With the rates at which allergies and asthma have climbed in recent decades, it can feel like “combat” when it comes to fighting sinus issues – especially in the spring, when pollen counts bounce back from their winter lows. So, to prepare for battle, the key lesson at sinus boot camp is, “Know your enemy!”
There are three main reasons why the rates of allergies and asthma have consistently climbed in recent decades.
(1) With global warming, pollen counts are climbing higher every year, making it a little tougher each spring for people who are sensitive to pollen.
(2) “Super infections” are on the rise because people take antibiotics when they don’t need them, or don’t finish all of a prescribed antibiotic, which results in more resistant organisms in their bodies that cause worse sinus infections.
(3) Pollutants, including cigarette smoke – although not causes of allergies – do cause inflammation and swelling in the nose and sinuses, which only worsen allergy symptoms.
Now, to effectively combat the three bastions of sinus problems, arm yourself accordingly.
(1) To reduce the pollen count to which you’re exposed this spring, consider this: You shower each day to remove the buildup of dirt and germs, but how can you likewise remove the pollen from your sinuses? With a neti pot! To wash out the allergens that get inside your nose, saline irrigation with a neti pot is an effective and easy treatment that has been practiced in eastern medicine for centuries. In 2007, when Dr. Oz introduced Oprah, and America, to the benefits of a neti pot, he said, “A lot of folks who have allergies, who have sinusitis, who have conditions that we treat with medication are equally well treated by washing the areas of your body. Think about it, Oprah. You wash your underarms. You have bidets. Why would you not wash a pretty important part of your body, your sinuses, in the same fashion?”
(2) Should you require antibiotics, be sure to finish your prescribed amount of the medicine – in the recommended length of time. Because antibiotics tend to work rapidly, you may feel much better after only a few days; however, never stop taking the medication because you feel better. Taking the fully prescribed course of antibiotics ensures that your infection is fully eradicated and won’t reoccur – or become stronger.
(3) The best option here is simply to avoid airborne pollutants and cigarette smoke. When you can’t, you may still reduce your exposure with a simple allergy mask. Also, be sure to wear your mask while vacuuming and dusting at home.
In addition, while it is well known that stress has a negative relationship with your body’s immune system, we are only beginning to learn how it has an impact on allergy symptoms as well. In fact, recent research has show that even mild stress or anxiety can worsen allergy symptoms and leave you more susceptible to infections. Yet another reason to work on reducing the effects of stress in your life!