It’s been a bumpy road to spring. While I’m thankful for the mild winter, I wouldn’t trade nice spring weather for it. It’s no fun looking out the window in mid April to see the white fluffy stuff, typically considered winter sledding material, covering what should be a verdant lush landscape.
However we have had a peak of spring the last week or so and it is lovely. I have fully embraced it; biking, hiking and walking whenever possible–anything to be outdoors. My sinuses on the other hand are not quite as happy.
If you, like me, suffer from spring allergies and the constant flare up of sinuses then you understand just how frustrating it can be to enjoy the outdoors when all you do is sneeze, sniffle and rub (I sound like a allegra commercial don’t I:) Well I’m not here to pitch any medication, what I am here to tell you is that you can alleviate your symptoms the good ole fashion way; no running to urgent care or the doctor required (unless you have a fever or other serious symptoms).
The minute my sinuses started to flare up and my eyes start to ache, I take a few simple steps that stave off any serious sinus infection or other illness.
Increase fluid intake promptly. This means water, water with lemon, herbal tea, juice (without added sweetner). I increase my homemade juice intake as well. If you have a juicer, make juices with ingredients like oranges, carrots, fennel, cumin, cucumber, beets, green apple and lemon for sinus specific. Avoid sugary drinks like sodas, smoothies, and juices with added sugars.
Increases fluids loosens mucus that cause sinus issues and increased inflammation of the blood vessels that surround sinus pockets.
Tip: Sugars increase inflammation (ie: sinuses), so reducing sugar intake will help alleviate sinus flare-ups.
Get to the inflammation before it gets to you–meaning be proactive. I use essential oils when I feel my sinuses, a.ka. allergies, start to become even a mild nuisance. I put on guard oil (DoTerra, three dops each foot) on the soles of the feet, and where socks before bed. I continue doing this for about a week. Why do I do this? Because the soles of your feet are the most vascularized part of the body. According to several studies noted by the University of Minnesota, tapping into reflexology and pressure points of the feet resulted in reduced sick leave, stress, and absenteeism. So when you add soothing oils to the feet, it enters the system, and blood vessels, quicker, thereby alleviating symptoms faster. Vicks vapor rub (using the same method above) is another homeopathic remedy, although it doesn’t work quite as well for me, but many people report its positive affects.
Take note of what you are eating. When my sinuses start to flare up this time of year, I make a note to increase certain foods and stay away from others. According to the American Academy of Otolaryngology, one of the most common dietary causes of nasal congestion is milk. Eliminating milk and milk products (ie: ice cream, which is often eaten more frequently during warmer months) from your diet will help reduce inflammation, and can usually tell the tale if your sinuses are sensitive to dairy products within two weeks. Often the results can be dramatic. Eliminating milk and milk products cures sinusitis and fatigue in approximately 10% of patients. Wheat can cause sinus symptoms as well. A wheat elimination diet is difficult but can be fruitful. Other foods to avoid during sinus are food additives such as artificial sweeteners.
Food to increase:
Some studies have shown that certain foods clear the sinuses. Garlic, horseradish root, cayenne (red pepper), cumin, and burdock root (consult a doctor if you are trying to become or are pregnant) may produce a desirable effect. I opt for making a homemade Italian soup recipe called Stracciatella. Eggs have enormous amounts of protein and are known for easing ailments from digestive upset to sinuitis. Many recipes call for parsley,spinach, cheese and salt.
Here is my own recipe:
4 cups low sodium chicken stock
2 cloves garlic (skinned, whole)
Bring Chicken stock to a boil in a medium pot. Add the whole garlic and let simmer for 5 minutes. Add the eggs and turn the heat down. Whisk the eggs to break them up until they are fully incorporated with stock. Only cook for roughly 2 to 3 minutes once eggs are added. You do not want to overcook your eggs. Add a pinch of salt, pour into a glass (making sure to take the garlic out) and drink up. Or if you prefer, pour into a bowl and use a spoon.
This is the ultimate sinus remedy–for me that is.
For a variation on this recipe, check out Nadia’s G’s Bitchin’ Kitchen recipe.
The best thing I can do is to increase my endorphins and I do so by working out. Research shows that working out, or any form of exercise that elevates heart rate which in turn gets the blood vessels working harder, increases endorphins and decreases inflammation. Endorphins are a natural mood booster and a natural immune booster.
So while there are times when meds and doctor visits are necessary, being proactive and getting to your symptoms before they get to you can not only save your wallet but your body as well (by letting it heal naturally.)