As far as colds, flus, and other ailments that befall us, I think sinus infections rank near the top for being the absolute worst.
Chronic sinusitis can be a frustrating and painful condition to deal with, especially if it's recurrent or caused by a bacterial infection. Symptoms like nasal congestion, sinus pain, and pressure can be uncomfortable and may even make you feel like you've lost the ability to breathe properly. While conventional medicine offers treatments like antibiotics and decongestants, natural remedies for sinus infections can be even more effective and safer to use!
8 Sinus Infection Remedies to Have You Feeling Better ASAP
Sometimes, overuse of medications can cause side effects and may actually exacerbate sinus pain instead of relieving it—too much of a good thing, as they say. These home remedies for sinus infections are anti-inflammatory and may also help provide some relief for those pesky seasonal allergies. Read on for sinus relief!
1. Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate!
Keep drinking fluids to help thin out mucus naturally. Stick to clear liquids that are free of caffeine, sugar, and alcohol. Herbal tea, water, and clear veggie or chicken broth are your best bets.
Fevers, poor appetite, and all of those nasal secretions can leave your body pretty dry. Taking enough fluids to prevent dehydration is more important than eating when you have an infection. So drink often throughout the day, even if you are not feeling thirsty, and make sure you are urinating frequently as a sign you are getting enough.
2. Spicy Apple Cider Vinegar Tonic
You know how your nose runs when you eat spicy food? Precisely. That's the desired effect. The other ingredients help boost the immune system and provide anti-inflammatory benefits as well.
This DIY sinus infection remedy is concentrated and will help clear out the sinuses and kick that sinus infection to the curb. The apple cider vinegar might be irritating if your throat is sore, so start with less and later add more.
The honey is there to cut the acid and help soothe. It also works as a potent antimicrobial to stifle the growth of pathogens, namely, bacteria and viruses. The cayenne is ultra-spicy and will make your nose run.
And why, exactly, would you want your nose to run more? Well, in the case of a sinus infection, it is important to release the collection of mucus in the nasal passages by diluting it and making the nose run.
This helps to clear bacteria and creates a less favorable living situation for those bugs that are left inside. A good flow of nasal secretions is what you want to achieve, so try to add a little more cayenne if you can!
- ¾ cup comfortably hot water
- 2-4 tablespoons raw apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon raw honey
- ⅛ to ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper or more
Combine in a glass, let it steep for a few minutes, then sip.
3. Ginger Turmeric Tea
My favorite morning "tea" that I drink on an almost-daily basis. It helps in a similar way as the apple cider vinegar tonic but employs the help of turmeric and ginger, which are anti-inflammatory (turmeric source) (ginger source), and adds a boost of vitamin C from the lemon.
The black pepper enhances the bioavailability of curcumin, which is the active ingredient in turmeric. So, in other words, black pepper helps increase the effectiveness of turmeric.
- 8 ounces comfortably hot water
- Juice of ½ lemon
- 1- to 2- inch piece fresh ginger grated
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- Pinch ground cayenne pepper
Combine in a glass. Let steep for a minute or two, then sip.
4. Steam Inhalation + Vaporizer
Humid air is your BFF when it comes to sinus relief. Using a vaporizer keeps moisture in the air and is great to use at night while you sleep. Warm, steamy showers also help loosen mucus and clear things out.
Create your own steam inhalation remedy by sprinkling a few drops of eucalyptus and/or peppermint oil around the shower, then turn up the water to as warm as you can stand it. You can also use a homemade aromatherapy shower tablet with congestion-clearing essential oils or a shower steamer with menthol.
Another classic sinus infection remedy: Add a few drops of eucalyptus oil to a bowl or pan of steaming hot water, drape a towel over your head, close your eyes, and breathe deeply for instant relief.
Eucalyptus oil has anti-microbial and anti-fungal properties. It serves as a decongestant, an expectorant, and helps reduce the swelling of mucous membranes.
5. Nasal Rinse
Neti pots (or nasal irrigation pots) are recommended by doctors as a natural, safe way to clear out nasal passages and relieve sinus pressure when you are suffering or recovering from a bacterial sinus infection. Be sure to use the right ratio of ingredients to prevent irritation. A simple saline sinus rinse recipe is to use ¼ teaspoon kosher salt and ¼ teaspoon baking soda to for every 8 ounces of water. If your nostrils are particularly inflamed, you can add ¼ teaspoon vegetable glycerin for its soothing effects.
Nasal irrigation has been around for centuries. Many people swear that nasal irrigation is the quickest and most effective way to alleviate those awful sinus infection symptoms.
Don't use water that's too hot, or you risk burning already irritated and tender nasal tissue. Using distilled water (or water that has been boiled), prepare one batch of water per nostril, and follow the instructions on your neti pot carefully.
It's safe to use twice a day—once in the morning upon waking, and once at night before heading to bed. Make sure to sanitize the neti pot thoroughly with hot, soapy water and invert it over a clean cloth to completely dry after each use.
6. Hot + Cold Compress
Alternating hot and cold compresses can help with sinus pressure and pain. Hold a fairly warm, slightly damp washcloth over eyes and nose for 3-4 minutes, then switch to a cool washcloth for 30 seconds.
Repeat several times. The warm compress helps loosen mucus, while the cold relieves swelling and pain.
It's true! Humming has actually been shown to help open up the nose and clear out sinuses (source).
The vibrations help loosen mucus and work to keep air moving through the nasal passages. So grab your earbuds, put on a favorite tune, and start humming!
When it comes to sinus infection remedies, the most recommended advice sometimes seems to be the very best. Sleep your way to feeling better by giving your body the rest it needs to fight off infection. That way, it doesn’t have to be occupied with so many other functions while trying to keep up with you.
If you can't take time off work or it's impossible to completely relax for other reasons, just laying down to fully rest your body, whether asleep or not, can do the trick. If you have trouble falling asleep when you have a sinus infection because of pain and congestion, try using a vaporizer or humidifier, sleep with your head slightly elevated, and keep your room nice and dark.
There are quite a few things you can try to help relieve the pain and suffering from sinus infections. Remember that upper respiratory tract infections (colds) are what cause the initial problem.
Then, right when you think your cold symptoms are beginning to improve, but the sinuses remain clogged with secretions that will not run out, your neighborhood bacteria will multiply and set up shop in there. Some sinus infection symptoms linger way longer than you'd expect.
That is what causes the new onset of fever, chills, sinus pain, and overall worse feeling you get with the onset of a sinus infection. So right away, you need to kick your sinus-clearing efforts into high gear. Try the nasal irrigation, teas, vaporized essential oils, healthy food, and just plain rest to help your immune system do its job well.
And, above all else, don't be afraid to call your doctor if these sinus infection remedies don't have you feeling better within a few days.
A sinus infection, also known as sinusitis, is a condition where the sinuses become inflamed or infected. Common examples include acute sinusitis, chronic sinusitis, and bacterial sinus infections. Sinus infections are typically caused by viruses, bacteria, or fungi. Allergies, environmental pollutants, and nasal passage abnormalities can also contribute to sinus infections.
Common symptoms of a sinus infection include facial pain, pressure, congestion, postnasal drip, headache, and fever. Most sinus infections can be treated with over-the-counter medications such as decongestants and pain relievers. Home remedies such as steam inhalation, saline nasal rinses, and rest can also help. In some cases, antibiotics may be prescribed by a doctor if the infection is bacterial.
Washing your hands regularly, avoiding allergens, using a humidifier to keep the air moist, and staying hydrated can help prevent sinus infections. Avoiding smoking and maintaining a healthy immune system can also be helpful.
Acute sinusitis is a short-term infection that lasts for less than four weeks. Chronic sinusitis lasts for more than 12 weeks and is typically caused by long-term inflammation.
A neti pot is a small teapot-like container used to irrigate the nose with saline solution. It can be helpful in relieving sinus congestion and reducing the risk of infection.
If your symptoms persist for more than 10 days or if you develop a high fever, severe headache, or a worsening of symptoms, it's important to see a doctor. They can evaluate your condition and determine if you need further treatment, such as antibiotics.
Common symptoms of a sinus infection include facial pain, pressure, or tenderness, congestion, runny nose, fever, and headache. If you have these symptoms, you should see a doctor for an accurate diagnosis.
Treatment for a sinus infection may include antibiotics, decongestants, nasal corticosteroids, and pain relievers. You may also find relief from using a humidifier or saline nasal spray.
2 Sippable Sinus Infection Remedies
- Tea kettle
Spicy Apple Cider Vinegar Tonic
- Combine in a glass, let steep for a few minutes, then sip.
This article was medically reviewed by Dr. Gina Jansheski, a licensed, board-certified pediatrician who has been practicing for more than 20 years. Learn more about Hello Glow's medical review board here. As always, this is not personal medical advice and we recommend that you talk with your doctor.
Cold and flu season giving you a hard time? You might want to try some of these natural remedies: