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4. Open Up Your Sinuses

Apply a warm moist washcloth to your face several times a day. This can help open up the transition spaces in your sinuses.

Keep your nasal passages moist. Inhale steam two to four times a day. One simple way: Sit in the bathroom with the hot shower running.

And drink plenty of fluids, which will help thin the mucus.

5. Avoid Sinus Irritants

Many environmental irritants can worsen your sinus problems, such as pollution, cigarette smoke, cleaning products, hair spray, and any other material that gives off fumes. If you smoke, it's important to quit. Avoid others who smoke, or ask them to smoke outside. On high air pollution days, stay indoors if possible.

Should you get a HEPA air filter for your bedroom or office? That depends on what irritates your sinuses. HEPA filters are good at removing airborne particles related to dust mites, pollen, and pet dander. But allergens don't just remain in the air. They can be found in your carpets, upholstery, and other areas. If your sinus problems are triggered by allergies, ask your doctor if a HEPA air filter makes sense for you.

6. Treat Sinus Problems

Medications can help control your sinus symptoms.

Decongestants help reduce the swelling in your nasal passages and can ease the stuffiness and sinus pressure. Decongestants are available in nasal sprays such as naphazoline ( Privine), oxymetazoline ( Afrin, Dristan, Duramist, and others), or phenylephrine (Neo-Synephrine, Sinex, Rhinall, and others), and in pills such as phenylephrine (Lusonal, Sudafed PE, Sudogest PE, and others), pseudoephedrine ( Aleve-D, Sudafed, and others). Don't use a spray for more than 3 days, and don't use an oral medicine for more than seven days.

Pain relievers and anti-inflammatory medicine available at supermarkets and drugstores can help ease the pain caused by sinus pressure. Be sure to read and follow the label and dosing instructions carefully. Don't use these medications for more than 7 days in a row without consulting with your doctor.

Antihistamine allergy medicines may help if your sinus problems are related to allergies. Over-the-counter antihistamines include cetirizine ( Zyrtec), diphenhydramine ( Benadryl, Genahist, and others), fexofenadine ( Allegra) and loratadine ( Claritin). If you have recurring allergy related sinus problems, talk to your doctor about getting an allergy skin test.


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