Good sinus health can help prevent infections. Here are 7 easy-to-apply tips to avoid common sinus problems.

Do you suffer from a sudden headache, facial pain, runny nose and nasal congestion? It can be a cold, but also a sinus infection. A sinus infection, or sinusitis, is an inflammation of the sinuses, or air-filled cavities in the face. Sinus infections occur when fluid builds up in the sinuses, allowing germs to grow.

Common symptoms of a sinus infection are:

Postnasal drip
Discolored (greenish) nasal discharge
nasal congestion or stuffiness
Facial tenderness (especially under the eyes or on the bridge of the nose)
Headache in the front of the head
Pain in the teeth
bad breath
A sinus infection can be caused by bacterial infection, viruses or fungi. Allergies and asthma are also linked to sinus infections. It is often mistakenly believed that a bad cold is a sinus infection. Migraine symptoms can also be confused with those of a sinus infection: Many people think they have a “sinus headache” when it is actually a migraine attack.

You can help prevent sinus infections by staying healthy and avoiding germs and allergens. These tips can help you:

1. Wash your hands

Viruses are the most common cause of sinus infections. Washing your hands thoroughly and regularly can help you avoid viruses, as can avoiding close contact with people who have a cold or an upper respiratory infection. Try washing your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If you don’t have soap and water, you can use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.

A healthy diet and lifestyle, with nutritious food, sleep, and exercise, as well as limiting alcohol intake, will also protect you against disease. Just like wearing a mask to avoid infections.

2. Avoid cigarette smoke and other fumes.

To avoid sinus infections, do not smoke and avoid passive smoking. Tobacco smoke and contaminants in polluted air can irritate and inflame your lungs and nasal passages, and increase your risk of chronic sinusitis.

Besides tobacco smoke, anything inhaled is bad for you and can inflame your nasal passages and lungs.

A November 2022 study published in Radiology found that inflammation and emphysema or lung damage were actually more common in marijuana smokers than in nonsmokers and tobacco-only smokers. According to the study, this could be due to the fact that there is no filter on marijuana joints and you hold your breath longer.

Some people also have inflammatory reactions to strong fumes like chemicals, bleach, and perfumes, and they cause inflammation. Poor air quality due to pollution, fires [et autres] increases exposure to particles in your sinuses and lungs, which predisposes you to more infections.

3. Keep your sinuses moist

If the air in your home is dry, adding more moisture to the air with a humidifier can help prevent sinusitis. But be sure to clean your humidifier thoroughly and regularly to keep it mold-free. Empty the tank and dry all surfaces of the humidifier once a day. You can also fill the reservoir with bottled water labeled “distilled” or “purified”, which has lower mineral content than most tap water and is therefore less likely to support bacteria growth and molds.

4. Get recommended vaccinations

Being up to date with your recommended vaccinations, such as the flu shot, can help you stay healthy and avoid sinus infections.
For example, the pneumonia vaccine protects against the most common bacteria that causes sick sinus syndrome and pneumonia. It is indicated for many people over the age of 18 who have a chronic disease or are smokers. Many do not realize that this is not just a vaccine for the elderly. Flu boosters are also important, given the recent triple epidemic we find ourselves in, and they make up the majority of cases with other viruses.

5. Avoid common allergens

People who suffer from allergies and asthma are more prone to sinus infections. Both allergies and asthma cause inflammation and mucus to build up in your sinuses and lungs. As a result, you are more likely to have difficulty clearing viruses and bacteria from your lungs, and you get sick more often. When people’s allergies and asthma are under control, they get sick much less often. Allergic sinusitis is a reaction to inhaled substances such as dust, pollen, smoke and animal dander. Avoiding these allergens is the best way to avoid allergic sinusitis.

6. Cleanse and irrigate your sinuses

Nasal irrigation is an easy way to prevent and treat sinus problems. You can do this using a small bulb syringe or a neti pot.

Follow these steps one or more times a day:

Mix half a teaspoon of non-iodized salt and half a teaspoon of baking soda in 2 cups of warm distilled water or previously boiled and cooled water. (Do not use tap water, which is insufficiently filtered or treated and may contain low levels of organisms that can cause potentially serious infections.

Fill a small bulb syringe with the homemade saltwater solution, or use a neti pot to run the solution through your nose.

Lean over your sink, insert the end of the syringe into a nostril and gently squeeze the bulb. The water will flow out the same nostril (or the opposite nostril) and flow into the sink. Use at least one ampule full of saline solution.

Repeat these steps in the other nostril.

Thoroughly rinse your bulb syringe or neti pot with distilled water or cooled boiled water and dry it after each use.

However, although sinus cleansing and irrigation is a temporary solution that can relieve symptoms, it is not necessary to treat sinusitis. The main way to treat sinusitis is to address the underlying cause: allergies or infection. If you decide to irrigate your sinuses, be sure to talk to your doctor first, as some diabetics may be prone to fungal infections that can be made worse by irrigation.

7. Drink fluids for healthy sinuses

To reduce the risk of developing sinusitis or to relieve early symptoms of sinusitis, it is important to drain the nasal passages and keep them clear. One way to do this is to drink plenty of water throughout the day, as proper hydration helps keep mucus thin and loose.

* criptom strives to transmit health knowledge in a language accessible to all. In NO CASE, the information given can not replace the opinion of a health professional.