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Have you noticed that you (or your kids, or your man) have been having problems with congestion, or general breathing problems this winter? Sinus problems are common during the winter months. It’s not all due to the cold or flu either. Learn how to keep sinuses clear to help you breathe easy this cold season.
What Causes Sinus Problems?
1. Deviated Septum. You might have heard of this before without actually knowing what it is. If you look in the mirror, you can clearly see that you have two separate nasal passages. There is a thin wall of cartilage inside your nose that separates your nasal passages in two.
For some people (whether it is because of age/wear and tear, accidents/injury, or genetics), that septum has a tendency of displacing itself to one side or the other. That’s a deviated septum. It can cause snoring and breathing problems (especially when you’re sleeping).
2. Narrow Sinuses. Some people just have small or narrow sinus passages, all because of genetic reasons. For them, they have always had breathing problems. If you combine narrow sinuses with sinus congestion, it can become extremely difficult for those sinus passages to stay open or have a wide enough opening for easy breathing.
3. Winter Allergies – The first step to helping your sinus problems is to figure out what’s causing it. For most of us, it may be due to winter allergies. Allergies in the winter? Yep. You’d be surprised. Most of the things that you are allergic to in the summer are still there during the winter and now you (and your allergens) are all cooped up in a house all day.
- Mold and Mildew. Since we’re not outside cleaning up our yards and preventing mold and mildew (and since we stomp around in it and bring spores inside), we’re more susceptible to these irritants during the winter months.
- Mild Climates. Places that don’t generally get a lot of frost in the morning or hard freezes at night normally have a rather large occurrence of pollen. For people who are allergic to various pollens, this means that they are probably having year-round sinus problems and allergy symptoms.
- Pet Dander. Let’s not forget people dander also. Everyone (pets and people alike) is stuck indoors for long periods of time which means that all of our dander accumulates.
- Damp Wood. Firewood has a tendency to carry mold spores. We bring them inside to light the fire in the winter and then voila…winter allergy central.
How To Keep Sinuses Clear During the Cold Season
1. Get A Humidifier
In the winter we use heaters, fireplaces, and pellet stoves. While these can do wonders for helping keep us warm when it is -15 degrees outside, they also dry out our nasal passages. When that happens, they become irritated and bleed.
Humidifiers help moisten the dry, indoor air to help us breathe, keep our nasal passages moist, and also helps open our sinuses.
This humidifier with an essential oil tray is perfect for the bedroom.
2. Wash Your Bedding Often
When you’re rolling around in bed, your dander gets stuck in your sheets. When you’re out running around, dust settles on your sheets as well. If you have a pet that has full reign of your house while you’re gone, I’m sure that she settles in on your bed too. Then, after a hard day at work, you lay in your sheets and breathe all of those allergens in.
Have a few sheet sets so you can easily change them as needed. Clean sheets will also help you sleep better 😉
3. Wash Away Allergens
A daily hot shower or bath will wash away dead skin and other allergens that may have attached themselves to you. The awesome part about this is that the steam from the shower (or bath) will also help clear your sinuses, especially if you add one of these shower steamers. Just take slow, deep breaths while you are relaxing in the shower.
In between showers and baths, make sure that you’re washing your hands and face quite regularly as well.
4. Warm, Wet Washcloth
To help reduce inflammation, try placing a damp, warm washcloth on your face a few times a day to help open those nasal and sinus passages.
5. Drink Water
I bet you’re tired of reading the words “drink more water” but water can help you with your sinus problems as well. The more water you drink, the thinner your mucus will be. If you have thin mucus, it can flow easily through those nasal and sinus passages.
Here are 4 ideas to make drinking water more exciting.
6. Take an over the counter antihistamine
When the above fails, you can try an over the counter antihistamine, like this all-day allergy relief.