What is Sinusitis?
Sinusitis afflicts millions of Americans each year. According to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, sinusitis “simply means your sinuses are inflamed, red and swollen, because of an infection or another problem.” Sinusitis can be very irritating to deal with and women are more likely than men to be diagnosed with the infection. Sinusitis affects people from the very young to the very old.
Acute sinusitis can last up to 4 weeks and chronic sinusitis can last more than 12 weeks and persist for months or years after the initial symptoms. The illness can be caused by several factors including viruses, bacteria, allergies, airborne chemicals and a weak immune system.
What are the Symptoms of Sinusitis?
According to the Center of Disease Control and Prevention, those diagnosed with sinusitis usually suffer from the following symptoms:
• Nasal Congestion
• Sore throat
• Pain between the eyes
• Post-nasal drip
Why Consider Not Using Antibiotics or Decongestants?
Many people who suffer from acute or chronic sinusitis typically take antibiotics or decongestants to treat and alleviate the symptoms of the illness. Since people usually recuperate from acute sinusitis with time, taking antibiotics can be detrimental to their short-term and long-term health. Children and adults who take antibiotics when it is not necessary may suffer stomach pain, nausea and diarrhea. The human body can also become resistant to certain kinds of antibiotics if taken too frequently.
How Can Sinusitis Be Treated Naturally?
Natural home remedies can greatly help alleviate the symptoms associated with sinusitis. Getting an abundance of rest may increase chances of a speedy recovery. Drinking plenty of fluids such as water and juice and avoiding drinking beverages with caffeine and alcohol will boost the immune system.
Rinsing out the nasal passages with a neti pot using sterile, distilled warm water will help clear the sinuses. A saline solution should be used. Saline packets are generally provided with the neti pot if a commercial brand is purchased. If distilled water is unavailable, water should be boiled and then cooled to a comfortable, warm temperature. Cool or room temperature water should never be used, because this can cause headache pain, and a neti pot should never be used with tap water because of the harmful chemicals. Care should be taken to tip the head, so that the water drains out safely from the other nostril. A netipot is very effective in cleaning out the mucous from the nasal passages and removing infection. The netipot also prevents sinus infections and allergic reactions if one has been exposed to allergens.
Steam has been used for many years to clear the sinuses. Boil water, place in a bowl, and create a “tent” with a towel over your head. You may add essential oils such as mint, lemon, or garlic. Breathe in the steam to loosen the mucous in the nasal passages. Repeat as often as necessary.
Quercitin has been found to be effective in helping to fight sinusitis. According to Deborahann Smith of Gaiam Life, “Quercetin is an anti-inflammatory and immune-boosting bioflavonoid found in the skin of red onions and apples. It helps decrease mucus production and swelling by blocking the release of histamine from immune cells.”Quercetin can be found in many fruits and vegetables such as cranberries, blueberries, kale, watercress and broccoli.”
Vitamin C and Vitamin E supplements will support the enhancement of the immune system. Covering the face with a warm towel will decrease facial pain associated with sinusitis and reduce inflammation in the nasal passages.
Acupuncture or acupressure uses pressure points on the body to work with sinusitis. According to Michael Reed Gach, PhD, “to relieve your upper or frontal sinuses, use B2, located at the bridge of your nose. This mental stress point is located in the indentation of your upper eye socket, where the bridge of the nose meets the ridge of your eyebrows. To open the maxillary sinuses in the cheek, use the foremost acupressure points for the sinuses: LI20 and St3, underneath your eyes, just below your cheekbones. Use gentle pressure. These points are safe and useful to teach to people of all ages, children and adults.” Reflexology sinus points are located at the tips of each finger and toe. Gently massage the fingertips and toes to relieve sinus pressure and pain.
Sinusitis is a common infection that affects many people. It can be treated with proper treatment at home without having to take unnecessary antibiotics.
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases – Sinusitis
Center for Disease Control and Prevention – Sinus Infections
Mayo Clinic – Acute Sinusitis
Gaiam Life: Your Guide to Better Living – Natural Remedies for Sinusitis
Acupressure Points for Sinus Infection – Michael Reed Gach, PhD
This article is written by Hang Pham, Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance Health and Wellness Educator. Hang Pham was born in Hoc Mon, Vietnam. She came to America in 1994, becoming a U.S. citizen in 2011. Hang graduated from Seaside High School with diploma and received her AA in General Studies from Monterey Peninsula College in 2011. She received her BA in Collaborative Health and Human Services from California State University Monterey Bay (CSUMB) in 2012. In addition to working as a volunteer staff with the Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance, she currently works as a Clerical Aid in the Human Resources Department of Salinas City Hall. To find out more about our Health Educators, or to apply as a Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance writer or volunteer, visit our website at www.montereybayholistic.com
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