Are you about to come unglued because of sniffles, sneezing, and incessant sinus pressure that's robbed you of sleep and made you miserable? Well, take a deep breath -- even if it's through your mouth. Why? Because we have some good news for you.
You don't have to live like a cast member from Night of the Living Dead while you're waiting to get in to see the doc. You have the power to start taming your sinus symptoms right now.
We've got three simple self-care strategies that are easy, inexpensive, and ideal for softening your symptoms while you tick off the time until doctor day.
3 Simple Sinus Soothers
Keep in mind that you'll definitely want to make that appointment with your doc for chronic sinus problems. The self-care sinus soothers below will only mask them, not unearth their root cause. You should also stick with any prescription medication program you're currently following -- until your doctor directs otherwise. But the following sinus soothers may be great add-ons to whatever you're currently doing.
- Master Your Environment
While you can't control the world, hopefully you can control the space you occupy so that it's kinder to inflamed sinuses. Try:
- Making it warm and moist -- so your sinuses stay moist, which can aid drainage (Humidifiers, vaporizers, or a warm shower should do the trick.)
- Cleaning it up -- by kicking your allergen-avoidance efforts into high gear, if you have allergies. (Here's what we mean by that)
- Put the Kibosh on Pain
A stuffy, runny nose is bad enough. Add pain to the mix and you'll feel downright wretched. So kick pain to the curb right away. Try:
- Applying ice and/or heat packs -- for relief of pain and pressure due to congestion and inflammation
- Gargling with a bit of salt water -- for relief of a sore throat brought on by postnasal drip
- Taking over-the-counter (OTC) painkillers -- for sinus pain (Take this quiz to find out which one makes the most sense for your situation.)
- Baby Your Nose
Whether you're fighting off allergies, a sinus infection, or a cold, you've got lots of options for dealing with symptoms right away, from OTC meds to basic saline nasal sprays. Try:
- Going over the counter -- for decongestants, antihistamines, and supplements that may help speed symptom control.
- Limiting irritants -- like chlorinated pools, temperature changes, and secondhand smoke, to reduce nasal irritation
- Getting wet -- with a saline nasal spray or a neti pot, which can provide quick nasal clearing (Learn more about nasal irrigation).
- Drinking plenty of water -- so you stay hydrated, which can help ease discomfort and thin your nasal secretions
You Call the Shots
Of course, taking care of your body is a good call, too, which can help bolster your immune system. So eat right, exercise, reduce stress, and get plenty of sleep—and lay off the alcohol and cigarettes. If you do all of this, you've landed yourself in the driver's seat when it comes to breathing easier.