What Causes a Sinus Infection?
A sinus infection is a bacterial, viral or fungal infection of the nasal passages and sinuses (hollow cavities connected to the nasal passages). Symptoms of a sinus infection include nasal congestion and discharge, headache, cough, sore throat, fever, bad breath, and a feeling of heaviness or pressure in the eyes, nose, cheeks, or on one side of the head.
Sinus infections are often referred to as sinusitis. Sinusitis is an inflammation of the sinus cavities. Sinusitis is often caused by a sinus infection, but also can be caused by allergies or irritation of the sinuses.
Natural Remedies For a Sinus Infection
The best way to treat a sinus infection is to get a natural antibiotic and antiviral substance directly in contact with your sinuses. This can be done in 3 ways:
- Use a neti pot to fully flush and irrigate the sinuses from one nostril, up through the head and out the other nostril (see video below).
- Use a nebulizer or a vaporizer to breathe in the antiviral/antibacterial sinus remedy throughout the night – may be difficult if you are congested and can’t breathe the vapor in through your nose, but should gradually clear as you persevere.
- Use a squeeze bottle to squeeze the sinus wash up each nostril (nasal spray).
- At the very least (but easy-peasy) inhale eucalyptus oil in a bowl of hot water.
Of these different methods, the most effective ways to treat a nasal infection are using a broad spectrum anti-pathogen via a nebulizer, or, a sinus rinse using a neti pot– also known as “nasal irrigation”. Nasal irrigation is a cheap and easy way for people with allergies and sinusitis symptoms such as nasal congestion, stuffy noses and post-nasal drip to get relief, says Dr. Melissa Pynnonen, co-director of the Michigan Sinus Center and an assistant professor in the University of Michigan’s department of otolaryngology:
“For most patients, the benefit of nasal irrigation is that it does a great job of treating symptoms that otherwise aren’t well treated with medicine. Nasal irrigation can be considered a first-line treatment for common nasal and sinus symptoms. It’s often more effective than medications.”
Nasal irrigation involves rinsing the nasal passages with a solution made with a 1/4-tsp. of kosher salt, 8 ounces of filtered warm water and a quarter-teaspoon of baking soda. Some Ayurvedic remedies for a sinus infection use just finely ground sea salt and warm water (you don’t necessarily need the baking soda). Then, you add your natural antiviral and antibiotic sinus remedies to this base mixture.
We have achieved the best results for a sinus infection by adding 4 drops of wild oregano oil to 1 cup of neti pot solution (1 cup filtered warm water and 1/4 tsp salt), mixing well to evenly distribute the oil. You can also add 1 tsp. of colloidal silver, or 3 tsp. of 3.5% food-grade hydrogen peroxide, if you prefer. For a very stubborn nasal infection, use both 4 drops of wild oregano oil and 1 tsp. of colloidal silver.
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Flush your sinuses 2 to 3 times a day with a neti pot mixture of:
- 1 cup warm filtered water (some tap water contains infectious microorganisms, so best to boil or filter water first)
- 1/4 tsp. neti pot salt (use himalayan or celtic sea salt if you don’t have neti pot salt)
- 4 drops wild oregano oil (use 2 drops for children)
- For a stubborn sinus infection, add 1 tsp. colloidal silver (minimum 22 ppm)
Mix well to distribute evenly. As your nasal infection goes away, you can use less wild oregano oil, as even 2 drops will have a protective effect.
This video, which shows you how to use a neti pot, may well be the best method to use – with the best chance of not getting “sinus burn”:
How to use a neti pot to easily and gently irrigate your sinuses:
1. Prepare your neti pot solution of 1/4 tsp salt mixed in 8 ounces of warm boiled or filtered water. Tap water is usually fine, but if you are sensitive, or want to ensure there’s no infectious organisms, use boiled or filtered water.
2. Lean forward and turn your head to one side over the sink, keeping the forehead at the same height as the chin, or slightly higher.
3. Gently insert the spout in the upper nostril so it forms a comfortable seal.
4. Raise the neti pot gradually so the saline solution flows in through your upper nostril and out of the lower nostril. Breathe through your mouth. Opening your mouth and making a “K” sound will prevent the neti pot solution from coming out of your mouth.
5. Empty about half the pot, then blow your nose vigorously to clear sinuses. Switch sides and let the water flow in through the other nostril.
6. When the neti pot is empty, face the sink and exhale vigorously (blow out from the back of your head, not just the front part of your nose) without pinching the nostrils.
Squeeze Bottle Remedy
If you don’t want to use a neti pot, you can use an 8 ounce squeeze bottle and squirt 4 ounces of the nasal spray solution into each nostril. The solution exits through the opposite nostril. Opening your mouth and making a “K” sound will prevent the sinus wash from coming out of your mouth.
Personally, I find the squeeze bottle sinus treatment far more invasive and difficult to use than the neti pot – and more likely to result in “sinus burn” (what happens when you jump in a swimming pool and the water goes up your nose).
Nebulizer Sinus Remedy
You can use a vaporizer, or a steam tent, but these methods are not as effective as a nebulizer, since they cannot deliver a strong dose and the heat can also make it difficult to breathe in as deeply and fully as you need to. For a cold or mild allergy, a steam tent of vaporizer may be sufficient, but for an infection, you really should invest in a motorized nebulizer (plug-in or battery operated), especially if you have had recurring sinus infections.
For a sinus infection, you simply breathe in the nebulizer vapor through your nose, rather than your mouth. This delivers the medicine directly throughout your entire sinuses. Remember to breathe as deeply as you can to really flood the sinus cavities. Since it only involves breathing, many people find this preferable to using a neti pot. If you have any lung difficulties, then alternate inhaling through the mouth and nose. See this article for detailed instructions on how to use hydrogen peroxide and/or colloidal silver in a nebulizer.
If you have suffered from repeated or chronic sinus infections, then you also need to replenish the good bacteria in your gastrointestinal tract. Take 1 to 2 capsules of a therapeutic high dose probiotic like Natren Healthy Trinity every day for at least one year.
Eucalyptus Steam Tent Remedy
Use a large ceramic or stainless steel bowl (no plastic or aluminum). Or a steel saucepan can work well too if you don’t have a bowl. Fill it 3/4 full of boiling drinking water and add 15 drops of eucalyptus essential oil. Now place your face right over the bowl, and cover your head and the bowl with a clean towel; creating a steam tent. Breathe as deeply as you can, in through your nose. Have some Kleenex handy so you can blow your snot out as needed, then go back to inhaling.
If it gets too hot, just open a corner of the steam tent to let some cool air in. Also do some deep breaths in through your mouth, pulling huge breaths into your lungs – breathe to fill your belly first, then up into your chest. As you breathe in, imagine the eucalyptus steam pushing into and filling the back of your lungs; pressing your ribcage out, as you breathe in.
This is a very easy remedy to administer to kids and all 3 of mine really loved it. If your children are very young, get under the steam tent with them and show them how to do it and also to test that it’s not too hot.
Breathe Easy At Night and Relieve Sinus Headache
To be able to sleep well (which builds your immune system, helping to fight the infection), do the neti pot (or the eucalyptus steam tent) last thing before bed and then apply Olbas Salve as a decongestant to open your sinus and help you breathe easier during the night. Keep the tube of salve on your nightstand for easy re-application if you wake up in the night.
Apply Olbas Salve to your temples, across your forehead, to the bony ridges under your eyes (keep away from eyes) and to the sides of your nose. This will also help to relieve any sinus headache you might have. You can re-apply during the day as well, as needed
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