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Dealing with Sinusitis during the Holidays

by in Health 23/12/2013

This winter many of us are suffering from colds, headaches and stuffed-up noses. If you’re one of the unlucky ones with a sinus infection this season, you may have sinusitis. Sinusitis can be miserable to deal with, especially during the holidays when you’d like to enjoy time with family and friends.

Fortunately, there are ways to get relief. Armed with some basic information about sinus pain, a few lifestyle changes, and medical options, you can treat the symptoms and reduce the number of flare-ups you experience.

Woman enjoying hot beverage in kitchen

Since milk and dairy products should be avoided when combating sinusitis, a vegan diet is great for people with chronic sinusitis. Dairy products may increase phlegm (thick and viscous mucus) production and thicken existing phlegm, which can block drainage and cause the tiny airways to close down, creating an ideal environment for the proliferation of bacteria. Living with sinusitis can be awful, why make it worse by eating dairy?

Learn the Facts

  1. Know the prevalence. Sinusitis afflicts more than 35 million Americans, making it one of the most common chronic illnesses. Many people go untreated because it gets mistaken for a cold or allergy, especially during cold winter months.
  2. Recognize the symptoms. Sinusitis is an inflammation of the tissues lining the sinuses. When your sinuses are blocked, they fill with fluid and germs that cause infection. Symptoms often include facial pain and pressure, congestion, and fatigue.
  3. Understand the different types of sinusitis. Acute sinusitis typically lasts less than 4 weeks. Chronic sinusitis can last for 8 weeks or more. If you have several attacks a year, you may have recurrent sinusitis.

Change Your Lifestyle

  1. Sleep right. Adequate sleep helps to keep your immune system strong to fight off upper respiratory infections. Try keeping your head elevated to allow your sinuses to drain and ease congestion.
  2. Eliminate trigger foods from your diet. Food allergies can contribute to your symptoms. Check if you’re having an adverse reaction to common triggers like dairy products or wheat by temporarily eliminating them from your diet one at a time. Your doctor can also give you allergy tests.
  3. Add more sinus-friendly foods to your diet. Eat a balanced diet with lots of vegetables and fruit. Vitamin A helps to maintain mucous membranes while Vitamin C has broad anti-allergy and immune-enhancing effects.
  4. Stay hydrated. Cut back on salt and drink more water. Limit your consumption of alcohol and caffeine. Drinking liquids helps to dilute your mucous and promote drainage.
  5. Irrigate with salt water every day. Thanks to Oprah, millions of people discovered Neti Pots. Whether you use a spouted pot or a syringe, rinsing your nasal passages with warm salt water is great for clearing your sinuses.
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  6. Inhale steam. Steam is also effective. Breathe in over a bowl of hot water with a towel draped over your head. Take a hot shower or steam bath.
  7. Limit your use of decongestants. Follow the directions with decongestants. Using them for more than a few days can cause a rebound effect that makes your congestion even worse.
  8. Quit smoking. Smoke and other pollutants irritate your nasal passages and make it harder to breathe. If you need help giving up tobacco, talk with your doctor.
  9. Use a humidifier. A humidifier can add moisture to indoor air and combat the drying effects of central heat and air conditioning. Just be sure to keep the filter clean to avoid mold.
  10. Experiment with aromatherapy. Several essential oils are ideal for sinusitis. Eucalyptus helps your sinuses to drain. Tea tree oil and lavender fight infections and stimulate your immune system.
  11. Avoid dairy. As mentioned earlier, many doctors are advising their sinusitis patients to avoid dairy products as they may contribute to phlegm. Going vegan could provide much relief!

Consult Your Doctor

  1. Get a physical exam. If home remedies fail to work, your doctor can diagnose the underlying cause for your sinusitis so you can adopt a more targeted treatment plan.
  2. Find the right medication for you. There are numerous options depending on the cause of your symptoms. Your physician can explain the pros and cons of decongestants, antibiotics, and nasal steroids.
  3. Consider surgery if necessary. If your symptoms persist even after several weeks of medication, surgery may be an excellent option to get your sinuses back to normal. Most procedures now use an endoscopic tube through the nostril so you could be back to your regular activities within a week.

You can manage your sinusitis by getting appropriate medical treatment and making some simple lifestyle changes. Find the techniques that work for your type of sinus pain and start living better today.

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