Self Care Remedies For Sinusitis
What Is Sinusitis?
Sinusitis is mainly caused by viruses and sometimes by bacteria. However, anything that enters the nose and permeates the sinus will cause sinusitis. Adverse weather conditions, toxic pollutants, cotton dust, chemicals, gas, smoke, paint fumes, cement, caustic dust, pesticides, air pollution, automobile exhaust, perfumes, cigarette smoke, pollens, molds, pet dander are the common causes of sinusitis. It has become a common problem nowadays because of the increased pollution and drastic climatic variations. People with respiratory allergies, nasal polyps, deviated nasal septum, and low immunity are prone to sinus irritation easily.
Exposure to causative/triggering factors causes inflammation in the lining of the sinuses; hence sinus cavity fills up with fluid, becomes blocked, and is prone to infection. Lack of moisture in the air (Cold & Dry air or Hot & Dry air) dries out the nasal membrane, thereby drying up mucus. The mucus gets thickened and clogs the sinus, thereby producing the symptoms of sinusitis – Blocked nose, frontal headache, mucus from the nose, reduced sense of smell, post nasal drip, fever, toothache; pain, tenderness, and heaviness or pressure on the forehead, around nose, eyes, and cheeks.
Sinusitis can be troublesome and distressing. Sinusitis usually improves after a week, but in some cases, it can continue to persist for more than a week and actually worsen too. Nasal congestion or blockage will cause difficulty in breathing, and the constant pressure on the forehead, around the nose, eyes, and cheeks will prevent one from paying attention to the things they do. Thus it will affect our daily life activities. Antibiotics, antihistamines, corticosteroids, or other allopathic medications do not give long-lasting relief. Chronic sinusitis can cause the feeling of brain fog. Depression & mood swings might be triggered in a patient suffering from chronic sinusitis.
Self care remedies to relieve Sinusitis
Cover yourself well when exposed to cold weather, humid or windy climates. Reduce the use of air conditioners and room heaters, which dry up the moisture in the air.
Steam inhalation / Warm compress
Apply a small amount of sesame oil on the face, massage well, and do steam inhalation. Add ¼ tsp turmeric, 2 – 3 pinches powdered camphor, or 2 – 3 drops of eucalyptus oil to the water. Either use a facial steamer or inhale vapors from a bowl of steaming hot water. Inhale the vapors through the nose and exhale through the mouth. You may also use a warm compress on your face. Use a hot water bag or electric heating pad, or drape a warm towel on the face.
Warm, moist water and air will help drain mucus and ease pain and pressure on the forehead, around the nose, eyes, and cheeks; hence hot showers are beneficial.
Drink basil – ginger infusion twice a day. Heat one cup of water to boil; add 2 – 3 fresh basil leaves and ½ pieces of crushed fresh ginger. Switch off the flame and cover it with a lid for 5 minutes. Now strain and drink. You may add honey to it when the infusion is lukewarm. But do not add honey when the infusion is still hot.
Hydrate yourself often
Keep drinking warm water in small quantities throughout the day, preferably infused with ginger and cloves.
Lubricate / Moisten the throat
- The constant drainage from the back of the sinus can irritate the throat and cause soreness. Chew Vyosadi tablets to soothe the throat and lubricate it.
Lubricate / Moisten the Sinus
Instil one drop of Anu oil, ghee, or sesame oil into the nostril before going to bed. Anu oil will be the best. Oil application will lubricate the nasal epithelium, helping counteract dryness and preventing the entry of dust or micro-organisms into the nostril. It will also help to relieve inflammation.
Right Sleep posture
Sleeping with the head elevated will help in better breathing as it will help the sinus drain and reduce congestion. Sleeping on the sides will increase nasal congestion blockage, affecting sleep quality.
Avoid strain and stressful activities
One should take sufficient rest and avoid overstrain as the immunity is already compromised during sinusitis and will be further weakened by overstrain, hence delaying the recovery period.
Using humidifiers at home will help to moisten the nasal passage and airways, thereby relieving sinus congestion.
Diet also plays a significant role in helping relieve sinusitis. Avoid or reduce excess intake of refined carbohydrates, processed sugar, and dairy products. Include food rich in Vitamin C such as Chavanprash in your daily diet. Also include spices like black pepper, turmeric, and ginger in your diet.
Practice breathing exercises and Ushtrasana daily. Children should do these only under adult supervision. Remember, these are recommended only for healthy people. One has to sit in Padmasana (Lotus pose) or any comfortable posture before doing the breathing exercise. If someone is suffering from high blood pressure, hernia, or other health problems, they should consult a Yoga therapist before starting the below.
- Anulom Vilom Pranayama (Alternate nostril breathing) – Close the right nostril with the thumb of the right hand and inhale slowly and deeply through the left nostril. Now close the left nostril with the ring finger of the right hand and exhale slowly through the right nostril. Then inhale through the right nostril while the left nostril is still closed, and exhale through the left nostril while closing the right nostril with the thumb or right hand. Do this 10 times. It is beneficial for allergies and breathing problems.
- Kapalabhati - Inhalation is done slowly and deeply, followed by forceful exhalation by contracting the abdominal muscles. This is done for 5 – 10 minutes. This helps relieve sinus congestion.
- Bhastrika Pranayama – Inhale forcefully and deeply, retain the breath for 5 to 10 seconds, and then exhale forcefully. Do regular breathing 5 times and repeat forceful inhalation, pause, and forceful exhalation again. Repeat it 5 to 10 times. It improves immunity and helps with colds, coughs, and nasal infections.
Yoga - Ushtrasana (Camel pose)
The person has to kneel with feet apart and bend backward while inhaling and stretching the body, holding the heels with the palms and pushing the hips forward. One has to maintain the position for 10 – 20 seconds and return to the original position. This can be repeated 5 to 10 times every day. This helps relieve the nasal blockage and post-nasal drip.
Avoidance of Causative Factors
Last but not least, try to avoid causative factors. Although some of them are not preventable, like climatic factors, pollution, and occupational hazards, some others can be controlled, like avoiding the use of perfumes, instead using natural powder deodorants like sandalwood powder, musk, etc.; avoiding incense sticks or essential oil diffusers at home & office; quit smoking; reducing exposure to air conditioning/room heaters while at home and in the car; using an anti-pollution mask at polluted places or while going to places where there is cement dust or smoke.