What is a Sinus Infection?
A sinus infection, also known as sinusitis, is a common medical condition that affects millions of people every year. Your sinuses are cavities that make mucus drain out of the nose, and sinus inflammation can cause infection. Your sinuses drain out of your nose, and it stays clean. But when blocked, fluid can build up and cause infection in your sinus. (x)
Sinus infections share many symptoms, with the common cold and the flu. When you experience either health condition, you may have nasal congestion, headaches, dizziness and fatigue. (x) But unlike a cold or flu, they can be bacterial. When the sinuses do not drain, bacteria can build up and cause infection. (x) Like a cold, infections can also be viral, which are more challenging to treat than bacterial sinus infections because they do not respond to antibiotics. (x) (x)
Causes of Sinus Infections
An infection can be viral, bacterial or fungal. When these substances spread to your sinuses, it leads to inflammation and blocks the sinuses, keeping them from draining properly and causing pressure buildup. Allergies are also a common cause of these infections. As your body’s immune system responds to dust, pollen or dander, it leads to inflammation. Thus irritation pursues. (x) (x) (x)
If you have a deviated septum, you are also more likely to develop sinus infections. A deviated septum is when the nasal septum is severely off-center. It can disrupt the way the sinuses drain from your nose and cause infections. The health concern can also cause nose bleeds, constant nasal congestion, difficulty breathing through the nose and snoring. (x)
Air Quality can also cause chronic sinus infections. Taking a preventive approach helps prevent it from recurring. Natural treatments are the best route to go because it is easier on your body. But check with your physician to make sure. (x)
Sinus Infections vs. Colds
Many people cannot tell whether they have a cold or a sinus infection. Although the symptoms are like a cold, an infection is different because it can be bacterial and not only viral. But sometimes, a cold can turn into a sinus infection and cause a more serious health concern. One of the major differences is that a cold only lasts about five to ten days, whereas sinus infections can last for weeks or months. The two can overlap and make it hard to recognize. (x) (x)
Colds are contagious, and some sinus infections can be as well. A viral sinus infection is contagious, but a sinus infection is not contagious when caused by bacteria or nasal blockage from a foreign object. Nasal allergy infections are also not infectious because they result from your body’s immune response to allergens. (x)
Sinus Infection Symptoms
Several symptoms accompany sinus infections, and there are four categories, depending on how long the symptoms last. Acute infections last for less than four weeks, and subacute infections last four to 12 weeks. Chronic infections last over 12 weeks, while recurrent infections flare up several times a year. Taking certain supplements and natural remedies may help you ward off having a sinus infection. Discuss supplements and natural remedies with your physician. (x) Other symptoms to look for include:
- Nasal Congestion
Infections prevent the sinuses from draining, leading to a buildup of fluids and pressure, which causes nasal congestion. (x)
Sinuses have many uses in your head. They make your voice louder, your skull lighter and hold heat within your head to stay warm. Inflammation from a sinus infection increases the pressure around the sinuses, which can lead to headaches. Some sinus headaches result from problems other than an infection, so you may not have sinusitis if your only symptom is headaches. (x)
- Toothache and Facial Pain
Sinusitis leads to increased pressure in the inner ear and nasal cavity, which can cause pain and discomfort in your teeth and around your face. Swelling in the maxillary sinuses causes pain in the teeth and the face because they are above the top teeth around the cheeks and nose. Also, you may experience pain in the jaw, under the eyes or the bridge of your nose as pressure pushes down from your sinuses. (x)
- Runny Nose
Sinus infections can cause fluids to build up in the nasal cavity, leading to a runny nose. The mucus may be thick and colored yellow or green. The darker the color, the more chances you have a severe infection.
Many people with sinus infections feel fatigued, and it can cause sleep disturbances. You may find that you feel pain, postnasal drip, and have difficulty breathing at night when you have sinus inflammation. (x)
- Postnasal Drip
Postnasal drip happens when mucus drips down from the nose to the throat, causing congestion in the throat. You may find yourself waking up in the middle of the night cough as it has dripped down your throat.
Sinus Infection Treatment
Many sinus infections will go away on their own without treatment. But medications can help the symptoms disappear faster and keep an acute infection from becoming chronic or severe. (x)
If the infection is bacterial, antibiotics can kill the bacteria responsible for the infection, clear up the sinuses, improve congestion and stop nasal drips. Antihistamines help treat an infection from allergies and can reduce congestion. But sometimes, they can dry out the nasal cavity, making the sinuses drain more slowly. Over-the-counter painkillers such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen may help with facial or tooth pain, as well as headaches. (x) But, they cause strain on your liver, and natural remedies work well but check with your healthcare provider.
Natural Remedies for Sinus Infection
In addition to standard medication, there are several natural remedies for sinus infections, which work well with your body without harsh side effects compared to standard medications. Nasal irrigation systems and saline solutions are effective ways to clear the sinuses and reduce congestion. They can add moisture to the nasal cavity and help flush out mucus and bacteria. (x) (x)
Supplements for Sinus Infections
For centuries, traditional medicine has used natural resources to treat colds, flu and other respiratory health concerns. Establish that it’s okay with your physician before starting any new supplement. Some supplements to consider for your sinus infection include:
- Vitamin D3
Research shows that some forms of allergic infections occur more often with those who are deficient in vitamin D3. Taking the supplement as a measure to ward off sinus infection seems doable. (x) Vitamin D3 is a powerful immunomodulatory steroid hormone that helps regulate immune cells. It’s an essential supplement for supporting your immune system to fight off chronic bacterial infections and rhinosinusitis — sinus infections. (x) The recommended dosage is 125 mcg per day.
- N-Acetylcysteine (NAC)
A study showed administering NAC as part of a combination of other components successfully treated those with acute stages of sinusitis. (x) Research, in general, supports the use of NAC for treating sinus infections based on its antibacterial properties. (x) The recommended dosage is 600 mg up to three times a day.
- Quercetin Dihydrate Powder
Quercetin is a natural compound that may act as an antihistamine, which can help reduce pressure and congestion in allergy-related sinusitis. It’s also effective on bronchial asthma and peanut-induced allergic reactions. (x) It also boosts the immune system and acts as an anti-inflammatory. The recommended dosage for quercetin is 250 to 500 mg three times a day.
- Grapefruit Seed Extract Powder
Grapefruit seed has natural antibacterial properties and may help the body fight infections. A study showed GSE consistent against bacteria in all biotypes tested. (x) In bacterial sinusitis, grapefruit seed extract may help your body’s immune system fight the infection. The grapefruit seed extract is an effective nasal solution, but it can also provide vitamin C and E as a supplement. As a dietary supplement, take 250 mg twice a day.
- Beta Glucan Powder
For thousands of years, beta glucan has helped health conditions with immune-boosting effects. It stimulates macrophages, a type of white blood cell in the immune system. (x) It is also effective in cases of sinusitis. (x) A study performed on participants allergic to ragweed took the supplement for four weeks. It improved their symptoms and overall health and well-being. (x) The recommended serving for a dietary supplement of beta glucan is 250 mg daily with a meal.
- Boswellia Serrata Extract Powder
Often used in cosmetics, Boswellia serrata is an herbal treatment that also has anti-inflammatory properties. A test-tube study showed an incident of anti-inflammatory activity. (x) Although it will not directly treat infections, it can reduce swelling in the nasal cavity, leading to minor blockage and congestion. The recommended dosage is 450 mg once or twice a day.
- Sambucus nigra (Elderberry) Extract
For centuries Sambucus nigra has helped people with sinus infections and cold symptoms. It’s rich in minerals and vitamins while loaded with antioxidants. Research performed on rats shows Sambucus nigra reduces inflammation in the nasal passage ways. (x) Other studies support its antiviral and immunomodulatory effects, which relates to sinusitis. (x) The recommended dosage is 250 mg up to four times a day.
Where to Buy Supplements for Sinus Infection?
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The Bottom Line
Sinus infections are common nasal conditions with a range of symptoms, including headaches, dizziness, vertigo, congestion, pain, runny nose and fever. There are many causes of this condition — viruses, bacteria, fungi and allergies. They can also happen by physical obstructions of the nasal cavity, a broken nose or a deviated septum, nasal wall has a displacement and is sideways. (x)
Most cases may heal on their own with rest, fluids and time. However, you can speed up the process with medications to kill the bacteria and reduce the severity of the symptoms. Though, some of the medications are harsh on your liver.
If you want more natural treatment options, nasal irrigation systems and saline solutions can reduce congestion, as well as flush out fluids. Supplements can also help buildup your immune system to fight infections. If you know you are susceptible of getting sinusitis, taking supplements in general can fortify your body to ward off potential sinus infections.
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.