Welcome back to the TIB Pharmacy blog. While fall is everyone’s favorite season, it is also a harbinger of the cold and flu season that is to come. One of the most common fall and winter illnesses is the sinus infection, which is why in our last post, we started looking at some of the best ways to relieve the symptoms of this often painful illness. You can implement these tips into your medication regimen to help you feel better and lessen the length of your illness and, today, we will continue exploring these home remedies. Please read below to learn more.

Apply a Warm Compress

Heat is an excellent way to loosen up congestion while also keeping the nasal tissues moist. Draping a warm, wet washcloth across your sinuses and letting it sit until it cools will help loosen nasal congestion and can relieve pain and pressure in the head and cheeks. If you have a heating pad that provides moist heat, heat it up and place it on your chest to loosen chest congestion that can then be coughed out. You can also use a cold compress afterward to help with congestion and reduce any accompanying fever. Apply the moist heat to other parts of your body that may be aching, including the ribs, back, neck, and joints.

Relax and Take a Steam

Steam is one of the best ways to loosen up the nasal passages and the respiratory system. Taking a hot bath or shower will provide steam while also comforting and soothing body and joint aches that may accompany a sinus infection. While you’re at TIB Pharmacy picking up a prescription or cold meds, grab a Vicks shower bomb to use while in the shower, which gives off soothing Vicks vapors that can really open up the respiratory system. If you’re looking for some quick steam relief, drape your head with a towel and hold your head over the sink while the hot water is running. The towel will capture the steam, making head-sized steam room to loosen up your nasal cavity.

Use Essential Oils

Relieve nasal and chest congestion with soothing essential oils. Oils like lavender, eucalyptus, peppermint, wintergreen, tea tree, and rosemary are some of the best for relieving cold symptoms. The intense scents may help clear nasal passages and, when applied to this skin, can calm chest pain, ease coughing, and soothe aching joints and muscles. Some of these oils can be added to hot tea or hot water and ingested, but you’ll want to make sure that the brand you’ve chosen is okay to be consumed. Also, you can add a few drops of any of these oils to your bath water or humidifier for oil-infused steam, which can really help reduce sinus infection symptoms.

Flush Nasal Passages

Using a nasal rinse such as a saline rinse or Neti pot with a saline solution can flush out the mucus, gunk, and infection in the sinuses. Using a Neti pot can eliminate the symptoms of sinus infection quickly while reducing sinus headaches, pressure, and clearing the nasal passageways so that you can breathe better. For many who do not regularly flush their sinuses, the sensation can be quite surprising and intense, but you’ll feel so much better afterward. While nasal irrigation is safe, the key here is to avoid using untreated tap water—this is a huge no-no because the water isn’t adequately filtered or treated. Instead, you’ll want to either boil the tap water for at least five minutes, or use bottled water that has been filtered well.

Add a Little Spice to Your Life

Spicy foods can help open up the nasal passages, therefore making it easier to breathe. Some of the most effective spices for cold and sinus relief include horseradish, ginger, and garlic. Spicy mustard, curry, wasabi, and hot peppers are excellent for clearing the sinuses. One way to help reduce coughing is to mix:

  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar (although any vinegar will do)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger

Take one to two teaspoons of this mixture as often as needed to calm constant coughing and open up the nasal passages.

Eat Foods that Help Reduce the Infection

If you’re looking for an excuse to make a big pot of chicken noodle soup, there’s no better time than when you’re home sick. This is one of the oldest traditional remedies in the book. Warm chicken broth and tender vegetables soothe the nasal passages and opens up the respiratory system. Additionally, the minerals and vitamins in the soup help speed up the recovery time. Other healthy foods include vitamin C-Rich fruits like oranges and grapefruits boost the immune system, enhancing its ability to recover faster. Garlic and onions are known to improve immune function to help speed up the recovery process. Some foods to avoid while you’re sick include those with high amounts of added sugar and salt that can increase dehydration and reduce white blood cells which are needed to fight off the infection.  

Know When It’s Time to Talk with Your Pharmacist

If you haven’t gone straight to see your physician at the onset of your infection, and have tried numerous attempts to treat and reduce your illness, you can always come in and talk with your TIB pharmacist here in Newark. Your pharmacist can review your symptoms with you during an in-person or over-the-phone consultation, and recommend a plan of action to treat your sinus infection. What’s great about our pharmacy is that we work closely with your physician so getting a prescription filled or refilled to help treat your infection is as easy as a phone call or a click of the keyboard. All you have to do is reach out to our pharmacy, and we’d be happy to talk with you about your symptoms.

Thank you for taking the time to read our short blog series exploring the ways you can relieve sinus infection symptoms. Keep up with our blog for information about our pharmacy services, health advice, and wellness tips.