Sinus infection are one of the main reasons for visiting a doctor in the US and also one of the most common diseases when prescribing antibiotics.

However, many sinus infections can improve on their own without antibiotics. If you have a sinus infection there are several home remedies that you can try to help relieve symptoms. Here’s what you need to know.

What is a sinus infection?

Sinusitis is the medical term for inflammation of the sinus cavities that are in your cheeks, behind your forehead, and on both sides of your nose. The inflammation traps mucus in your sinuses, preventing it from flowing naturally from your throat to your stomach.

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Yuqing Liu / Insider

Are Sinus Infections Contagious? No, but there can be an underlying virus

If this is caused by bacteria or viruses, it is called a sinus infection. However, sinusitis can also be caused by chronic allergies or nasal polyps.

The common Symptoms a sinus infection include:

  • Pain and pressure around the forehead, eyes, nose and cheeks
  • Thick nasal discharge
  • Reduced sense of smell and taste

More serious symptoms can include:

  • A fever over 101 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Eye swelling
  • Nausea and vomiting

If you experience these severe symptoms, you should see a doctor.

If your symptoms are not severe, the following home remedies may be all you need to help relieve the pain and pressure of a sinus infection.

1. Try a warm compress

Applying a warm, damp towel or washcloth The nose, cheeks, and eyes can help relieve sinus pain by opening up the nasal passages and loosening the mucus. You can try to do this for you each up to 20 minutes, as needed.

While there aren’t any scientific studies to prove the effectiveness of this method, “if someone feels like a warm compress is giving them symptomatic relief without burning their skin, definitely do it,” he says Ralph Abi Hachem, MD, Assistant Professor of Head and Neck Surgery and Communication Studies at Duke University School of Medicine.

2. Invest in a humidifier

Humidifiers add moisture to the air, which can reduce inflammation and open the nasal passages. For a humidifier to be most effective, Abi Hachem says it should be placed as close to you in the same room as possible so that it can release moisture into your nasal cavity.

The best humidifiers

It’s important too Keep your humidifier clean to prevent bacteria and fungi from building up in the tank and getting into the air and potentially causing lung problems. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to clean your humidifier. The EPA recommends that you empty the tank and dry all surfaces of the humidifier every day.

3. Breathe in steam

Much like a humidifier, inhaling hot, moist steam can help open your nasal passages and relieve pain and pressure. You can do this in two ways:

Steam therapy

For steam therapy, you can simply take a hot shower and inhale the steam. Another method is to put a towel over your head and inhale the steam from a bowl of hot water about 10 minutes, up to four times a day.

However, a 2012 items The British Journal of General Practice notes that this method has no proven benefit and can risk burn injuries, especially in children.

Steam evaporator

Another option is to use a steam evaporator that uses electricity to heat water and generate steam.

“If you have very thick mucus this can help make it thinner,” says Abi Hachem. “You should place it relatively close to you, not in one room when you are in another room.”

Steam vaporizers shouldn’t be used around children or pets, because You could get scalded by the steam or by hot water if it falls over.

While steam vaporizers are not as likely to have mineral build-up as humidifiers, they should still be cleaned every day by emptying the tank and drying all surfaces.

4. Use a neti pot

You can also use a neti pot to rinse and clean your nasal passages. Known as a nasal wash, this helps loosen mucus and remove dust, pollen, and other debris.

Indeed a 2016 randomized controlled study The journal published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal found that nasal lavage is more effective than steam inhalation at improving symptoms of sinusitis. Participants who used a daily nasal lavage showed improvement after six months, while participants who used steam inhalation showed no improvement.

Too sure Use a neti pot, follow these steps:

  1. Lean over a sink and tilt your head to one side so your forehead and chin are almost level. This will prevent the solution from flowing from your nose into your mouth.
  2. Insert the spout into your highest nostril. The solution drains through the lower nostril. As you do this, Abi Hachem suggests that you say the letter “K” to lift your taste buds and prevent the solution from dripping down your throat.
  3. Tilt your head in the opposite direction and repeat these steps.

Rinse the neti pot with distilled water after each use and let it air dry. It is important to use only distilled water or tap water that has been boiled for a minute and then cooled. tap water contains bacteria that linger in your nasal passages and can cause rare, potentially fatal infections.

You can also buy a saline solution or it make your own. Adding salt to the water prevents burns or irritation if the solution passes through your nasal membranes.

5. Drink plenty of water and get enough rest

“I recommend drinking lots of water because it thins the mucus,” says Abi Hachem. While there’s no indication of the most effective amount, he recommends drinking at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water each day.

You can also try drinking hot liquids, such as tea or soup, to temporarily relieve your symptoms. However, you should avoid drinking alcohol as it dries out and can worsen your overload. If you take one antibiotic If you have a sinus infection, drinking alcohol can increase side effects such as upset stomach and drowsiness.

It is also important to get around seven to nine hours of sleep every night to help your body rest and recover. “You want to get enough sleep and follow a normal sleep cycle so that all of the hormones in your body are using your immune system to the full,” says Abi Hachem.

Since it can be difficult to get a good night’s sleep due to the pain and congestion, here are some things you can do to get a better rest:

It’s important to note that while these home remedies can help relieve your symptoms, they won’t help your sinusitis improve any faster. If your symptoms persist for more than 10 days, you should see a doctor.

Your doctor may also recommend prescription drugs such as antibiotics or decongestant sprays, as well as over-the-counter pain relievers such as Tylenol (acetaminophen) or Advil (ibuprofen).