PAINFUL sinus infections that can leave sufferers bunged up for up to 12 weeks may have met their match.
Apple cider vinegar is the unusual natural remedy that tackles the build up of bacteria and severe inflammation that cause persistent headaches, fevers and facial pains.
2 Mucus bungs up the cavities in the skull during sinus infectionsCredit: Getty – Contributor
Sinuses are the connected system of hollow cavities between the cheek bones, forehead and eyes.
Viruses or bacteria can cause painful infections in these spaces as thick mucus forms and creates a blockage.
An acute sinusitis is a sinus infection that can last up to four week weeks, while a chronic sinusitis lasts 12 weeks or longer if untreated.
Abtibiotics are often prescribed to treat the condition, but there are plenty of natural ways to for your body to battle the bacteria responsible for the discomfort.
2 A daily does of apple cider vinegar could be all that’s need to unclog your sinusesCredit: iStockphoto – Getty
Apple cider vinegar works by binding to pathogens and helping the body get rid of them more effectively.
The cider contains vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and malic acids that are can target blockages.
When taken orally, it breaks up mucus and clears airways, while its antibacterial properties wipe out the infection.
Rich nutrients in the cider also boost the body’s immune system, so consuming 1-2 tablespoons every day is recommended.
Making the miracle infection clearer is easy. All you need is ¼ cup of ACV, 1 tablespoon of cayenne pepper, freshly squeezed lemon juice (1 lemon), a tablespoon of honey and ½ cup of water.
Simply boil the water, add the apple cider vinegar, and cook over medium heat. Then, add the lemon juice and honey to enrich the taste and add more beneficial compounds.
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- TRADESMAN’S ENTRANCE
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- DESPERATE SEARCH
- Managing sinusitis symptoms
- Not sure what to do next?
- 6 natural cold remedies to try this winter
- 6 Natural Remedies for Pain and Pressure From Sinus Infections
- What Is Sinusitis?
- Easy Natural Remedies Help Mucus Flow
- 1. Heat Up (or Steam Up) Your Face
- 2. Irrigate Your Sinuses to Help Ease Symptoms and Prevent Sinus Infections
- 3. Yoga Can Help Drain Mucus From Sinus Passageways
- 4. Consider Using a Supplement, Such as the Enzyme Bromelain
- 5. Try Quercetin — a Powerful Herb You’ve Likely Never Heard Of
- 6. Drinking Liquids Help Ease Sinus Pain and Loosens Congestion
- Consult Your Doctor if These Remedies Don’t Help Your Sinus Pain
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Finally, add the cayenne pepper, stir well, and drink the remedy on a daily basis.
Chief medical officer of US-based Epitomedical Constantine George said Apple cider vinegar contains “B vitamins, like vitamin B1, B2, vitamin A, vitamin E, . . . magnesium, potassium, calcium”.
He added: “From that perspective, these can help boost one’s immune system, and that, therefore, can help fight off or prevent sinus infections.”
“Imagine when you have an infection, allergies, runny nose, coughing, congestion, most of the time when you go to the doctor’s office, they’ll tell you to take antihistamines like Zyrtec, Allegra, and Claritin to kind of help decongest you.”
Despite no personally prescribing the cider to his patients, the doctor said: “It’s about 50/50 with the limited number of patients we do have who have tried it. It’s a newer thing that’s out there, and you’re going to hear more and more about it as the years go on.”
Other doctors, however, have said taking simple multivitamin tablets can be more effective.
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Tell your doctor if you develop bleeding from the nose, a stiff neck, swelling, or problems with your vision.
Managing sinusitis symptoms
If you are looking after yourself, the tips below may help relieve the symptoms:
- Decongestant medicines — available as tablets, nasal sprays or drops – may be helpful, but do not take them for longer than instructed.
- Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions when taking or giving someone else any medicines.
- It is important to stay well hydrated so drink plenty of water. If you have an existing medical condition check with your doctor about how much water is right for you.
- Gently blow your nose one nostril at a time.
- Place a warm or cool cloth, whichever helps, over the aching area.
- Rest and avoid heavy activity until symptoms go away.
- Keep the room at a comfortable temperature.
- Smoking or breathing in other people’s smoke can make symptoms worse. Try to avoid being around people who are smoking. If you are a smoker, try to cut down or quit. For advice on quitting smoking, visit the Quit Now website.
- Find advice on suitable medicines for pain.
- Find out more about self-care tips if you have a high temperature (fever).
Not sure what to do next?
If you are still concerned about your sinusitis, check your symptoms with healthdirect’s online Symptom Checker to get advice on when to seek medical attention.
The Symptom Checker guides you to the next appropriate healthcare steps, whether it’s self care, talking to a health professional, going to a hospital or calling triple zero (000).
6 natural cold remedies to try this winter
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Ah, yes, the dreaded common cold. While not as severe as the flu, coming down with a cold can make basic day-to-day activities more challenging. The sneezing, stuffy nose, and sore throat are never fun to deal with.
So, what can you do to ease some of the pain? Here are 6 natural cold remedies to consider.
1. Practice prevention
One of the best ways to manage a cold is to avoid getting sick in the first place. Easier said than done, right? While it’s impossible to avoid ever catching a cold, there are a few things you can do to minimize your risk, like:
- Protect your immune system by staying healthy. Exercise regularly. Eat healthy foods — especially dark green leafy vegetables. And take good care of your mental health.
- Wash your hands with soap and water.
- Avoid touching your face. Cold viruses can live on your hands for up to 24 hours and they can enter your body through your nose, mouth, and eyes.
- Stay away from people who are sick.
2. Stay hydrated
Proper hydration can help your body fight infection. To ensure you’re staying hydrated, try to:
- Drink lots of fluids. This can include water, decaffeinated tea, juice (but skip anything with too much sugar), and soup.
- Avoid beverages that dehydrate you — like sodas, alcohol, or coffee.
- Set yourself reminders to drink water.
- Fill up a water bottle in the morning and make sure to sip it throughout the day.
3. Get some good rest
Fighting an illness can take a toll on your body. Giving your body the rest it needs can help your immune system fight off the cold virus. Here are a few ways to let your body naturally heal itself:
- Put the smartphone down. Give your brain a break by setting the device aside.
- Take a nap.
- Read a lighthearted book.
- Listen to a guided meditation.
- Watch a heartwarming movie.
4. Ease your sore throat
A sore throat can be a constant irritation when you have a cold. Fortunately, there are several things you can do to soothe it. You can:
- Make your own honey, lemon, and ginger cough drops. There are several recipes available online — find one that works for you.
- Sip warm tea with honey and lemon.
- Gargle with warm saltwater.
- Drink warm, clear broth.
- Enjoy a cold treat like a fresh fruit ice pop.
5. Reduce congestion
When mucus builds up in your nasal passages and lungs, it causes congestion and a general feeling of stuffiness. Most congestion from a cold will clear up on its own over time, but you can sometimes reduce it if you:
- Use a cool mist vaporizer.
- Run a hot, steamy shower.
- Try a sinus rinse with saline solution.
- Place a warm compress on your face.
- Prop up your head with pillows before bed. This may allow some of your congestion to drain from your nose while you sleep.
6. Spice up your food
When your body is building defenses against a cold virus, inflammation can occur. Try adding some spices to your food to potentially reduce inflammation* — while giving your meal an extra kick of flavor:
- Add some turmeric, ginger, and garlic to soup.
- Sprinkle some cinnamon and clove in decaf tea.
- Use a dash of cayenne pepper in a dish to help temporarily clear a stuffy nose.
When to see a doctor
The old saying is true: There’s no cure for the common cold, so keep in mind that the above remedies are meant to help treat the symptoms, not the infection. The only thing that will truly make colds go away is time, and they typically last 1 to 2 weeks.
However, if you still aren’t better after a week or 2, start to feel worse, or develop serious symptoms — which can include persistent high fever, shortness of breath, or extreme weakness and lightheadedness — seek medical attention right away.
*Kunnumakkara et al., “Chronic diseases, inflammation, and spices: how are they linked?” Journal of Translation Medicine, January 25, 2018.
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A cold makes it hard to breathe. When your sinuses get blocked, you might hurt too, especially around your forehead, eyes, cheeks, and nose. The pain might get worse when you touch your face or hold your head down.
You don’t need a doctor to deal with sinus pain caused by colds. It tends to get better along with your other cold symptoms. Sometimes, though, bacteria in blocked sinuses can lead to an infection known as bacterial sinusitis. Sinusitis from a bacterial infection might cause pain longer than the week of a typical cold. Your doctor may give you antibiotics and other medications to help you feel better.
Whether your sinus pain is caused by a cold or a bacterial infection, here’s how you can relieve it:
- Try a saline nose spray. Ask your doctor or pharmacist to suggest a plain saline spray. Saline mist will ease sinus swelling and help break up the mucus that’s clogging your nose. You can use it up to six times a day without worrying about side effects. You can also make your own saline nasal spray. Ask your doctor or pharmacist how, and be sure that the water you use is distilled or has been boiled, not straight from a tap.
- Use a humidifier. Stuffy sinuses respond well to moist air. Using a humidifier, especially when you sleep at night, will help keep your sinuses open and relieve the pressure. You can also try sitting in a steamy bathroom after a hot shower or inhaling the steam from a pan of hot (not boiling) water for faster relief.
- Apply a warm compress. Ease swelling and throbbing with a warm, wet washcloth across your forehead, eyes, and cheeks.
- Use an over-the-counter (OTC) decongestant nose spray. These ease congestion and provide relief, especially early in a cold. You can get them as a nasal spray, liquid, or pill. If you use a decongestant nasal spray, don’t use it for more than 3 days. If you use it for longer, it can make your stuffiness worse, not better.
- Take OTC pain relievers. Acetaminophen, ibuprofen, or naproxen can relieve sinus pain. But never give a child or teenager aspirin for pain. It can be dangerous.
If you have sinus pain from a cold that isn’t better after 10 days, talk to your doctor. You may need an antibiotic or a different treatment.
6 Natural Remedies for Pain and Pressure From Sinus Infections
Before turning to antibiotics, try these sinus pain remedies to help ease achiness and nasal congestion.
Known as supported reclined cobbler’s pose, this yoga posture may ease sinus infection symptoms without putting too much pressure on your sinuses. Alamy
Whether you have a single sinus infection or recurrent sinusitis, the pain and pressure in your face is enough to send you running for medication.
But the National Institutes of Health (NIH) cautions against taking unnecessary antibiotics. Most sinus problems are caused by viruses, which antibiotics don’t treat. And even those brought on by bacteria don’t usually improve any faster with antibiotics, the agency says.
Fortunately, a variety of natural remedies for sinus pain and sinus infections can effectively provide relief.
What Is Sinusitis?
Sinus problems happens when too much mucus builds up in the cavities behind your face. This causes one or more of these cavities to become swollen or inflamed.
In some people, especially those with allergies or asthma, this recurs regularly, leading to constant pressure around the nose, a bad-tasting postnasal drip, headache, exhaustion, or other symptoms.
Related: Cold and Flu 101: What You Need to Know
Easy Natural Remedies Help Mucus Flow
In many cases, home remedies — including those things your mother told you to do — can effectively improve inflamed sinuses, says Anthony Del Signore, MD, assistant professor of otolaryngology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City.
These treatments sooth irritated passageways and increase the flow of mucus so you don’t feel so stuffed up, he explains.
1. Heat Up (or Steam Up) Your Face
One of the most effective home remedies is to warm up and moisturize your sinus passageways.
“Inhaling steam helps to soothe the sinus tissue, and give you the feeling of clearing them out a little,” Dr. Del Signore says.
You can simply stand in the shower or even sit in the bathroom when the shower is running. You can also place a warmed washcloth over your nose and cheeks while you lie on your bed.
For the most potent steam treatment, boil a pot of water, then take it off the heat. Tent a towel over your head and bend over the pot to inhale the steam. Be careful not to start out too close to the hot water and to keep your eyes closed. As the liquid cools, you can move in a little, but only to the point where it remains comfortable.
You might add a drop or two of essential oils; eucalyptus oil can help open the nose, while lavender essential oil or chamomile essential oil will calm you.
Related: 7 Home Remedies for Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) Symptoms
2. Irrigate Your Sinuses to Help Ease Symptoms and Prevent Sinus Infections
Nasal irrigation is basically a method of using a saltwater solution to force out germs and plugged-up mucous residing in the sinus passages. Other terms for this are nasal wash, nasal douche, or lavage. Some people refer to it by one of the popular devices used to get the water in, a “neti pot.”
A small number of studies has found irrigation can improve symptoms, including one review published in September 2016 in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.
Experts caution that it is important to use distilled or sterile water (you can sterilize tap water yourself by boiling for 3 to 5 minutes, then cooling) to avoid the rare possibility of introducing a parasite into your sinus passageways.
3. Yoga Can Help Drain Mucus From Sinus Passageways
If you are in the midst of a sinus infection, a supported yoga pose where your head is elevated will help you feel better without putting too much pressure on your sinuses, says Leslie Kazadi, a certified yoga therapist who teaches around Los Angeles and online at YogisAnonymous.com.
One pose Kazadi suggests is Supported Reclined Cobbler’s Pose.
Related: 11 Unexpected Health-Promoting Benefits of Yoga
How to Try Supported Reclined Cobbler’s Yoga Pose
- Place a bolster or rolled up blanket under your back and lie on your bed or floor.
- Bend your knees and bring the soles of your feet together; you can place yoga blocks or rolled towels under your knees to make this more comfortable.
- Relax your arms out to your sides. Remain here for as long as is comfortable.
- Come out of the pose by rolling off the bolster or blanket and onto your side, then pressing your hands against the floor to sit up.
Related: Restorative Yoga Poses for Rheumatoid Arthritis
4. Consider Using a Supplement, Such as the Enzyme Bromelain
Bromelain is a mixture of enzymes found in the pineapple plant that is sold as a dietary supplement. According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH), you can get it as a powder, cream, tablet, or capsule, sometimes in combination with other ingredients.
According to a research published in the journal Laryngoscope, bromelain has been studied for sinusitis because it is thought to be effective in taming inflammation. A small number of double-blind studies has found bromelain improves sinus symptoms more than a placebo, the review found.
Research published in Alternative Medicine Review indicated that oral doses of bromelain are typically from 500 to 1000 milligrams (mg) per day, but some people take 2000 mg.
Although bromelain is natural, that doesn’t mean there can’t be side effects. The NCCIH cautions that some people experience allergic reactions, GI problems, and an increased heart rate.
5. Try Quercetin — a Powerful Herb You’ve Likely Never Heard Of
Quercetin is a natural plant component found in everything from onions and apples to green tea and red wine. Like many plant ingredients, it is an antioxidant. For sinus problems, quercetin has also been found to stabilize the cells in the body that release histamine — the chemical that stimulates mucus secretion in the sinuses.
The Alternative Medicine Review article recommends quercetin as helpful for sinusitis, suggesting a typical oral dose of 400 to 500 mg taken three times per day.
6. Drinking Liquids Help Ease Sinus Pain and Loosens Congestion
Staying hydrated keeps your sinuses moist so you feel better, and it also decreases the thickness of sinus mucus so it flows out more easily, Del Signore says.
“Everyone is guilty of not drinking enough water,” he says, recommending people get from six to eight 8-ounces glasses every day.
Steer clear of too many caffeinated or alcoholic drinks, which can cause dehydration.
Related: 4 Simple Ways to Stay Hydrated
Consult Your Doctor if These Remedies Don’t Help Your Sinus Pain
If your symptoms persist for more than a week, you might want to consult with your physician.
Your doctor may want to prescribe antibiotics even sooner if you have a severe case of a sinus infection — including a high fever, swelling around the eyes, and red and inflamed skin, among other symptoms, Del Signore says.