With persistent allergies or a common cold, more fluid is present in the sinus cavities and, hence, more likely to putrify, leading to an infection. Most MDs will prescribe some sort of antibiotic and decongestant for treatment of a sinus infection.
Antibiotics are designed to kill off the infection but that comes at a greater cost, usually.
1. Most antibiotics work only slightly better than placebo according to studies. Simply put, just because we believe that something is going to work gets us around 35% – 40% better!
2. Frequent antibiotic use leads to antibiotic resistance which means if you have an infection that natural remedies are unable to treat and you really NEED antibiotics, they may not work! *PRO TIP: Only take antibiotics if your well-being is threatened by a verifiable bacterial infection. Then – always take pro-biotics afterward.
3. Antibiotics clean your system of beneficial bacteria as well as the infection. This means that your immune system becomes more vulnerable to infection in the future. Decolonizing the good bacteria of your gut not only lowers your immune system, but new science is finding out that there is a very direct link between the health of your gut flora and your emotional health. Antibiotics are the gateway drug to candida overgrowth.
4. Fluoroquinolone antibiotics (such as Cipro which became popular after the Anthrax scare in 2001) are made with fluoride, and can therefore cause neurological damage – pain or disability – in sensitive patients.
5. Antibiotics only work to clear out the infection. In Chinese medicine, the root of this problem is actually the phlegm created by a hypo-functioning immune system. When there is too much phlegm, it stagnates and turns into “fire-toxin” (or infection, in modern parlance). The antibiotics clear out the fire-toxin, but the phlegm remains, just waiting around to become infected again! It remains as a “trapped” pathogen.
Luckily, there are MANY natural and effective solutions for sinus congestion and infection:
1. Saline rinse: get yourself a neti-pot or simply a sinus spray filled with a saline (salt water) solution to physically remove the congested substances. Even better: use a COLLOIDAL SILVER SPRAY. A few squirts in your nostrils (I also use this on my kids and pets when necessary) during an infection every 4 hours or so will clear it up very quick. *PRO TIP – Never use colloidal silver long-term. Only use it when necessary. If the infection persists for more than 1 week, seek an alternative medicine doctor like an acupuncturist for further assistance.
2. Use heat: hot compresses on your head used several times a day help ease the pain. Spicy foods like horseradish, salsa, and wasabi can loosen and expel the phlegm.
3. Aromatherapy: good, old-fashioned Vick’s vaporub is still in my medicine cabinet! Also, you can try eucalyptus oil (a few drops) or peppermint essential oil in a pot of hot water simmering on the stove-top or in a crock-pot (better than a humidifier which can get moldy easily).
4. Chinese herbs: there are many Chinese herbal remedies to open the sinuses (cang er san, xin yi san, etc.) and several herbs that also work to clear infection (ban lan gen, huang bai, long dan, etc.). A good herbalist can make you a customized formula to work with your body’s constitution and help you feel better within days…and actually help your immune system work better in the process!