Inflammation of the sinuses (sinusitis): signs and home remedies

Inflammation of the sinuses (sinusitis): signs and home remedies

The nose is swollen, and the head and face hurt – a sinus infection can cause unpleasant and persistent symptoms. The trigger is often a cold, during which the nasal mucous membranes swell. If the mucous membranes are swollen, the nasal secretion can no longer drain. The ventilation between the nasal cavity and paranasal sinuses is disturbed, mucus accumulates in the sinuses, and viruses or bacteria spread. The mucous membranes in the sinuses become inflamed – this is referred to as sinusitis.

In the worst case, a sinus infection can last several weeks. In the following, we explain which typical symptoms you can use to identify a sinus infection and which home remedies can help.

Runny nose and stuffy nose

A cold and the stuffy nose often accompanying it are among the sinusitis triggers. As a rule, however, the blocked nose and inflammation of the nasal mucous membranes ( rhinitis ) persist simultaneously as sinusitis, which is why this is also counted among the symptoms. This is then called rhinosinusitis. If the nose is blocked, it is difficult to breathe through the nose, and the sense of smell is often impaired.


Headaches are a common symptom of a sinus infection. They are triggered by the inflamed mucous membranes and by pressure changes in the nose and sinuses.

A characteristic of headaches caused by sinusitis is that they appear on the forehead and can be accompanied by pain in the face, ears or teeth. If the sinusitis gets worse, the headache gets worse and vice versa. Symptoms worsen when bending over.

pain in the face

The local inflammation causes unpleasant pressure and tension in the face. The area of ​​the paranasal sinuses (on the side of the nose or in the area of ​​the forehead) hurts when touched or tapped lightly on the affected area (percussion pain). Like the headache, the facial pain gets worse when you bend over.

jaw and toothache

The swelling of the mucous membranes in the paranasal sinuses can also irritate the nerves of the teeth. This leads to a pulling toothache, which can also radiate to the rest of the jaw. If toothache occurs as part of sinusitis, this indicates that the maxillary sinuses are affected by the sinusitis.

swelling of the face

Swelling of the face can also occur with a sinus infection. These affect the area of ​​the cheeks and cheekbones under the eyes. The eyelids can also swell. This indicates that the inflammation has spread to the eye socket (eyelid oedema).


If the sinus infection is severe, fever may occur. If the fever keeps returning during the disease or rises above 39 degrees, a doctor should be consulted to avoid more severe complications such as meningitis.

Postnasal Drip

If too much nasal secretion accumulates in the nose and paranasal sinuses during sinusitis, it drains through the throat into the bronchi at night. This is known as postnasal drip. Typical signs of this are coughing, frequent throat clearing, a hoarse voice and a scratchy feeling in the throat.

Symptoms of chronic sinusitis

If sinusitis lasts for at least three months, it is called chronic sinusitis. Some typical symptoms of an acute sinus infection, such as facial pain or a runny nose, are often less pronounced. However, nasal breathing is severely restricted, and purulent nasal secretions can escape. Slight headaches are sometimes noticeable. A reduced sense of smell and taste is also typical of chronic sinusitis.

Nasal douche for sinus infections

With mild sinusitis, home remedies often help to relieve the symptoms. Nasal douches with a salt-water solution can help speed up the healing process for sinus infections. The solution moistens the mucous membranes, thins the nasal secretions, and flushes pathogens. The salt concentration within the solution should be 2.5 to 3 per cent. As tap water is not sterile, boiling the water before use is recommended.

(Warm) wraps

Cottage cheese or potato wraps are anti-inflammatory and can speed up healing. Either spread cold quark on a cotton cloth or wrap a warm, mashed potato in a cloth and then place it on the painful area. If the potato is uncomfortably hot, it should be allowed to cool down a bit to be on the safe side.

Drink a lot

As with any cold, the same applies to sinusitis: drinking a lot helps. The liquid supply liquefies the nasal secretion and can drain it off better, and the mucous membranes remain moist. Water or unsweetened teas, such as ginger or thyme tea, which also have an anti-inflammatory effect, are ideal. As a precaution, pregnant women should not drink ginger tea because of its effect on contractions.

red light

Red light lamps provide warmth. The infrared light emitted by the lamps is also known as deep heat but only penetrates a few millimetres into the skin. It has not been scientifically proven whether red light, in addition to the beneficial heat effect, also stimulates blood circulation and thus has an anti-inflammatory effect and supports the immune system . Red light lamps are still considered home remedies for sinusitis and can be used to irradiate the face.

Ensure you are at a sufficient distance from the lamp (the manufacturer provides instructions on this) and keep your eyes closed during use. Ideally, use special safety goggles. Children should always wear safety goggles. The treatment should be no more than three times a day for a maximum of 10 to 15 minutes.

Moisturize mucous membranes

Viruses and other pathogens can multiply more quickly if the mucous membranes are too dry. A steam bath with a bowl of hot water will help moisten the mucous membranes. A few drops of essential oil dissolved in water, such as peppermint or eucalyptus, also calm the airways.

In addition to using steam baths, you should ensure the air in the room is not too dry. Regular airing and a bowl of water on the radiator helps to maintain sufficient humidity. Many drinking and nasal sprays with sea water also keep the mucous membranes moist.


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