A sinus infection, or sinusitis, is an infection of the nasal cavities that causes them to become swollen and inflamed. Common symptoms of sinusitis include congestion, runny nose, headache, cough, fever, and fatigue. 1
There are four types of sinus infections:
- Acute sinusitis – a short-term infection that lasts less than 4 weeks, usually caused by a cold or other illness
- Subacute sinusitis – an infection that lasts 4-6 weeks
- Recurrent acute sinusitis – an acute sinus infection that recurs 4 times or more within a 12-month period
- Chronic sinusitis – an infection that lasts for more than 12 weeks and/or continually recurs 2
What Causes Sinus Infection?
Sinus infections can be triggered by a number of factors. Common causes include colds, flus, and other respiratory illnesses, smoking, and exposure to particularly dry environments.
Allergies are also a common cause of sinusitis. 3 If you think that you may have sinus infections caused by an allergy but are not sure what you are allergic to, speak to a naturopathic doctor. They will be able to help you determine the cause and work with you to develop a plan to reduce your symptoms.
Natural Treatments for Sinus Infection
Switching between hot and cold compresses can help to alleviate the symptoms of sinus infection. Drape a warm, damp cloth over your face and leave it there for a few minutes, then replace it with a cold cloth for about 30 seconds. Do this 3 times, and repeat the whole process a few times a day.
Low-Level Laser Therapy
Low-level laser therapy (LLLT), also called cold laser treatment, is a type of therapy where a laser technician uses a cold laser to stimulate the body’s immune activity and healing functions. 4 One study found that the use of low-level laser therapy 3 times a week resulted in a significant improvement in chronic sinusitis by the 4th week. 5
Some research suggests that taking herbal supplements of nasturtium and horseradish root may be effective in relieving acute sinus infections. 6 If you are interested in taking herbal supplements, speak to a naturopathic doctor to help determine the right dosages and combinations for you.
Sinus infections may occur more often as a result of cold, dry winter air. In this case, using a humidifier regularly might help to prevent and relieve sinus infections. Choose a good quality humidifier and make sure to change the water frequently.
Gua Sha (Facial Massage)
There are many facial massage techniques to promote lymphatic and fluid drainage. You can seek advice from a massage therapist, aesthetician, or simply and literally take matters into your own hands. Alternating between your fingertips and knuckles, gently sweep your hands over your face in downward motions, working down towards the jaw and into the cervical (neck) lymphatic chain.
For more information on how to treat sinus infections naturally, speak to a naturopathic doctor about the best options for your individual needs.