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How to Treat a Sinus Infection without Antibiotics

By Diane Ursu
How to Treat a Sinus Infection without Antibiotics; Photo: McfarlandmoSinus pain and pressure accompanied by nasal congestion are the trademarks of a sinus infection. These symptoms are caused by the swelling and inflammation of the nasal cavities, also known as acute sinusitis. Treating sinusitis may prevent the infection from affecting the ears and causing serious complications.

Antibiotics are commonly prescribed for sinus infections, but they may not be the best choice. Some antibiotics produce negative side effects, such as indigestion and yeast infections. Antibiotics will not cure sinus infections caused by viruses. Fortunately, it is possible to treat a sinus infection without antibiotics.

Mucus buildup causes nasal congestion and sinus pressure. Promoting sinus drainage relieves the stuffiness and reduces the pressure. Proper drainage is also important for removing bacteria and viruses from the nasal cavity.


  1. Treat nasal congestion with an oral decongestant or nasal spray. Choose one that works, and avoid medications that treat multiple symptoms if you do not have those symptoms. For example, you do not need a medication that treats coughing if you do not have a cough.

  2. Treat your nasal passages with a steam bath. Hold your head over a pot of steaming water and drape a towel over your head. This may help reduce sinus congestion and inflammation.

  3. Use a neti pot to rinse the nasal cavity. After nasal congestion subsides, fill the pot with lukewarm water and about one teaspoon of salt (vary the ratio to find what works for you). Mix well, tilt the head, hold the neti pot spout to one nostril, and pour the water through the nose. Continue breathing while doing this. The water will come out of the other nostril. Nasal rinses are highly effective for removing mucus that is lodged in the nasal cavity. This helps to remove unwanted bacteria and viruses.

  4. Drink plenty of fluids to thin mucus. Avoid caffeine and alcohol’s dehydrating effects.

  5. Eat garlic for its antiviral and antibiotic properties. Eat a whole bulb of garlic, preferably raw, but roasted is also beneficial.

  6. Pour hydrogen peroxide in your ears three times per day. Hydrogen peroxide kills the bacteria and viruses spread into the ears from the throat via the Eustachian tubes. This helps prevent ear infections. Hydrogen peroxide treatment at the onset of cold or flu symptoms may also prevent disease from advancing.
In their article, “Acute sinusitis: Symptoms,” the Mayo Clinic recommends, “See a doctor immediately if you have signs or symptoms that may indicate a serious infection: pain or swelling around your eyes, swollen forehead, severe headache, confusion, double vision or other vision changes, stiff neck, and shortness of breath.”

Most sinus infections will resolve without antibiotics if treated properly. Contact your doctor if the sinus infection lasts more than two weeks. Antibiotic treatment may be necessary.



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