We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is the Best Way to Relieve Sinus Congestion?

Karyn Maier
By
Updated Mar 03, 2024
Our promise to you
The Health Board is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At The Health Board, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Sinus congestion is generally regarded as a symptom, not a disease. In fact, stuffy sinuses are usually attributed to allergies or the common cold, especially when sneezing, a low-grade fever, or a sore throat is present. However, when accompanied by a sinus headache, sinus congestion could be a sign of sinusitis, a chronic inflammatory disorder. In short, this means that the sinus cavities are inflamed and possibly blocked.

Regardless of the cause, sinus congestion is uncomfortable, if not inconvenient. Constant pressure around the eyes and throbbing pain experienced near the ears and around the forehead and jaw line can interfere with hearing, chewing, and even speaking. Left unchecked, acute sinus congestion can develop into an infection of the ear canals or the upper respiratory tract. Since prevention is worth more than cure, it’s important to track down the root cause of excessive sinus congestion.

Many people mistakenly believe that they only have one or two pairs of sinuses in their head, when humans actually have four sets, or eight altogether. Each one is only the size of a pea at birth, but they continue to grow as the body matures. However, what’s even more surprising is that the average adult produces anywhere from one pint (473 ml) to one quart (946 ml) of mucus each day. Normally, this mucus drains from the sinuses into the throat, where it is often swallowed and “processed” by stomach acids without causing any harm. Trouble begins when this process is stunted by inflammation and blockage promoted by smoking, environmental pollutants, and even emotional stress.

In addition to eliminating any of the above triggers, one of the best ways to reduce chronic sinus congestion is to modify the diet. Since inflammatory disorders involve the immune system, it would be wise to limit certain foods that solicit an inflammatory response. Specifically, foods that are high in arachidonic acid should be avoided since this agent is responsible for stimulating the production of leukotrienes, inflammatory mediators that are far more potent than even histamine. Since arachidonic acid is found exclusively in animal products, it would make sense to limit or eliminate them in favor of more whole grains and vegetables.

Another dietary strategy to relieve sinus congestion includes increasing intake of alliums, namely onions and garlic. This family of vegetables and herbs may help since they tend to thin out mucus secretions and facilitate its passage from sinus cavities. However, be aware that members of the allium family can also unpredictably raise or lower insulin levels, which can be detrimental for diabetics.

The use of a humidifier or a vaporizer, especially at night, may also help to relieve sinus congestion. The increased moisture will thin mucus secretions and allow sinuses to drain better. At the very least, holding the head over a pan of steaming hot water while under a “tent” made with a towel can bring relief.

Finally, if dietary measures and do-it-yourself recommendations fail to resolve symptoms, it may be necessary to take a daily decongestant or antihistamine. Many medications of this type can be purchased over-the-counter. However, if symptoms persist, a consultation with a physician may be in order to rule out an anatomic abnormality that may be causing chronic sinus congestion.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Karyn Maier
By Karyn Maier
Contributing articles to The Health Board is just one of Karyn Maier's many professional pursuits. Based in New York's Catskill Mountain region, Karyn is also a magazine writer, columnist, and author of four books. She specializes in topics related to green living and botanical medicine, drawing from her extensive knowledge to create informative and engaging content for readers.
Discussion Comments
By FrameMaker — On Mar 02, 2011

@ Giraffeears- One of the best sinus congestion treatments for me has been the Neti Pot. I mix a prepackaged saline solution with about a cup of warm water and use the special neti pot to clear drain my sinuses. When I am having bad allergies or a sinus cold I use the pot about twice a day. It offers instant relief, and I find that my sinuses clear much sooner. This is about the best natural remedy that I know of.

By GiraffeEars — On Mar 01, 2011

I have had severe sinus congestion for the past three days, and it has made it nearly impossible for me to relax. I am pretty sure that my problems are form a cold that is going around, but I was running a fever for a couple of days, and I have an almost alkaline taste in my mouth. I am going to the doctor tomorrow. I am wondering though, if there is any way to tell if my sinuses are infected. Does anyone have any treatments that can at least temporarily clear my sinuses without the use of drugs and medication?

Karyn Maier
Karyn Maier
Contributing articles to The Health Board is just one of Karyn Maier's many professional pursuits. Based in New York's...
Learn more
The Health Board, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

The Health Board, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.