What is a Sinus Infection?
The sinuses, or sinus cavities, are hollow spaces that air flows through within the bones surrounding the nose. A sinus infection or sinusitis occurs when your nasal cavities become swollen and inflamed. Normally, your sinuses are filled with air. When sinuses become blocked and filled with fluid, germs (bacteria, viruses, and fungi) can grow and cause an infection.
How long do sinus infections last? Well, that depends on what type of sinus infection you have. Acute sinusitis can last over two weeks even with appropriate treatment. If your sinus infection lasts longer than 10 to 14 days, then you’re more likely to have bacterial sinusitis. Chronic sinusitis lasts much longer — at least 12 weeks!
Is a sinus infection contagious? The answer to that question: it depends on what caused it in the first place. If a virus causes your sinus infection, then you can spread that virus. This means that a person who catches your sickness (the virus) will then likely get a cold, which could turn into a sinus infection, but also could just stay a cold. In some instances, the flu also triggers a sinus infection. If you have a virus-based sinus infection, you actually could have been contagious days before you got the actual sinus infection. Bacteria also can cause a sinus infection. That means your infection cannot be spread to others. However, a bacterial sinus infection is typically more intense and lasts longer than a viral sinus infection.
How can you tell what type of sinus infection you have? Your doctor won’t be able to tell you if your sinus infection is bacterial or viral based on symptoms or an exam alone. The best way to tell the root of a sinus infection is symptom duration. If it’s a viral sinus infection, it should start to improve after five to seven days. On the other hand, a bacterial infection often lasts seven to 10 days or even longer and the infection can get worse after seven days.
10 Natural Remedies for Sinus Infections
Top Foods & Beverages for Sinus Infections
1. Water — Adequate hydration is the key to flushing out the virus from your system. Try to drink at least 8 ounces every 2 hours.
2. Chicken broth with vegetables —This traditional remedy of bone broth helps soothe the nasal cavities and respiratory system, along with providing important minerals.
3. Horseradish — Anyone who has accidentally eaten too much horseradish has experienced its potent ability to clear nasal passages. Mix some horseradish with lemon to make it even more potent.
4. Ginger — Make a ginger tea and add raw honey to aid in recovery.
5. Garlic and onions — Both of these vegetables help boost immune function.
6. Vitamin C rich foods — Consuming foods high in vit C can boost the immune system and speed recovery from sinusitis.
Foods & Beverages to Avoid
1. Sugar — Decreases white blood cells that help fight off infection.
2. Fruit juices — Although orange juice contains some vitamin C, it is not as high in vitamin C as whole fruits or vegetables. If you want to drink juice, dilute it.
3. Dairy products — Milk and other dairy products are mucus producing so it is best to avoid them.
4. Refined flour and grains — All refined grains can cause more mucus production.
5. Salt — Without adequate water intake, salt can be dehydrating and slow healing of the inflammation of the sinuses.
3. Oil of Oregano
Oregano oil contains two powerful compounds of carvacrol and thymol that have powerful anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties. I recommend 500 milligrams of oregano oil four times per day. For sinus infections, you can also add few drops of oregano oil to a large bowl of recently boiled water. Being careful not to burn yourself, cover your head with a towel creating a tent to keep the steam in, close your eyes and put your face over the pot (a safe distance from the hot water) and inhale the fragrant steam for a few minutes.
4. Grapefruit seed extract
Grapefruit seed extract has potent antiviral properties. This is why it is included in many nasal and throat sprays. The main biological compounds in a grapefruit seed that are believed to be responsible for its ability to destroy infectious invaders are the polyphenols known as limonoids and naringenin.
5. Vitamin C
Vitamin C is essential to proper function of the immune system, which is the system that protects your body from getting infections and also helps your body to fight infections once it has one. As an antioxidant, vitamin C also helps guard our cells from free radical damage.
Garlic is one of nature’s best antibiotics. Since colds often lead to a sinus infection, garlic is an awesome way not only to naturally treat a sinus infection, but to prevent it in the first place. In one study, people took either garlic supplements or a placebo for 12 weeks during cold season (between November and February). The garlic takers were less likely to get a cold, and if they did get a cold, they recovered faster than the placebo group. Those who didn’t take garlic (placebo group) had a much greater likelihood of contracting more than one cold over the 12-week treatment period.
Echinacea is an herb that can help your body fight off viruses and bacteria. Professional herbalists will often recommend this herb for natural treatment of sinus infections. Scientific studies have shown that echinacea contains active substances that are antiviral and boost the immune system while also reduce pain and inflammation, which is a perfect combination of effects or a sinus infection.
8. Neti Pot
Using a neti pot with a saline solution can also greatly improve sinus issues and clear the nasal passage ways. This process is called “nasal irrigation.”
9. Add Moisture
Whether it’s a humidifier, saline nasal spray, or sitting in a steam-filled bathroom, adding more moisture to the air and your nasal passages can really help to reduce congestion.
10. Essential Oils
To naturally clear the sinuses, using eucalyptus oil and pepper mint oil can be highly effective. These essential oils can naturally open up the sinuses, clear mucus and eliminate infections. Add them to a diffuser.
If you have suffered long term from sinus infections and are unable to get to the the root cause, perhaps it is the daily foods you consume that is exasperating your sinuses. If you wish to be tested for food intolerances please follow the link below to read more or call us on 087 057 3098 for further info.