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Sinus Tip 2: Humidify Your Air continued...

Experts are divided on the value of room humidifiers for creating a sinus-friendly home.

Forget them, Leftwich says. "A room humidifier never makes a difference. There is too much air to humidify."

But Josephson says using humidifiers in the bedroom beginning in October through March or April can make a difference in keeping sinus problems at bay.

Vaporizers can keep you more comfortable if you are in the midst of a sinus problem, Leftwich says. But you need to have it close by. "It doesn't do any good to have a vaporizer on the other side of the room." And, he warns, the devices must be cleaned daily to keep bacteria from growing in them.

Breathe the mist coming from vaporizers, but not the steam, he warns. Steam can easily burn you. ''Most vaporizers don't produce any steam, just a mist," Leftwich says. "But those vaporizers that do make steam and certainly steam from a tea kettle or pot on the stove must be used with caution."  Steam can burn you, so don't come into contact with it.

Sinus Tip 3: Ventilate Your House

An energy-efficient house is not necessarily a sinus-friendly one, Leftwich says. "You seal up a house to make it more energy efficient, and you end up with stale air that aggravates sinus problems," he says.

The solution: "Opening up the house on a warmer day to clear the air is a good thing," he says, provided it's not a high-pollen day that will set off your allergies. 

The value of having air ducts on your heating and cooling system cleaned is another area of debate among experts. Leftwich calls it a waste of time and money. Some patients told him they got sicker after cleaning the ducts, he says, probably due to aggravating airborne dust. But Josephson says if the air smells dusty or moldy, it might be worth a try. Changing your air conditioner filters on a regular basis is good, too, he adds.

Sinus Tip 4: Be Water-Wise

Drinking a lot of fluids can help keep your sinuses functioning well. "At least a quart a day" is the recommendation of Leftwich. Most of that should be plain water, he says.

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