Whether you are suffering from sinusitis or general nasal congestion and pressure, there are many things that you can do to ease the symptoms. Congestion can be caused by colds and flu, allergies, dust, dairy products and many other things.
But first, what exactly is sinusitis?
Sinusitis is an infection of the sinus; the paranasal sinuses, which are air cavities in the cranial bones, especially those near the nose and connecting to it, explains Wikipedia.
Left untreated, infections occurring in the sinus cavities can affect the chest and lungs.
The four paired sinuses or air cavities are Ethmoid sinus cavities, which are located between the eyes, Frontal sinus cavities in the forehead region, the Maxillary sinus cavities on either side of the nose and the Sphenoid sinuses that are located behind the eyes. These four facilitate voice resonance, filter moisture in the air and lighten the skull. So when they are filled with thick, infected mucous, it can cause pain in the face and head, which will make breathing and even moving around very difficult.
The symptoms of sinusitis are the same as those of a head cold or flu. Patients usually complain of an excess of mucous, which may be thick or runny. Your nose will also feel blocked either on one or both sides and you will need to breathe through your mouth, which can cause an uncomfortable, dry mouth.
People with sinusitis suffer from painful, sensitive spots on the face, usually in the cavities between the nose and cheekbones.
If postnasal drip occurs in more advance stages of sinusitis, cough and a congested chest are common.
Look out for a fever, bad breath and lethargy. Some people even complain of sore teeth and gums.
How do you treat Sinusitis?
The first thing your doctor will do is give you an antibiotic in the form of a tablet, syrup or medicated nasal spray to treat the infection.
Secondly, you will want to treat the symptoms. Pain killers are common, but usually, a milder one is used like paracetamol. In rare cases of acute sinusitis, the pain can be debilitating and may need a stronger analgesic.
Nasal sprays, like naphazoline (Privine), oxymetazoline (Afrin, Dristan, Nostrilla, Vicks Sinus Nasal Spray), or phenylephrine (Neo-Synephrine, Sinex, Rhinall) are also used. They also come as pills, such as phenylephrine (Sudafed PE, and others) and pseudoephedrine (Sudafed) all help to reduce the swelling in your nasal passages. They take some of the swelling away, which will help with stuffiness and aids breathing. Don’t use a decongestant nasal spray for more than three days. Always be sure to consult with your doctor even on over-the-counter medicines. Using anything for an extended period of time could result in a dependency or have negative side effects.
What about the Nasal Passages?
Focus on keeping your nasal passages and sinuses moist. Although people sometimes think that dry air might help clear up a runny nose, it, in fact, has the opposite effect, says WebMD. Drying out the membranes will irritate them further.
You can keep your nasal passages sufficiently lubricated by putting some castor oil in your nostrils, or use a vaporiser in your home.
Many people also do an occasional saline rinse of the nostrils, by using a ‘netty pot’. This is an apparatus that looks like a teapot, and you use it by tilting the head over a basin and pouring sterile saline water into one nostril and having the water rinse through the nasal passage and flow out the other. This helps with moisture and also cleans out any germs or gunk that may be blocking them.
At night, place a wet, warm towel over your sinuses to relieve any swelling. When you sleep, use extra pillows and keep in an upright position that is still comfortable enough for you to fall asleep.
Natural, at-home remedies
Besides the loads of sprays and ointments that are available with both a prescription or over the counter, there are a few natural remedies that many people swear by.
Chewing mint relieves symptoms and open the nasal passages, as well as freshen breath. Interestingly, mint comes in a variety of species belonging to the genus, Mentha, which includes spearmint and peppermint and other lesser-known variants.
You can apply mint to the skin in forms of ointment or take it in capsule form. There are limited benefits to superficial properties. Many people do believe in inhaling the aromas and vapour. You can also use the essential oils from the mint plant as a way to combat hay fever, a tight chest and other breathing issues.
Dairy products tend to cause an increase in mucous. So while you are healing from sinusitis, try dairy alternatives like coconut milk or soy milk. There are also many options for vegan cheeses.
Boil water, pour it into a large bowl or into the basin in your bathroom. Position your face directly over the water and cover your head with a towel. This focuses the steam onto your face and nasal passages. Breathe through your nose. You can even add a drop of eucalyptus oil to the water to medicate the steam and loosen the mucous. Let the mucous drip freely to unclog your nose.
Warm washcloth compression
Applying heat to the sinus area can also help to relieve pressure, suggests Medical News Today. The best way to do this is to use a warm facecloth.
Run a clean facecloth under reasonably hot water and wring it out. Fold it and lay it across the bridge of your nose and cheeks for a few minutes.