Man With Water Vapor
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Breathe Moist Air

Keep a humidifier on in your bedroom or other rooms where you spend a lot of time. Dry air can irritate your sinuses, but keeping air moist can help reduce congestion. Inhaling steam two to four times a day may help, too. Sit in the bathroom with the door closed and the shower running. Make sure the water is hot.

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Man In a Cloud of Cigarette Smoke
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Enforce a No-Smoking Zone

Fumes from harsh cleaning products, paints, hair spray, perfumes -- and most of all, cigarette smoking -- can irritate your sinuses. Don't let friends or family smoke in your home. Look for "green" cleaning products in unscented varieties. They're less likely to contain the harsh chemicals that can kick-start a sinus problem.

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Woman Enjoying Glass of Water
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Drink More Water

Sip more H2O or juice. It'll help thin out mucus and encourage drainage. Hot tea is another good option. Don't overdo caffeine or alcohol. Both can make you dehydrated. Alcohol can  worsen sinus swelling. Aim for eight or more 8-ounce glasses of water or other healthy drinks each day.

 

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Woman Irrigating Her Nasal Cavity
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Try Nasal Irrigation

It's also called nasal wash, and it can help keep your sinuses clean and clear. You use a mild, sterile saline solution to flush out the mucus and allergens causing your congestion. Lean over the sink, squirt the solution into one nostril, and let it drain through your nasal cavity and out the other nostril. Keep your mouth open and don't breathe through your nose.

 

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Nasal Irrigation Supply Kit
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Nasal Irrigation: What You Need

Rinse bottles, bulb syringes, and Neti pots are available at most drugstores. You can buy a pre-filled container or make your own saline solution. To make your own, mix about 16 ounces (1 pint) of lukewarm sterile water with a teaspoon of salt. Some people add ½ teaspoon of baking soda to take the sting out of the salt.

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Woman With Sinus Overlay
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Sinuses Explained

Your sinuses are air-filled pockets found in your cheeks, behind your forehead and eyebrows, on either side of the bridge of your nose, and behind your nose. They can get clogged easily. Healthy sinuses are lined with a thin layer of mucus that traps dust, germs, and other air particles. Ideally, tiny hair-like cilia sweep mucus and anything trapped in it out of the sinuses, down the back of your throat, and into the stomach.

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Sinuses With Allergen Particles
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What Causes Sinus Problems?

Sinus pain and pressure happens when the tissue in your nose and sinuses gets swollen and inflamed. That keeps the sinuses from draining properly. A change in temperature, allergies, smoking, the common cold -- pretty much anything that causes swelling in your sinuses or keeps your cilia from sweeping away mucus -- can cause problems.

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Woman Blowing the Seeds off of a Dandelion
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Avoid Your Triggers

Nasal allergies can lead to sinus problems like pain and pressure. So, steer clear of common triggers such as pet dander, dust mites, and pollen. Get your allergies treated, too.

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Sources | Medically Reviewed on 01/23/2016 Reviewed by Luqman Seidu, MD on January 23, 2016

IMAGES PROVIDED BY:

(1)        Michele Constantini / Photoalto
(2)        Marc Grimberg / Tips Italia
(3)        Steve West / Digital Vision
(4)        Brayden Knell / WebMD
(5)        Brayden Knell / WebMD
(6)        Colin Anderson / Blend Images, Craig Zuckerman / Phototake
(7)        Illustration by dieKLEINERT/Doc-Stock, photography from Getty and Photo Researchers
(8)        Lyle Owerko / Photonica
(9)        Image Source
 

REFERENCES:

American Academy of Family Physicians.
New York University, Dept. of Otolaryngology.
Plasse H. Sinusitis Relief, Holt Paperbacks, 2002.

Reviewed by Luqman Seidu, MD on January 23, 2016

This tool does not provide medical advice. See additional information.

THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your health. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the WebMD Site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.