Fri | Dec 1, 2023

Natural treatment for sinusitis

Published:Wednesday | May 3, 2023 | 12:13 AMKeisha Hill/Senior Gleaner Writer

SINUSITIS IS an infection of the lining of the sinuses near the nose. These infections most often happen after a cold or after an allergy flare-up. The cold inflames the nasal passages and this can block the opening of the sinuses and lead to infection. Allergies can also cause the nasal tissue to swell and make more mucus and cause sinusitis.

According to Dr Orlando Thomas, medical doctor and functional medicine practitioner at Thomas Medical Centre, many people are of the opinion that everyone has sinusitis; however, this is not true.

“The sinuses are cavities, or air-filled pockets, that are near the nose passage. The sinuses make mucus. This fluid cleans the bacteria and other particles out of the air you breathe. If mucus drainage is blocked, bacteria may start to grow. This leads to a sinus infection, or sinusitis. The most common viruses and bacteria that cause sinusitis also cause the flu or certain kinds of pneumonia,” Thomas said.

The symptoms of sinusitis may depend on your age. The most common symptoms of sinusitis are runny nose that lasts longer than seven to 10 days, cough at night, occasional daytime cough, swelling around the eyes, headaches, facial pain, bad breath, fever and sore throat.

According to Dr Thomas, you can treat sinus pressure with medication, but home remedies and finding the cause for your sinusitis problems may also help ease symptoms and speed recovery.

“If you have allergic sinusitis, there may be triggers in your environment or perhaps in the food that you eat. The first and logical step is the need to eliminate or reduce exposure to these triggers. So, things like pollen from trees and plants, dust, mites from domesticated animals, carpets and fans are constant triggers for sinusitis,” Dr Thomas said.

Many people, he said, are also allergic to perfumes and strong scents, so reducing the use of chemicals and scents, he said, may be a solution to your sinus problem.

Most sinus infections are viral, but can you tell whether your infection is viral or bacterial based on your symptoms. Even your doctor cannot tell if your infection is viral or bacterial based solely on symptoms or an examination.

Instead, your doctor looks largely at symptom duration to determine the source of your infection. A viral sinus infection will usually start to improve after five to seven days. A bacterial sinus infection will often persist for seven to 10 days or longer, and may actually worsen after seven days.

“A viral infection like the flu can be very annoying. However, common remedies include soups, teas, and vitamin C and D. The aim is to reduce the inflammation. Antibiotics are normally used to treat bacterial infection in addition to natural remedies such as garlic tea and supplements. You cannot take the garlic tea just once, it has to be done for at least three days to have the full effect,” Dr Thomas said.

Antibiotics will not help a viral infection, and taking an antibiotic unnecessarily can do more harm than good. You risk possible side effects and increase your chances of developing antibiotic resistance, which can make future infections harder to treat.

Dr Thomas indicated that persons may also develop a fungal infection which is a chronic stage of sinusitis. Anti-fungal medication may be prescribed; however, salt water is very effective in killing the germs. Steam inhalation of menthol crystals, he said, is also effective.

Dairy and related products are common culprits for congestion and microbial growth. Dr Thomas suggests that you should avoid dairy if you have had previous episodes of sinus infections. Also, try to avoid refined sugar as it is pro-inflammatory and increases the production of mucus. Other foods to avoid include tomatoes (contain histamines), chocolate, cheese, gluten, and fruits like bananas, which can cause congestion.