If you’re battling the headaches and pressure that come with sinus infections, you’re not alone. Sinusitis is the most common chronic health problem nationwide, and symptom flares are three times more likely when outside air is cold and dry. The good news: These simple strategies can keep your sinuses healthy all winter long.
To ease sinus congestion in just one minute, try this acupressure trick: First, push your tongue against the roof of your mouth for two seconds, then relax your tongue and use your index finger to press firmly between your eyebrows for two seconds; repeat 15 times. UCLA researchers say this motion gently moves the small, thin bone that sits in the middle of your nasal passage, and that rocking motion opens and drains sinuses.
Inhale scented steam.
Breathing in oregano-scented steam can ease sinus pain in five minutes, plus trim four days off recovery time if you have an infection, say University of Bridgeport researchers. Oregano oil’s active ingredients (carvacrol and thymol) block bacterial growth, while warm, moist air opens swollen sinuses. To do: Heat water, remove from stove, add eight drops of oregano oil; drape towel over your head and inhale steam. Try: Louianna Certified Organic Oil ($27.99, Amazon)
Spritz with silver.
Colloidal silver nasal sprays contain tiny silver particles suspended in liquid, and Australian scientists say spritzing your sinuses with this mix twice daily could cut congestion and pain by 38 percent in one week. Explains otolaryngologist Kate Richter, M.D., colloidal silver breaks down the sticky coating that bacteria and fungi hide inside, allowing your immune system to find and destroy them. Try: Sovereign Silver ($12.97, Amazon)
Bite into an orange.
That juicy clementine you just peeled puts you on the road to relief. Studies show eating 1½ cups of citrus daily cuts healing time in half for 74 percent of people with sinus swelling, congestion and pain. Otolaryngologist John Kitamura, M.D., explains citrus nutrients (vitamin C and quercetin) are natural antihistamines that reduce sinus swelling and energize immune cells that destroy viruses and bacteria.
This story originally appeared in our print magazine.