How to get rid of a sinus infection fast? The pain in your face, headaches, runny nose, thick phlegm, coughing and congestion can make your days and nights pretty miserable. First, you’ll want to work on getting the symptoms to a place where you can manage them. The next thing to do is supply your body with all the nutrients, electrolytes, hydration, and antioxidants you can.
Giving your body what it needs so that it can fight off infection is paramount. Last, but not least, you need to reduce the chances of a sinus irritation. This means making certain changes such as staying away from smoke or not eating certain foods. Even pollen allergies, dust and mold can cause a sinus infection. With this process, you can reduce the strain on your sinuses and boost your immune system to help the body fight the infections harder and faster.
- 1 What is a Sinus Infection?
- 2 Sinus Infection Symptoms
- 3 What Causes a Sinus Infection?
- 4 Is a Sinus Infection Contagious?
- 5 How to Get Rid Of a Sinus Infection Fast and Naturally
- 6 How to Prevent Sinus Infections
What is a Sinus Infection?
A sinus infection is also known as Sinusitis. Your sinuses are hollow cavities that are normally filled with just air. And, you have more than two. The sinus cavities exist in the forehead, behind the eyes, between the eyes, and behind the cheekbones.
The purpose of sinus cavities is help to defend the body against infection. The sinus cavities are lined with mucus to help “catch” germs. The sinuses are also lined with very specials cells that have cilia (tiny hairs) on them to help ensnare pathogens and expel them.
Sometimes, these cavities fill up with fluid and fungi, bacteria, and viruses go to work creating a site of infection. When the tissue lining of the sinus cavity becomes inflamed, it is recognized as a full-blown sinus infection.
There are two different types of sinusitis: acute and chronic. An acute sinus infection simply means that it was a sudden onset, not reoccurring. It could be onset by allergies or even the common cold. Chronic sinus infection is characterized by recurring sinusitis or a sinus infection lasting 8 weeks or more. Fevers are not typical sinusitis symptoms, even though they may happen on occasions. You may want to see your doctor regarding your fever and sinus infection. It may be an indicator that you need a more finely tuned approach to healing.
Sinus Infection Symptoms
Referenced from Healthline, signs of a sinus infection stem from two occurrences associated with the infection. The first is the filling of the sinus cavity with fluid. And the second is the drainage resulting from that fluid.
Interestingly enough, pain is often times the byproduct of the symptoms. The pain that comes with a sinus infection is often times a dull pressure in any of the sinus cavities: the forehead, behind the cheek bones, between your eyes, and on either side of your eyeballs. It’s no wonder that acute and chronic sufferers alike are eager to know how to cure sinus infection.
The pressure due to the swelling of your sinuses can leave you with a horrendous headache. However, this type of sinus headache may throw you for a loop as it can come across as a jaw pain or pain in your cheeks. It can even show up as toothaches and earaches. This is because the fluids have been collecting all night and when you wake up the pressure is greater.
A runny nose is also a symptom of a sinus infection. The discharge is often times a yellow-greenish color. The discharge doesn’t always run down your nose. Sometimes it trickles down your throat, also called post nasal drip, which in turn can lead to a sore throat.
Sore throat is often times caused due to post nasal drip and this is due to the buildup of mucus and infection that can cause an inflammation.
Another byproduct of a post nasal drip is the development of a cough due to the phlegm that’s built up in your throat. A sinus cough has a tendency to worsen at night and can keep you awake or at least ensure poor sleep quality. Your body does its best work when you’re in a deep sleep. Sleeping upright can help to reduce how often you cough and how intense it is. So sleeping in a recliner may give you enough relief.
The swelling of the sinuses can affect how well you breathe and reduce the smell and taste. The congestion due to mucus buildup makes breathing difficult and it makes sleeping difficult. Congestion feels like you are trying to breathe through a cloth placed in your nose. The coughs will seem heavy and you may even be able to hear the mucus.
What Causes a Sinus Infection?
A sinus infection is often times caused by a fungi, bacteria or viruses. This isn’t everything that can affect your sinuses though. A reaction to pollen can irritate your sinuses, causing them to fill with fluid and swell. Smoke, dust, a deviated septum, an extremely cold environment, an extremely dry environment, mold, and allergies can produce this same response. The sinus cavities are normally filled with air and lined with mucus that is designed to trap germs. But, when the body cannot move this mucus out of the body properly, the sinus cavities fill up with fluid and become infected.
Is a Sinus Infection Contagious?
The general consensus is that viral sinus infections are contagious because viruses are contagious. What this means is that the germs causing the sinus infection can be transferred from person to person. However, the sinus infection itself is not transferrable. With bacterial sinus infections, they are not airborne, unlike viruses. Bacterial sinus infections are generally considered non-contagious.
How to Get Rid Of a Sinus Infection Fast and Naturally
Considering that most sinus infections are caused by viruses, for the most part, you will have to treat the symptoms to get any sort of relief and boost your immune system so that your body has what it needs to fight the infection.
Stay hydrated with water with energy drinks that contain electrolytes, hot tea and clear broth. These fluids act as mucus thinners which will allow it to drain easier from the sinuses. Other things you can do to help thin out mucus is abstain from alcohol, caffeine or beverages high in sugar as well as smoking anything during this time. This includes cigarettes, vaping devices, cigars, cigarillos and pipes. Those irritants thicken the mucus and produce the opposite effect of what you want.
A great tip is to include foods in your diet that have special properties allowing them to dissolve mucus almost like a decongestant. Such foods are spicy foods such as horseradish or cayenne pepper and vegetables like onion, garlic and ginger. Mix any one of these with apple cider vinegar and lemon juice to create a powerful decongestant elixir.
5-minutes.net lists acupuncture techniques that you can use to open the airways in your nose. This technique can be the difference between a miserable night of congestion and coughing and a good night’s rest that your body uses to fight the infection and inflammation.
Steps for getting rid of a sinus infection with a massage:
For the 1st massage, there are points on either side of your nostrils. Use your index fingers to massage both of these points in a rotating manner until your nostrils are closed. Massage these points for about 10 seconds.
In the 2nd massage, rotate above the corners of your eyes using the same method as the first massage. Do this for 20 seconds.
In the 3rd massage, apply pressure to your cheekbones for 10 seconds.
For the 4th massage, stroke your cheek bones with both of your index fingers all the way back to your ears. Once behind the ear lobes, apply pressure. Do this for 20 seconds.
For the 5th, for at least 30 seconds, massage your earlobes. You can also massage your earlobes for as a calming technique.
These 5 massages in this order lead to temporary relief almost as well as any over the counter medication that you can take. The differences there is not a limit on how often you can use this acupuncture to open up your airways.
Steam treatment is another way that you can break up the mucus using steam from hot water. For greater results, include a few drops of peppermint or eucalyptus oil. These oils have a soothing aroma and help to increase the effect of breaking up the mucus.
How to get rid of a sinus congestion with steam:
Prepare the hot water, let it boil; you won’t be putting it on your skin. Apply the oil to the water and pour it all into a bowl. Put your face over the bowl and drape a towel over the head as you inhale the steam. The towel will prevent the steam from escaping. Inhale deeply, taking in all the steam that you can. You can get the same effect with a humidifier and may even be able to add oil to a separate small tank or directly to the water.
Salt water rinses help to clear out mucus from the sinus and nasal cavities. This, you can use twice a day but beware that there are improper ways to rinse. Neti pots are a great tool for the job. They are designed specifically for sinus rinsing and deliver the solution to your nasal cavities in a gentle fashion.
How to get rid of sinus pressure with neti pots:
The best way to prepare the saline solution is to use sterile or distilled water. Water container usually will say sterile or distilled if it is. Another option available to you is to boil tap water. After you boil the tap water for 3-5 minutes, allow it to cool down because you don’t want to burn your nose. If you must store it, use a clean container with a lid and do not keep it for more than 24 hours. One more option is to filter the water, but it must be finely filtered to achieve an acceptable level of sterility.
The water is important because it may carry bacteria and if the point is to flush out germs, then the last thing you want to do is to introduce more pathogens into your sinus cavities. To use the neti pot, lean over the sink and tilt your head to one side so that your chin and forehead are level. This way the nasty water doesn’t get into your mouth. Insert the spout into your raised nostril or the upper nostril, and pour the solution in so that when it drains, it will come out of the lower nostril. After that, blow your nose and then repeat the process with the other side. This rinsing of the nasal cavity helps to flush out debris, dirt, pollen. A saline solution is safe to use and salt is also an effective way to fight infection.
Check out this complete set of sinus cleansing starter kit here on Amazon. This kit contains neti pot, neti pot salt, and sinus wash made with essential oils.
Grapefruit Seed Extract
Grapefruit seed extract can be purchased as a fine powder and turned into a nasal spray that works wonders for infection. It helps to clear out any mucus and it has antimicrobial properties that help to restore sinus tissues and reduce inflammation.
Turmeric and Ginger Root
Turmeric and ginger root are two spices commonly used in traditional medicine. Turmeric is anti-inflammatory and is packed with antioxidants. Ginger root is also known for its antimicrobial properties and even shows effectiveness with viruses. The two of these combined can definitely work wonders to loosen mucus and then expel it out to make the drainage and passing easier. This combination also helps to alleviate sore throat.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is another time-tested home remedy that is good for all things infection related.
How to use it:
You can make a gargle out of apple cider vinegar or you can add 2 or 3 tablespoons to a cup of hot water, or tea 3 times a day and drink it. This will help to thin the mucus. This mixture can also be added with lemon or honey which also proved to have anti-microbial properties.
Garlic has been used for centuries in herbal medicine. It is antibacterial, antiviral, and anti-inflammatory. Many home remedies include garlic in just about everything from broths and teas to pastes, because of its benefits on the immune system.
How to treat a sinus infection with garlic:
One way to use garlic is to chop it or mince it. Crushing garlic for use loses many of the nutrients, unlike cutting. So, after you allow it rest for a bit, add some honey to complete your paste. You can eat it as is, or spread it on toast. One of the key components that makes garlic effective is Allicin. Allicin is a byproduct of chemical reaction in garlic that is responsible for its antimicrobial properties.
One concoction that you’ll want to try is a formula of all hard-hitting ingredients.
How to prepare it:
A paste of garlic, turmeric powder, ginger, onions, and cayenne powder is the ultimate combination for relief. Cayenne powder relieves pain and helps to open airways. Turmeric is anti-inflammatory and the ginger, garlic, and onions fight of every kind of pathogen. It may not be the tastiest, but you can be sure that it is safe, natural, and effective. You can always add a bit of raw honey if necessary for taste and for its own antibacterial properties.
How to Prevent Sinus Infections
The best way to prevent sinus infections is to keep your mucus membranes in good shape. To do this, keep your body stocked with antioxidants, vitamin A and vitamin D. A lifestyle change may be necessary to root out the irritants that weaken the sinus mucus membranes on a daily basis, increasing the chances of sinus infections.
Reducing Sinus Irritants
A few irritants that cause sinus infections are dust, pollen, mold, and animal dander. Change your air filter often, meaning at least once a month. You can keep track of this with the use of a calendar and by writing the install date on the outside of the filter. Bath and comb your pets and vacuum at least once a week to cut down on animal dander and dust. To deal with indoor allergies, dust regularly. You can even fasten cheesecloth outside of your air vents to act like a filter. Cheesecloth has tiny holes in it, making it the perfect candidate for an impromptu air vent filter. You may even consider investing in an air purifier for the room that you use the most.
For outdoor allergies, obviously it is next to impossible to regulate outdoor air. But you might consider the use of a mask when traveling between buildings or while in your car. Other things you can do is drive with the windows up and use your car’s AC unit on the circulation setting instead of the outside air intake setting.
Avoid smoking or inhaling second hand smoke. Studies have shown that cigarette smoking aggravates chronic rhinosinusitis.
Probiotic Nasal Rinse
Many people use nasal irrigation in conjunction with probiotics as a way to keep the mucous membranes in better shape and help re-establish healthy flora. Probiotics are basically “good bacteria”. You can get probiotics from supplements or by eating food high in probiotics. Foods high in probiotics are foods such as naturally fermented sauerkraut, pickles, and yogurt.
These foods can be incorporated into your life as you move forward with healthier eating habits, but you can’t irritate your nasal cavities with them. Probiotic capsules can be purchased at many health food stores. Simply break one open and mix it with your distilled water to create a sinus flush solution from it. Rinse out your nasal cavities as usual. It may sound strange but many people have already found relief using this method.
Vitamins and Nutrients
Eating a healthy diet that builds the defenses of your bodies is an essential part of preventing sinus infections. Avoid eating an excess of carbohydrates or dairy products and try to eat foods that are rich in vitamin A and antioxidants. Vitamin A boosts the immune system and can be found in food such as sweet potatoes, carrots, green vegetables with dark leaves, dried apricots, and cantaloupe.
Antioxidants work wonders when it comes to boosting the immune system. When the body is stressed out, it releases compounds called “free radicals”. Free radicals are unstable and in the process of stabilizing themselves, they tear down the immune system and create more free radicals. Antioxidants work to repair this balance by stabilizing the free radicals without tearing down the immune system. A diet consisting of a regular antioxidant intake will insure that your body is operating efficiently and that your immune system is strong.
Since sinus infections are byproducts of germs and infection, reducing the spread of infection, exposure to pathogens and hygiene goes a long way towards prevention. Some people recommend using disinfectant or sanitizers; however this may increase the risk of super bug development. With social settings, stay away from people who are sick or wear a face mask to reduce the germs entering your body. Wash your hands often with warm water and soap. Don’t eat foods that increase mucus production. Stay well rested, hydrated and most of all, take action as soon as you notice the first signs of sinus infection symptoms.
Check out our other detailed article about best essential oils for sinus infection.