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woman holding cheeks and nose with a diagram of sinus congestion overlayed on her face
April 19, 2024

Sinus congestion can have a lot of causes. The most common causes are allergies and viral infections like the common cold or flu, but it can sometimes also be caused by bacterial or fungal infections. Sinus congestion can result in headaches, a stuffy or runny nose, sore throat, coughing, and tiredness. To help relieve the discomfort of sinus congestion, you can try one or more of these effective remedies at home.

1. Apply a Warm Compress

A warm compress on your face can help relieve the inflammation of sinus congestion as well as open up your nasal passages to make it easier to breathe. Soak a towel or washcloth in warm water, ring it out, and place it over your nose, cheeks, forehead, and eyes. The warmth will help ease inflammation and pain, and the moisture will help keep the mucus membranes moist so they can function properly.

2. Drink Plenty of Fluids

young woman drinking water from a glass

When you’re dealing with sinus congestion, the mucus membranes in your nasal passages become inflamed. Staying hydrated can help moisturize these membranes so they can function correctly. Additionally, drinking plenty of fluids helps to thin and loosen mucus, promoting drainage to help relieve congestion. Opt for hydrating fluids like water, broth, non-caffeinated tea, and natural fruit juices. If your sinus congestion is accompanied by a sore throat or cough, drinking warm liquids will provide some relief for those symptoms as well.

3. Use a Neti Pot

A neti pot is a nasal irrigation device that you can use to rinse your sinuses with a saline solution. This keeps the mucus membranes moist and flushes out excess mucus to relieve sinus congestion. Make sure you only use distilled, sterile, or previously boiled water when you rinse your sinuses to avoid an infection. Mix a cup of warm water with half a teaspoon of salt to create a saline solution. Then, use the neti pot to pour the solution into your nasal cavity one nostril at a time, letting it drain from the other nostril into the sink.

4. Breathe In Steam

little girl breathing in steam from bowl with towel over her head

Breathing in steam helps add moisture to your mucus membranes and relieves inflammation and irritation in your sinuses. This added moisture also helps thin and loosen mucus to encourage your sinuses to unblock. Try running a hot shower or bath with the bathroom door closed and sit in the room to breathe in the steamy air. You can also fill a bowl or sink with hot water and lean your face over it with a towel draped over your head to trap the steam as you inhale.

5. Sleep Propped Up

If you are suffering from sinus congestion, you should avoid lying flat while you sleep. This can result in a greater buildup of congestion and pressure overnight. Instead, try to sleep with your head propped up at night. You can use extra pillows to prop your head up, or raise the head of your bed so you’re sleeping on an incline. This will encourage sinus blockages to clear during the night.

6. Eat Spicy Foods

bowl of assorted chili peppers

Some people find that eating spicy foods can help open nasal passages and clear sinuses to provide some relief from pain and pressure. Capsaicin, the chemical found in chili peppers that causes a burning sensation on your tongue, irritates the mucus membranes and causes a runny nose. This can help soften blockages and promote drainage. Other spices like ginger and horseradish have natural decongestant properties to help clear sinuses, too.

Give Your Immune System a Boost to Fight Illness

These are some of the best remedies for sinus congestion that you can try at home. However, these remedies mostly offer temporary relief while your body fights the infection that’s causing your symptoms. If you want to feel better faster, try giving your immune system a boost. Take a look at these top ways to boost your immune system to help your body heal and to prevent future infections!

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