Allergies that affect the nose, such as hay fever and indoor allergies, can cause the nasal membranes to swell, and the passages to the sinuses – hollow spaces within the bones around the nose – to become blocked. Mucus, which typically drains from the sinuses to the nose, can’t drain. The mucus builds up and provides a fertile ground for “bugs” to grow, leading to infection. Others are more prone to sinus infections due to their anatomy, such as having narrow sinus passages.
Whatever the trigger, these five tips can help you alleviate your sinus problems.
Sinus Tip 1: Keep Your Cool
When the heat is on, the membranes get dry. Mucus isn’t cleared as effectively, boosting the risk of infection and other sinus problems, such as sinus headache. In the winter months, you’re better off wearing a sweater and keeping it cooler than cranking up the heat so you are comfortable wearing only a T-shirt.
Let your nose guide your indoor temperature range. If you are not waking up with nosebleeds or congestion, that is probably a good temperature range.
Sinus Tip 2: Humidify Your Air
Strive for an indoor environment that’s not too dry and not too humid. Dust mites love greater than 50% humidity. And if you’re allergic to dust mites, that’s bad news for your sinusitis risk.
A too-humid indoor environment can also encourage the growth of mold, which can also set off sinus problems.
Vaporizers can keep you more comfortable if you are in the midst of a sinus problem, but you need to have it close by. It doesn’t do any good to have a vaporizer on the other side of the room. Make sure you clean the device daily to keep bacteria from growing in them and making you sicker.
Breathe the mist coming from vaporizers, but not the steam. Steam can easily burn you. Ten minutes at a time is often recommended.
Sinus Tip 3: Ventilate Your House
An energy-efficient house is not necessarily a sinus-friendly one. You seal up a house to make it more energy efficient, and you end up with stale air that aggravates sinus problems.
The solution: Opening up the house on a warmer day to clear the air is a good thing, providing it’s not a high-pollen day that will set off your allergies.