Home Remedy For Sinus Infection

(This article appeared in Triathlete Magazine 2011)

Those of us who suffer from allergies, cold symptoms, sinus infections suffer due to the increased congestion of mucus in the nasal passages.  Sinus rinsing can be an effective home remedy to reduce the length of time you have symptoms.  The yogis in India have been using neti pots to sinus rinse for centuries so this treatment has a long history of effectiveness.   Sinus rinsing is cheap, non-addictive and natural treatment for cold and allergy symptoms.

 When the sinuses are irritated or infected, a significant amount of mucus will accumulate in the nasal passages.  Since antibiotics are not effective in most viral illnesses, the only support you can offer your immune system during infection is to help clear mucus that collects in your nasal passages.  By using a saline solution to gently flush the nasal passages you can remove mucus blockage in your upper respiratory tract.  When mucus is cleared, your sinuses can flush properly and thus eliminate the infection that can become lodged in the cavities more quickly.  Those with allergies benefit from sinus irrigation by eliminating trapped allergens like pollen, dust or pet dander from the upper respiratory tract which cause the immune response.

There are a number of commercially available sinus rinse options including saline liquids in nasal spray bottles or atomizers as well as premixed powdered saline sachets which you mix with water at home in a neti pot or in a plastic bottle with a screw cap for nasal application.

You can make your own saline sinus rinse with common household ingredients:

  • 1 teaspoon (5mL) of non-iodized salt (kosher salt)
  • 1/4 teaspoon (1mL) baking soda
  • 1 cup (250mL) of filtered warm water

Shake the ingredients until they dissolve in a sterile sinus rinse bottle or neti pot.  I find that using the sinus rinse is most sanitary in the shower since all the mess is washed away when you are finished.    Squirt the saline solution in one nostril at a time.  If you have done it correctly the solution will come out of your other nostril or your mouth.  You do not want to swallow the solution.  Blow your nose gently to remove any excess solution but not too hard, you don’t want to drain solution into your ears.  You can expect your sinuses to drain for up to an hour after rinsing which is annoying in the evening when you are trying to sleep so keep that in mind when you are timing your sinus rinse.  It can take a bit of practice to get the angle of your head right so give it a few tries before deciding how effective this remedy is for you.

Consulting with a doctor to see whether sinus rinsing is right for your symptoms is always a good idea.  If you have severely blocked sinuses it is not a good idea to try rinsing.  Also, waiting an hour after rinsing to apply any other nasal spray would avoid loss of the medication while the saline solution is draining. 

I have found that saline solutions have lessened the severity of the respiratory infections I have had over the last few years and prevented the inevitable chest infection I would contract as the infection spread.  Hopefully this home remedy can be of use for you.

2012 XTERRA World Championship

The last  event of the 2012 season is in the books and saw Lesley Paterson dominate the women’s field in defending her title against 2nd and 3rd place ITU athletes Barb Rivieros and Mari Rabie, and Javier Gomez took the men’s title while Josiah Middaugh and Conrad Stoltz pushed him to the limit with close  2nd and 3rd place finishes. Wow, XTERRA has come a long way and I think that although not all of the XTERRA  regulars had their best races, those that did bring their best really represented the strength of the field well.  I am so proud of Lesley, Josiah and Conrad.  I am also so proud of the crew at Team Unlimited for getting the sport to where we have the best of the best in the world interested in competing for a title in our sport.  That is awesome.

My performance wasn’t that awesome.  I honestly did put everything I could into turning my form around for this race but that ended in me coming 13th.    When I went to light the fuse on race day there was no powder in the keg.  I ended up coming out further back than I wanted in the swim and then really struggled to get around the bike course before finishing the run.  13 certainly wasn’t what I was looking for but I look at as an good sign for the 2013 season.  It was a tough day after some tough races ending the season and my body was just was finished.  I did find a lot of inspiration in a blog written by Canadian mtb superstar Catherine Pendrel who wrote about her experiences at the Olympics and the Worlds, where she was heavy favorite to win but didn’t have her day at either of those races despite 100% efforts at each one.  I look forward to my next opportunity to race the best in the world but know that even if you work your absolute hardest and think you are doing everything right, sometimes the body just doesn’t respond how you might expect.  It’s part of being human.

 

Chris Stankis awesome swim photo!

 

This season had so many highlights and good results that I can’t get too bummed about the months of September and October which were frustrating.  I started with a win in Oceanside, then despite getting sick rallied to 2nd at the ITU World Champs, 1st in Richmond, and 1st at XTERRA Canada and the Cedar City 100km mtb race and 2nd overall on the XTERRA Pro tour.  Then with a cold I still took the bike prime at Wildflower half, took 5th at Honu 70.3 and a 3rd at Calgary 70.3 with the fastest bike split.  I can pilot a Trek time trial bike at high velocity and that was a big revelation for me this year – I can build on that.   I also had a 3rd at Furious 3 mtb stage race so I can do the same offroad.

It is tough to win races at this level so that is a pretty awesome season and the podiums were there so that is cool too. Last year I won almost everything so it was a tough season to improve on but last year I couldn’t win at 70.3 races.  This year I won the 70.3 but then it wasn’t a 100% perfect XTERRA season.  Give and take.  Still pretty good.   I had quite a bit of the sick this year and also a bit of bad luck so sometimes I forget that there were some uncontrollable things that make consistency difficult.  Sometimes it doesn’t ALL go your way.  However, I am stoked to have the opportunity to give it a go for another season to see if I can challenge for the top spots as much as possible.  I am healthy and motivated.

Happy

I am now going to take a break and then do my annual running adventures. I am excited to have some new AVIA Avi-Mantis shoes to test during this block and you might see me at some running events.  I also look forward to reconnecting with the running community in Victoria as we splash around in the pouring rain for the next 3 months.

During this time my Polar devices should be fun to use.  The GPS in the RCX5 is fun for showing my trail adventures.  The foot pod sometimes is less fun because it really does tell me how fast, or NOT, I am running.  Regardless, they are fantastic tools for a triathlete.

Thank you to all of the sponsors that provided me with the rocketship I was fortunate to ride at Worlds. Trek and Bontrager have been so amazing as far as race support.  My new Trek Superfly SL was an absolute delight to ride and I am sure I can show off its speed soon.  Thanks to Trek, Bontrager, Shimano XTR, Esi Grips and Genuine Innovations for outfitting that rockin machine.

Thank you to Champion System for turning Trek’s gorgeous kit design into the most awesome racing kit ever.  Thank you to Nineteen Wetsuits for keeping me warm in chilly waters.

Thanks to Rudy Project for keeping my head safe on the bike with very cool helmets and for putting functional and stylish eyewear on my face.  They are also amazing race fans so it is a company you should feel good about supporting.

Thanks to Powerbar for the no bonk program.  All of their race and training nutrition is tasty and having them at the races is a huge advantage for me.

Thank you to Synergy Sports’ Jamie Grimes for doing everything he could to fix my niggles.  They just need a bit more time it seems 

Maybe I should spend more time in my casual compression socks.

Thanks to TriggerPoint for the rolling and Cool Point hand coolers.  They work.

Thanks to Powertap for the feedback in my training on the bike.  Without power you are really just stabbing in the dark.

USANA has been instrumental in maintaining my health as best as possible under ridiculous conditions.

Thanks to Procity Trek in Victoria for keeping my machines running but also just keeping my head on straight.  Looking forward to our spring races.

Thanks to the athletes that I worked with this year.  It has been good fun and we won one world title.  So proud of all of you guys.   You inspire me.

Lastly, thanks to all  of you in the Facebooks and the Twitterverse.  Never have I ever had so much support and sassy feedback.  You all rock.  Can’t wait to assault our next season.  Good fun is on the way.