How to Drain Sinuses: 7 Methods for Breathing Easy

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a woman blowing her nose
Author Name: Lucas Cook
Date: Monday June 24, 2024

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Few things are worse than when you can’t breathe out of your nose. All of a sudden, you’re imagining how much better your chicken noodle soup would taste if you could just smell it or reaching for your fourth box of tissues. Find relief with these seven tips on how to drain sinuses.

Inhale Some Steam

If you want to loosen up mucus fast, using steam can be a very helpful avenue. The heat and moisture can help relieve your symptoms by allowing the congestion to drain, leaving you with much less sinus pressure. It can also lend a big hand if post-nasal drip has left your throat feeling worse for wear.

All you need to do to use this method is grab a cheap steamer, fill it with water and let it work its magic. Alternatively, you can hold your head over freshly boiled water, resting a towel over your head and the bowl to trap the steam inside. When using either of these methods, be mindful of the steam’s temperature, as it could scald or burn you.

Use a Warm Compress

Like how warm steam can help free up your nose, a warm compress can somewhat do the same from the outside. It’s less effective because you won’t be directly inhaling the heated water, but the temperature can assist in relieving pressure and make your nose blowing a bit more productive. Switching off between steam and a compress could clear up your stuffiness sooner than you expect.

Drink a Cup of Tea

Why not make double use of your boiled water by using it to make tea? The hot liquid will nourish you by giving your body moisture and the herbs will likely have some beneficial effects that make learning how to drain sinuses as easy as filling a cup. For example, peppermint and ginger feature in big-name congestion relief blends because they’re expectorants — components that loosen your mucus. They make every sneeze, nose blow and cough more productive, helping you feel better faster.

A pre-blended tea bag will likely have some other herbs that can relieve your sinuses, but you can rely on peppermint, ginger or both if you have food sensitivities or prefer the flavors. However, if you typically add milk to your tea, now’s a good time to pass. Dairy products actually create more mucus, so you might have to muscle through the bitterness for a bit.

Stay Hydrated

Along with making tea, ensure you’re getting enough to drink overall. The process of making mucus dehydrates you, sapping away your body’s water without you even moving. You can become dehydrated incredibly quickly when you’re sick, so it’s vital to drink plenty of water and get enough rest.

How much should you have? Women should get 11.5 cups of water a day, while men should get 15.5 cups. Feel free to increase your intake while you’re under the weather, but aiming for those numbers should assist you on the path to a less congested nose.

Try a Nasal Rinse

Squeeze bottles, devices and neti pots are all designed to help you use saline — or salt water — to clear out your nasal passages. There isn’t an official ruling on its usefulness for all respiratory issues yet, but one of its primary benefits is moving fresh and dried mucus out of your nose. It might not make you heal, but if you need to know how to drain sinuses, it’s a great way to bust congestion.

This method is certainly not the most comfortable way to drain your nose, but giving it a shot might provide quick nasal relief. To use your tool of choice, lean over a sink and tilt your head to the left or right — whichever sinus passage you choose to wash first. Insert the device’s spout into the nostril you’re holding up and the water should exit through the lower one. You’ll do the same process on the other nostril when you’re done.

Take an Herbal Shower

If you haven’t noticed yet, there are two significant themes to eliminating your congestion — water and warmth. If steam works to loosen up mucus, imagine how much good a whole shower might do. With this method, you can combine the steaming trick and tea to make an aromatherapy shower that helps you feel better in mind and body.

To make an herbal shower, you can put your chosen essential oils or herbs in a small mesh bag, get it a little wet, and hang it on the showerhead. Alternatively, you can make a shower bomb with ½ cup of powdered citric acid, ¼ cornstarch, 1 cup of baking soda, 12–24 drops of your choice of essential oil and witch hazel in a spray bottle.

Combine the first four ingredients and spray the mixture with witch hazel until it resembles wet sand. Place the final product in an ice cube tray or another mold for at least 24 hours and put one at the bottom of your shower when you’re ready to use it. Along with peppermint, eucalyptus essential oil assists in unblocking your nose. Feel free to add some lavender if your stuffiness has been making it hard to sleep.

Give Yourself a Facial Massage

After a warm compress session and a nice shower, try giving yourself a facial massage using pressure points to help your nose find relief. For example, you can make small circles in the area at the top of your smile lines or at the fronts of your eyebrows. You can also use pressure on those points, lightly pinch your eyebrow area, or make sweeping circles from your smile line point up to your forehead and back down again.

Learn How to Drain Sinuses for Easy Relief

A stuffed nose is one of the worst parts of being sick or having allergies. You’re already not feeling fantastic and all of a sudden, you can’t smell anything and the tissues are piling up around you. If you need fast relief, try a handful of these tips on how to drain sinuses. Those needing a healthy dose of TLC could even combine all these methods into one relaxing spa day!

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