How To Prevent A Sinus Infection

Sinus infections can leave you feeling tired and hazy. Here are a few tips for avoiding one or managing early symptoms.

At first it may be hard to tell the difference between a sinus infection and a cold. Swollen or painful facial areas, especially around the eyes or cheeks, a stuffy or runny nose, headache, and general sense of not feeling well can herald either problem in the early stages. Later, your symptoms will become more pronounced if a sinus infection develops.

A cold can be draining and tiring, but a sinus infection is more challenging to the body and may be difficult to treat. Often developing as a secondary condition to dry, dusty conditions or a head cold, sinus problems result from an accumulation of drainage that begins to turn infectious when bacteria set in. While some infections can clear up when you drink plenty of water, the usual treatment involves a course of antibiotics, which can bring its own set of potential problems. The best approach is to prevent sinus infections in the first place.

Start by treating a cold promptly. Get plenty of rest, drink clear fluids, and eat your chicken soup, which has been shown to contain anti-viral properties. Be sure to blow your nose frequently to prevent a mucous buildup. Apply a warm, but not hot, washcloth or compress to your face for five or ten minutes at a time, perhaps twice a day, to help loosen stuffy passages. Very warm showers or baths likewise can help to release tight muscles and open the sinuses to let them flow. Enjoy hot tea on a regular basis. Filled with flavenoids and antioxidants that can track down and kill bacteria, tea's steam can open up and loosen your sinus passages to prevent problems from developing.

Keep the air in your home moist in the wintertime, when windows and doors stay closed and locked, by running a humidifier in the bedrooms at night. Don't forget to empty the accumulating pan of water each morning. Or you can set a large basin of water in one or more rooms for a gradual release of moisture into the atmosphere. This will help keep your nose passages working as they should so dust and debris don't get clogged and build up to create problems. Wash your hands frequently to avoid spreading germs. Blow your nose on tissue and discard rather than hanging on to a handkerchief that can foster bacterial growth.

Try to open windows daily, even if only an inch high, to admit fresh air and let out the stale air from your home. This will help to ensure more free breathing and filter impurities. You may want to run an air purifier with a HEPA filter for this purpose, and vacuum rugs and draperies frequently to keep them clear of dust.

If you suspect you are developing a sinus infection if, for example, the drainage becomes thick and frequent and then turns yellow or green, contact your doctor promptly to ask for medicine that can address the problem earlier rather than later. Ask your doctor about vitamin C or other nutritional supplements, especially during the winter when we breathe more indoor air, which an be polluted with impure furnace particles.

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