7 Things You Can’t say About the Care of Your Sinuses? do you suddenly have a headache, face pain, a runny nose, or congestion in your nose? Even if you seem just have a cold, you might actually have a sinus infection.
According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology, sinusitis is an inflammation of the sinuses, or the air-filled cavities in the face (ACAAI).
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, sinus infections happen when fluid accumulates in the sinuses, allowing bacteria to flourish (CDC).
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The ACAAI lists the following as typical signs of a sinus infection:
- Nasal post-drip
- Discolored (greenish) (greenish) nasal dripping
- congestion or stuffiness in the nose
- sensitivity of the face (especially under the eyes or at the bridge of the nose)
- tooth pain and a headache in the front of the head
- poor breath
According to the ACAAI, a sinus infection can be brought on by bacteria, viruses, or fungi (mold). Sinus infections are frequently related to allergies and asthma.
According to the ACAAI, a severe cold is frequently misdiagnosed as a sinus infection. The signs of a sinus infection might easily be mistaken for migraine symptoms: When they are actually experiencing a migraine episode, many patients mistakenly believe they have a “sinus headache.”
The CDC advises staying healthy and avoiding germs and allergies to help prevent sinus infections. The following advice can be useful:
1. Wash Your Hands and Avoid Getting Sick
According to the CDC, viruses are the most frequent cause of sinus infections. Avoiding close contact with persons who have a cold or an upper respiratory infection, as well as washing your hands properly and frequently, can help you prevent contracting viruses. According to the CDC, try to wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water. You can use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not accessible.
Purvi Parikh, MD, an allergist and immunologist at NYU Langone Health in New York City, believes that living a healthy lifestyle that includes eating wholesome foods, getting enough sleep, exercising, and limiting alcohol intake will also help you avoid getting sick. She continues that using a mask can help prevent infection.
2. Steer Clear of Cigarette Smoke and Other Fumes
The CDC advises against smoking and avoiding secondhand smoke if you want to prevent sinus infections. According to Mayo Clinic, tobacco smoke and air pollutants can irritate and swell your lungs and nasal passages and raise your chance of developing chronic sinusitis. The CDC offers options to assist you in quitting smoking, including free coaching.
Dr. Parikh continues, “Anything inhaled is hazardous for you and can irritate your nasal and lung passages in addition to tobacco smoke.”
If you want to avoid sinus infections, the CDC advises against smoking and staying away from secondhand smoke. The Mayo Clinic states that exposure to air pollution and tobacco smoke can irritate and enlarge your nasal and pulmonary passageways, increasing your risk of getting chronic sinusitis. The CDC provides resources, including free coaching, to help you stop smoking.
In addition to irritating your nose and lung passages, Dr. Parikh explains, “Anything inhaled is toxic for you.”
3. Keep Your Sinuses Moist
According to the Mayo Clinic, if the air in your house is dry, adding more moisture with a humidifier may help avoid sinusitis. To prevent mold from growing in your humidifier, clean it thoroughly and frequently. The humidifier should have its tank emptied and all surfaces dried once every day, according to the Mayo Clinic. You can also fill the tank with bottled water that has the words “distilled” or “purified” on it because it has fewer minerals than ordinary tap water and won’t likely encourage the growth of germs and mildew.
4. Get Your Recommended Vaccines
According to the CDC, being up to date on your recommended vaccinations, such as the COVID-19 vaccine and boosters, pneumococcal vaccine, and flu vaccine, will help you stay healthy and prevent sinus infections.
Many people are unaware that the pneumonia vaccine offers a defense against the most prevalent germs that cause sinusitis and pneumonia, according to Parikh. It is advised for many adults over the age of 18 who smoke or have a chronic illness. Many people are unaware that this vaccine is not just for elderly people. Given the recent tripledemic we are experiencing and the fact that flu and COVID make up the majority of infections along with other viruses, flu, and COVID boosters are very crucial.
5. Avoid Common Allergens
According to the ACAAI, those with allergies and asthma are more likely to get sinus infections. According to Parikh, both allergies and asthma result in a buildup of mucus and inflammation in the lungs and sinuses. “As a result, you are more likely to struggle with removing bacteria and viruses from your lungs and become ill more frequently. People become sick significantly less when their allergies and asthma are under control.”
According to Cedars-Sinai, allergic sinusitis is a response to inhalants such as dust, pollen, smoke, and animal dander. The best method to prevent allergic sinusitis is to avoid these allergens.
6. Clean and Irrigate Your Sinuses
According to Harvard Health Publishing, nasal irrigation is a simple method to aid in the prevention and treatment of sinus issues. Use a neti pot or a little bulb syringe to perform this.
Harvard Health advises doing one or more of these things each day:
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2 cups of lukewarm distilled water or water that has been previously boiled and cooled are combined with 1/2 teaspoon (tsp) of non-iodized salt and 1/2 teaspoon (tsp) of baking soda. (The U.S. Food and Drug Administration advises against using tap water, which is not sufficiently filtered or treated and may contain low amounts of germs that can cause potentially serious diseases.)
Use a neti pot to pour the homemade saltwater solution through your nose, or fill a little bulb syringe with it.
Lean over the sink and gently squeeze the bulb while inserting the syringe tip into one nostril. The water will then spill back into the sink via the same (or the opposite) nostril. Use at least one saline bulb in its whole.
You don’t need to do this to cure sinusitis, adds Parikh, even if cleansing and irrigating your sinuses is a quick fix that can offer symptomatic relief. Addressing the underlying cause, which is allergies as opposed to infection, is the primary method of treating sinusitis, she says. If you do decide to irrigate your sinuses, be sure to check with your doctor first, advises the expert, as some diabetics may be more susceptible to fungus infections, which irrigation might exacerbate.
7. Drink Fluids for Healthy Sinuses
According to Harvard Health, it’s crucial to drain nasal passages and maintain them clearly in order to reduce your risk of developing sinusitis or to relieve early sinusitis symptoms. Drinking a lot of water throughout the day is one approach to achieving this goal because staying properly hydrated keeps mucus thin and loose.