Home Remedies For Sinus Problems

woman blowing her noseBefore you start trying to treat your sinus problems, it’s pertinent that you figure out why you have sinus problems.  Allergies are a fairly common reason for sinus problems.

Allergies that affect the nose, such as hay fever and indoor allergies, can cause the nasal membranes to swell, and the passages to the sinuses – hollow spaces within the bones around the nose – to become blocked. Mucus, which typically drains from the sinuses to the nose, can’t drain. The mucus builds up and provides a fertile ground for “bugs” to grow, leading to infection.  Others are more prone to sinus infections due to their anatomy, such as having narrow sinus passages.

Whatever the trigger, these five tips can help you alleviate your sinus problems.

Sinus Tip 1: Keep Your Cool

When the heat is on, the membranes get dry.  Mucus isn’t cleared as effectively, boosting the risk of infection and other sinus problems, such as sinus headache. In the winter months, you’re better off wearing a sweater and keeping it cooler than cranking up the heat so you are comfortable wearing only a T-shirt.

Let your nose guide your indoor temperature range. If you are not waking up with nosebleeds or congestion, that is probably a good temperature range.

Sinus Tip 2: Humidify Your Air

Strive for an indoor environment that’s not too dry and not too humid.  Dust mites love greater than 50% humidity. And if you’re allergic to dust mites, that’s bad news for your sinusitis risk.

A too-humid indoor environment can also encourage the growth of mold, which can also set off sinus problems.

Vaporizers can keep you more comfortable if you are in the midst of a sinus problem, but you need to have it close by. It doesn’t do any good to have a vaporizer on the other side of the room.  Make sure you clean the device daily to keep bacteria from growing in them and making you sicker.

Breathe the mist coming from vaporizers, but not the steam. Steam can easily burn you. Ten minutes at a time is often recommended.

Sinus Tip 3: Ventilate Your House

An energy-efficient house is not necessarily a sinus-friendly one. You seal up a house to make it more energy efficient, and you end up with stale air that aggravates sinus problems.

The solution: Opening up the house on a warmer day to clear the air is a good thing, providing it’s not a high-pollen day that will set off your allergies.

Sinus Tip 4: Hydrate and Irrigate Yourself

Drinking a lot of fluids can help keep your sinuses functioning well – at least a quart a day, but the more the better. Most doctors recommend that you drink enough water every day so your urine is generally clear.

Salt water nasal rinses for your nose can help, too. You can buy a kit or mix up your own at home. The recipe: Put 3/4 teaspoon salt in a glass of water. Using a bulb syringe, flush your nasal cavities to clean out mucus and debris.

Sinus Tip 4: Hydrate and Irrigate Yourself continued…

Neti pots are another way to irrigate your nasal cavities. This centuries-old remedy has gained popularity recently, thanks in part to coverage on The Oprah Winfrey Show and in other media.

The pot looks like a tea pot with an elongated spout. The devices are sold widely, for about $10 to $20, online and in drug stores and health food stores.

To use the pot, typically you mix about a pint of lukewarm water with a teaspoon of salt. Next, tilt your head over a sink at an angle of about 45 degrees. Place the pot’s spout into your top nostril and gently pour the solution in.

The salt water will flow through your nasal cavity, into the other nostril, and perhaps into your throat. Blow your nose to eliminate any water, and then repeat the steps on the other nostril.

Cleaning the pots regularly is crucial.

Sinus Tip 5: Avoid Household Irritants

Indoor allergies can wreak havoc with your sinuses. Cigarette smoke, cleaning products, hairspray, and other materials that give off fumes can all make your sinus problems worse.

Anything that has a strong odor of fumes can be a problem, especially if you are susceptible. Cigarette smoke is probably the No. 1 offender for sinuses. Try asking family members to smoke outside or, better yet, to give up the habit.

If you’re sensitive to pet dander, wash or clean your pets weekly.  As difficult as it is for pet owners, limiting exposure to your animals at night can help.


A mortar and pestule(BlackDoctor.org) — Naturopathy is a form of alternative or complementary medicine. This practice is based on the notion that the body has the intrinsic ability to heal itself with the proper support and guidance, and naturopaths utilize modern and  traditional medical practices to achieve this goal. It is practiced in the United States, Great Britain, New Zealand, Australia and Germany. Naturopaths can be found working in hospitals, medical offices, holistic health centers, and many other settings.

The Basics Of Naturopathy

In naturopathy, allowing nature to heal the body is a primary basis of this form of alternative medicine. Naturopathic doctors pledge first to “do no harm”, and seek to find the underlying cause of illness rather than to simply treat symptoms.

Naturopaths see themselves as teachers, and work with patients on lifestyle changes that promote healing and optimal health. Taking many aspects of a patient’s life and history into consideration, naturopaths may address diet and nutrition, chronic health conditions, exercise, emotional health, spirituality, family history, and many other factors during the course of treatment.

The prevention of disease and illness is one of the most important aspects of naturopathic medicine. Whereas mainstream medicine may concentrate on curing illness, naturopathy relies on treatment and lifestyle changes that may prevent the occurrence of disease in the first place. Naturopaths evaluate genetic predisposition to disease, family history and other risk factors that may make a patient more vulnerable to illness. Specific lifestyle changes to support optimal health and the prevention of disease are then prescribed.

What Can I Expect?

When seeing a naturopath, patients can expect to undergo an extensive medical interview and physical examination. A naturopathic doctor may prescribe homeopathic remedies (see previous Black Doctor editorial describing homeopathy), herbal remedies, dietary and lifestyle changes, and a variety of laboratory tests.

During the course of treatment, naturopathic doctors may utilize acupuncture, chelation therapy, blood and hair analysis, hydrotherapy, massage or joint manipulation, colonic irrigation, as well as other forms of natural medicine and healing. While some naturopathic doctors may serve as the primary medical provider for a minority of patients, most consumers will maintain their relationship with their medical doctor and simply see a naturopathic doctor as a complement to their mainstream medical treatment.

How Are Naturopaths Trained and Certified?

In the United States, there are three categories of practitioners of naturopathy: naturopathic physicians, traditional naturopaths, and various providers who utilize aspects of naturopathic medical practice.

In terms of education, most naturopaths undergo a rigorous four-year graduate-level training program at one of the schools of naturopathic medicine approved by the Council on Naturopathic Education, an organization that is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. Prospective students must complete a Bachelor’s Degree and pre-medical education prior to acceptance to a naturopathy program. Upon graduation, successful students receive the title of Naturopathic Doctor (N.D.) or Naturopathic Medical Doctor (N.M.D.).

Continuing education requirements are based on the state where the naturopathic doctor practices, and each individual state regulates whether naturopathic doctors have the ability to prescribe medications, assist in childbirth, practice acupuncture, or perform minor outpatient surgeries.

Traditional naturopaths do not necessarily undergo the rigorous training that naturopathic doctors must complete, and traditional naturopaths are generally not licensed or regulated. Training programs for traditional naturopaths are generally not accredited by the U.S. Department of Education or by most national naturopathic organizations.

Other medical providers such as chiropractors, osteopaths, dentists and nurses may undergo some naturopathic training in various holistic therapies, but these programs are generally limited and not subject to accreditation or licensing.

Is Naturopathy For Me?

If you are considering naturopathic treatment, it is recommended to discuss this with your primary care physician. It is also recommended that your naturopathic physician consult with your primary physician regarding treatments that are being prescribed. Some herbal remedies can interact with prescription medications, so communication between your providers is important.

The American Association of Naturopathic Physicians is an excellent place to seek a referral to a naturopath near you, and their web address is www.naturopathic.org.

Naturopathy is an important and useful form of alternative medicine that many Americans choose to utilize for treatment of both chronic and acute health conditions. Treatment by a naturopathic doctor can be an excellent complement to mainstream medical care, providing the best of preventive medicine for consumers seeking comprehensive holistic treatment.