If you live in an arid environment, you probably know that dry nasal passages and sinuses can lead to other problems, such as thick mucus and frequent nosebleeds . It is important to maintain adequate humidity in the nose and sinuses. Here are some tips for keeping your nose and sinuses moist and healthy.
Causes of nasal and sinus dryness
Ideally, the mucous membranes that line the sinuses produce mucus that flows into and through the nasal passages, sweeping away foreign particles, including bacteria, as they enter. When mucus cannot drain freely due to drought, problems arise.
In addition to living in an area with low humidity, certain health conditions, such as dehydration or Sjorgen's syndrome, can dry out the mucous membranes. If you are initially prone to sinus problems, dryness will only aggravate the situation.
Increase your fluid intake
Hydration begins largely from the inside. Drinking more fluids, especially water, can help thin the mucus. It may also be helpful to limit the use of alcohol or other diuretics.
Generally speaking, most of us need more fluids in the summer when the temperature rises or when we are physically active. While water is best, it is not the only way to increase your fluid intake.
If you just can't digest plain water, try adding lemon to your water or drinking flavored water or an electrolyte drink like Gatorade or Powerade.
Use a humidifier
Sleeping with a moisturizer, ideally a cool mist humidifier (available at most drugstores), next to the bed can help keep mucous membranes moist. The cold air will also help reduce inflammation within the nose or sinuses.
Most humidifiers require distilled water to prevent bacterial growth in the system. However, a more expensive option is a self-sterilizing humidifier.
If you really want to do your best, you can also ask your HVAC company to add a humidifier to your heating / cooling system. This is a more expensive option, but it can allow you to more easily control the humidity levels in your home throughout the year.
Use a saline nasal spray
A saline nasal spray is available over the counter at almost any pharmacy or drug store and is a great way to keep your nostrils moist. You can use it multiple times a day as it is not actually a drug and there is no real danger of overdoing it .
Try a neti pot
A neti pot is a device very similar to a small kettle. It is used for nasal / sinus irrigation. Nasal irrigation is believed to be beneficial in removing excess mucus or foreign bodies and in thinning a runny nose.
You can buy neti pot (over the counter) at your local pharmacy along with your regular nasal rinse. Or you can make your own rinse with simple ingredients like baking soda, iodine-free salt, and distilled water.
Frequently asked questions
Dry air can cause the nasal membranes to dry out, leading to cracks or scabs within the nasal passages. This can cause nosebleeds, especially if you blow your nose violently or pick your nose.
Do not use petroleum jelly in the nose. If inhaled, over time it can cause lung damage called lipid pneumonia. To reduce the risk, try using water-based nose products, including distilled or sterile water to rinse your nose.