Sinusitis occurs for many reasons, but most of the time it is caused by an exposure to an illness, allergen, or pollutant. While many factors may extend beyond your realm of control, such as being female or elderly, you may be able to prevent other factors. There is no proven prevention measure, but avoiding situations that may result in inflammation, congestion, or illness may reduce your chances of developing sinusitis.
Maintaining Nasal Passages
Keeping the nasal passages moistened with nasal sprays and sinus rinses can help wash out thick mucous and open up your sinus passageways. Avoiding dry indoor environments by using a humidifier will aid in reducing irritation. Breathing through warm, moistened wash cloths can soothe your agitated nasal passages and moisten the air you breathe, especially during months when the air is cool and dry. This may be especially important for the elderly who suffer from dryness in these mucous membranes and are susceptible to acute sinusitis.
Avoiding pollutants and harmful chemicals that trigger allergic responses will help minimize your risk of developing sinusitis. Cigarette smoking and inhaling second-hand smoke can irritate your airways and nasal passages. When cleaning, it is a good idea to ensure the environment you are in is well ventilated. Regular house cleaning will reduce your exposure to dust, mold, and pet dander. Changing out your air filters or using an air purifier may help remove allergens as well.
Swimming can be a problem for many who are unable to tolerate chlorine, and often public pools are over-chlorinated and should be avoided. Diving into water can force water into your sinuses and trigger inflammation. Scuba diving, mountain climbing, and sudden changes in air pressure experienced when flying can exacerbate the pain of sinusitis.
Preventing and Managing Illness
Promote wellness and keep illnesses that cause sinusitis at bay by getting enough rest, eating nutritious foods, washing your hands frequently, staying hydrated, and getting annual flu shots.
If you have a pre-existing medical, management of your illness can help prevent secondary infections, such as sinusitis, from occurring. For example, if you have asthma or allergies, taking your maintenance medications regularly will help curb flare-ups that result in inflammatory responses. If you suffer from gastroesophageal reflux (GERD), sleeping with the head of your bed elevated, eating a recommended diet, and taking your medications properly may reduce your chances of developing sinusitis. Working closely with your physician to limit your symptoms is a good idea.