Sinusitis (Sinus Infection) – What To Do


What is Sinusitis?
Sinuses associated with the nasal cavity are air-filled cavities behind the forehead and cheekbones. The fluid produced in the sinuses is usually drained through small channels. But at times, these channels become blocked and filled with fluid, whereby the germs can grow and cause infection leading to sinusitis. Sinusitis is a condition in which the tissues lining the sinuses become inflamed or swollen. The frequent conditions that, in turn, lead to a sinus blockage include the common cold, allergic rhinitis(also called hay fever and causing cold-like symptoms like sneezing, runny nose, itchy eyes, and nasal congestion), nasal polyps (small painless growths on the lining of the nasal passage), or a deviated septum (a displacement or shift in the thin wall that separates the right and left nasal passages).


What are the Types of Sinusitis?
Acute Sinusitis: Sudden onset of cold-like symptoms like runny and stuffy nose, facial pain, and headache that doesn’t seem to go away but may last for a short time anywhere between 10 to 14 days comparatively. This type responds well to antibiotics and decongestants.
Chronic Sinusitis: The symptoms include severe headache, pain around the involved sinus, nasal congestion, postnasal drip, and decreased sense of smell that can last for at least 12 weeks.


Who is Prone to Sinusitis?
Anybody is susceptible to a sinus infection including children, but those with allergies or asthma, nasal polyps, or a deviated nose structure are more likely to be affected. Smoking also may be a contributing factor.


How to Overcome Sinusitis at Home?
There are several ways you can overcome sinusitis up to an extent.

  • Drinking lots of water and keeping yourself hydrated. Make sure to drink only hot or warm water and avoid drinking refrigerated and cold water.
  • Intake of food with antibacterial properties: This involves including ingredients like ginger, garlic, black pepper, fenugreek, turmeric, and onion in your meals. You can also have ginger tea (or masala tea) as it is loaded with the goodness of health as well as taste. Adding honey into your diet serves as an extra boost as honey is stuffed with antioxidants. The antibacterial and antifungal properties in honey help our body recover and overcome illnesses in a big way. Avoid dairy foods as much as you can and incorporate a healthy diet plan.
  • The Moisture Effect on Sinuses: There are several ways to relieve yourself from sinus infection through the moisture effect. You can expose your sinuses to steam with the help of an electric steamer or by exposing your sinus over the steam coming out of boiling water in a vessel. You can also get relief from taking hot water baths and breathing in the moist air. Sleeping at night with a humidifier in your room helps relieve nighttime nasal congestion. Using nasal saline sprays also helps break up the nasal blockage.
  • Warm Compresses: Place warm and moist towels over your nose, face, and eyes. This process is repeated several times until the pain subsides and clears the nasal blockages from the outside.
  • Neti Pot to Clear the Nose: A Neti Pot is a container to rinse the mucus from your nasal cavity. A recent survey suggests that using a neti pot with saline solution (this process is also called nasal irrigation) eases symptoms of acute and chronic sinusitis in a big way. The process involves pouring the saline solution into each nostril. This helps wash away dirt, dust, and other allergens from your nostril and thus resolves the swelling and improves breathing. Make sure you sanitize the neti pot after each use and take only distilled water.
  • Practice yoga and breathing exercises(pranayama).
  • A good sleep at night can help the body heal in a big way as sleep stimulates the hormone production that aid in tissue growth.


When to seek Medical Help?
Make sure you consult a registered healthcare provider to seek medication if the symptoms like fever, nasal congestion, and blockage, facial pain, and headache, swelling around the eyes persist and are intense, and keep coming back or last for more than 10 days. Most sinus infections can be treated by a primary caregiver or doctor but are usually to consult an ENT specialist for the treatment. In some complex cases of sinus infections, a surgeon who specializes in sinus surgery may be consulted.


What is the Ayurvedic Treatment for Sinusitis?
The ayurvedic treatment for acute sinusitis involves balancing the aggravated doshas and cleansing the sinus through the right treatment plan, proper diet, and lifestyle modifications. Nasya Therapy is a very effective treatment procedure and is beneficial in treating acute sinusitis. Nasya Karma is one of the 5 detoxification therapies in Ayurveda. It is a process involving the administration of medicated oil or powder through the nostrils to clear the accumulated Kapha (water).  For chronic sinusitis, the treatment involves boosting immunity and detoxification of the body with panchakarma therapies.