3 Home Remedies for Sinus Infections

Medically Reviewed by Carolin Schneider, MD

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A sinus infection is inflammation in your sinuses — hollow spaces behind your forehead and cheekbones and between your eyes. These infections are common during the winter season, and they cause symptoms like sinus pain, a runny or stuffy nose, headache and sometimes fever.

If you have a severe sinus infection, you may need to see a doctor for treatment. But there are also some simple remedies you can try at home to ease your symptoms.

1. Try Nasal Irrigation

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Although it may feel awkward or uncomfortable at first, flushing out your sinuses can give you immediate relief. Much of the pain from sinus infections happens because your sinuses are blocked and can’t drain. That causes painful pressure on sensitive areas of your face. Nasal irrigation clears out blocked sinuses — and you can do it safely at home, up to four times a day.

You’ll need to buy a neti pot or bulb syringe made for nasal irrigation. Avoid using tap water to flush your sinuses — this can cause an infection. Instead, use distilled water or a store-bought solution specifically for nasal irrigation.

To flush your sinuses, follow these steps:

  • Tilt your head to one side over a sink or tub.
  • Hold the pot or syringe at about a 45-degree angle.
  • Pour the solution into your top nostril.

Read the instructions that come with your neti pot or bulb syringe to make sure you’re using it correctly.

2. Avoid Dry Air — Go for Humidity Instead

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Hot, dry air can make your symptoms worse, especially in the winter. Rooms that are too hot can dry out your nose, so try not to turn your heat up too high.

On the flip side, humidity can help soothe your sinuses. Use a humidifier in rooms you spend a lot of time in — especially the bedroom. A long, hot shower can also be good for temporarily soothing symptoms. Breathe deeply to inhale the steam for the best results.

3. Stay Hydrated

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Drinking plenty of water can help prevent sinus infections in the first place — and help speed the healing process and soothe your symptoms if you’re already sick.

Water is usually the healthiest option. Getting enough water can thin the mucus in your nose and help clear the blockages more quickly. For best results, combine drinking liquids with plenty of rest to help your body heal. And never drink alcohol while dealing with a sinus infection — it can make the inflammation worse.

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