sinus infectionThe sinuses are empty channels that allow air to flow through the craniofacial bones. When they are affected by swelling and inflammation, we are talking about sinusitis. Although they are usually filled with air, during infection they become blocked by fluid and germs (bacteria, viruses, and fungi) that can constantly develop.

Acute sinusitis can last more than 2 weeks, even if appropriate treatment is given. However, if it lasts longer than 10-14 days, the risk of bacterial inflammation increases.

We can deal with chronic inflammation for more than 12 weeks. Some also experience chronic sinusitis accompanied by the formation of polyps, those associated with allergies or nasal septum curvature.

Causes and risk factors of sinusitis

The following may contribute to the development of sinusitis:

  • respiratory tract infections such as cold
  • hay fever or exposure to allergens, such as cigarette smoke, dry air, and pollution,
  • embolism in the nasal or sinus cavity, including polyps, abnormalities in the structure of the septum,
  • non-allergic rhinitis, giving allergy-like symptoms,
  • changes in air pressure, when climbing or swimming,
  • infections associated with oral diseases
  • Bacteria, viruses, fungi.

Symptoms of sinusitis

Symptoms of both acute and chronic sinusitis are similar and include most often:

  • foul-smelling yellow and heavy nasal discharge,
  • blocked nose
  • congestion,
  • secretion flowing down the back wall of the throat,
  • pressure or pain in the sinuses around the face and eyes,
  • headaches, usually referred to as “sinus”, covering the area around the forehead,
  • persistent or worsening colds,
  • fatigue,
  • cough,
  • fever.

Most of the above symptoms can also be accompanied by a cold. However, if they persist for more than 10 days, a sinus infection may develop. The appearance of two or more symptoms and a thick green / yellow discharge may indicate acute sinusitis.

In the case of chronic inflammation, the symptoms will last for 12 weeks or longer and may be accompanied by:

  • pus in the mouth
  • a feeling of hyperemia or fullness on the face,
  • runny or pigmented mucus,
  • bad breath
  • toothache,
  • frequent tiredness.

Conventional treatment

If the symptoms of a sinus infection persist for more than 10 days and it is considered bacterial, doctors usually prescribe an antibiotic. Of course, it is different in the case of viral inflammation – antibiotics do not work on viruses. A common choice is also: nasal corticosteroid drugs, decongestants, analgesics, antipyretics, antihistamines, mucolytics (causing mucus liquefaction and reducing its viscosity), etc.; which don’t treat the problem, but manage the symptoms and cause destruction in your body. Your body takes long months to recover from taking medications, something you might not even notice.

Natural methods supporting the fight against sinusitis

The right diet – what to choose

In the case of sinusitis, it is important what we eat and drink. These products will support you in your fight:

  • Water, essential to flush out the virus.
  • Chicken broth with vegetables. It brings relief to the nasal cavity and respiratory system while providing important nutrients.
  • Horseradish. Perfectly clears the respiratory tract. When mixed with lemon, it becomes even stronger.
  • Ginger. Tea with ginger and honey (For best results, honey should be eaten separately so that it does not lose its properties under the influence of heat), will help regeneration.
  • Garlic and onion. They help increase immunity.
  • Products that are rich in vitamin C. They support the immune system and accelerate recovery.

The right diet – what to avoid

During sinusitis, the following will not help us:

  • Sugar. It reduces the number of white blood cells that are needed to fight the infection.
  • Milk products. Milk and other dairy products increase mucus production.
  • Refined flour and grains. They can cause an increase in mucus production.
  • Consumed without the right amount of water can lead to dehydration and slow the healing process.

Fruit juices may also be a doubtful choice, as they contain a small number of vitamins (if any), but they also usually have lots of sugar.

  • Vitamin C

This vitamin is necessary for the proper functioning of the immune system. As an antioxidant, it helps protect against possible damage caused by free radicals. These are found, among others in polluted air and cigarette smoke, which are risk factors for the development of sinus infection.

  • Oregano oil

This oil contains compounds that have anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties, including carvacrol and thymol.

Specialists recommend using 500 mg of oil, 4 times a day. With this oil we can also prepare steam inhalation, pouring it into a bowl of hot water and inhaling, covering the head with a towel (creating a tent). This will help clear nasal passages. Be careful not to burn yourself.

  • Grapefruit seed extract

It has a strong antiviral effect; therefore it is a component of many nasal and throat sprays. Polyphenols (limonoids and naringenin) found in grapefruit seeds are the main compounds that will help fight viruses. We can use this spray 4 times a day.

  • Garlic

Natural and one of the best antibiotics. It can help prevent the development of sinus infection, which is a consequence of the common cold.

In one study, participants took garlic or placebo supplements for 12 weeks between November and February. Those who took garlic were less likely to have a cold and recovered faster if it had already occurred. In the placebo group, the risk of “catching” more than one cold over a 12-week period was greater. It is recognized that viruses are opposed by the most important biologically active component of garlic, i.e. allicin.

The World Health Organization recommends: eating 2-5 g (one clove) of fresh garlic, 0.4-1.2 g of dried, 2-5 mg of garlic oil, 300-1000 mg of garlic extract or 2-5 mg of allicin.

  • Echinacea

Effectively fights bacteria and viruses, it is often recommended by herbal experts for sinusitis. Research has shown that it contains antiviral substances that support the immune system, relieve pain and inflammation. It is recommended to reach for Echinacea already at the first symptoms of the disease, 1000 mg, 2-3 times a day.

  • Neti Pot

Irrigation with a salt solution can help cleanse the nasal passages effectively. According to a study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, the use of a nasal unblocking kit may eliminate some of the symptoms of chronic sinusitis, and this effect is likely to persist for up to six months. According to the main author of the study, medical professor Paul Little from the University of Southampton:

In addition to alleviating sinus symptoms, reduced headaches, over-the-counter medications, and less frequent medical appointments have been noticed.

  • Essential Oils

Peppermint and eucalyptus oil helps to remove mucus, unblock sinuses and fight infection. Rub one drop into the palate and drink it with water. We only use oils suitable for internal use. Aromatherapy should also help. Just put a few drops of oil in an aromatherapy fireplace or diffuser.

  • Appropriate hydration

Moisturizing is very important when fighting sinus disease. It’s a good idea to hydrate your bedroom air properly, use sea salt in a spray and steam inhalation. That will help relieve sinus headaches. Adequate moisturization will help reduce congestion.


If the symptoms get worse or they do not go away after 10-14 days, you should consult your doctor.

Untreated sinus infections can lead to the development of other conditions, such as bronchitis and complications.

Sources: Ewa Wysocka

 Kasia BrzozaKasia Brzoza

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