You may have noticed my ongoing fight against sinus infections. Whenever I get one, I start up my “sinus experiment”. The key component in my big plan is shooting salt water up my nose with a sinus rinse kit.
It’s gross, but it really does work! I definitely wouldn’t have started doing it if an ear/nose/throat specialist hadn’t said it was that or another sinus surgery — the right motivation is everything. Now that I’ve seen it successfully fight off multiple sinus infections, I’ve been trying to get other people onto the sinus rinse bandwagon.
If you can’t stomach the thought of shooting salt water up your nose, there are other natural options for treating a sinus infection. In fact, a 2006 study found that most sinus infections do clear up on their own if you choose not to use antibiotics. Natural remedies can be just as effective at clearing congestion, preventing further infection, and soothing symptoms.
- Get the vapors. Inhaling steam can help clear up blocked nasal passages. Try a steamy shower, a hot compress to the face, or inhaling steam from a pot of boiling water.
- Drink plenty of water. The fluid helps your body run at peak performance and can help keep irritated nasal passages hydrated.
- Skip the milk and cheese. Dairy foods can make your congestion seem worse; some experts say that dairy products do actually thicken mucus. Cut out the milk and cheese and see if it helps — just be sure you’re still getting the calcium your body needs!
- Up your garlic. Garlic has antibacterial properties and may help your body fight the infection. One or two cloves daily can make a big difference.
- Eat spicy foods. One of my favorite sinus infection drinks is chicken broth with a splash of lemon and a sprinkling of hot red pepper. The spicy stuff can really help with decongestion. (The lemon in the warm, salty broth helps soothe a sore throat, too.)
- Try an herbal supplement like Echinacea, goldenseal, or astragalus. These immunity boosters may help you fight an infection faster or help prevent a serious sinus infection if you catch it early.
- Acupuncture can ease congestion quickly and relieve the pain of a sinus infection.