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What binds 134 million Indians? Well, it is not what you think; it is, in fact, chronic sinus infection. The symptoms of which start from debilitating headaches, fever, and nasal congestion and obstruction. The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases’ (NIAID) has come out with the startling revelation that one in eight Indians suffer from the chronic condition of sinusitis.
So, why are more and more people suffering from the debilitating condition of sinusitis? If you dig deep you will know that things are just getting worse every day; this is because of the increasing pollution levels in the air and the not-so-perfect lifestyle led by most of us.
What is a sinus infection? It is a condition caused by inflammation. There is inflammation of the lining of the nasal and throat lining, resulting in accumulation of mucus in the sinus cavity. There is an increasing feeling of pressure build-up in the face, eyes, and the brain. Makes sense? Okay, let’s elaborate on it and find out a little more about the condition.
The sinuses, or sinus cavities, are tiny little hollow spaces where air flows through and via the bones surrounding the nose. The infection of the nasal cavities leads to the sinuses becoming swollen and inflamed. Usually, your sinuses are filled with air, the problem arises when the sinuses are filled with germs such as bacteria, viruses, and fungi that proliferate and lead to an infection.
Sinusitis Symptoms – How Long Does a Sinus Infection Last?
Do sinusitis symptoms last long? It depends on the kind of infection you suffer from, acute sinusitis can last well over two weeks and that too when you are undergoing treatment. If your sinus infection stretches to a little more than 10 to 14 days, then you are surely suffering from a condition of bacterial sinusitis. If this wasn’t bad enough, chronic sinusitis can last for at least 12 weeks! Having nasal polyps is the chief cause of chronic sinusitis. People with allergies or a deviated septum suffer from sinusitis too, and this condition last for 12 weeks or longer.
So are you suffering from a bacterial based sinus infection or a viral-based sinus infection? Unfortunately, your doctor won’t be able to tell you with just an examination. The only way to find out is by keeping the best way to tell the root of a sinus infection is the symptom duration. If it’s a viral sinus infection, it will start improving within the stipulated period of five to seven days. A bacterial infection lasts longer than that, at least seven to 10 days or even longer, and the symptoms get even worse after 10 days.
Sinus Infection Symptoms – Be Wary of the Symptoms!
Most people self-treat their condition, or worse still, suffer from it without even knowing that they have an underlying condition that needs prompt medical attention. They only realize the seriousness of it when the condition worsens and they have splitting headaches that stop responding to over the counter medicines. You get the drift, lying in the darkened room, tying your head with something, the works; hampering your productivity and your quality of life.
Sinusitis is a virus-infected condition and continues to bother you even when some of the upper respiratory symptoms go away. In some cases, sinus infection results from a bacterial, or a fungal infection. There are other conditions such as nasal polyps, allergies, and tooth infections, which lead to sinus pain and related symptoms.
Find out what kind of sinus infection are you suffering from, the following symptoms will tell you:
- Thick, yellow discharge that is sometimes foul-smelling
- Nose blockages
- Pain around your face and eyes
- Post-nasal drip
- Splitting headaches
- Recurring colds which gradually turns worse.
- Extreme tiredness
- Fever and chills
Now, all these symptoms are also found in the common cold. How will you distinguish between the two, then? A cold lasts less than 10 days while a sinus infection lasts for more than 10 days. That and when you suffer from more than two or more symptoms accompanied by thick, green, or yellow nasal discharge, then acute sinusitis is the cause of the condition.
With chronic sinusitis you have the following extra symptoms, and it lasts for 12 weeks or longer:
- A feeling of fullness in your face
- A runny nose
- Formation of pus in the nasal cavity
- Foul-smelling breath
- Acute tooth inflammation along with pain
Sinus Pain and Congestion: How to Avoid It
Come spring or fall weather, and there are some of us who are particularly susceptible to the allergens in the air. It isn’t completely possible to protect yourself from the allergens, but you can take several steps to avoid it. This coming from a person who sneezes away to glory at the slightest change of weather and at the flimsiest cover of dust. Trust me, I have been there and done that; but it’s only the following things that helped me control the symptoms somewhat. In other words, the following, my dear readers, are life saviors!
- Keep your hands clean. Well, this sounds fairly innocuous and does not sound like a potent weapon. But this really works during the cold weather when viruses thrive and pretty much stay put on your doorknobs and other surfaces that you need to touch frequently.
- Take an annual flu shot. Now, many people avoid unnecessary medications and shots, but to each his own really. You can give it a try to see if it helps you keep at bay all those seasonal sniffles, sneezes and sinuses.
- A good diet and exercise go a long way in the prevention of sinuses and allergies. Exercise and a good diet boost your immune system, period. And a boost in the immune system helps combat the regular villains such as the allergens and viruses.
- Say Nay to smoking – Looks like cigarette smoking is harmful to your health in more ways than one. Before killing you it also triggers off a chronic sinus infection. There, we gave you another reason to kick the butt.
A humidifier helps. Now I will vouch for this. It has really helped me combat severe bouts of headaches. There is a reason why you need to use one right now as it stops dryness in the air, dryness for the uninitiated, is the main sinus headache causes. Inhale the steam. You can go the old-fashioned way of pouring scalding hot water in a tub and move your head towards the steam, towards what seems like a cauldron.
It may seem hellish for those initial few minutes, especially when the water it is a little too hot for comfort. But when you inhale moist, hot air deeply, you thank your self for putting in the effort (and us later, for suggesting this), and if you aren’t too fond of this old way of combating a sinus pain, you always have a humidification machine. However, you need to clean it regularly (read daily) so that the humidifier itself does not give you a sinus headache.
- Antibiotics are not always the solution. Antibiotics can only help you get rid of a bacterial infection; unfortunately, the same thing cannot be said of viral infections. Also, overloading on antibiotics instead of helping you builds up a resistance to the medication. Our gut health becomes severely compromised. Once our gut gets affected, our immune system also bears the brunt. Well, the next time you are prescribed antibiotics, ask your doctor whether it is absolutely necessary and how you can nullify the negative effects of the antibiotics.
- A saline nasal solution provides some relief. You can easily get a saline solution at the nearest drugstore or if you want to make one of your own, you are welcome to do so. Just combine 1/4 teaspoon of salt with 8 ounces of lukewarm water and well use it on the go, especially when your nose feels extra congested.
A small tip, If you are buying a saline mist, drops or spray from the drugstore, ensure that it does not have a decongestant.
- Try a neti pot. This ancient Ayurveda practice has been used for centuries in the East and has even been emulated by the West. It may seem a little scary to follow, but it is really a great way to unclog and clear your nasal passage to loosen mucus. They are widely available everywhere right from health food stores and drugstores to nutrition centers. Be careful not to use contaminated water, instead use sterile or distilled water in your neti pot.
- Maintain the 5 a.m. to 10 a.m. slot. I know it feels wonderful to let in fresh air in the wee hours of the morning, but if you have allergies it may not be such a good idea because that’s the time when the pollen count is the maximum.
- Let dust mites be Regularly dust your furniture not only to make them look spic and span, but also to save yourself from sneezing fits and annoying migraines. Put your vacuum cleaner to good use and wipe the dust from every surface you set your eyes on! OCD anyone? Well, I don’t mind that tag as long as I breathe easy and don’t sneeze everytime the wind decides to blow in a different direction.
How to Cure a Sinus Infection – Natural Remedies for Sinus Infection
Besides following the following a healthy lifestyle, explore some natural treatments that can help you heal minus the annoying side-effects. These are easy to follow and an effective sinus infection treatment options.
1. Chicken soup for your soul and for your health
Now you know when you are down with sinus headache symptoms that a piping hot bowl of noodle soup makes you forget your headache for some time! With watery eyes and a runny nose, not to forget incessant sneezing, a soup can make you think all is not wrong with the world! Some like it lukewarm but I like the soup hot, majorly because of the steam emanating from the bowl.
A bowl of soup also has anti-inflammatory benefits. That’s why your grandmother told you to have a large bowl of soup when you were a tiny tot to keep colds at bay! Now you know that she was right. Grandmas are always the best!
2. Grapefruit Seed Extract – Tiny seeds with big benefits
I have been hearing a lot of good stuff about grapefruit, looks like even the seeds of grapefruit pack in the nutritional punch. It clears up clear mucus and knocks out other resident evils of your nasal passages, such as microbial contaminants. It’s like a natural antibiotic, only in seed form.
3. Activate the acupressure points
I am a big fan of acupressure, there is a simple and greatly calming way that acupressure takes care of you, and the amazing way it helps get rid of sinusitis symptoms is well, at the risk of sounding repetitive, amazing! Activating certain points on your body by a trained osteopath is a sure shot way of putting an end to the long list of woes you generally associate with sinus headache symptoms.
A few minutes is all you need to ease away the sinus pressure and congestion. Acupressure means little effort and zero medicines, yet lasting relief. There, I have summed up acupressure as a potent sinus infection medicine for you.
4. Drink more Water – Lots of it
Hydration is the key, it clears up the mucus from your nasal cavities and enables drainage from your sinuses. When it comes to hydration, water is what you should drink, skip the carbonated beverages.
5. Some like it hot and spicy
Chilli not my favorite thing in the world, but things kind of change when I have a terrible sinus induced headache. Hot peppers, hotter horseradish, you name it I have it.Boom! A mini explosion in my head, and then everything sort of clears up! Practical magic, I say. As long as it does the job who cares how it does it?
6. Turmeric – The Anti-inflammatory Haven
Turmeric cures, period! Also, it relieves you of the nasty inflammation that leads to a nastier sinus infection. The chief component that clears your sinus cavity, is curcumin.
7. Apple Cider Vinegar – The Pantry Ruler
Apple cider vinegar helps clear sinusitis in a jiffy and it also boosts your overall immune system, preventing infection. ACV helps rinse the mucus and eliminates the infection pretty effectively. It does double duty as a natural rinse and also as a potent medicine to clear sinuses.
8. Breathe your Way to Health
Breathing techniques such as yoga, meditation and hypnotherapy are great ways to treat sinus infections. It influences your pain perception and treats sinus pressure with elan.
9. Oregano Oil – Antioxidant, Anti-inflammatory and Antimicrobial
With its terrific properties, oregano oil may help provide ample relief from sinus infection symptoms. Oregano oil is particularly powerful in its vapor form. Try the simple concoction of mixing2 to 3 drops of oregano oil in half a cup of boiling water. Cover your head with a towel and breathe deeply to inhale the vapor. This helps clear your nasal passages and helps you breathe easy.
10. Diet do’s and don’ts
Like it hate it, you cannot ignore the fact that your diet plays an important role in your wellbeing. There are some particular foods that trigger of anti-responses from your immune system, they are dairy, gluten, and sugar. Try cutting out the foods from your diet and see a marked decrease in the symptoms. Dairy increases mucus production, so if you are on antibiotics for sinus infection, cut out these usual suspects from your dietary list.
11. Head Elevated While you Sleep
Head resting on pillows propped up, helps drain the sinuses and provides you substantial relief from bothersome symptoms you experience while in the middle of a sinus attack.Try it, it really works for me every time.
12. Cod Liver Oil – The Anti-inflammatory Disease Slayer
Widely known for its nutritional benefits, fermented cod liver oil is full of vitamin A and D, and Omega-3 fatty acids which can resolve skin conditions, and help cure autoimmune disorders such as sinusitis.
13. Supplementation – The Smart Way to Stay Healthy
While adding a variety of fresh fruits and veggies are a smart way to stay healthy, you may not always be able to get the benefits of every vitamin and mineral in the book. So, to prevent nutritional shortfalls, supplement right. Vitamin C and vitamin B6 is particularly helpful in combating a chronic sinus infection. When in doubt of the nutritional efficiency of your diet, consider supplementation.
Don’t think a sinus infection is something you have to live with. Take action now and follow the above-mentioned remedies to get relief. Yes, it works; give it a try and you will certainly feel the impact of these potent natural remedies. You can also carry out these remedies while undergoing conventional treatments, this helps you recover quickly so that youfeel less under the weather, all the while boosting your immune system.