Sinus infections are just the worst. They seem to hang on for weeks and typically take a while to fully manifest so you’re dragging around forever. If you’re flying they’re even more challenging. I have been plagued by sinus infections for years but this year, no sinus infection. I made some changes that might help you prevent a sinus infection. This year, our awesome intern, Nicole got a horrible sinus infection so this post is dedicated to her sinuses!
Here are my tips. These aren’t necessarily medical tips, just my ideas on what has worked as prevention (the cure may involve the dreaded antibiotics and ibuprofen):
1. Xlear nasal spray. I use this twice a day and this is the major change I made this year that I think really worked. It’s nice because it’s got a sweet taste instead of the awful saline nose sprays. Xlear uses xylitol which is also known as wood sugar and is promoted as a natural alternative sweetener derived from raspberries, birch, and plums. Xylitol isn’t associated with any health side effects used as a spray. Xlear is used for reducing bacteria in the Eustachian tubes and nose. It also claims to decrease the risk of sinus infections, improving allergic conditions such as asthma and rhinitis.
2. Fish or Flax Oil. Both are anti-inflammatories that may help reduce swelling in small nasal passages.
3. Aspirin. I’m taking one small aspirin when I remember because it is supposed to help with breast cancer prevention, but it’s also an anti-inflammatory which may help keep nasal passages clear.
4. Humidifier. You’ve just got to use one in the winter or year round if you live in a dry climate. Make sure you keep it clean, free of germs and mineral buildup.
5. Anti-Inflammatory Foods. I’ve been slowly making some dietary changes that may help keep sinus inflammation down. Interestingly, many of these foods have been linked with breast cancer prevention. These foods include blueberries, broccoli, wild salmon (though beware PCB’s), sweet potatoes, extra virgin olive oil, shiitake mushrooms, turmeric, green tea and papaya.
6. Neti-Pot or Nose Wash. This isn’t my suggestion, but many swear by this one. I absolutely hate the neti pot. I have a nose spray bottle that you fill with salt water that I will use if I feel an infection coming on. This year, so far, I haven’t had to use it.