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Tricks for Clearing Sinus Congestion

By Kate Sheridan ; Updated August 14, 2017

Sinuses are open spaces, or pockets, between the bones in your upper face, designed to regularly drain up to a quart of mucus a day. When clogged with mucus, they can create pain under your eyes above your cheekbones, and above your eyes. Congested sinuses can lead to sinusitis, a sinus infection. Often, sinus congestion begins as nasal congestion. Some similar home remedies may relieve both types of congestion. Always consult a medical care professional before treating a sinus condition.

Zinc Supplements

Zinc may help clear the mucus from congested sinuses, according to Dr. Alexander C. Chester, M.D., clinical professor of medicine at Georgetown University Medical Center in Washington, D.C. Zinc is a mineral that your body requires to fight disease. A zinc supplement of between 40 to 60 mg daily may help shrink swollen sinus membranes and ward off infection. Too much zinc may make you sicker, so always check with your health care professional before adding zinc to your diet.

Hot, Moist Air

Whether it comes from a steaming shower, tented sink or cup of hot chicken soup, hot, moist air may relieve clogged sinus passages and help drain mucus. If your home or office is dry, try a bubbling hot pot or a humidifier to fend off sinus problems. If you are already suffering from congested sinuses, add about six drops of essential herbal oils such as eucalyptus, lavender or sandalwood to a sink filled with hot water. Those oils are commonly used in aromatherapy to relieve congestion. Lean your head down to inhale the scented water and cover your head and the sink with a towel. Breathing the steamy air for 10 minutes may bring immediate, temporary relief. Consult your health care professional to find out if a home steam remedy may be effective treatment for your congested sinuses.

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Add Some Spice

Congested sinuses are sinuses that are blocked and can’t drain mucus. The pressure may cause your face to ache, and the bacteria can lead to infection. One way to get the mucus flowing is to subject your nose to spices. Just as onions may make you cry and hot foods cause your nose to run, so spicy foods can trigger nasal and sinus drainage that can help clear up congestion. Hot red peppers, cayenne or green jalapeno peppers may provoke sinus drainage. Try a spoonful of hot salsa, or a bowl of hot, spicy chili.

Ask your medical professional if spicy foods are appropriate for your sinus condition.

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