Alternative Treatment Options for Sinus Infections
A sinus infection, also referred to as sinusitis, is the result of nasal passages and sinuses becoming inflamed. Causes for a sinus infection include allergies, a viral or bacterial infection, fungi and the use of inhaled illegal substances. Common symptoms of this condition are fever, sore throat, congestion in the nasal area, pressure and pain around the nose, cheeks or eyes, thick greenish or brown phlegm, and a cough. There are a number of over-the-counter products to treat or relieve your symptoms. If the infection is more severe, your doctor may prescribe an antibiotic, which you may have to take up to 2 weeks or more, depending upon how serious your sinus infection is. There are also alternative remedies that address this problem, that can be used in conjunction with conventional treatments.
Take a short, hot shower and let the water spray and hit the areas where you feel congested. Breathe in the vapors. This is a quick, easy way to get your nasal passages opened and makes it easier for mucous to become “unclogged.” Do this in the morning and just before you retire for bed.
Soak a small towel in a cup of reasonably hot peppermint tea and press the hot towel over your sinus area for about 10 minutes. This eases congestion in your nose. Do this every few hours until bedtime.
Breathe in some essential oils. Boil a pot of water and add a drop of eucalyptus oil or peppermint oil, or 1 drop of each to the water, then take a deep whiff and get some welcome relief from sinus pressure and congestion. Situate yourself close enough to breathe in the vapors, but do not stand directly over the pot, as breathing in vapors from water that is too hot can burn the inside of your nostrils.
Drink elderberry tea, sweetened with honey, up to 4 cups daily. Elderberry has natural antibiotic properties and can reduce fever. Elderberry comes from the flowers of the elderberry or bour tree and is popularly used to treat colds, flu and infections. No side effects or drug interactions have currently been reported with the use of elderberry, but get a pre-packaged product from a reputable company.
Eat foods that clear sinuses. Ethnic cuisine, such as Mexican dishes, Indian dishes and Japanese dishes, often contain hot spices that bring relief to sinuses. Be cautious about eating spicy foods if you have a peptic ulcer or are pregnant; speak with your doctor first. Women who are breastfeeding should avoid spicy dishes. Avoid wheat and dairy foods, as they build up mucus.