Suffering from sinus congestion is never any fun. You may be dealing with sinus pressure, pain and more. And you might be wondering what’s causing your sinus congestion.
Although viruses, bacteria, and allergens are the most common causes of sinus congestion, lifestyle factors such as smoking and frequent travel can also play a role. Cigarette and cigar smoke can irritate your sinuses and cause inflammation. Traveling on an airplane can also irritate your sinuses and cause congestion. When the air pressure is reduced in-flight, it may cause pressure to build up in your head, which can clog up your sinuses and air passages.
Causes and Solutions for Sinus Congestion
Sinus congestion may also be caused by allergens and pollutants in the air such as dust, outdoor air pollution, and strong odors like perfume and cologne. Placing an air purifier in your home can help reduce pollutants in the air. Sinus congestion can also be the result of dry air, which is most common in the winter. To keep your nose as moist as possible, drink lots of water and use a humidifier, which can help add moisture back into the air.
Home Remedies for Sinus Congestion
There are several other home remedies that can help ease sinus discomfort. Try the following tips on how to get rid of sinus congestion:
- Drink fluids, such as water or juice. This will help dilute mucous secretions and promote drainage. Avoid beverages that contain caffeine or alcohol, as they can be dehydrating. Drinking alcohol can also worsen the swelling of the lining of the sinuses and nose.
- Moisturize your sinuses. Drape a towel over your head as you breathe in the vapor from a bowl of medium-hot water. Keep the vapor directed toward your face. Or take a hot shower, breathing in the warm, moist air. This will help ease pain and help mucus drain.
- Apply warm compresses to your face. Place warm, damp towels around your nose, cheeks and eyes to ease facial pain.
- Irrigate your sinuses. Use a neti pot to rinse your nasal passages. This home remedy, called nasal lavage, can help clear your sinuses. Be sure to rinse the irrigation device after each use with contaminant-free water, and leave open to air-dry.
- Sleep with your head elevated. This will help your sinuses drain, reducing congestion.
- Eat spicy foods. Some people find that spicy foods like peppers or hot mustard help open up their nasal passages and relieve some of the sinus pain and pressure. Some evidence suggests that capsaicin, the active ingredient in chili peppers, can help relieve some type of pain.
- Take a decongestant: Over-the-counter nasal decongestants reduce blood flow to the nasal membranes, which decreases swelling and congestion. They can help open up your nasal passages and decrease the pain and pressure in your sinuses and head. For fast relief, try Dayquil Severe Cold & Flu—the non-drowsy formula contains a powerful pain reliever and phenylephrine, a safe and effective decongestant. If your sinus congestion is worse at night, try Nyquil Severe Cold & Flu. In addition to a pain reliever and decongestant, it contains an antihistamine to help stop sneezing and a runny nose, so you can get some much-needed rest.
- Try a nasal spray: Sinex™ Severe Nasal Spray helps relieve the sinus and nasal congestion that often accompanies colds, hay fever, or upper respiratory allergies. It is a fast acting nasal spray decongestant that relieves sinus pressure and shrinks swollen nasal membranes so you can breathe more freely.