For as long as I can remember, I have battled with non stop sinusitis. Over the past 12 years, I have been treated for acute or chronic sinusitis 28 times, or 2.3 times every year. Almost every one of the 2+ doctor visits each year resulted in course of antibiotics (mostly Augmentin, but sometimes Zithromax or Ciprofloxacin) and orders to continue using Flonase or Prednisone. Each time, my condition would rapidly improve with antibiotics. The problem was, the improvement never seemed to be permanent (or even semi-permanent). After sometime, the whole non stop sinusitis mess would start-up again.
I was fed-up with constantly enduring the symptoms of sinus infections: terrible fatigue, congestion, sinus pressure, headache, and fever. Though I appreciate the help my doctors have provided, they did not seem to give much credence to anything but antibiotics, steroids, and decongestants. And why not? They do work.
I did, however, feel like garbage when taking antibiotics. Thankfully, after taking so many of them over the years, I have not encountered any issues with bacterial resistance. I have no doubt that every good bug that was in me was eradicated along with the bad. My stomach was a mess whenever I took these drugs; I had issues with bloating, diarrhea, nausea, and gas… good times. I had wished the steroids would add some bulk to my pecs and biceps, but they only added pudge to my face and belly.
Natural Sinusitis Cures
Finally, two years ago, I had had enough. I started searching for a natural way to cure and prevent my sinusitis. What did I need to do? What would it take to stop the constant sinusitis cycle? I set out to find the answers I needed. If you’re reading this now, you probably in a very similar place to where I was. I remember spending hours on health-related websites trying to find the answer, the magic sinusitis cure! I became a lab-rat and started experimenting. I was shooting every known chemical, oil, extract, salt, sugar, and spice up my nose. My wife would watch on with a perplexed look of amazement and disgust as a wide variety of colorful viscous fluids were blasted out of my nostrils.
What did I find? I found many things that are helpful, some things that don’t seem to work at all, and other things that burn like the devil. However, no one substance seemed to be a wonder-cure or preventative for my non stop sinusitis. Therein lies the rub. There likely is no known single
The SinuPulse sinus irrigation system has the power to blast boogers, yet it’s surprisingly comfortable.
substance that is a wonder cure for sinusitis.
Some of the substances that were shot up my nose:
- Apple Cider Vinegar (Smells even nastier deep in your sinuses.)
- Cayenne Pepper (Oh my god! What have I done!)
- Eucalyptus Oil
- Grapefruit Seed Extract (You may need to consider something else if you’re taking a statin.)
- Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Shampoo (All bubble-blowing babies…)
- Menuka Honey (From New Zealand with love.)
- Pepperment Oil (Oh! It burns!)
- Tea Tree Oil
- Xylitol / Xlear nasal spray (Truly candy for the nose.)
Nearly all of the above substances were diluted and mixed with saline and administered in accordance with no scientifically verifiable schedule or method (i.e. – I was blindly winging it.). Sometimes I used the famed neti pot, other times, I used the NeilMed squirt bottle. Sometimes I would add the solution to my sinuses standing up, and occasionally, I would like on my back and squirt the saline mixture as far into my head as possible. Where did all this experimentation get me and my sinuses? I came to the following conclusion…
How to Prevent Non Stop Sinusitis
Sinus infections are terribly difficult to treat once they are established, so the key is prevention. How do you prevent sinus infections? You prevent sinus infections by adhering to a strict maintenance regimen. Just like a car or any other machine that requires ongoing maintenance to operate, your sinuses require maintenance to effectively carry away mucus (and the pollutants, pollen, virus, and bacteria it contains). When neglected, all the nasty stuff that makes us sick gets trapped, and eventually leads to a sinus infection.
The Sinus Care Maintenance Plan
The following is the sinus care maintenance plan that I have used over the past two sinusitis-free years. This is what seems to be working for me; I hope it works for you too. If you haven’t come to the conclusion that I am neither medically nor scientifically trained, I will state that explicitly now: I am not a medical professional or a scientist, so if you’re dealing with non stop sinusitis, please check with your doctor before shooting anything up your nose. Sticking things up your nose comes with some inherent risks, so use your own discretion when following these instructions. Let’s get on with it…
Sinus Care Product List
The following is a list of items that I use. You can substitute as you see fit, but I can confirm that these are high-quality products. You can buy these via Amazon (Amazon Associate links) or your local health goods store.
- Sinus Irrigator – I have used neti pots, spray bottles, and bulb syringes to irrigate my sinuses, none of these comes close to the effectiveness and comfort of the Health Solutions SinuPulse Elite Advanced Nasal Sinus Irrigation System. This may be the single biggest change that I made after 12 years of sinus infections. The other tools of the trade just don’t get deep (high) enough into the sinuses or have enough pressure to properly flush my sinuses. I really can’t say enough good things about this irrigator. It’s comfortable, effective, easy to use, and easy to clean.
- Saline Mix – I love the saline mix ready-packets that come with the SinuPulse, but they get a bit pricey if you irrigate as regularly as I do. I know make my own saline mix for home use and buy the packets to bring with me on business trips and vacations. The homemade saline does not dissolve nearly as well as the premixed packets. Please remember that it is dangerous and potentially deadly to use tap water for sinus irrigation. Only use distilled or fully-sanitized water.
Xylitol is a natural compound, similar to sugar, that is used as a sweetener. It also has some surprising health benefits.
Xylitol – Xylitol is sometimes referred to as sugar alcohol. It is a natural sweetener produced from birch trees and used in many foods and gums. It has proven dental and sinus-related benefits. When added to the saline used in sinus irrigation, Xylitol is effective at breaking up and dislodging mucus. It is also reported to interfere with the growth of bacteria and viruses. Here’s a bit more on Xylitol.
- Reusable Nasal Spray Bottles – These little nasal spray bottles are great for repeated use, sanitizing, and cleaning. I have seven of the bottles and prepare a week’s worth of Xylitol nasal spray at a time (this is my cheap homemade version of Xlear nasal spray – which is effective, but way too expensive). I use close to one bottle per day. After sanitizing the bottles, I refrigerate my week-supply of spray. I do this to avoid using any preservatives in the nasal spray. The Xlear contains grapefruit seed extract.
- Baby Shampoo – I only use the Johnson & Johnson’s brand baby shampoo. Check out this study/article about the benefits of using baby shampoo in your sinus rinse.
- Apple Cider Vinegar – ACV smells and tastes disgusting to me, but there are so many benefits that I fight through the daily dose.
10 Steps to Prevent Sinusitis
The key to this sinus care regimen is to be as consistent as you can be. Try not to miss or skip daily sinus irrigation; it should become a habit, just another daily care activity like brushing your teeth. I live in the Midwest (USA) and for me the allergy season can start as early as March, with peak seasonal allergies kicking in April and May. During this time, I irrigate my sinus twice each day using the SinuPulse. During non-allergy seasons, I will irrigate once daily, but alternate using baby shampoo one day, and Xylitol the next.
- Irrigate (Morning) – 16oz saline with 1 tsp Xylitol / Irrigate (Night) – 16 oz saline with 1 tsp baby shampoo
- Use nasal spray with saline and Xylitol regularly throughout the day
- Each morning I gulp down an 8 oz glass of water with 2 tbsp of Apple Cider Vinegar and 1 tbsp of Manuka honey
- Get 8 hours of sleep each night (no less than 7)
- Drink a minimum of 80 ounces of water each day to keep the mucus thin
- Exercise a minimum of 30 minutes a day, five days each week
- Meditate for a minimum of 15 minutes each day and try to keep stress levels low
- Limit wheat and carbohydrate intake
- Wash hands thoroughly for a minimum 30 seconds before eating and after using the restroom (and keep hands away from face)
- Take a daily vitamin D supplement
There you have it; that’s how I put an end to the cycle of non stop sinusitis. As I was saying earlier, it’s not that one thing that cures or prevents sinusitis, it’s a combination of things. It’s a combination of lifestyle, behavioral, diet, and hygiene changes. Always check with your doctor prior to starting or changing a sinus treatment plan. My last sinus infection was in February of 2015. Sinusitis free, baby! I hope this helps you. I know the suffering and misery of chronic sinusitis all too well. If you have any tips or steps that have helped you, please let us know in the comments!