Congestion, facial pain, plugged ears, post-nasal drip and fever, we’ve all felt it at one point or another. Sometimes it comes on slowly when you’re not paying attention and other times it hits you like a ton of bricks. It’s the dreaded sinus infection, back again to bring annoyance and agony into your life.
Sinus irritation and infection can be caused by a number of factors, both internal and external. Knowing the cause of your sinus problems is the key to deciding what treatment is best for you so you can start feeling better.
Cause: Seasons and Weather
The changing of the seasons brings change to your sinus health as well. Winter can be especially hard on the body. Not only is there less sunlight hours available, but the brisk weather causes us to spend a lot more time indoors with the furnace set on high. Artificial heating takes the humidity out of the air, making it dry, and enclosed spaces trap dust particles and other irritants in the stuff we’re breathing.
If you are sensitive to pollen or other natural air-borne particles, spring can be a difficult period for your sinuses as well with coughing, sneezing and general swelling leading to the inflammation of the sinus passages.
Remedy: Humidity Control and Antihistamines
If it’s the winter weather that’s getting your sinuses down, you can take measures in your own hands to keep your body happy. This might include installing a humidifier into your house or bedroom, or getting an air purifier and having your air ducts cleaned by a professional.
Springtime allergies can be combatted with over-the-counter antihistamines. Be sure to stay hydrated while taking antihistamines as they may dry your sinuses further.
Cause: Bacterial or Viral Infection
There’s nothing that knocks you off your feet more quickly than a bacterial or viral infection, better known as the good old cold and flu. Your immediate symptoms may pass in as little as a few days, but if the congestion, post-nasal drip and fever persist, you’ve got yourself a sinus infection.
Remedy: Antibiotics, Fluids and Rest
Depending on the direct cause of the sinus infection, there are a number of different methods of treatment. For a bacterial infection, your family doctor will prescribe antibiotics to rid you of the initial infection. If it’s a viral infection causing the sinus issues, antibiotics, unfortunately, won’t be effective. In this case, you should still see a doctor; however the treatment will be focused on getting lots of fluids and rest. For more immediate relief, you can turn to over-the-counter decongestants, irrigate your nasal passages with a saline solution and a Neti pot, or create a personal steam room in your shower. All of these options will help in reducing sinus pressure and getting you back on your feet.
Cause: Negative Personal Habits
Sometimes habits that we see as just having fun can contribute to sinus irritation and infection. Excessive smoking, caffeine and alcohol consumption can lead to dehydration and, ultimately, sinus pain. Not consuming enough water can even spark the onset of headaches and pressure. Often, these causes are more difficult to narrow down as it is easy to forget that our own actions can cause a reaction of the body.
Remedy: Moderation or Create Healthier Habits
In terms of caffeine, alcohol and tobacco consumption, quitting is the most efficient way to rid you of unnecessary sinus irritation. If you don’t want to quit completely use these products in moderation, and create new habits to keep yourself healthy such as regularly drinking more water, keeping your home humidified and using a Neti pot or steamer if necessary.
With a few changes to your daily healthcare routines, you can say goodbye to annoying sinus problems and hello again to your life.