Friday, April 15, 2016

Sinus Remedies

Do you like the smell of fresh brewing coffee, baking bread, the top of your child's head?  If you are missing these smells, you may have sinus congestion. Sinus problems can also interfere with your appetite and your memory.

Seasonal allergies. It is the time and the season. My nose runs, my head hurts, my throat is raw, and my ears are stopped up. I can’t hear what people are saying to me and they are confused by my replies. Food has no taste. I've got sinus congestion. Life has become a little colorless.

This year I had my allergies tested and I am very allergic to mold and dust and less allergic to certain weeds, trees, and corn pollen. No allergies to cats which is a good thing because I have two of them. I have just started allergy immunotherapy to decrease my sensitivity to these things. This consists of a series of shots. I get 2 shots a weeks for several months, one shot a week for a few more months and then one shot a month for maintenance. It is very inconvenient, as I have to go to the clinic twice a week for one injection per arm and wait for a half hour to be sure I do not have a serious reaction. It is very expensive. The serum for the shots must be prepared individually just for my own set of allergens. The serum costs around $1360 dollars for the first years supply but my insurance covered it. Each shot costs $32 and I have a $24 dollar co pay.  It will take about 6 months before I will feel any relief. I’m hoping it will be worth the time and expense.  I am desperate to feel better. 

In the meantime, I am taking Zyrtec and Flonase. My doctor says I can use these medications twice a day when my allergies are really “acting up” as my mother says. They do make me sleepy. I am using a Neti pot twice a day. I have put allergy covers on my pillows and I change my furnace filter frequently. I dust and vacuum as often as I can. 

My sinuses are not doing well this spring. They feel congested and inflamed but I do not have a fever so I do not think I have an infection. I won’t go to the doctor unless I have a fever or just cannot get any relief. Here are a couple of things I do to make them feel better.  

Afrin Nasal Spray is the first thing I try. (Free coupon) It is a decongestant that shrinks the blood vessels in your nose and relieves congestion.  You have to be careful to only use it twice a day for 3 days or it will backfire and cause the blood vessels to swell leaving your sinuses even more congested. It is addicting. You can use it on a one week cycle if needed. Oral decongestants and sinus medication make me feel sicker so I don’t use them. 

Heat followed by rinsing helps immensely to drain and clear sinuses.  I have a long sock filled with rice which I heat in the microwave and lay over the part of my face that hurts. A steam bath will work also. After 15-20 minutes of heat, I rinse my sinuses with my Neti pot. The Neti pot should be used twice a day to rinse out problematic sinuses regardless of whether you use heat. I experiment with the temperature of the water. Sometimes cool water is soothing and sometimes warm water feels better. Be sure to blow your nose gently – you do not want that stuff backing up into your ears or deeper into your sinuses.  After rinsing my nose, I apply coconut oil or tea tree oil with a cotton swab to each nostril after the rinse. This keeps the nostrils from drying out and the antibacterial properties of the oil helps prevent infection. 

 Everyday, I massage my sinuses in the shower as I wash my face. Google “sinus massage” for instructions on how to perform facial sinus massage. I have a bottle of eucalyptus oil I sniff to help clear my sinuses but I have to say that tea tree oil opens them up the best for me although it doesn’t smell very good. It doesn’t bother me, but my husband hates it. 

When your sinuses are clear and healthy, your sense of smell returns. Believe it or not, a good sense of smell activates the brain.  Memory improves.  Food tastes delicious! Life is good!



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