drops of peppermint, eucalyptus or rosemary essential oils can improve the effects of steam.
A humidifier is a great idea if you get frequent sinus infections, and is an excellent idea for infants or young kids for whom you don’t want to try any other remedies. A humidifier works to moisten dry air, and helps to loosen up thick, blocked mucus, helping it drain. Moist air also helps to lubricate the sinuses and avoid the discomfort associated with sinusitis.
Be sure to use a humidifier when the weather is dry and not humid. A humidity of 35-50% is considered ideal to help relieve sinusitis.
4. Warm and Cold Compresses
Warm and cold compresses have several health benefits and they also work on sinusitis. Alternating warm and cold compresses offers the best results. It loosens up the mucus and helps it drain, clearing the passages in the nose and easing the associated pain.
To do it correctly, lie down in a reclining position and place a warm washcloth cross the forehead, cheeks and nose. Leave it for three minutes and replace with a cold compress for about 30 seconds. Repeat the process two or three times, up to six times a day.
The post was originally written for Quint Fit. Click here to read the rest of the post.