Natural Remedies For Chronic Sinus Infections
Natural remedies for sinus infections may not fully cure your symptoms, but they can work to reduce them. Examples of these approaches include:
- Drinking plenty of fluids.Fluids help to thin out mucus, which makes it easier to pass through your sinus passages. You know youre drinking enough when your urine is pale yellow.
- Applying warm compresses. Create a warm compress using a soft washcloth and warm water. These compresses help to open your sinus passages and soothe swollen facial tissues to make breathing easier.
- Using a neti pot. A neti pot is an alternative to saline nose sprays. You can buy these at most drugstores and online. They look like a small tea pot with an elongated spout. You fill the pot with sterile water, insert it into one nostril, and pour in the water so it comes out the other nostril. Here are step-by-step instructions.
In addition to these measures, its important to get plenty of rest. Getting enough sleep at night enables your body time to heal and maintain a healthy immune system.
Taking steps to keep your nasal passages draining well can help you avoid sinus infections. Examples of healthy habits to practice include:
You can also ask your doctor for additional prevention recommendations that target the cause of your sinus infection.
Irrigate To Relieve Sinus Pressure
Salt water irrigation is the best way to cleanse the nose and sinuses this can help prevent or relieve sinus pain. You can use an over-the-counter saline nasal spray, but I recommend using a sinus rinse bottle, neti pot, or bulb syringe irrigation kit that you can get at the drugstore, advises Das.
Try this commonly-used, easy-to-make nasal irrigation solution with your own sinus irrigation kit: Fill a clean 8-ounce glass with distilled or sterilized lukewarm water. Do not use tap water unless it has been boiled for at least 1 minute . Add 1/2 teaspoon of non-iodized salt and a pinch of baking soda. And be sure to clean all equipment and make a fresh batch of solution each time you use your kit.
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Functional Endoscopic Sinus Surgery
Functional endoscopic sinus surgery or FESS is another approach your doctor may recommend to treat chronic sinusitis.
An ear, nose, and throat surgeon will use a special tool with a lighted camera on the end to visualize the inside of your nose.
They will then use small instruments to remove excess tissue, nasal polyps, or nasal cysts to widen your sinuses.
Your ENT surgeon will perform the procedure under anesthesia. They may use general anesthesia or conscious sedation .
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Smoking And Tobacco Use
Tobacco products contain chemicals that stain and weaken the teeth and gums, thus increasing the risk of tooth and gum disease. Tobacco can also give the breath an unpleasant odor.
Smoking can also reduce someones ability to taste and smell food properly, which may cause someone to smell odors that they perceive as foul, but which may not actually be bad.
People with phantosmia smell things that are not there. It occurs when a condition interferes with a persons sense of smell.
Everyone with phantosmia smells a slightly different scent, but most people experience something that smells:
When Should I Use A Nasal Decongestant
If you have mild congestion caused by cold, flu, or seasonal allergies, you may want to consider an OTC nasal decongestant. This can help clear up your nasal passages and help you breathe more easily.
You dont have to take a decongestant as part of your at-home treatment regimen. Once your infection clears away or your allergies arent triggered, the congestion will clear up on its own.
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What Can I Do
While you wait for your infection to run its course, you can take steps at home to feel better.
Look into nasal sprays. Store-bought saline nasal spray loosens up mucus, temporarily clearing it from your nasal passages. A steroid nasal spray like fluticasone may help tame inflammation, especially if you have underlying allergies. Unsure about using a steroid? Follow package directions and go to your HCP with questions.
Be wary of decongestant nasal sprays, like oxymetazoline . Using them for longer than three days could cause rebound symptoms persistent stuffiness eased only by the spray itself. Dryness and addiction are also possibilities.
Embrace sinus rinses like the neti pot. Many sinus infection veterans swear by nasal irrigation systems, such as plastic squeeze bottles or teakettle-shaped neti pots. These devices are filled with a sterile saline solution and used to flush snot from your sinuses.
Neti pots and their ilk are widely available and typically safe, as long as you handle them properly. Dont use water directly from your tap. Instead use distilled water, a sterile saline solution or water that has been boiled and then cooled.
Try over-the-counter medicines. Experts recommend analgesics including acetaminophen , ibuprofen and aspirin to ease pain, as well as decongestants like pseudoephedrine to alleviate the pressure of congestion.
Finally, you may want to avoid flying or scuba diving, since either can aggravate sinus pain.
Have You Lost Your Sense Of Taste
Today, if youve lost your sense of taste, its likely that your first thought is that you might have COVID-19. While COVID-19 certainly can cause a loss of taste and smell, a sinus infection could also be the culprit. The quickest way to tell the difference and make sure youre not spreading the coronavirus to those around you is to get tested.
If a cold or allergy has caused a nasal blockage and loss of taste, then reducing inflammation is key in the fight against a sinus infection. If youve tried all the home remedies and youre still not finding relief, its time to get help.
Our team will work with you to find a treatment plan thats right for your circumstances. Dont let a sinus infection keep you from enjoying your favorite foods. Give ENT Associates of Lubbock a call today.
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How Long Will It Take To Regain My Sense Of Taste
Because everyone heals at different rates, theres unfortunately no set amount of time in which you can expect to regain your senses of taste and smell. But we do know that the faster you open your sinuses and clear the infection, the faster your healing will occur. With the proper treatment, you could be enjoying that lasagna again within a few days, or it may take up to a few weeks.
Rarely, it can take several months to regain your sense of taste, but this usually results from chronic sinus infections that are harder to treat.
Digestive Conditions And Other Medical Conditions
Some digestive conditions, such as acid reflux, can cause bad breath and a bad taste in the mouth.
Also, although fairly benign conditions are usually behind a bad or unusual smell in the nose, it is rarely linked to more systemic or serious health conditions, which may include:
- diabetes, which may cause a sweet smell
- liver disease, which may cause a strong musty smell
- kidney disease, which may cause an ammonia-like smell
The best way to treat a bad smell in the nose depends on the underlying condition.
That said, there are some home remedies that can help reduce a bad smell in the nose:
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What Is A Fungus
A fungus is a living organism. It cant make its own food, so it takes its nutrients from decomposing matter in the soil, water or plants where it lives. Fungi live in the air, on surfaces, and on humans and other animals.
Scientists classify fungi in groups. They include mold, yeasts and mildew. Some fungi are big enough to see , and some are so small you can only see them with a microscope.
There are more than 100,000 species of fungi. They live all around us, and most arent dangerous. But some fungi can invade the body and multiply, leading to serious health problems. Different types of fungi cause infections in many parts of the body. Some examples are yeast infections, thrush and toenail fungal infections.
When To Go To A Doctor For A Sinus Infection
An untreated sinus infection can turn into a chronic infection, so its important to see the doctor if your symptoms arent improving on their own. We recommend making an appointment with your doctor if:
- Your symptoms havent improved after two days of at-home treatment
- You have cold symptoms that last for 10 days
- You have a fever of 101 degrees Fahrenheit or higher
- Youre experiencing severe pain in the upper part of your face or your teeth
- You have facial pain from the bridge of your nose to your lower eyelid
- You notice thick and discolored mucus
- You have mild face pain for a month or longer
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Contact Houston Ent & Allergy Services
From newborns to the elderly, Houston ENT & Allergy Services delivers the highest-quality level of patient care to you and your family using the most innovative treatment along with providing informative patient education.
Each of our clinics contain cutting-edge instrumentation and equipment as well as a highly trained professional medical team. A select group of doctors join our practice regularly and bring the most up-to-date skills, procedures and related specialties with them.
Regardless of whether you’re looking for treatment for sinus problems or allergies, tonsils or tubes, balance or hearing issues or reconstructive facial surgery, we remain the leader in providing excellent patient care. We offer you with the most warm and friendly staff to take care of your medical needs. Request your appointment today.
How To Tell The Difference Between Covid
Allergy and sinus symptoms can be similar to COVID-19 symptoms. An otolaryngologist explains how to tell them apart and when you should seek treatment.
Allergy season has become more complicated since the COVID-19 pandemic. If you have allergies or sinus problems, you may not be sure how to tell the difference between those symptoms and COVID-19 symptoms. Jessica Southwood, MD, otolaryngologist, offers expert guidance to help you better understand these three conditions.
Since sinus and allergy symptoms and COVID-19 symptoms can seem similar and have some overlap, it is important to familiarize yourself with the differences. That way, you and your provider can manage your health care appropriately.
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Facial Pain Or Pressure
Another possible sign of a sinus infection: facial pain. “Sinus infections can cause a feeling of pressure, squeezing, or congestion in the cheeks, between the eyes, or in the forehead,” says Dr. Gudis. You may notice that the pressure worsens when you lean forward, like to do something like tie your shoes, he says.
Runny Nose And Postnasal Drip
When you have a sinus infection, you may need to blow your nose often because of nasal discharge, which can be cloudy, green, or yellow. This discharge comes from your infected sinuses and drains into your nasal passages.
The discharge may also bypass your nose and drain down the back of your throat. You may feel a tickle, an itch, or even a sore throat.
This is called postnasal drip, and it may cause you to cough at night when youre lying down to sleep, and in the morning after getting up. It may also cause your voice to sound hoarse.
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Treatment For Lost Or Changed Sense Of Smell
Your sense of smell may go back to normal in a few weeks or months.
Treating the cause might help. For example, steroid nasal sprays or drops might help if you have sinusitis or nasal polyps.
A treatment called “smell training” can also help some people. The organisation Fifth Sense has more about how to do smell training.
Sometimes changes in sense of smell can’t be treated and may be permanent.
Is It A Sinus Infection Or Cold
It can be difficult to tell the difference between a sinus infection and a cold as the symptoms can be very similar. Sinus infections often develop after a cold.
Sinusitis tends to last longer than a cold. Cold symptoms tend to get steadily worse, peaking at 3â5 days, then gradually get better. Sinus infections may last 10 days or more.
Some symptoms are more likely to be caused by sinusitis than a cold, including:
- swelling of the tissue in the nose
- green discharge from the nose
- a swollen or tender face
Unlike a cold, sinusitis can become chronic, which means it lasts longer than eight weeks. Chronic sinusitis causes swelling and irritation in the sinuses and usually develops after a person has had acute sinusitis. Sometimes the symptoms go away and then come back again.
Ongoing sinus symptoms â even if they get better and then come back â may indicate chronic sinusitis.
Sinus infections often go away on their own without medical treatment. There are, however, some things a person can do at home to relieve the bothersome symptoms.
To treat sinusitis symptoms with home remedies , try:
Avoid using decongestants on a long-term basis without talking to a doctor first because they can make congestion worse if used for too long.
- symptoms last longer than 10 days with no improvement
- fever lasts longer than 3-4 days
- the pain is very intense
- a person with a suspected sinus infection has a drugs that suppress the immune system, or organ failure
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How Is Sinus Infection Diagnosed
Diagnosis depends on symptoms and requires an examination of the throat, nose and sinuses. Your allergist will look for:
- Discolored nasal discharge
If your sinus infection lasts longer than eight weeks, or if standard antibiotic treatment is not working, a sinus CT scan may help your allergist diagnose the problem. Your allergist may examine your nose or sinus openings. The exam uses a long, thin, flexible tube with a tiny camera and a light at one end that is inserted through the nose. It is not painful. Your allergist may give you a light anesthetic nasal spray to make you more comfortable.
Mucus cultures: If your sinus infection is chronic or has not improved after several rounds of antibiotics, a mucus culture may help to determine what is causing the infection. Most mucus samples are taken from the nose. However, it is sometimes necessary to get mucus directly from the sinuses.
Knowing what kind of bacteria is causing the infection can lead to more effective antibiotic therapy. A fungus could also cause your sinus infection. Confirming the presence of fungus is important. Fungal sinus infection needs to be treated with antifungal agents, rather than antibiotics. In addition, some forms of fungal sinus infection allergic fungal sinus infection, for example do not respond to antifungal agents and often require the use of oral steroids.
Consuming Foods Drinks & Medications
When you eat or drink, tiny molecules travel to your nose and stimulate your sense of smell. Your ability to taste and smell relies on these particulates moving smoothly.
Foods, drinks and medications all release smells as your body breaks them down. Some may stay in your mouth for longer or have a particularly unpleasant smell. The biggest culprits are:
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Sore Throat And Hoarse Voice
Postnasal drip can leave you with a raw and aching throat. Although it may start as an annoying tickle, it can get worse.
If your infection lasts for a few weeks or more, mucus can irritate and inflame your throat as it drips, resulting in a painful sore throat and hoarse voice. Frequent coughing and throat clearing can make a hoarse voice worse.
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Sudden Pain Anywhere In Your Head: Thunderclap Headache
There are a few signs your headache is something more seriousand a thunderclap headache can be one of them. It feels like a lightning strike inside your head. They are intense, last at least five minutes, and you may not know why they’re happening, according to the American Migraine Foundation. They also come on quickly, reaching their peak within one minute. When you’re talking about types of headaches, this one should send off alarm signals. If you experience one, get in touch with your doctor or go to the ER. They can be caused by life-threatening conditions like a brain aneurysm, stroke, or a brain hemorrhage. Get help ASAP.
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Treatments For Sinus Infections Other Than Antibiotics
#1: Saline Nasal Wash
Saline nasal wash can be a great way to thin out the mucous in the sinuses enough to clear out the blockage. I recommend starting this early on in the course of the illness to prevent the infection from worsening.
You can even make this at home using 2 cups of water and a 1/2 teaspoon of salt. I would add a 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of baking soda to prevent burning that can occur with use. There are also plenty of over the counter saline nasal sprays that you can purchase. You can use this 4-6 times per day.
Vaporizers are great because they can also thin out the mucous and make you feel a lot better. An easy home remedy, steam is probably the best way to use this treatment. Beware if you are an asthmatic as the steam could cause worsening of the asthma symptoms.
#3: Steroid Nasal Spray
Steroid nasal sprays such as Flonase have been my go to remedy recently and the great news is that they are now over the counter. The general recommendation is to use 1-2 sprays per nostril daily.
But I have found great relief using 2 sprays in each nostril twice daily. At these higher doses it is important to remember that you should use this short term, no more than 5-7 days.
These medications can significantly reduce inflammation allowing the congestion blockage to clear and significantly alleviate symptoms.
Guaifenesin such as Mucinex can certainly break up the mucous, allowing the congestion to clear more quickly.