Sinusitis is a common, annoying condition that affects 20 million people in this country every year. The usual treatment is antibiotics. As you know, they frequently lead to antibiotic resistance and a suppressed immune system. These, in turn, often result in another sinus infection. Instead of reaching for another antibiotic, there are steps you can take to keep your sinus channels clear. This lowers your chances of another sinus attack.
Good drainage can do two things. It can reduce your risk of having a sinus infection in the first place. And it’s part of an effective treatment plan. Either way, you should benefit from being pro-active.
Begin by drinking a lot of water. When you’re well hydrated, your mucous will be looser and your body can eliminate it easier.
Don’t be tempted to take antihistamines. They may relieve some of your symptoms temporarily, but they make mucous thick. You want yours to be as fluid as possible.
Use a saltwater nasal spray, instead. You can also use a nebulizer if have one. The saltwater can loosen your mucous.
If you have pain from clogged sinuses, use warm compresses. They also can loosen the mucous.
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Using a humidifier, place your head in the steam three times a day or more. Inhale deeply through your nose if at all possible.
Sleep with a pillow. When your head is elevated, your sinuses can drain more easily.
If you must take a decongestant, get one made from herbs at your local health food store. Over-the-counter decongestants often contain pseudoephenedrine or phenylephrine, which are habit-forming and can cause high blood pressure and anxiety.
It’s easier to take an antibiotic than to do all of this. But your choice is a quick fix that is unlikely to last, or a series of steps that can lead to the end of your sinus infections.
Your voice of reason in Women's Health,
Dr. Janet Zand