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Top tips for quick recovery

Whether your sinus congestion and other symptoms are a result of acute or chronic sinusitis, following these tips at home is likely to make you feel better.1,2

Rest and sleep

A strong relationship exists between your immune system and sleep.3 The reason you feel like you need more sleep and rest when you are sick is because you do! Sleep allows your immune system to build up various weapons against the virus or bacteria.3 Reducing sleep for even one night makes it harder for your immune system to fight back.3

Drink fluids

Keeping hydrated helps keep the mucus thin and loose2 so it can drain out of your sinuses more easily.1 Avoid dehydrating drinks that contain caffeine or alcohol.1 Alcohol can also make the swelling in the lining of your nose worse.1

Steam your nasal passages

Pour some steaming, medium-to-hot water into a bowl. Drape a towel over your head and then carefully lower your face towards the water and breathe in the moist steam.1 Take care not to burn yourself!1,2 This warm, moist air can help to ease sinus pain and drain your excess mucus.1,2 Taking a hot shower and breathing in the steam has the same effect.1,2


Use a humidifier

Humidifying the air in your home or your place of work can help stop your nasal passages from drying out.2 It is important to keep your humidifier clean and mould-free.2

Warm your face

If your nose, cheeks and eye area are painful, hold a warm compress or warm towels against them to ease the pain.1,2

Elevate your head when you sleep

Mucus can collect in your sinuses at night. Prop your head up with pillows to help the mucus drain so you don’t feel so congested in the morning.1,2

Blow gently

Blow your nose gently, one nostril at a time. Forced, powerful blowing can irritate your nasal passages and move mucus, full of bacteria, back into your sinuses.2

OTC medications

Various OTC preparations also treat the sinus congestion associated with sinusitis. Mucolytics like N-acetylcysteine (e.g. ACC 200) thin thick mucus, making it easier for the mucus to be removed.4,5 This restores normal drainage to the sinuses,4,5 easing the pain and pressure in the first days after treatment.5


When should I see a doctor?

In rare cases, sinusitis can have serious complications.6 You should see your doctor immediately if you suffer from any of the following symptoms:6     

  • very bad headache or stiff neck     
  • pain from bright light     
  • double vision     
  • swelling around your eyes     
  • high fever     
  • feeling confused or unusually drowsy 
  1. Mayo Clinic. Chronic sinusitis. Last updated: 03 Mar 2018. Available at: Last accessed May 2019.
  2. Harvard Health Publishing. What to do about sinusitis: a step-by-step approach to treating and preventing sinusitis starts with a simple nasal wash. Last updated: 02 Apr 2018. Available at: Last accessed May 2019.
  3. Walker M. Why we sleep: the new science of sleep and dreams. Penguin Random House. 2017.
  4. Macchi A et al. Recurrent acute rhinosinusitis: a single blind clinical study of N-Acetylcysteine vs Ambroxol associated to corticosteroid therapy. Int J Immunopathol Pharmacol 2012; 25(1):207-217.
  5. Kryukov A.I., et al. Treatment of Acute Sinusitis. Russian Medical Journal. Otorhinolaryngology, 2012, No. 9, pp. 485-488.
  6. BMJ Best Practice. Sinusitis (acute). Last updated: 28 Nov 2018. Available at: accessed May 2019.