Sinus infection or inflammation of the sinus cavities is a commonly occurring medical condition in Florida. When you are suffering from a sinus infection, you may have a runny or stuffy nose, with additional symptoms such as headache, facial pain, and post-nasal drip. Your throat may feel sore and you may find it difficult to keep your eyes open because they are watery or puffy.
Fortunately, there are effective ways of treating sinus infection symptoms. This guide will help you learn about some simple and time-tested solutions to clear your sinuses so that you can breathe easier right away. A word of caution – if your stuffiness doesn’t improve even after a week, or the sinus problems continue to worsen, it is time to check with a doctor that specializes in ear, nose, and throat (ENT) issues.
The dedicated medical team at Florida Sinus & Snoring Specialists, led by the top-rated sinus treatment expert Dr. Lee Mandel, is fully equipped to treat sinus conditions and help you obtain relief from annoying symptoms, such as a stuffy nose, headache, fever, sore throat, and facial pain.
Types of Sinusitis
Sinusitis occurs when the sinuses become infected or inflamed. The lining of the sinus swells blocking the chemicals responsible for draining the sinuses. This can cause a build-up of pus and mucus that fills the sinus cavities and nose. Here are the 4 major types of sinus infections:
Viral Sinus Infection
One of the most common types of sinusitis, a viral sinus infection has many of the same symptoms as a common cold. It usually occurs during the winter season as an abrupt onset. There is sinus pressure and nasal congestion, plus discharge from the frontal sinuses may have an intermitted color. Viral sinusitis usually starts to become better by day 5. In most cases, the condition is resolved by day 7. Viral infections don’t require antibiotics and can get better by doing a saline rinse, taking decongestants, and getting plenty of rest.
Acute Bacterial Sinus Infection
Bacterial infection of the sinus cavity is common as well. It usually occurs following an allergy exacerbation or viral infection since they create swelling and reduce local immunity. The condition blocks sinus outflow tracts. Bacterial infection has the same symptoms as a viral infection, although nasal secretions have a more consistent discoloration. There is a greater degree of facial pain and pressure that may be accompanied by hot flashes.
You may require antibiotic therapy if the symptoms don’t get better by day 5. Typical treatment for acute bacterial sinusitis is a 10-day antibiotic course accompanied with oral decongestants and saline rinses. Oral prednisone treatment can also help treat the condition. You may require more aggressive medical treatment if the symptoms don’t resolve after the treatment.
Chronic Bacterial Sinus Infection
Acute bacteria sinus infection can turn into chronic sinusitis if the symptoms don’t get resolved at all. Outward symptoms, such as feeling poorly, fever, discolored secretions, and facial pain and pressure may get better. However, the infection might linger on with the patient being completely unaware. Typically, patients with chronic sinus infections usually complain of other symptoms, such as snoring, nighttime nasal congestion, dizziness, chronic cough, ear-popping, sleep apnea, and sore throat, among others.
Chronic sinus infection generally occurs because of structural issues, such as nasal polyps, deviated septum, and narrow sinus outflow tracts. There may be a problem with the nasal bone. Nonsurgical balloon sinuplasty can resolve chronic sinus infections. This is an in-office procedure performed under IV sedation and can be completed in just 15 minutes.
Fungal Sinus Infection
Fungal sinus infection is a completely different condition since the “infection” is not typically an infection. It’s a severe local allergic response to mold spores. There can be significant swelling in the nasal lining and sinuses because of polyp formation when a patient is highly allergic to mold spores. These are not cancerous polyps. Instead, they are grape-like large masses of extremely swollen lining which obstruct the nose and the sinus outflow tracts.
There is a build-up of large extensive polyps and fungal balls filling in the sinus cavities. Fungal infections are frequently accompanied by secondary bacterial infections. You may get a small relief with oral antibiotics. Symptoms involve mouth breathing, poor sleep, possible sleep apnea, snoring, facial pressure, and pain. The condition doesn’t always result in a fever.
Home Remedies for Sinusitis
There are a few home remedies that can help you clear your sinuses. To determine which remedies are the best for your condition, you should consult with an experienced ENT specialist, such as Dr. Mandel, who will guide and educate you about how to drain sinuses fast. Some of the home remedies discussed below are slow-acting but can be effective in a holistic way for many patients.
1. Use a Natural Decongestant
Cold-busting vitamin C can help in easing nasal congestion. In some studies, vitamin C has been demonstrated to reduce the severity of symptoms and shorten the duration of a cold. Taking this into account, it doesn’t impact congestion directly. You can feel better a little quicker by adding extra vitamin C to your diet. Ginger is great for treating stuffiness due to allergies. A study published in the BMC Complementary Medicine and Therapies found that a daily dose of ginger extract (500 mg) is just as effective as an antihistamine, like Claritin and loratadine.
Ginger has both anti-inflammatory and anti-allergic mechanisms as per the researchers. More studies are required for evaluating the effectiveness and safety of ginger extract, however. It may not be the best way to clear sinuses, but it cannot hurt. A daily cup of ginger tea can help ease stuffiness related to allergies.
2. Humidify Your Space
Running a cool-mist vaporizer or a humidifier in your office or home is an effective and simple way to reduce nasal congestion. You can easily soothe irritated nasal tissues and reduce sinus-related inflammation by breathing in the humid air. Moisture in the air helps in thinning the mucus and allows it to drain better. Cool-mist and warm-mist machines are equally effective for easing congestion and raising humidity levels.
It is recommended that you use a cool-mist vaporizer for safety purposes if you have children. Steam or hot water in warm-mist humidifiers can easily result in burns if a child gets too close or the machine is accidentally knocked over.
Make sure you change the water in the machine on a daily basis regardless of the type of unit you choose. This should be done as per the manufacturer’s instructions for preventing the growth of mold and bacteria.
3. Inhale Chamomile
There is a lot of literature available on how to unclog sinuses. With that said, a lesser-known remedy is inhaling chamomile for its calming properties. The respiratory airways become warm and moist from the vapor, which relieves discomfort related to sinusitis.
Chamomile inhalation is useful to both children and adults. It’s crucial that inhalation by children is always done under adult supervision since there is always a serious risk for burns.
4. Drink Warm Tea and Infusions
There are various different types of tea and infusions that have an anti-inflammatory effect on the body. Saffron contains curcumin which can reduce the various symptoms associated with inflammation. It can relieve the pain and pressure in the face. The tea is also helpful in easing the general malaise accompanied by sinus infections.
Garlic tea infused with ginger contains antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidative properties. This is because of phenolic compounds, zingerone, shogaol, and allicin found in garlic and ginger. These substances are helpful in treating sinusitis and other symptoms, such as runny nose, a plugged nose, general malaise, and sore throat. This particular tea helps in strengthening the immune system and decreasing the duration of the infection.
A thyme and honey infusion is something else you may want to try to manage sinus symptoms. Thyme and honey are both rich in antiseptic and anti-inflammatory substances, such as cymene, carvacrol, thymol, and linalool. It helps in eliminating phlegm and relieves various symptoms, such as plugged and runny nose.
5. Perform Nasal Irrigation
You can loosen thick mucus by rinsing out the nasal passages using a neti pot or a similar device. It also helps in removing allergens, irritants, and germs. A neti pot is safe for nasal irrigation as per the Food and Drug Administration. However, this is only if you fill it with distilled or sterile water. You should never use tap water.
Neti pots are typically used in the following manner, though they come with specific directions:
- Fill the pot with a warm, saline solution made from water and salt.
- Lean over a sink and tilt your head so that the chin and forehead are at the same level.
- Insert the neti-pot’s spout in your upper nostril while breathing through the mouth. The liquid will drain through the lower nostril.
- Repeat on both sides.
You can soothe dry nasal passages by using a nasal spray bottle as well. This will deliver a fine saline mist into the nose. However, the FDA states that nasal saline sprays are not as effective as a neti pot to relieve nasal congestion. A neti pot is effective in rinsing out germs, allergens, and mucus.
6. Apply Warm Compresses
You should place a warm compress directly over the forehead and nose if you have sinus pain or a headache because of congestion. This can be useful in relieving nasal pressure and inflammation. You could also give yourself a maxillary sinus massage to ease discomfort at the same time.
You can either purchase a hot compress product or simply soak a dish towel or washcloth with warm water. Make sure to squeeze out excess water and place it over the nose. The cloth should cover your forehead and cheeks (maxillary sinuses). Repeat the process for the next 20 minutes to get relief. You can do this as often as you want during the day.
7. Hot Steamy Shower
Taking a hot shower can make you feel like a completely new person when you are suffering from a sinus infection. As you inhale steam and gently massage your maxillary sinuses, it reduces sinus congestion and improves sinus drainage. It also alleviates pressure by draining the mucus, which can bring your breathing back to normal.
8. Maintain Fluid Intake
Drinking non-alcoholic fluids can help you ease the symptoms of sinus congestion. Staying hydrated is important since it provides instant relief. It will help thin mucus in the nasal passages, making it easier for draining congested sinuses. Many people swear that hot beverages and tea work wonders on sinus and flu symptoms.
A study published in Rhinology involved separating a group with cold and flu-like symptoms into two separate subsets. One was given a hot beverage while the other was given a room-temperature drink. The study did not find any measurable difference in the improvement in nasal airflow, however, the group that drank the hot beverage reported feeling better in general.
Drinking mint juice mixed with nettle has been called an effective home remedy. The mixture contains anti-allergic, anti-inflammatory, and decongestant properties. These eliminate secretions and reduce sinus irritation.
9. Get Adequate Sleep
Congestion is usually at its worst during the night, as anyone suffering from sinus issues can tell you. Gravity causes mucus to back up or pool instead of draining when you lie flat. You may want to place an extra pillow under your head to combat this problem. Keeping your head elevated will make gravity work for you instead of against you. You should consider running a humidifier or a cool-mist vaporizer to encourage the draining mucus.
Wearing a nasal breathing strip can help as well. This will lift the side of the nose and help ease breathing and prevent a stuffy nose by opening the nasal passages.
Visit South Florida’s Leading ENT Specialist Today
Per the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery (AAO-HNS), around 30 million Americans, suffer from at least one bout of sinusitis in a year. These home remedies can be helpful in easing breathing and alleviating symptoms. On the other hand, you should not delay seeing a doctor if you experience:
- Fever of 102°F or higher
- Symptoms lasting longer than 10 days
- Greenish nasal discharge
- Spike in fever
- Changes in vision
Renowned ENT specialist Dr. Mandel and his highly rated medical team at the Florida Sinus & Snoring Specialists will focus on the root cause of your sinus symptoms and provide the most effective and sustainable treatment for lasting benefits. Are you looking for relief from your persistent sinus infection issues? We will develop a treatment plan tailor-made for you. Call us to make an appointment today at 954-983-1211.