Dry Sinus Relief
The winter months can make our sinuses dry and irritated, but you can get some relief with at home remedies.
Colder weather, low humidity and running the heater more frequently is the perfect recipe for dry sinuses. If you are among the 37 million Americans who have sinus problems each year, there is relief you can achieve with at home remedies that can make a difference.
The air is often dryer in the winter, which can cause the mucous linings in your nose to dry out and the mucus to thicken, leading to congestion and infection.
Dr. Troy Howard, ENT at Rapid City Medical Center, says, “Temperature is one of the things that can lead to inflammation of the sinuses, the mucous membranes, because of it just being a stimulus that the body doesn’t like or dryness. So if that’s a stimulus that leads to mold us in your house or dust with in your house getting into your sinus a little easier because of the dry conditions, then yeah, that can lead to inflammation of the mucous membrane which is your immune system with in your sinus and thereby the bacteria and viruses to set up shop a little easier leading to again acute or chronic infection of your sinuses.”
Other things like air filled with dust, pollen, pet dander, and airborne irritants like smoke and cleaning products can be a trigger. Whatever the cause, you can try some at home remedies to help alleviate symptoms.
Hydrate the nasal passages and sinuses by using a saline nasal spray throughout the day or by dabbing nasal gel or Vaseline into the nostrils.
Try over the counter decongestants or allergy medications for relief.
Add moisture to the air with a humidifier or vaporizer but make sure to clean machine weekly so bacteria doesn’t grow and make you more sick.
Moisturize the body from the inside out by drink plenty of water. And irrigate your sinuses as well by using a neti pot or similar product.
Howard adds, “It rinses off the debris and allergy stimulus that may be within your sinuses and nasal cavity whether by dust or other particles or whatever bacteria or viruses can be essentially power washed from your nose with saline, so it’s actually very helpful especially in dry climate.”
Nasal decongestant sprays for congestion- like Afrin also help, but Dr. Howard warns to only use these products for 2 to 3 days for relief as they can become addictive and even poisonous if used too much.
But if your symptoms are not getting better with these options, it may be a more serious underlying problem like deviated septum or a bacterial infection.
“The take-home is that if it’s easy to take care of and it goes away within a few days with the over the counter medications you have your answer, but if not go to your doctor.”
Dr. Howard adds that a referral to an ENT is not always necessary to get an appointment.
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