Home Remedies for Coping with Sinusitis

A sinus headache can be downright debilitating. Don't let your sinuses get the better of you. Take note of the following home remedies to help avoid that next attack.

Take good care of yourself. Unless you're a hermit, you stand a chance of catching a case of the sniffles at some point in the year, whether from a loved one, the sneezing passenger next to you on a plane, or a cashier at the supermarket. But maintaining a healthy immune system will bolster your resistance to germs, leaving you less likely to catch a cold or come down with the flu and making the symptoms more manageable if you do get sick. To shore up your body's defenses, you can start by eating right, staying in shape, and getting plenty of rest.

Live the sanitary life. You don't have to move into a sterile, germ-proof bubble, or walk around wearing a surgical mask. Just use common sense: If the guy next to you at the bus stop is coughing his brains out, move away. If someone in your family has a cold or the flu, avoid unnecessary contact with his or her germs. For example, don't share eating utensils or drink from the same glass, and wash your hands often.

Hydrate. Keeping yourself well hydrated helps to ensure your sinuses are well, which can ease sinusitis. So drink plenty of fluids -- eight tall glasses of water a day is a good goal. Fill a tall bottle with cool water and keep it at hand so that you can take small sips throughout the day.

Clear the air. Avoid pollutants in the air, stay indoors if the air quality is poor, and above all, avoid anyone who is smoking a cigarette. Obviously, puffing on a cigarette yourself is like writing a request for a sinusitis attack.

Control allergies. Since allergies can cause sinusitis, know your allergy triggers and do your best to avoid them. If that is not possible, see an allergist to investigate desensitization treatments designed to help the body develop an immunity to the offending substance.

Take the pressure off -- use the home remedies in this article to avoid the next sinusitis attack. If the symptoms come on despite your best efforts, be sure to see your doctor before taking any medication.

Avoid Rebound Headaches

Advertisements touting products that supposedly relieve sinus pressure, congestion, and pain are everywhere. Do they deliver what they promise? Medicated, decongestant nasal sprays and nose drops can clear up a stuffy nose, but chronic use of these medications can lead to trouble. What happens is that each time the medication wears off, there is more swelling, more congestion, and more discomfort, not because of the original infection, but because of withdrawal from the constricting effect of the spray. (Nonmedicated saline, or saltwater, nasal sprays and drops can help ease congestion without causing this rebound effect.)

In addition, some people with asthma have aspirin intolerance, and if they use any of the medications containing aspirin, they may unwittingly intensify their problems, perhaps triggering a stuffy nose or even an asthma attack. These reactions often don't occur until three or four hours after taking aspirin, so many users don't make the cause-and-effect association. For a list of precautions to take when using over-the-counter analgesics, click here.

Nose drops and nasal sprays should not be used for more than three days in a row. If your symptoms don't improve within a few days of home treatment, see your doctor.