Most sinusitis infections begin with a runny nose, congestion in the nose and throat, pain (especially in the nasal area), and pressure all around the face.
If you're someone who suffers from chronic sinusitis, you know these symptoms all too well. Sinus infections can be debilitating and immensely frustrating, but if you struggle with them constantly, you should at least make it a point to be prepared.
Below, we've outlined a list of things that all chronic sinusitis sufferers should have in their medicine cabinets at all times.
While these things can't completely take away the challenging symptoms of a sinus infection, they can at least make them a bit better for the time being.
1. A humidifier
If you want to recover quickly from a sinus infection, adding moisture to your routine is critical. Of course, this means that drinking plenty of water throughout the day is critical, but it also means that owning at least one humidifier is absolutely essential.
Have one humidifier in your bedroom, and turn it on when you sleep. In addition, consider putting another in your regular living space where you spend most of your time during the day or evening.
Make sure to clean your humidifiers routinely.
2. A diffuser and essential oils
A diffuser can also be a mini humidifier (depending on the model), and you can add essential oils to it.
Quality essential oils can be greatly beneficial for a range of mild medical issues (just check with your doctor first).
For sinus infections, eucalyptus oil has been proven to help open up the airways and alleviate nasal pressure. Peppermint and lavender oils can also help with common sinusitis symptoms. Just be sure to follow the directions on your essential oils package as adding too many drops of oil can actually be detrimental.
3. Warm compresses
Warm heat often eases the discomfort associated with nasal pain and sinus congestion. A warm compress can be easily made at home by taking a washcloth and running it under warm water until it's soaking wet.
Squeeze all of the excess liquid out of the washcloth by twisting and wringing it. Then, lay back, and fold the warm compress over your eyes and/or your eyes and nose. Resting like this for even five or 10 minutes can help soothe a bad sinus infection.
4. A neti pot
Certain sinus infection symptoms can be relieved by using a neti pot.
Neti pots come with their own directions, which you should follow closely. But in general, what you're doing is filling the pot with a special saline solution (always using distilled water only) and pouring it into your nose while inclining over the tub or sink at about a 45-degree angle.
You'll be pouring the saline solution into your top nostril, and it will essentially rinse through your nose and flow out of your other (bottom) nostril.
5. Sudafed and other OTC decongestants and medications
Certain over-the-counter (OTC) medications can also help ease the symptoms associated with sinus infections.
For example, Sudafed (pseudoephedrine) targets sinus and nasal pressure as well as congestion and stuffy nasal passageways. You can get Sudafed as a nasal spray or as a liquid or tablet.
Additionally, if you tend to have a headache or internal nasal pain due to your sinus infection, you might consider a pain reliever such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen. Brand names for ibuprofen include Motrin and Advil. The most common brand name for acetaminophen is Tylenol.
6. Vicks VapoRub
Like some essential oils used for sinus infections, Vicks VapoRub includes a heavy dose of eucalyptus. This bright and refreshing scent can do wonders for clogged nasal passages.
To use, take a glob of the rub and gently massage it onto your chest and throat. Some people also apply a cloth over top - preferably, one that is warm (put a dry washcloth in your dryer on low for a few minutes).
What Causes Sinus Infections?
Most sinus infections are caused by bacteria or viruses. With the former, bacteria may spread into the lining of your nasal cavity, causing symptoms. With viral infections, you may have caught the infection from being near to someone with an infection or touching something they touched (viral transmission via saliva, for example).
Sometimes, mold or fungi can cause a sinus infection too. But this tends to occur more in individuals with weakened immune systems.
More than likely, if you get regular sinus infections, the cause is bacterial, not viral, meaning you do not catch a new sinus infection from someone every time you get one.
Talk to Your Doctor if You Suffer From Chronic Sinus Infections
If you have frequent sinus infections, seek help from your doctor or an ear, nose, and throat (ENT) specialist. Medications or lifestyle changes can often help, or, in some cases, sinus surgery may be necessary.