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A sinus infection can be very off-putting and painful. While most sinus infections are triggered by colds and allergic reactions, the main cause of a sinus infection is merely the presence of mucous and bacteria in the nasal passages. When a build-up occurs, extreme pressure can present serious problems when you’re trying to breathe.
The sinuses are nothing more than air-filled spaces that are found in and around your cheeks, eyes, forehead, and nose. When excess mucous blocks the opening of these spaces, bacteria can flood the system and cause a sinus infection. Left untreated, a sinus infection, also referred to as sinusitis, can be serious and even life-threatening.
Understanding the Two Types of Sinus Infections
There are two main types of sinus infection – acute and chronic. Acute sinusitis is caused by a sudden growth of bacteria, while chronic sinusitis is caused by both bacteria and fungus due to an unmanaged, long-term infection. Usually, acute sinus infections last for only a week or two. However, chronic sinus infections can last for several months.
Recognizing the Symptoms
Before you seek treatment, either at home or through a doctor, for a sinus infection, it’s important to be sure that’s what you’re dealing with. The following are the most common symptoms of sinusitis:
- A persistent cold that fails to improve over time
- Nasal stiffness
- Pain when blowing your nose
- Dense headaches in and around the nose, forehead, and eyes
- Yellow discharge coming from the nasal passages
- Low grade fever
- Pain near the gums in your mouth
- Sore throat
- Feelings of physical weakness
- General sensation of being unwell
While a doctor can prescribe you various medications to combat a sinus infection, natural remedies are safer and often just as effective.
The 5 Best Natural Home Remedies for a Sinus Infection
Onions make you cry for a reason. It’s because they contain lots of sulfur, and that sulfur acts as a natural antibacterial. While simply inhaling the scent of an onion may irritate your eyes, it can also fight a sinus infection quickly.
METHOD: Cut an onion into small pieces and put the pieces into a small pot of boiling water. Allow them to boil for at least 5 minutes. Pour the liquid into a bowl or mug and inhale it deeply for 5 to 10 minutes. You may also drink the mixture while it’s hot if you can stand the taste and temperature.
Horseradish is good for more than just a sandwich condiment. It’s actually an effective cure for a sinus infection. When inhaled or ingested, the active chemicals in horseradish travel up the sinuses and dissolves mucous instantly.
METHOD: Grate horseradish and put it in your mouth. Let it sit on your tongue for a few minutes. When the flavors are evaporated by your saliva, swallow. This method will also clear any excess mucous in the throat.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is helpful for all types of infections including sinusitis. When used regularly, this natural substance can clear a sinus infection in as little as 2 days. While it might not taste the greatest, it’s surely better than suffering from a painful sinus infection.
METHOD: Take 1 tsp. of apple cider vinegar three times per day, preferably heated.
Grapefruit Seed Extract
Grapefruit is a natural antifungal and antibacterial, making it ideal for both acute and chronic sinus infections. It’s found in both liquid and capsule form but may present an allergic reaction in some people. Consult with your doctor before using this remedy to combat sinusitis.
Regular consumption of foods that are rich in vitamin A can help your body create a strong defense against infections like sinusitis. Supplements may be substituted if you don’t get enough vitamin A in your diet.