When people think they may have a sinus infection, they may expect to have a slight fever, maybe some pressure around the eyes and cheek bones, or a congested nasal passage.
That isn’t always the case, however. Sinus infections, also known as sinusitis, aren’t solely painful. If left untreated, they could cause meningitis–a bacterial or fungal inflammation of the brain or spinal cord’s surrounding membranes–putting you at risk for seizures, brain damage, and even death.
The good news is there are things you can do to promote sinus health. Your reliable McAllen certified physician assistant Jonathan Lerma and his team of sinus relief specialists at the Glatz Group of Valley ENT know a few things you can use to avoid getting a particularly bad case of sinus infection.
1. Wash your hands frequently
Many viruses and bacteria are contracted by someone touching a contaminated surface and then touching their bodies and getting sick. When washing your hands, you reduce the bacteria and virus count that your immune system has to deal with.
Avoid touching your face and/or rubbing your nose. Not only does this put any bacteria or virus remaining on your hands in closer contact with being inhaled into your system, but it also increases the transmission of any illness you might have to others.
Invest in small bottles of hand sanitizers to carry with you so that if water isn’t available, you can still clean your hands regularly, especially before eating.
2. Rinse your nose with saline nasal sprays
These are available over the counter and should be used without any decongestant as additive. Similar to washing your hands, when you rinse your nose, the concentration of virus and bacteria that you have inhaled is diminished.
If you’re new to saline sprays, try purchasing smaller bottles of different strengths to see which you prefer, or try using saline gel. Many people use a Neti pot for added humidity and nasal irrigation. These can be great for nasal moisture and cleaning, but they also have the potential for negative consequences if not cleaned regularly.
3. Get vaccinated, including your yearly flu vaccine
There are several types of the flu vaccines, from nasal mist to an injection. By getting the flu vaccine, you give your body improved defenses to lower your chances of getting the more common forms of influenza. This can also help you avoid developing infections in your sinuses caused by the virus.
Getting sufficient sleep is crucial for the body to rejuvenate and be better prepared to combat infections. When you’re not sleeping properly, your cortisol–also known as the stress hormone–rises, and this makes you less capable of handling the stress that comes with fighting off an infection.
Also throughout sleep, many of the supporting hormones and factors that are important for a healthy immune system are amplified. This is crucial for anyone fighting off sinusitis.
5. Eat a balanced diet and stay hydrated
It’s imperative to incorporate leafy green vegetables and fruits high in vitamin C to help support our bodies defenses against viral and bacterial infections, especially if they are the cause of your sinusitis.
In addition, your body can lose moisture from daily activities and shivering, so staying hydrated is vital. In fact, dehydration can cause your mucus to thicken, making it easier for your sinuses to become more susceptible to infection.
6. CPAP users (a treatment for sleep apnea)
Increase the sterilization of your equipment, especially if there’s any nasal sniffling or symptoms of onset sinusitis. Sterilizing equipment daily will minimize the likelihood of bacteria, settling in the tubing and/or humidifier chamber and resulting in more constant infections.
7. Wash bedding regularly
Especially after any illness, put your pillows in the dryer for a 60 minutes cycle or cover them in a plastic bag that’s tied and left in the garage for several days to support their sterilization.
8. Open windows and doors
For short time periods, air out and ventilate the house. This’ll help to reduce bacterial and viral counts indoors, especially when multiple family members get sick and pass it around to each other. Purchase air purifiers, and avoid sharing utensils.
9. Visit your McAllen ENT
Sometimes despite your best effort to avoid exposures, practice good hygiene, and follow a healthy diet, you may still contract an illness and need medical assistance for symptoms of cough, yellow or green nasal drainage, and/or worsening fevers that aren’t improving, especially after three days.
Sometimes the solution may be antibiotics and/or medicated nasal sprays like nasal steroids, antihistamines, or cough suppressants. Other lasting remedies for sinusitis may fall in line with balloon sinuplasty, so speak with your sinus relief specialists here at the Glatz Group to see if this procedure is right for you.
Get Your Sinus Infection In Check With the Glatz Group of Valley ENT
With the pandemic in mind, we still provide alternative options to have your symptoms addressed, including via telemedicine where you can be taken care of from home.
For in-person appointments, your safety and comfort is important to us. Please note that we’re taking all precautionary measures necessary, and we also accept calls.