7 Ways to Prevent Sinus Infections

By Marlo Sollitto, AgingCare.com contributing editor

Your nose is stuffy. You have thick, yellowish mucus. You’re coughing, and you feel tired and achy. You think that you have a cold. You take medicines to relieve your symptoms, but they don’t help. When you also get a terrible headache, you finally drag yourself to the doctor. After listening to your history of symptoms and examining your face and forehead, the doctor says you have sinusitis.

Whether it’s acute or chronic, sinusitis is painful and wearying. It’s common too: every year, it affects 37 million people in the U.S. Sinusitis doesn’t discriminate based on age.

What Is Sinusitis?

“Sinusitis” simply means your sinuses are inflamed―red and swollen―because of an infection or another problem.

When people say, “My sinuses are killing me,” they usually are referring to symptoms of congestion and achiness in one or more of the four pairs of cavities (air-filled spaces) known as paranasal sinuses. These small hollow spaces are named for the bones that contain them:

  • Over the eyes in the brow area (Frontal sinuses)
  • Inside each cheekbone (Maxillary sinuses)
  • Behind the bridge of the nose, between the eyes (Ethmoid sinuses)

What Causes the Pain?

The pain of a sinus attack arises because the trapped air and mucus put pressure on the mucous membrane of the sinuses and the bony wall behind it. Also, when a swollen membrane at the opening of a paranasal sinus prevents air from entering into the sinuses, it can create a vacuum that causes pain.

Next: 7 Ways Sinusitis Can Be Prevented

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Sinus Infections: Preventing the Pain, Pressure and Congestion originally appeared on AgingCare.com.

7 Ways Sinusitis Can Be Prevented

There are no methods that have been scientifically proven to prevent acute or chronic sinusitis. Your healthcare professional may recommend the following measures that can help:

1. Keep your nose as moist as possible with frequent use of saline sprays or washes.

2. Strive for an indoor environment that’s not too dry and not too humid.

3. Avoid exposure to irritants such as cigarette and cigar smoke.

4. Materials that give off fumes can all make your sinus problems worse. Avoid cleaning products, hairspray, and other materials that give off fumes

5. If you haven’t been tested for allergies and you are getting frequent sinus infections, ask your healthcare professional to give you an allergy evaluation or refer you to an allergy specialist.

6. Avoid long periods of swimming in pools treated with chlorine, which can irritate the lining of the nose and sinuses.

7. Avoid water diving, which forces water into the sinuses from the nasal passages.

Unfortunately, there’s no easy fix for sinus problems. For many sufferers, it’s an on-going battle to find relief.

Next: Finding Relief from Sinusitis

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Sinus Infections: Preventing the Pain, Pressure and Congestion originally appeared on AgingCare.com.

Finding Relief from Sinusitis

According to the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases,

  • Breathe warm, moist air from a steamy shower, a hot bath, or a sink filled with hot water.
  • Saline (saltwater) washes or saline nasal sprays for your nose remove thick secretions and allow the sinuses to drain. You can buy a nasal rinse kit or a “Neti pot” to irrigate your nasal cavities from any pharmacy.
  • Try over-the-counter medicines such as pain relievers and decongestants (for example, nasal spray) to relieve symptoms. Cough and cold medicines may not be safe for young children or for people who have certain health problems. Before you use them, check the label.
  • If you need to blow your nose, do it gently. Forceful blowing may force thick mucus back into your sinuses and block them. Keep both nostrils open when blowing your nose.
  • Put moist heat (using a hot, damp towel or gel pack) on your face for 5 to 10 minutes, several times a day.

If at-home remedies aren’t working, see your healthcare professional. If you have acute sinusitis, your healthcare professional may prescribe antibiotics to control a bacterial infection, if present. However, many healthcare professionals may choose not to use an antibiotic because many cases of acute sinusitis will end on their own.

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Sinus Infections: Preventing the Pain, Pressure and Congestion originally appeared on AgingCare.com.

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Teresa W.
Teresa W.8 months ago

* there is surely a vaccine, I don't know how the 'a' disappeared

Teresa W.
Teresa W.8 months ago

Be loyal to your sponsors, or else they'll stop paying for our butterfly credits! There's surely vaccine against sinusitis, isn't there?

Rose Becke8 months ago

I always get an ear infection with my sinus infection

as I have post nasal drip

Cesia Ovando
Past Member 9 months ago

Good to know, thanks.

Monica Buchanan
Monica Buchanan10 months ago


JACarlton Author
jill c.10 months ago

try adding a tablespoon of aloe vera JUICE (not gel) to your neti pot saline before you rinse, the aloe is exceptionally soothing and since it has antiviral, antifungal, antibacterial and anti inflammatory properties is better for you than antibiotics.

Judith C.
Judith C.10 months ago


Jean G.
JeanisAWAY G.11 months ago

Thanks for the info.

Roberto Meritoni
Roberto Meritoni11 months ago


Roberto Meritoni
Roberto Meritoniabout a year ago