Nasal congestion and sinus pressure have many causes: colds, flu and allergies, to name a few. Whatever your triggers, the symptoms can reach you.
What is really causing that feeling of congestion? When you have a cold or allergies, the membranes that line your nasal passages become inflamed and irritated. They start producing more mucus to eliminate whatever causes irritation, such as an allergen.
Use these tips to feel better and breathe better.
When full, focus on keeping the nasal passages and sinuses moist. Although people sometimes think that dry air could help clear up nasal discharge, it actually has the opposite effect. Drying the membranes will irritate them even more.
To keep the nasal passages moist, you can do so:
- Use a humidifier or vaporizer.
- Take long showers or inhale the steam from a pot with warm water (but not too hot).
- Drink a lot of liquid. This will dilute the mucus, which could help prevent clogging of the sinuses.
- Use a saline nasal spray. It is salt water, and it will help prevent your nostrils from drying out.
- Try a Neti kettle, a nasal irrigator or a bulb syringe. Use distilled and sterile water or water that has been boiled and cooled to prepare the irrigation solution. Rinse the irrigation device after each use and let it air dry.
- Put a warm, damp towel on your face. It can relieve discomfort and open the nostrils.
- Lean on At night, lie on a pair of pillows. Keeping your head elevated can make breathing more comfortable.
- Avoid chlorinated pools. They can irritate your nasal passages
- OTC medications
These medications do not need a prescription and can help control your symptoms:
These medications help reduce swelling in the nasal passages and relieve congestion and pressure in the sinuses. They come in the form of nasal sprays, such as nafazolin (Privine), oxymetazoline (Afrin, Dristan, Nostrilla, Vicks Sinus Nasal Spray) or phenylephrine (Neo-Synephrine, Sinex, Rhinall). They also come in the form of pills, such as phenylephrine (Sudafed PE and others) and pseudoephedrine (Sudafed).
Follow the instructions to use them. Do not use a decongestant that you take by mouth for more than a week without consulting your doctor. You should not use a decongestant nasal spray for more than 3 days or it could make your congestion worse. Also, check with your doctor first if you have any health problems or if you take other medications. Never give decongestants or any over-the-counter medications to children under 4.
Antihistamines If allergies are behind nasal congestion and sinus pressure, controlling them will relieve your symptoms. Look for allergy medications that have an antihistamine to relieve colds and sneezing along with a decongestant for sinus congestion and pressure.
You can also find antihistamines in some medications to relieve the many cold symptoms that can help your nose drip and sneeze. You will usually find them in nighttime cold medicine, because they can make you sleepy. Read and follow the instructions on the label and talk to your doctor or pharmacist if you have questions.
What types of doctors treat sinusitis and sinus infections?
Many sinus infections can be treated by your primary care doctor or an internal medicine doctor. However, it is not unusual to consult an ENT specialist (eyes, ears, nose and throat), infectious disease specialist, allergist or immunologist. With some complex sinus infections, it may be necessary to consult a surgeon specializing in sinus surgery.
In addition, the following tests may be performed:
- CT scan
- Volume tomography (such as CT, only three-dimensional)
- Ultrasound (in pregnant women and children, as well as for follow-up)
- Maxillary sinus puncture to determine the relevant germs.