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A Better Way to Treat a Sinus Infection

Emma Tekstra > Solutions  > A Better Way to Treat a Sinus Infection

A Better Way to Treat a Sinus Infection

I have had an annoying sinus infection for over a week now. It may have something to do with the fact I have been on 7 planes in less than two weeks and during the month of March I was wrapping up my 25 year corporate career while juggling the launch of my new venture, writing a book, and dealing with various escapades of my two teenage sons.


Mostly it’s just been an inconvenience but one night while out-of-town on a college visit I found myself completely unable to breathe and felt like my face was going to cave in and my teeth fall out. It reminded me of the chronic sinusitis I used to get as a teenager. My well-meaning parents and doctors put me on endless courses of “the special pink medicine” known as Vibramycin, an antibiotic. I missed quite a bit of school and at one point had surgery to widen my sinuses. We now know this over-zealous approach is completely wrong and likely contributed to the health problems I encountered in my 20s and 30s.


Each 5-day course of antibiotics is estimated to wipe out up to a third of your microbiome. This is the community of bacteria, viruses and fungi that live in and on you. While microscopic organisms have been painted as the enemy of humans and their elimination is the foundation of the modern medical paradigm, in fact they are critical to human health responsible for any number of processes in your body. Perhaps most crucially your microbiome is intimately involved in your immune function and wiping them out will make you more susceptible to disease.

Unless you are in optimal health and eating an exclusively whole foods diet friendly to your microbiome you may never regain these lost symbiotic friends.

In 85 per cent of cases antibiotics is not needed for a sinus infection and more likely to be harmful to your long-term health. Even if you have bright yellow discharge with or without blood (I had both this week!). Now if it’s been going on for over 10 days and shows no sign of improvement that might be a different story but try these strategies first:

Olbas Oil is a fantastic product I grew up with consisting of a blend of Essential Oils. You can put a couple of drops on your pillow at night but the real power is when you put the drops into a bowl of boiling water and inhale the steam. It works best if you put a big towel over your head and the bowl to ensure the steam all gets inhaled. This one is first on my list as it saved me that night in a hotel when I couldn’t breathe.

Vitamin C may be passed over as that gummy bear you were told to take as a child but it is a critical compound to protect and enhance your immune function among many other uses in the body. I buy sodium ascorbate in bulk as a powder and pop it in smoothies or half a glass of water. When struck with any kind of virus or infection I bump up the dosage to 1,000mg 3 times a day.

Vitamin D acts more like a hormone in the body and is critical for many important functions. In fact vitamin D deficiency is likely responsible for many of the symptoms and ailments commonly dismissed as old age. It is certainly a culprit in poor immune function. I make sure to take 5,000IU on a regular day; with a sinus infection I may bump it up to 10,000 for a few days. Getting outside in the sun is an even better way to boost your vitamin D!

Xclear is a drug free nasal spray that is mostly saline but also includes Xylitol which is a naturally occurring compound in fruits & vegetables and has antibiotic properties. I use it regularly to protect my nasal passages before and after flights, or other situations when I might have ingested more germs than usual. . I’ve never tried a neti pot though so let me know in the comments if you can compare the two.

Zinc & Elderberry lozenges. Sometimes you need to get the good stuff straight to the throat. I use Nature Way’s Sambucus products which include Elderberry (known for thousands of years for its anti-viral features) and Zinc (a critical trace element for a multitude of functions in the body and has been shown to limit the replication of viruses). I’ll also mention Quercetin in this strategy. Elderberry is rich in Quercetin but I take a Quercetin supplement daily for its anti-oxidant properties which have been shown to have a range of benefits in the body such as anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, and its synergistic interaction with Zinc assisting with absorption.

Hydrogen Peroxide nebulization needs a Blog Post all to itself but for now I’ll mention it has a number of incredible benefits not least killing viruses on contact leaving only hydrogen and oxygen as by-products for your cells. I used it to help tackle Covid19 in 2022 and found it useful again with this sinus infection.

Vicks VapoRub is another remedy from my childhood but works brilliantly while also bathing you in comforting smells (although I have to confess my husband does not appreciate the smell when I come to bed covered in it!). It’s a thick ointment consisting of Camphor, Eucalyptus and Menthol and acts as both a cough suppressant and analgesic (pain reliever). I avoid taking any pain medication so a swipe of Vicks on my forehead and cheekbones helps with sinus headaches. A blob on my chest helps me sleep soundly without coughing.

Chicken soup was obviously a big feature of my Jewish upbringing and is still the mainstay in my house for anyone who feels under the weather. Need I say more.

Another mainstay is honey & lemon tea. Amazing to combat a sore throat. Just make sure it’s the juice of a fresh lemon and the honey is organic and raw from a quality source.

Increasing your intake of fruits & vegetables is always a good plan but especially when you’re sick. Avoid succumbing to processed comfort food as it will hinder your healing. Vegetable broths with green leafy vegetables like spinach and kale are a better strategy and please avoid added sugars!

Ultimately you just need to be patient with a sinus infection. It’s God’s way of getting you to slow down or maybe to alert you to a body out of balance and in need of some attention. Let me know what you’ve tried and any other traditional remedies you use.

Emma Tekstra
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