There are so many ways to help lessen or prevent altogether your chance of developing sinusitis or address early symptoms of sinusitis. Keeping the nasal passages clear and improving drainage are the two most important things to remember in sinusitis prevention. To attain them, here are some tips to follow:
Daily wash your nasal passages – This can be done by gently running water into the nasal passages to moisten membranes and remove excess mucus. The best times to perform these are when you are brushing your teeth in the morning and at night. You can apply nasal saline spray in the daytime to moisten your nasal passages.
Drinking copious amounts of water – A well-hydrated body keeps the mucus loose and thin. Always keep a bottle of water at your desk during work and always remind yourself to drink water or other fluids by, for example, placing a glass near the kitchen sink to serve as a reminder to drink water during the day.
Breathe in steam – Stay for a while inside the bathroom during a hot shower. Or you can boil water, pour it into a pan; cover your head with a towel and bend towards the pan to inhale the steam.
Stay away from dry environments – At home always use a humidifier especially near your bed so that your nasal passages will be prevented from drying out. Also you need to keep your humidifier clean and mold and bacteria free.
Keep your head elevated while you sleep – When your head is down when you sleep at night mucus can accumulate in your sinuses; therefore, keep your head elevated by using pillows on your head or a wedge on the front legs of your bed when you sleep.
Treat your nose with care – This means gently blowing your nose, one nostril at a time. Blowing your nose in a forceful manner will just irritate the nasal passages and bring back the infected mucus into your sinuses.
Unless prescribed, do not use any antihistamines – These medicines tend to thicken the mucus making it difficult to expel. However, if your sinusitis is caused by an allergy, your doctor may prescribe an antihistamine for you combined with other drugs.
Take proper care when using decongestants – Decongestant tablets that have pseudoephedrine helps contract membranes and enable the nasal passages to open. Decongestant nose sprays that have oxymetazoline or phenylephrine act fast and effectively. However, use of topical nasal decongestants for one to two days can increase the risk of dependency due to rebound — more swelling after the drug wears off. The use of oral decongestants can also cause side effects like blood pressure increase and jitters. So, if you suffer from high blood pressure, talk to your doctor first before using these drugs.
Dr. Vickery is a licensed acupuncturist in Tarzana, CA., and the founder and clinical director of Vickery Health and Wellness.