A sinus infection, also known as sinusitis or rhinosinusitis, is the inflammation of the sinuses. It can cause a plugged-up nose, thick nasal mucus, and facial discomfort. In some cases, headaches, fevers, a sore throat, and coughing can occur. A decrease in the sense of smell is common.
Sinus infections occur when the tissue lining the sinuses become swollen and inflamed. It can be caused by several conditions, including allergies and the common cold. In some instances, sinus infections can be the result of nasal polyps or a deviated septum. There are different types of sinus infections, from acute sinusitis, which often begins as a cold, to recurrent sinusitis that happens several times a year. According to Webmd.com, “About 35 million Americans have sinusitis at least once each year.”
The feeling of facial congestion and obstruction of the nasal cavity can be quite uncomfortable. It is advisable to see a doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment. In some cases, a decongestant and nasal wash may be recommended. If the infection is more severe, a doctor may prescribe antibiotics.
While it’s important to see a doctor, there are things you can do at home to relieve symptoms of a sinus infection. Moisture is key. Use a humidifier or warm mist vaporizer, drink plenty of fluids, and take hot showers. If you can tolerate spicy foods, try eating some. Foods like radishes are rich in Vitamin C and can act as natural decongestants. Horseradish may also provide some relief as it may loosen nasal mucus. There are other positive benefits to eating horseradish, such as promoting heart health, lowering blood pressure, and stimulating healthy digestion. Like horseradish, ginger is a popular root that can help our bodies fight congestion. It is often used in Chinese medicine for its anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties.