A stuffy nose is bad enough, but what happens when the congestion is actually inside your head? This is what is behind a condition called sinusitis. The sinuses consist of mucus lined hollow spaces – above and below the eyes and on each side of the nose. The sinuses normally drain quite easily. But when you have a cold or congestion due to allergies, the openings to the sinuses may get blocked, allowing mucus to accumulate. Eventually the sinuses may get infected, causing fever, headaches, and an unpleasant tasting mucus that drips down the back of your throat. Doctors call this condition sinusitis.
Sinusitis has sometimes been called the number one health complaint affecting millions of people each year. In some cases, people with sinusitis need antibiotics to clear up the infection. More often, the condition will go away on its own with in a week or two. Until it does, however, you may feel as though your entire head is under water.
To loosen congestion and ease the pain, here are few things you may want to try
Breathe some steam . The trick to relieving sinusitis is to unblock the openings so the mucus drains more freely. The easiest way to do this is simply to breathe hot, humid air. Taking at hot shower, soaking in the tub, or plugging in a room humidifier will help make the mucus watery so it drains more easily. For a more concentrated steam “bath” doctors sometimes recommend putting a pot of water on to boil. Remove it from the heat and lean over it, draping a towel around your head to trap the steam, and breathe deeply for a few minutes. Just don’t get too close to the water or you could wind up scalded.
Soothe it with soup . Doctors often suggest that people with sinusitis put hot, spicy soup on the menu – not just for dinner, but all day long. Spicy foods act as natural decongestants, helping mucus drain. In addition, drinking hot liquids will loosen mucus in the throat and airways.
Even if you’re not in the mood for soup, spicy foods can be very helpful. They contain a number of chemicals, including capsaicin, which stimulate nerves that trigger a runny nose. The more mucus is able to drain, the less stuffy your head will feel.
Raise your head. Some doctors recommend putting wood blocks under the head of your bed or propping yourself up with pillows at night. The natural process of gravity helps mucus drain.
Sniff some saline . Saline sprays, available at pharmacies, are very helpful at clearing mucus from the nose, which makes it easier for the sinuses to drain. You can make your own saline solution by putting a little bit of table salt in a cup of warm water and sniffing it out of your palm.
Tap a healthy solution . Drinking water is very helpful when you have sinusitis. Putting extra fluids in your body makes the mucus watery and more likely to drain. When you have sinusitis, doctors usually say to drink eight to twelve glasses of water a day, which, by the way, is helpful for all kinds of conditions as well as for your overall health maintenance.
Put away the cigarettes . People who smoke often have more trouble with sinusitis because smoking dries the nasal passages, making it harder for mucus and bacteria in the sinuses to drain out. By quitting smoking you will not only relieve the discomfort of sinusitis, but you will decrease your likelihood of getting it in the future.
Use a decongestant . When you head is throbbing, you may want to take a shortcut to relief by using an over the counter decongestant for a few days. These products shrink tissues, so they will produce less mucus.
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