Chronic or recurring sinus issues can disrupt every aspect of your life. For example, when you are dealing with sinus pressure and pain, you cringe at the thought of sitting at a computer or leaning over to pick up your child.
When sinus symptoms are flaring, then it’s apparent that you need to talk to a doctor or ENT specialist. But instead of waiting for acute symptoms, it’s wiser to be proactive about prevention.
If you are someone who deals with sinus issues on an ongoing basis, then these tips can help you maintain healthy sinuses and prevent infections in the future:
Tip #1: Keep the Nose Moist
Even when you aren’t sick, the membranes in the nose provide lubrication to prevent illness and infection. If you live in a dry climate, it might result in reduced moisture in the nose and sinuses.
Be proactive about keeping the nose lubricated using saline sprays or nasal rinses. These daily care techniques create the optimal conditions to reduce the likelihood of an infection developing.
If you are using nasal irrigation, you can avoid sinus infections with daily rinses. Or, some people only need to rinse once or twice a week.
Tip #2: Maintain Regular Hygiene
Getting a head cold or the flu increases the risk of a sinus infection. The nasal congestion caused by a cold can breed the environment where infection-causing bacteria thrive in the sinuses.
So, preventing the spread of common illnesses can reduce the risk of sinus infections. Be proactive about washing your hands and limiting contact with people who are sick. If you are sick, then stay home instead of going to work or school.
Also, consider other daily habits to maintain a strong immune system to be less susceptible to illness or disease.
Tip #3: Support Your Microbiome
This tip is crucial for people who have recently taken antibiotics. For example, if you just finished a round of antibiotics for a sinus infection or any other health concern, then you should be proactive about replenishing the good bacteria.
The microbiome in your gut plays a role in immune function and overall health. Antibiotics can affect the balance of good and bad bacteria. You can create a better balance by using probiotic supplements.
Or, if you don’t prefer supplements, add probiotic foods to your diet, such as yogurt, kefir, kimchi, or sauerkraut.
Tip #4: Stay Hydrated
When you are drinking plenty of water, it helps the mucus stay loose and thin so it can drain out of the sinuses. So make sure you are staying hydrated every day.
If you have a hard time remembering to drink water, then consider keeping a water bottle with you at all times. Or, place a glass next to the kitchen sink as a reminder to drink a glass of water when you walk by.
Tip #5: Humidify the Air
This tip is especially important when you are living in a dry environment. Add humidity in the air using a room humidifier, which helps prevent dryness in the nasal passages.
You don’t have to use the humidifier all day long. Many people benefit from sleeping with a humidifier turned on by their bed at night.
If you are using a humidifier, make sure to clean it regularly to prevent the development of bacteria or mold in the equipment.
Tip #6: Manage Your Allergies
Did you know that untreated seasonal allergies can increase the risk of sinus infections? If you are dealing with congestion during certain times of the year, then talk to a doctor about allergy management.
Reducing allergy symptoms helps to balance out mucus production, which has a positive impact on drainage (and prevents sinus infections). You might need to take allergy medication when your allergies are acting up.
Tip #7: Talk to an Ear, Nose, and Throat Specialist
Specific structural issues in the sinuses and nasal passages can increase the risk of infection. If you notice that you have persistent nasal congestion, even when you aren’t sick, then it might be time to talk to an ENT.
If a deviated septum or another issue blocks the airflow in the sinuses, then you might benefit by getting this issue repaired.
An ENT will also look for other conditions that could be contributing to the development of sinus infections, such as nasal polyps. In-office outpatient treatments are available to treat these issues and decrease your risk of infections in the future.
How to Use Nasal Irrigation to Prevent Sinus Infections
Many ear, nose, and throat specialists agree that nasal irrigation is a great way to prevent sinus infections. Have you used nasal irrigation before? Here are a few simple steps to follow for this home remedy:
- Buy a Nasal Irrigation Kit: The easiest solution is to buy a pre-assembled kit, such as a neti pot or plastic sinus rinse tool. Many of these kits come with saline solution to create the optimal pH balance for your sinuses.
- Maintain Cleanliness at All Times: Always wash your hands first. Also, use soap and warm water to clean the sinus rinse tools before and after use.
- Use Distilled or Bottled Water: Tap water can be contaminated, so it’s best to use distilled water or bottled water. Buy a new jug to dedicate for sinus rinsing treatments.
- Fill the Container: Follow the instructions for the right balance of water and saline treatment. Cover the opening and gently shake to mix.
- Rinse the Sinuses: Now that the nasal rinse is ready to go, lean over the sink, tip your head to one side, and insert the tip of the nasal rinse tool into the higher nostril. Allow the water solution to move through your nose and out the opposite nostril.
- Repeat: Once you’ve rinsed one side, refill the nasal rinse tool and repeat on the other nostril.
A nasal rinse can be used several times a day when experiencing active symptoms, such as the first signs of a sinus infection.
Otherwise, nasal rinsing is a great preventive strategy. For prevention, rinse your sinuses between 1 – 7 times per week, depending on your unique needs.
Contact Us for Sinus Infection Prevention and Treatment
Whether you need more tips about preventing sinus infections, or you think you might be developing the early signs of an infection, then it might be time for medical care.
As with other health conditions, early intervention is best to avoid more significant complications and symptoms in the future. Our experienced medical team offers a full range of services to help you maintain healthy sinuses and treat infections when they occur.
Don’t let your sinus problems sideline you from living your best life! For more information about sinus care and treatments for sinusitis, schedule a consultation with an ENT in the area. We provide care for patients in Collin County and Dallas.
Collin County Ear, Nose, and Throat has multiple offices for your convenience in Frisco and Plano, TX. Enter your information on our online form, and we’ll schedule an appointment for you to talk to an ENT. Call us any time at (972) 596-4005.