It is always difficult to ignore pain, and almost impossible to ignore when the pain is literally ‘in your face’. Which is why sinusitis is so horrible.

The sinuses are hollow bones situated within the skull. Lined with sensitive mucous membranes, the sinuses can become swollen and secrete mucus in response to a trigger such as an allergy or a head cold. A build-up of mucus is bound to increase pressure and this is what causes the pain of sinusitis. What’s worse is that these tiny stagnant rivers of mucus are begging to be sites of infection.

During a sinus attack give alcohol a miss as it further swells mucous membranes. Drink at least 3 litres of clear fluids daily. This will help stop the mucus from becoming too thick, which is when it tends to become infected. Eat copious amounts of garlic as it is both mucolytic (breaks up mucus) and antibiotic. Other good foods include onion, horseradish, chilli, ginger, fenugreek, wasabi (Japanese green mustard) and nasturtiums.

Sinus beating herbs include elder, echiniacea, golden seal, eyebright and golden rod. Vitamin C and zinc will stem an infection and is an effective natural antihistamine Take 1,000mg every 2-3 hours. If you are sinus-prone, take horseradish and garlic tablets throughout the year. A Vicks inhalation before bed will help clear the sinuses, as will the vapour from a hot shower.

God’s gift to sinus sufferers is the Neti pot. A yogic technique, also known as Jala Neti. Looking like a small teapot with a phallic shaped spout, the Neti is used for an intra nasal douche. Into a Neti pot, pour a cup of warm water and one teaspoon of sea-salt. The mixture should be as warm as blood, and as salty as tears. Stand over the sink holding your head to the left side. Slowly pour a little of the water up your right nostril. Within a couple of moments your left nostril should drip, then flow. Gently blow through the nose to clear out water and mucus. Then swap sides. Using a Neti pot is a pleasant experience. Trust me. Neti pots are a little thin on the ground. Any small teapot may be used in the absence of an authentic Neti pot. Just don’t let your guests know what you do with the pot when you are not serving them tea. Alternatively, buy a sinus rinse from the chemist. They come with sachets with the perfect amount of saline solution.

Buteyko breathing helps to prevent sinusitis.