Keep Meds Close
If you suffer from allergies or asthma, stay prepared: Keep medications handy in your purse, pocket or car.
Kick Congestion to the Curb
How to fend off irritating sinus problems
Do you regularly suffer from postnasal drip, stuffiness, headaches, coughing, sore throat, swollen glands, hoarseness, wheezing, dizziness, fevers, sweats or hearing loss (phew!)? Infected sinuses could be the culprit behind all these problems. But you can ease your discomfort right away, says Jordan Josephson, M.D., author of Sinus Relief Now. Just follow his four easy steps.
Wash Your Troubles AwayOver-the-counter saline nasal sprays cleanse and moisturize your sinuses, and remove allergens, infections and pollutants from your airways, says Dr. Josephson. This should help you breathe easier, make your voice less hoarse and put an end to the need to clear your throat. Look for a sterile solution that is labeled isotonic saline at your drugstore and use it daily. If youre taking antibiotics, ask your doctor if a saline solution is appropriate for you.
LiterallyYou want your home environment to be as soothing as possible, so make an effort to get rid of any mold or dust, recommends Dr. Josephson.
Heres how: Wash bedding once a week in hot water and consider getting rid of mattresses every 10 years; replace carpeting in your bedroom with hardwood floors or tiles and make sure the room is well ventilated; vacuum your entire house weekly; and make sure your vacuum cleaner has a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter, which eliminates dirt particles in the air.
Revamp Your Shopping ListLimit foods that can aggravate sinus problems, such as certain carbohydrates (sugars, grains and alcoholic beverages), dairy, foods containing mold (all mushrooms and aged cheeses, such as Asiago, Romano and Parmesan) and caffeine, he advises. You dont have to give them up cold turkey but even cutting back a bit should cause a dramatic improvement in your symptoms.
Follow Doctors OrdersIf youve already been prescribed medication for a sinus problem, its important to take the medicine according to your doctors instructions. If youve been prescribed a daily nasal spray or inhaler, it can take up to two weeks for you to see results, says Dr. Josephson. On the flip side, some medications continue to work after your symptoms disappear, so you need the entire prescription to make sure your infection really clears.