Nasal congestion and sinus pressure have several causes, including colds, the flu, and allergies. Regardless of your trigger, the symptoms that affect you can be quite bothersome, and even lead to headaches and other pains.
When you have a cold or are affected by allergies, the membranes lining your nasal passageways become inflamed and irritated, causing that stuffed up feeling. The membranes will then start to develop excess mucus to help flush out the source of the irritation, including any allergens.
With that being said, your certified physician assistant Jonathan Lerma and his team of sinus relief specialists at the Glatz Group of Valley ENT are glad to offer the following fantastic tips to help you avoid nasal congestion.
Sinus Pressure & Nasal Congestion: How to Avoid It
While it can be difficult to completely prevent sinus pressure and congestion, taking the following measures can help keep infections and allergies at bay:
- Wash your hands frequently. This is especially important in the colder months when viruses can live longer on doorknobs and other surfaces.
- Eat a well-balanced diet and exercise regularly. Staying healthy and active keeps your immune system on guard.
- Quit smoking. Cigarette smoke can irritate sinuses.
- Use a humidifier. Dryness can result in sinus pressure. You can run a hot shower and inhale the steam, or put a steaming towel over your head. If you use a humidifier, make sure you clean it frequently so that the humidifier itself doesn’t become a source of sinus problems.
- Don’t overdo the antibiotics. Antibiotics are helpful if you’ve got a bacterial infection, but they won’t do anything for viral infections. And if you take too many antibiotics, you can actually build up resistance to the medication.
- Use a saline nasal solution. You can buy a saline solution at the drugstore or you can make your own by mixing 1/4 teaspoon of salt with 8 ounces of warm water. The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology recommends using iodide-free salt and distilled water (or pre-boiled and chilled water). If you’re purchasing a premade saline drop, mist, or spray, make sure that it doesn’t include a decongestant.
- Try a neti pot. This nasal irrigation system allows a saline solution to be poured into the nasal openings, irrigating them to loosen mucus. Be sure to use only sterile, pre-boiled and cooled, or distilled water in your neti pot.
- Keep your windows closed. If you have allergies, try to avoid going outdoors or opening the windows, especially between 5 a.m. and 10 a.m., because that’s when the pollen count is at its highest.
- Fight dust mites. Vacuum and wipe down all surfaces regularly, decrease clutter that can trap dust, and use dust mite covers on your pillows and mattresses.
When you’re stuffed up, focus on keeping your nasal passages and sinuses moist. Sometimes people believe that dry air may help clear up a runny nose, but in reality, it has the opposite effect. Drying out the membranes will only irritate them more.
You’ll find that some of the preventative measures are also methods to treat nasal congestion from home. To keep your nasal passages moist, you can:
- Take long showers or breathe in steam from a pot of warm (but not too hot) water.
- Stay hydrated and drink plenty of fluids. This will thin out your mucus, which helps prevent blocked sinuses.
- Prop yourself up. At night, lie on a few pillows. Keeping your head elevated can make breathing more comfortable.
- Avoid chlorinated pools. They can irritate your nasal passages.
Breathe Easier After Your Visit Glatz Group at Valley ENT
If you have nasal congestion and sinus pressure for more than seven days, even after using these approaches, it’s better to be proactive and seek options for relief through your local ENT specialists at Glatz Group.
If you have concerns about COVID-19, rest assured knowing that we’ve been following the CDC guidelines to ensure that our office is safe and clean for both our guests and staff. Thanks to telemedicine, we’ve been able to address 90 to 95% of our patients’ allergy symptoms online.
We also offer online consultations, phone calls, and in-person visits.