You may not have known this, but your sinuses produce up to 2 liters of mucus a day. Why? Mucus is a vehicle to filter and clear out toxins and bacteria from our systems, keeping infections away. It also keeps our nasal passages moist and comfortable, making it easier for us to breathe.
That said, allergies plague many of us. In fact, about one in every seven adults suffer from seasonal allergies every year. When our sinuses get overloaded trying to protect us from allergens, congestion happens. Sinusitis is one of leading reasons that antibiotics are prescribed in the United States.
To combat the congestion, many people simply use over the counter decongestants without much thought. However, there are downsides to long term decongestant usage. They are really only meant to be used a few times a year for a couple of days at a time. Decongestants work by temporarily shrinking the membranes. However, when the effect wears off, your membranes will swell up, usually worse than they were to begin with. It is all too easy to get “hooked” on decongestant usage because of this. Unfortunately, decongestants are known to have negative side effects on the heart, and people with heart disease or high blood pressure should never use them.
Here are a few tried and true, natural ways to clear out your sinuses without using decongestants.
1. Scrutinize your food.
A lot of times, the foods we eat can cause us to have reactions and can make our current allergies worse. Certain foods are major culprits here – dairy, sugar and alcohol. Start making a food log and seeing how you feel after indulging in different foods. If you notice a clear correlation between a certain food and your congestion levels afterwards, experiment by cutting that food out for several days to a week and see if that makes a difference. Over time, you should be able to have a good idea of which foods, if any, to avoid in order to keep your congestion to the minimum.
2. Maintain a clean house.
A lot of the allergens that plague us are environmental, such as pollen, dust, mites and mold. So make sure to clean your rugs and bedding regularly, and make sure that mold doesn’t become a huge problem in your house. If you see mold on regular household items, you clean it by using diluted bleach or white vinegar. (Do not use bleach on anything that is going to in your mouth, such as your toothbrush.)
3. Use a vibrator and a steamer.
Yes, really, a vibrator. They make face vibrators, or you can use any other kind of small vibrator, against your sinuses to dislodge the mucus. You can place it on your cheekbones and move all the way up the bone toward your nose. After loosening it this way you can then follow up by leaning over a steaming bowl of water with towel over your head for a few minutes to further loosen the mucus. Afterwards, use the vibrator for a few more minutes. Your congestion should go away pretty quickly with this method.