Winter can be rough. The weather’s cold, there’s often snow or ice on the ground, and to make things even worse, it’s cold and flu season. Even if you got your flu shot at the beginning of the season, you might still find yourself dealing with frequent colds or just feeling a bit under the weather thanks to drier air and colder temperatures.
A few sinus remedies can help you feel more comfortable throughout cold and flu season. While these remedies might not speed up the time it takes you to bounce back from a virus, they can make you feel better all the same.
Increase the Humidity
Winter air is much drier than summer air. That is because the humidity levels outdoors tend to be lower in the winter, but also because modern-day heaters typically zap any moisture out of the air inside as well. Whether you have forced air heating or another type of heating system, the air in your home is likely to be dry as a bone in the winter.
That can lead to plenty of sinus and nasal problems. For example, when your nasal passages dry out, you are more prone to infections and to nose bleeds.
One way to boost the humidity in your home is to invest in humidifiers. You can get small table-top humidifiers and keep one in each room of your house or install a whole house humidifier.
Another option is to increase the amount of time you spend around steam. That can mean taking a hot shower when you feel stuffed up or feel as if your nasal passages are super dry. Holding your head over a pot of steaming water can also help you feel better.
Rinse Out Your Nasal Passages
Salt water, or saline, can help rinse away dust and debris from your nasal passages and sinuses, reducing your risk for sinus infections or helping you to feel more comfortable when you do have an infection.
You can rinse out your nasal passages in a few ways. You can purchase saline sprays at the drugstore and use them as directed. Another option is to make your own salt water solution, using boiled and cooled or distilled water and non-iodine salt (use 1 teaspoon salt for every cup of water). Fill the bulb syringe or neti poti with the solution, then tip your head over a sink or pot and pour the salt water into one nostril.
Getting plenty of fluids, such as water, can help keep you hydrated, reduce discomfort in your throat and reduce or break up congestion. Along with drinking water or juice, you might also want to try drinking hot tea, especially herbal tea or tea without caffeine. The warmth of the tea can be comforting while the liquid keeps you hydrated.
Prop Up Your Head While You Sleep
Nasal congestion when you have a cold or sinus infection can interfere with your sleep. Sliding another pillow under your head will help to elevate it, which can promote better drainage and make it easier for you to sleep (without snoring).
Place a Warm Compress Over Your Sinuses
A bit of warmth over your sinuses can help to ease congestion and any aches or discomfort you’re feeling. To make your own warm compress, soak a washcloth with hot water, then wring it out, so that it’s damp but not dripping wet. Drape the washcloth over your nose and relax for a few minutes.
ABOUT DR. RUBINSTEIN
Dr. Rubinstein has nearly sixteen years of experience helping patients with allergies and sinus problems in the Hudson Valley. A board certified facial plastic surgeon and board certified otolaryngologist, he has extensive knowledge of laser procedures, facial plastic surgery, and nasal and sinus treatments which allows him to improve aesthetics as well as functionality of the nose and facial features. Dr. Rubinstein received his board certifications through the American Board of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery and the American Board of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery. To learn more about how to get relief from sinus infections, schedule an appointment with Dr. Rubinstein at the Hudson Valley Sinus Center by calling 845-562-6673.