Sinus pain and pressure occur when the tissue in your nose and sinuses becomes swollen and inflamed. This prevents the sinuses, which are air-filled pockets on either side of the bridge of your nose, from properly draining. Change of temperature, allergies, smoking, and the common cold can trigger sinus problems and may lead to sinusitis or infection.
Healthy sinuses are filled with air, but when they become blocked and filled with fluid, germs can grow and cause an infection that can be quite unpleasant. The condition is quite common and affects about 30 million people in the United States at least once a year. According to Medscape, sinusitis is most prevalent from early fall to early spring.
“Many people suffer from recurrent sinusitis which happens several times a year,” says Dr. Joshua Light, of the ENT and Allergy Associates of South Florida who specializes in the management of ear and sinus disorders. “The most common cause for sinusitis is an infection caused by bacteria, virus, or even fungus. All age groups can be affected by sinusitis, and it is one of the most common complaints that lead patients to see their doctor.”
According to WebMD, there are several natural ways to keep your sinuses healthy. A humidifier in your bedroom can help prevent dry air from irritating your sinuses and may also relieve congestion. Inhaling hot steam from your shower is helpful, too. Patrick Quillin recommends adding peppermint or spearmint oil to a vaporizer at bedtime.
In his book, Amish Folk Medicine, Quillin suggests rubbing the outside of the nose area with Vicks before retiring at night.
Avoid irritants such as fumes from harsh cleaning products, paints, hair sprays and smoke. “Don’t let friends and family smoke in your home,” says WebMD, and use environmentally-friendly cleaning products that are unscented.
Drink more water or hot tea to help drain your sinuses. But avoid caffeine and alcohol which can make swelling worse. Nasal washes can also help. According to WebMD, squirting a sterile saline solution into one nostril as you lean over the sink and allow the liquid to drain out through the other nostril can keep sinuses clean. You can buy a saline solution or make your own by mixing one teaspoon of salt with 16 ounces of water. Breathe only through the mouth during the flushing.
If your sinus pain is caused by allergies, avoid the common triggers such as pet dander, dust mites, and pollen. The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America offers more recommendations to allergy-proof your home.
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