Early sinus congestion relief can help prevent a nasty
sinus infection. Learn about the effective sinus congestion remedies available.
Helping Sinus congestion
Sinus congestion is a major cause of headache and discomfort in those suffering from allergic
reactions, flu-like symptoms and colds.
There are actually two locations for sinuses in the front of the face and head. The ethmoid
sinuses are located between and above the eyes.
They are not very big but can become congested and can cause a frontal headache.
The maxillary sinuses are much bigger and more involved in sinus congestion. They are cavernous
sinuses located on either side of the nose in the cheek area.
They, like the ethmoid sinuses, drain into the back of the nasal passages and drain down the
back of the throat or out the nose, depending on your positioning and on the amount of nasal drainage.
What Causes Sinus Congestion
There is a small amount of sinus drainage all the time. This is important in order to keep the
sinuses from drying out. The mucus is thin and drains through holes in the sinuses into the back of the nasal area.
If, however, you are struck down with a cold or flu, the nasal and sinus congestion increases so that the sinuses
can flush out the virus causing the infection.
The irritation from the virus particles alone can cause the congestion to increase. If the nasal
congestion or sinus congestion becomes involved with bacteria, the congestion becomes thicker and becomes
malodorous and discolored. It is then that some people have a sinus infection bad enough to require
See your doctor if you have facial pain and malodorous, discolored nasal drainage or if you have
a fever associated with the above symptoms. Typical antibiotics include cephalosporins, penicillin-like
antibiotics, Bactrim or erythromycin-based antibiotics.
Sinus Congestion Symptoms
The main symptoms of sinus congestion include increased nasal drainage, which can be thick and
malodorous, pain when touching the ethmoid or maxillary sinuses (or both), and fever. If the sinus congestion is
not infected with bacteria, all you will notice is an increase in sinus pain and clear to slightly discolored, thin
If there is swelling of the nasal and sinus cavity, there may only be pain and a full sensation
in the nasal and sinus area but the hole that drains the mucus from the sinus cavity may be swollen shut. This
prevents sinus drainage and it just builds up in the sinuses. Medications are required to shrink the swelling of
the nasal mucosa so that the holes that drain the sinuses can be made to open again.
There is probably a genetic component to who gets sinus congestion and who doesn’t. Depending on
the person, the sinus opening can be large and may never be able to close shut. If you are unlucky enough to
inherit small openings to the sinus cavities, it is more difficult to drain these sinuses and you get more sinus
congestion and more sinus infections.
Sinus Congestion Remedies
Sinus congestion treatment depends on whether or not the congestion represents a viral
infection, allergies or a bacterial infection. Let’s take a look at what the treatment is for each type of
• Allergic sinus congestion.This is a condition in which an allergen, such as
dust, molds and pollens trigger an allergic reaction and an increase in thin nasal and sinus congestion. The best
treatment for this type of sinus congestion is to use antihistamines like Claritin, Benadryl and Zyrtec. These
block the histamine receptors and turn down the production of mucus in the nasal area. Decongestants also work for
this type of nasal and sinus congestion. Read more about allergy sinus relief.
• Viral sinus congestion. These include flu and cold viruses that attack the
nasal and sinus mucosa, triggering the increase in nasal mucus. Some of the best treatment is guaifenesin, which
thins the nasal mucosa and allows it to drain, decreasing the congestion. Decongestants sometimes work as well to
dry up the nasal mucus. The sinuses dry up as well and you feel less pain.
• Bacterial sinus infection. If you have an infection caused by bacteria, you
may need an antibiotic to get rid of the infection and lessen the bad odor and discoloration of the nasal mucus.
Antibiotics include Cipro (a quinolone antibiotic), cephalosporins, penicillins, erythromycin and Bactrim. Most
bacterial infections of the sinuses are due to streptococcus and staphylococcus species that are sensitive to most
• For all types of sinus congestion. You can use nasal irrigation with a
neti pot to drain the sinuses and get rid of
nasal congestion. It is done using warm saline solution that is drained into one nostril with the other nostril
facing below it. The saline goes into the nostril, clears out the nasal congestion and sinus congestion and is
drained out of the other nostril. It is soothing and makes sinus congestion relief a lot more effective.