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Protecting Your Sinuses

Try these tips to reduce inflammation and prevent sinus problems:

  • Apply a warm, moist washcloth to your face several times a day to help open the transition spaces.
  • Drink plenty of fluids to thin the mucus.
  • Inhale steam two to four times per day (sit in the bathroom with the hot shower running).
  • Use a nasal saline spray several times per day.
  • Wash the nose with a salt water solution from a neti pot.
  • Try a humidifier to moisten the air you breathe and help open sinuses.

If your sinus problems are related to allergies, consider these steps:

  • Avoid your allergy triggers.
  • Try antihistamines and decongestants if needed.
  • Talk to your doctor to see if you need a nasal steroid spray.
  • Discuss allergy shots (immunotherapy) with your doctor to see if they’re right for you.

Lastly, if you have recurrent sinus problems, you might talk to your doctor about surgery to clean and drain the sinuses.

“Surgery is designed to take care of the anatomic issues and to remove the areas that are narrow and causing the blockage,” Albritton says. The newest methods are less invasive and use a balloon catheter like an angioplasty to dilate the opening of the sinuses and create wider spaces.

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