Sinus pain is one of the most common reasons people seek medical attention. Each year, more than 37 million Americans experience sinusitis symptoms like sinus pain, nasal congestion, and thick nasal discharge, according to the American Academy of Otolaryngology — Head and Neck Surgery. Those numbers are growing because of an increase in pollutants, along with a resistance to antibiotics. Colds, flu, allergens, and pollutants are the most common causes of sinus pain. Learn these valuable steps you can take to avoid a sinus infection and the congestion it causes:
Wash your hands frequently
This is especially important during cold weather, when viruses can live longer on doorknobs and other surfaces.
Get a flu shot yearly
By preventing the flu, you may also prevent a sinus infection, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Eat a well-balanced diet and get regular exercise
Staying in good health keeps your immune system on guard, according to Harvard Medical School.
Cigarette smoke can irritate sinuses, Harvard Medical School states.
Use a humidifier
Dryness can lead to sinus pain. You can run a hot shower and inhale the steam Gopal. Or put a steaming towel over your head — that’s an old remedy for relief from sinus pain. If you use a humidification machine, make sure you clean it daily, following manufacturer’s directions, so that the humidifier itself does not become a source for sinus problems.
Don’t overdo the antibiotics
Antibiotics will help if you have a bacterial infection, but they won’t do anything for viral infections. And if you take too many antibiotics, you can build up resistance to the medication, according to Harvard Medical School.
Use a saline nasal solution
You can buy a saline solution at the drugstore or you can make your own by mixing 1/4 teaspoon of salt with 8 ounces of warm water. The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology recommends using iodide-free salt and distilled water (or pre-boiled and cooled water). If you are buying a premade saline drop, mist, or spray, make sure that it does not contain a decongestant.
Keep your windows closed
If you have allergies, you don’t want to go outside or open the windows, especially between 5 a.m. and 10 a.m., because that’s when the pollen count is the highest.
Fight dust mites
Vacuum and wipe down all surfaces regularly, decrease clutter that can trap dust, and use dust mite covers on your pillows and mattresses.
Try a neti pot
This nasal irrigation system, which comes from the ancient Ayurveda yoga tradition in India, has been used for centuries in the East and has become popular in the West in recent years. A neti pot allows a saline solution to be poured into the nasal passages, irrigating them to loosen mucus. You can find them at drugstores, nutrition centers, and health food stores. Be sure to follow directions to use only sterile, pre-boiled and cooled, or distilled water in your neti pot.
Sinus pain can be worse for people with allergies and weakened immune systems, but following a healthy lifestyle and practicing good hygiene could save you from bothersome sinus pain and congestion.