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Preventative Strategies for Sinusitis

Unfortunately, it is not possible to prevent all sinus problems from occurring, but there are several things you can do to reduce the occurrence and severity of sinus problems. Preventative strategies are important for those who are plagued with chronic and painful sinus problems like sinusitis. Strategies can be taken to reduce exposure to sinusitis triggers as well as find partial or full relief.

Allergy and Irritation Avoidance
As allergies can contribute to the development of sinus problems or worsen symptoms, electrostatic filters on heating and air conditioning units might be helpful as they can remove allergens from the air. Avoiding cigarette smoke and other pollutants in the air can also help someone that is prone to sinus problems, particularly people with allergies as well. When a person comes in contact with an allergen and develops sinus inflammation, that person is more likely to have a strong reaction to all irritants, making sinusitis more likely. Drinking alcohol also causes the sinus membranes to swell, giving the same possible effect.

Those prone to sinusitis might also want to avoid swimming in pools treated with chlorine if they notice that the chlorine is irritating the lining of the nose and sinuses. Diving can be a particular problem as divers often experience congestion with resulting infection when water is forced into the sinuses from the nasal passages, according to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

If a person with sinus inflammation believes the inflammation might be related to an allergen such as dust, mold, pollen, or food, a consultation with a doctor is probably the first step. The doctor can offer tests to find out the specific cause or causes of the allergy and come up with remedies to reduce or limit allergy symptoms. Once inflammation due to allergens is reduced or eliminated, that sinusitis risk factor is also reduced or eliminated.

Caution to Travelers
For people who have acute or chronic sinusitis, flying may cause a problem. During a flight air pressure in a plane is reduced. Air that is trapped within the body usually expands as air pressure is reduced, causing pressure on surrounding tissues. If this pressure is in the sinuses, the result can be a sinus blockage, just as air pressure in the ears can block Eustachian tubes. Not only can blockage in the sinuses or ear tubes can cause discomfort or pain for travelers during the take off and landing, but blockage in the sinuses can also lead to the development of a sinus infection. To avoid any difficulty, decongestant nose drops or inhalers might need to be used before flight.

If you do end up getting a sinus infection, you may want to try using a humidifier to help relieve some of the painful and irritating symptoms. Many sinusitis sufferers find partial symptom relief after they install humidifiers in their homes. A room that is heated by a dry forced-air system may find particular sinusitis relief after getting a humidifier.

Irrigation and Nasal Rinsing
Another sinus infection relief possibility is nasal irrigation and nasal rinsing to clear out nasal passages and remove irritants. When sinus membranes swell because of allergies, infection, or irritants, mucus can accumulate in the sinuses. Flushing the sinuses with water or saline can help to clean out the nose and provide relief for sinus pressure. Sinus irrigation can also help alleviate the discomfort caused by dried mucus in the nasal passages.

While it is impossible to completely avoid getting an infection, following some avoidance strategies can help reduce the amount of infections that occur. If a sinus infection does occur some of the above methods may help reduce some of the pain and irritation associated with sinusitis symptoms. To treat a sinus infection, medication prescribed by a doctor is usually necessary, but also a discussion with your doctor about prevention and symptom treatment may help.


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