Allergies. Sneezing. Sinus pain.
Not unlike many people, I can guarantee that most days, one or all of these things will accompany me.
I have some close friends ( you know who you are ) who have all the same symptoms as I do. Some come from a more asthmatic type of route. But my little paranasal sinus annoyances are in the form of allergies and nasal polyps.
From about the year 2000, I just randomly started suffering from hayfever. It started gradually and eventually it become an everyday thing. I’ve had the nasal polyps surgically removed twice and they just grow back. They like me.
The hayfever. Well that is daily. Its just varying degrees of snot that I have to deal with. Sometimes its heaps, other days its just a sniffle. You can’t predict it. It doesn’t happen more on days when people are mowing or the pollen count is high etc (I am allergic to grass and pollen), it just happens when it wants to happen. No rhyme or reason. Some days good and some days bad.
I have tried, I could say ALMOST EVERYTHING. You’ve never tried it all though, so there are always new things that I have to attempt. Never lose hope!!! Haha.
So this post isn’t just a nice little conversation piece on how much nasal mucous a human being can produce (and I can produce massive amounts), its about the many things I have tried and many things have worked. Unfortunately for me since my problem is past the point of mild and has now lived in the “chronic” zone for years, the remedies that do work, tend to stop working after a while and I need to find a new thing to try. So basically I am going to go through some of the things can can definitely benefit anyone that is suffering from allergies, or sinus problems… be it a new thing or an on going illness like mine. These things of course will help the common cold and any nasal infection or sinus infection as well as head, throat and chest illnesses as they are all related. So lets begin the breakdown of some things that can possibly help you too.
1. Nasal lavage
Nasal lavage is the act of rinsing your nasal passages – and as undelicious as that may sound to the uninitiated, it works. You can use a specially designed squeeze bottle or a neti pot with a simple homemade saline solution. Nasal rinsing can remove dirt, dust, pollen and other debris, as well as help to loosen thick mucus. It can also help relieve nasal symptoms of allergies, colds and flu. While different devices may vary slightly, the basic how-to is:
•Lean over a sink with your head tilted sideways (and your forehead and chin roughly level to avoid a mouthful of salt water).
•Breath through your mouth, put the spout of the saline-filled container into your upper nostril and pour, allowing the mixture to drain through the lower nostril.
•Clear your nostrils, then repeat with the other nostril with your head tilted the other way.
Few experts argue the efficacy of nasal lavage. That said, there are some precautions to take. If you make your own rinse, absolutely use water that is distilled, sterile, previously boiled and cooled, or filtered using a filter with an absolute pore size of 1 micron or smaller. Do not use straight tap water. And be sure to rinse the device with contaminant-free water and allow it to air dry.
2. Start steaming
Steam can go far in moistening the sinuses and loosening the muck that is taking up residence there. “Sprinkle a few drops of eucalyptus or menthol in the shower and steam up your bathroom,” advises Robert Graham MD, MPH, an internist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. If you need relief and it isn’t shower time, fill the sink or a bowl with piping hot water and a few drops of Eucalyptus or Peppermint oil and drape a towel over your head as your breathe in the steam. Steam for 10 minutes, two to four times a day.
3. Send in the clouds
By way of humidifier, that is. If the air in your living space is dry, adding moisture to it can really help with the sinuses; they don’t like it too dry – but it shouldn’t be moist enough inside to fog up the windows. And be sure to follow instructions for regular cleaning – a fine mist of moist mold is not what you want.
4. Bring on the bromelain
Bromelain is a proteolytic enzyme (one that breaks down protein) found in pineapple. (It’s the reason you can’t put fresh pineapple in Jell-O; it digests the protein and won’t allow it to set. Impress your friends with that one.) It has been used in Central and South America for centuries for indigestion and reducing inflammation, and was approved by the German Commission E to treat swelling and inflammation after surgery, particularly sinus surgery. As a supplement it is used to treat a variety of conditions, particularly effective in reducing inflammation from infection and injuries, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. Bromelain may help reduce cough and nasal mucus associated with sinusitis, and relieve the swelling and inflammation caused by hay fever, the Medical Center notes. If you plan on trying bromelain, check with your health care provider first since it may interact with other medications.
5. Have some herbs
The American Academy of Otolaryngology notes that Chinese herbalists use magnolia flower as a remedy for clogged sinus and nasal passages. “In conjunction with other herbs, such as angelica, mint, and chrysanthemum,” they write, “it is often recommended for upper respiratory tract infections and sinus headaches, although its effectiveness for these problems has not been scientifically confirmed.”
6. Stay hydrated
Number one rule when you’re sick: Drink plenty of fluids. The same goes for when you have sinus trouble. Hydration helps the body in numerous ways, and is good for sore sinuses. The Mayo Clinic recommends drinking a lot of water to, “help dilute mucous secretions and promote drainage.” But they also warn: “Avoid beverages that contain caffeine or alcohol, as they can be dehydrating. Drinking alcohol can also worsen the swelling of the lining of the sinuses and nose.”
7. Sip soup
In this case, grandma was right. According to The New York Times, chicken soup actually does help with congestion. And while they note that the hot steam from the soup may be the reason, studies show that there may be actual anti-inflammatory effects from the ingredients in the soup. But with the steam factor in mind, you can also benefit from other hot beverages – ginger tea or hot tea with honey and lemon are both steamy, soothing options.
8. Go spicy
You know how spicy foods hit the mouth and nose and open everything up? The New York Times notes that foods that contain hot peppers or horseradish may help clear sinuses; others also confirm that spicy foods like chilli, mustard, curry, and wasabi may help clear sinuses.
9. Commence compressing
A hot compress across your sinuses will help to relieve pain. The American Academy of Otolaryngology recommends alternating a hot compress for three minutes with a cold compress for 30 seconds. Repeat three times per treatment, and do it two to six times a day.
10. Stay Hydrated
Drink plenty of water, no sugar added juices, clear broth, and hot tea. These fluids will help to thin out mucus and help to drain it from irritated sinuses. Avoid drinking alcohol, caffeine, and sugary beverages, as well as from smoking. All of these substances will dehydrate your system causing mucus to thicken and clog already inflamed airways.
11. Pressure Point Activation
For temporary relief of closed nasal passages when none of these other options are available to you, try a quick face massage. These five quick steps take less than two minutes to perform and, when done correctly, will allow you to breath more easily.
12. Grapefruit Seed Extract
Grapefruit seed extract (GSE) is a natural antibiotic made from grinding dried grapefruit seeds and pulp into a fine powder. When administered in nasal spray form (such as this one), GSE helps to clear out mucus and may prevent other microbial contaminants from taking root in weakened and inflamed sinus tissues.
13. Turmeric / Ginger Root
Turmeric root is a wonderful, fragrant spice commonly found in Indian and some Middle eastern dishes. Not only does Turmeric contain the natural anti-inflammatory curcumin, this spice is also an anti-oxidant. When combined with spicy ginger root and brewed for hot tea, this combination can help loosen mucus from clogged nasal passages, alleviate sinus pressure, and make you feel better all around. Ginger root also has the added bonus of calming an upset stomach – a frequent side-effect of excessive nighttime sinus drainage.
14. Apple Cider Vinegar
Two or three tablespoons of raw, unfiltered Apple Cider Vinegar added to a cup of hot water or tea taken three times daily will help thin out excessive mucus relieving congestion an sinus pressure. Mix with lemon and honey or Stevia to taste.
Apple cider vinegar is a wonderful natural ingredient with a huge array of health benefits. Learn more about its benefits here.
Once you have alleviated some of the pain and congestion, you will want to focus on bolstering your immune system to help your body fight off the infection.
15. Vitamin C
Available as caplets, liquid, chewables (as well as some other forms),Vitamin C is perhaps the most popular over-the-counter immune booster. Studies have shown us that Vitamin C helps the body to resist immune system deficiencies and improves overall health.
16. Salt Therapy
Go to a salt room or buy a Himalayan Salt Lamp.
Salt therapy utilises the cleansing effects of dry salt aerosol within a controlled micro climate. The ionised salt air within the room cleansed the ears, nasal passages, throat, skin and respiratory system.
With allergies and asthma, your body often becomes sensitive to some environmental trigger causing symptoms such as sneezing, allergic rhinitis, coughing and wheezing.
Acupuncture helps by stimulating the immune system to strengthen your defenses as well as helping to regulate your body’s reactions and decrease its hyperactivity. So instead of simply suppressing your body’s reaction with antihistamines, Chinese medicine works to correct the root cause of the problem. Many people have even been able to decrease their medications over time.
Chinese medicine, along with Western medicine, can address the allergy response, help to decrease the stress and tension, as well as offering some lifestyle and dietary guidelines to help improve your asthma symptoms and frequency of occurrence.
18. Garlic Remedy
Garlic is commonly used to season and flavor foods, but it also has medicinal uses, according to Drugs.com. It has been used to increase immune system effectiveness, prevent cancer, protect the liver, reduce cholesterol and kill harmful bacteria. The Natural Health Remedies for You website recommends taking 250 to 500 milligrams of garlic in supplement form to treat a sinus infection. Talk with your doctor before using a garlic supplement. Garlic may be the most effective against sinus infections caused by bacterial infections.