With the dramatic weather changes and temperature swings in Northwest Ohio, we see more sinus-related suffering. Sinus congestion and pain cause a complex problem that many times is misunderstood.
Sinus infections are straightforward, except when they are not. If you have fevers, significant nasal discharge/mucus, pain worsened by tilting the head and general malaise lasting more than a week, it’s probably sinusitis. Most are viral and will go away with proper nutrition/hydration, humidification/sinus irrigation, exercise, and rest.
Nutrition and Hydration
Dehydration is more common in the cold months than the summer and staying well-hydrated is fundamental for the body to flush out the infection. Having a diet with good sources of the essential vitamins and minerals is critical to a speedy recovery. For some people, supplements are necessary. Speak with your doctor for more information on if this is right for you.
Humidification and Sinus Irrigation
The nose has to warm up the air and add moisture before it hits the voice box and lungs. Cold weather causes dryer air, and sinuses become dry and prone to infections. Running a humidifier while sleeping and using saline nasal sprays or sinus irrigation before bed can provide a good night’s sleep while preparing the sinuses for the day.
Exercise and Rest
Most animals, except for humans, have their heads tilted to the ground for much of the day. Simple yoga positions such as a downward dog or balasana (child’s pose) can help drain the sinus passages. You can try watching short videos or reading by placing it on the floor next to your bed and then lying on the bed chest down with your head off the side of the bed.
Medications and More
If these simple solutions are not enough, the pharmacy offers many other options.
- Fluticasone nasal spray can help reduce the swelling in the nose.
- Mucinex can be used to break up the mucus.
- Nasal decongestants can provide temporary short-acting relief.
Follow the instructions for all medications. If you take medications for more than ten days, it’s time to see an ENT.
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