As a breath health specialist, I find myself treating patients with chronic sinusitis and frequent sinus infections. Not only are sinus infections miserable, but they also contribute to the bacteria-friendly environment that results in severe halitosis. Symptoms of sinus infections include headache, low grade fever, ear fullness, facial pressure, fatigue, bad breath, a foul taste in the mouth, and an unsettling feeling that your head is Ă˘â‚¬Ĺ“heavy.Ă˘â‚¬Âť Many of my patients seeking to cure chronic halitosis also experience intermittent sinus infections.
The sinuses are cavities and channels in the skull that allow air to flow and mucous to drain into the nose. When mucous membranes become irritated (often by a cold, allergies, pollutants or exposure to unusually dry or chilly air), they become irritated and inflamed. When your membranes are irritated, the tiny hairs that move the mucous out of the glands slow down, leaving mucous to sit still in the head. Irritation also puts mucous glands into overdrive as they fight to purge bacteria. The glands thus secrete more mucus than the norm and the sinus cavities become clogged with mucous. The result is a bacteria friendly environment that is prone to infection.
So the key to preventing and treating sinus infections is reducing irritation and inflammation, and clearing out trapped mucous. The following tips will help you keep your nasal passages healthy and stave off the unpleasant symptoms of chronic sinusitis.
- Gently blow your nose on a regular basis and always wash your hands after blowing.
- Irrigate the nasal passages regularly using a high quality nasal irrigation system and medium warm salt water or saline solution intended for nasal irrigation.
- When congested, take an antihistamine or decongestant to reduce inflammation, thus allowing for the nasal passages to drain.
- Apply warm, moist heat to the area. The heat will help break up mucous for more efficient draining and will reduce sinus pressure. Simply apply a warm wash cloth to your face for a few minutes while in the shower. If discomfort persists a humidifier and warm facial compress can be helpful Ă˘â‚¬â€ś just be sure to test the temperature before applying the compress to the face. My clients have also found the scent of eucalyptus particularly soothing.
- Dilute mucous by drinking lots of water, hot tea or hot water with lemon. Proper hydration is critical to sinus health, but avoid dairy liquids and products as they can trigger congestion.
- If you are prescribed a series of antibiotics by your physician, be sure to take the entire series. Do NOT stop as soon as you start feeling better as that can lead to further infection with bacteria that is more resistant to treatment.
- If your sinus issues persist, visit an ear, nose and throat specialist to rule out more serious conditions.