Facial pressure and pain, pounding headaches, and congestion are usually the hallmarks of a sinus infection, also known as sinusitis. There are many treatments available OTC and by prescription, but how exactly does saline spray help sinus infections?
Why We Get Sinus Infections
Some of us get a sinus infection occasionally, while others find they are a chronic problem. According to research conducted by a sinus specialist in Boston, compared to patients with other chronic conditions like heart failure and back pain, those patients that suffer with sinusitis report the highest level of pain, and the lowest level of social function. They have problems working, and it affects both their energy level and mental health.
Our sinus cavity, located between our eyes and nose, acts as a filter for the air we breathe before it reaches the lungs. There is always bacteria in the nose and it’s mostly harmless, but should the lining of the sinus cavity and nose come in contact with certain bacteria, a virus or an allergen, they can become swollen, inflamed, and congested. The result is a back-up of mucus and lack of drainage.
If the nose is too dry and no mucus is flowing, this can also trigger a sinus infection.
How Is Saline Spray Beneficial For Sinus Infections?
To be clear, using saline will help soothe irritated sinuses and may help prevent future sinus infections, but it does not treat the infection. Sinus issues are susceptible to changes in the weather, the humidity, and climate. Those who fly frequently should take special care as altitude also affects sinus issues.
Saline will reduce the thick mucus secretions in the sinuses and nose and help wash away particles, allergens, and germs.
Saline sprays are not habit forming and can be used multiple times a day to aid in the healing process and to alleviate symptoms especially if you are prone to chronic sinus infections.
Best Defense Is Nasal Irrigation
To reduce symptoms blow your nose prior to using a saline solution. Spray two times in each nostril with your head leaning backwards to reduce swelling and maintain moisture.
You can make your own saline solution by mixing one half teaspoon of non iodized salt with a half teaspoon of baking soda and two cups of water. If you prefer, buy OTC saline solutions and sprays to irrigate your nasal passages and sinuses.
Other methods to help prevent sinus infections or to aid with symptoms:
- Purchase a Neti-Pot from any pharmacy to irrigate the sinuses and nose.
- Regularly inhale steam either with long hot showers or filling a bowl with hot water and inhaling the steam with a towel over the head.
- Use a humidifier. It helps in winter with dry forced air heating and in summer with air conditioning.
- Avoid dry environments.
- Elevate your head when sleeping.
- Be cautious with antihistamines as they are habit forming.