Disclaimer: Please check with your doctor before starting new treatments or supplements. Only they can tell you what is safe and appropriate for your health.
Frequent Sinus Problems
Do you struggle with frequent sinus pain, congestion, and/or infections? Do you know what home care you can do to improve your sinus problems?
I spent the month of December and most of January dealing with upper respiratory and sinus infections. So I thought I’d share with you what home care things I use for sinus problems. I have allergies to dust, dust mites, mold and tree pollen. Even though I use an air cleaner in my bedroom 24-7, their seems to be a never-ending thin layer of gray dust. Other than dusting frequently I don’t think I can do anything about the dust since I live in an apartment building.
If you have allergies to dust and mold, get yourself an air purifier for your bedroom. Air filters/purifiers work by removing allergens from the air. Less allergens lead to less inflammation in your sinuses. It made a huge difference in my sinus issues after I started using an air purifier. I use a Guardian Technologies Germ Guardian with a HEPA filter. If you own your home and have a forced-air heating system, you can get a HEPA filter for your furnace. I had one of these ages ago.
Check out this article for up-to-date info on the best air purifiers on the market today: The 8 Best Air Purifiers for Allergies of 2023
According to Web MD’s article: Dust Mite Mattress and Pillow Covers for Allergies, adults shed 1.5 grams of dead skin everyday. Yuck! Dust mites are microscopic creatures that feed on this skin. Yuckier! They love to hang out in pillows and mattresses. If you’re allergic to dust mites or suspect you might be, getting allergen covers for your mattresses and pillows will also make a huge difference to your allergy symptoms of runny nose, itchy nose and eyes, etc. Allergen covers fully encase your mattress and pillows and prevent dust mites from living in them. I’ve bought my covers at Walmart. Just look for a cover that’s made to keep out dust mites. Not all pillow or mattress covers do this.
Self-Care When You Have Sinus Symptoms
If despite your best efforts at preventing sinus pain and congestion, you end up feeling miserable, here’s what I do to help myself.
Getting rid of what’s irritating my nose/sinuses often will help prevent getting a sinus infection. I use a NeilMed Sinus Rinse bottle with their Sinus Rinse saline packets. Gently rinsing out your sinuses gets rid of allergens and mucus. When these things hang out in your sinuses, you’re much more likely to get a sinus infection. You can also use sinus washes when you have an infection. I’ve found that the Rite Aid brand of sinus rinse packets work just as well and cost way less.
My mom prefers to use the NeilMed Neti Pot. It works by pouring water into your nose while you lean over a sink. Sort of like watering a plant with a watering can. Never use tap water for sinus washes! Without saline in it, it will BURN. And no one needs chlorine in their sinuses. NeilMed recommends using distilled water with their pre-measured saline packets.
Check with your doctor about whether or not you can use sinus washes safely, and how often to use them.
In the winter, indoor air tends to get very dry. Too dry air dries out the lining of our nose. When our nasal passages get too dry they crack and bleed giving germs an easy way in. So another home sinus self-care element is adding moisture to the air when it gets too dry in your home. Humidity meters or thermostat displays can tell you how much moisture is in your home’s air. The humidity level in our homes should be between 35% and 45%. If you want to nerd out on this topic, check out this article: What Should Humidity Be In House In Winter? (30%-60% or 35%-45%)
I’ve used everything from humidifiers to pans of water on radiators to add more moisture to the air in winter. What I’ve never had is a way to measure the level of humidity. I recently found an inexpensive humidity meter at Walmart. You can purchase one for about $10. Walmart Humidity Meters.
One of my sons taught me a trick he used in his apartment to increase humidity. He would wet a bath towel and hang it over the shower rod at night. The towel will dry out completely if it’s too dry in your home. If it’s still damp, the humidity is okay without the towel.
Another aspect of increasing moisture is to drink enough liquid. If drinking cold water is not appealing in the winter, drink tea and add more soups to your diet. I have to be intentional about water intake in the winter, otherwise I find myself getting dehydrated. Another benefit of hot liquids, is holding them up to your nose, helps to add more moisture to congested sinuses. My sinuses usually start to loosen when I do this.
Another way to loosen sinus secretions is a hot shower, or filling a sink with hot water while you lean over it. Place a towel over your head to collect the steam. I also use a squirt or two of bottled saline, like Ocean brand nasal rinse when I don’t have the time or energy to do a nasal wash. Bottled nasal saline also comes in handy to use before using any nasal inhaler medication.
Vitamin C +
When I’m struggling with sinus problems, I try to increase my vitamin C intake by eating a piece of citrus fruit every day. I take a 500mg tablet daily, but I’ll add a piece of fresh fruit because I think vitamins are absorbed better when they’re in the original food package.
I also drink a cup of Traditional Medicinals Echinacea Plus tea daily if I’m dealing with an infection.
The other home care treatment that I use, is diffusing Doterra On Guard oil in my diffuser. These things may or may not help, but they don’t hurt either. Do your research and ask your doctor about the echinacea tea before starting to use it. The same goes for the On Guard oil since it’s a blend of oils and not just one type.
If All Else Fails, See Your Doctor
If these at home remedies don’t ease your sinus problems, see your doctor. Sometimes we just need medication to make things better. If you want to use OTC (over-the-counter) medications for your sinus symptoms, ask your doctor as well. Some OTC meds don’t play well with prescription medications.
My last tip is to get on top of sinus issues as soon as they begin before you need antibiotics. At the first sign of trouble, start focusing on these at-home treatments.
May you have happy sinuses! Till next time, Kathy
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