Hello winter! It’s a beautiful time of year. But for many people this is a time of sinus trouble. Dry heater air, cold outside air, and the ever-present seasonal cold and flu can result in some serious sniffles. Runny nose and the often resulting cough from post-nasal drip can make us feel run down and bummed out. Here are my top tips for overcoming sinus troubles:
1. Neti Pot sinus rinse. Use morning and evening, or up to every 2 hours when your nose is seriously clogged up. Neti Pot is a doctor-recommended device that can be purchased at most local drug stores, or ordered online. Neti Pot kits include safe-to-use saline packets and a plastic Neti Pot for around $10. Some are more expensive if it is a pot made of metal or other premium material. Mine is the simple plastic drug store brand, and it works great!
It is VERY important that you read and follow the instructions that come with your Neti Pot. Most importantly, NEVER use regular tap water– only sterile or previously boiled (at least 1 minute) water. Also, only use the designated saline packets, do not make your own.
An example of instructions about using your Neti Pot available HERE
Many people are able to reduce their sinus and allergy medications with regular Neti Pot use.
2. Hydration. Drinking plenty of water isn’t just for summer! All the heated indoor air is dehydrating to our bodies and irritating to the sinuses. If you choose to sip hot drinks during winter, remember that caffeinated drinks will cause your body to release water (as urine). So reach for non-caffeinated drinks. Steam from your hot drink is great for sinuses. Avoid drinking too much sugar in your drinks as this lowers your immune functioning. And remember, artificial sweeteners are chemicals, not food!
3. Decongestant and allergy medication. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist for recommendations of over the counter or prescription medications to help relieve your sinuses. Everybody’s body is different, so one type of medication may not work the same for everyone. Be patient and take note of which one works best for you. Always talk to your doctor before taking new medication.
Be wary of acetaminophen consumption. Many brands of sinus, allergy, and cold relief medications include acetaminophen, which is a pain reliever and fever reducer. If you don’t have pain or fever, or have other methods of relieving these symptoms, save your liver and skip the acetaminophen. The FDA reports acetaminophen is toxic to the liver in doses just slightly more than the recommended dose. Read more HERE, Talk to your doctor, and search online for more info.
4. Immune system boosters. Yes, just like your mother said, eat your vegetables! A diet with lots of colorful and dark, leafy veggies is the best way to keep your immune system boosted year-round. There are also helpful supplements, with special blends of vitamins and herbs to support your health. Talk to a holistic doctor or complimentary medicine professional about helpful herbs, oils, teas, and therapies such as acupuncture that can help boost your immune system. And as always, talk to your doctor before starting any new lifestyle changes or supplements.
Be well this holiday season, and happy New Year!
Written by Aja Uranga-Foster, Holistic Life Coach