Posted by Nicole on April 7
Do you suffer from frequent issues with your sinuses? If so, you might be wondering if it is possible to prevent sinus problems in the future. Indeed, there are habits that can make sinus problems worse, and others that can reduce sinus problems and help prevent infections. Below are some tips for simple changes you can make to your daily lifestyle to help support sinus health.
1. Stay hydrated.
Sinus congestion tends to be worse when you are not getting enough liquids. If you have an active infection, it is extra important to drink a lot of water. But even if you do not, keeping hydrated may help to stave off congestion.
2. Regularly inhale steam.
Another way you can help to thin out mucus, promote drainage, and soothe your sinuses is to try inhaling steam throughout the day.
If you are at home, you can go inside your bathroom, close the door, and turn on the shower. Another option is to put a saucepan on your stove and boil water. You can then lean over the saucepan to breathe in the steam.
If you are not at home and do not have the convenience of either of these options, you can try turning a sink tap in a public bathroom on hot and leaning over it once it starts producing steam. This option may not be ideal, but it can work better than you might expect.
3. Use a warm washcloth.
Try running warm water over a washcloth, and then pressing it to your face. It will work best if the water is close to hot, but not scalding. As with the method above, you can do this periodically throughout the day to soothe your irritation and congestion.
4. Use saline spray or a neti pot.
Harvard Medical School writes, “One of the simplest, cheapest, and most effective ways to prevent and treat sinus problems is nasal irrigation. Using a homemade solution, you can often relieve sinusitis symptoms, reduce reliance on nasal sprays and antibiotics, and improve your quality of life.”
Harvard suggests using a bulb syringe containing saltwater, but suggests a neti pot as an alternative. If you prefer, you can also purchase a saline spray.
Make sure that the saline spray you buy only contains saltwater, not drugs. Why? Because medicated sprays can cause rebound issues. So, they are not suitable for everyday use as they can actually make congestion worse over time.
5. Wash your hands.
Harvard explains that when sinuses are not draining properly, “bacteria grow out of control, causing infection, and the immune system kicks off an inflammatory response. The result: swelling, which causes headache and facial pain; mucus buildup, which produces congestion; and an influx of white blood cells to fight the bacteria, which thickens the mucus and may tint it yellow or green.”
So, it makes sense to do what you can to try and prevent bacterial infections. By washing your hands thoroughly with soap and water for 20 seconds, you can reduce the chances of an infection.
6. Keep your home environment as allergen-free as possible.
Any allergens in your home environment or workplace will potentially irritate your sinuses. So, if you are dealing with mold, excessive pet dander, or other allergens indoors, see if you can do a thorough cleaning.
You also can try to avoid going outdoors during peak allergy season if you have outdoor allergies. Consider getting an air purifier to remove more allergens from your air.
7. Use a humidifier.
Along with an air purifier, another helpful purchase you can make to help keep your sinuses healthy is a humidifier.
Particularly if you live in a dry climate, a humidifier can make a big difference. When you are no longer breathing in such dry air, your sinuses should be a lot less irritated.
Just keep in mind if you do not live in a dry climate, any mold problems you have could be made worse by a humidifier. So, you will need to weigh the pros and cons when deciding what steps to take. You might just want to use it on drier days, and leave it off on more humid days.
8. Use a probiotic.
Did you know that taking a probiotic can be good for your sinuses? There are healthy bacteria that live in your sinuses. Maintaining their population can help to keep unhealthy microbes in check.
If you recently took a round of antibiotics, your healthy microbe population has probably taken a significant hit. So, taking probiotics at that juncture may be particularly helpful in restoring balance and promoting sinus health.
9. Take a supplement for sinus health.
Another thing you can do to support sinus and respiratory health is take a regular supplement that contains a healthy combination of herbs formulated for that purpose. Ingredients that may be helpful include Quercetin, Bromelain, Nettle Root Extract, and Butterbur Extract.
It can be tough to deal with sinus issues and the symptoms they present, especially if they tend to crop up regularly in your life. But as you can see, there are quite a few lifestyle changes you can make and simple habits you can adopt to treat and prevent sinus problems.
Keep in mind that constant vigilance and commitment may be necessary if you want to maintain the positive changes that these new habits bring about. If you allow your sinuses to dry out again or there is a new build-up of allergens in your home, you could find yourself with fresh problems. So, make saline rinses, herbal supplements, good hygiene, and the other practices on this list a part of your long-term routine for respiratory health.