The end of spring may have brought relief for some allergy sufferers, but if you’re sensitive to summer allergens, sinus problems may still be an issue. Many St. Louisans suffer from summer allergies and sinus discomfort, thanks to high pollen counts, exhaust from busy motorists, and changes in air pressure during travel. To prevent sinusitis and to get relief from acute sinus problems, follow these tips so you can enjoy your summer to the fullest.
1. Avoid pollen.
While pollen from flowers is prominent in spring, an abundant amount of pollen from grass and trees is released during summer months. As the annoying allergen floats through the air, it can cause sneezing, a stuffy nose and itchy, watery eyes.
To reduce your chances of an allergic attack, stay indoors until peak pollen hours are over (usually from about 5 a.m. to 11 a.m.). During those peak hours, you should also keep windows in your home closed and avoid using a whole house fan which can suck pollen into the house.
2. Keep sinuses moist and rinsed.
Sinus problems that don’t subside can lead to an infection known as sinusitis. You can reduce your chances of an infection setting in by keeping your nasal passages moist with an over-the-counter saline nasal spray several times a day.
When nasal sprays don’t cut it, a nasal irrigation system may help. Cleaning out the nasal passages helps rid the nose of bacteria, viruses, and other pathogens that lead to sinusitis. Once a day during summer allergy season, lean over the sink, tilt your head, and rinse out each nostril with about two tablespoons of warm salt water. You can do this using a squeeze bottle or a nasal irrigation receptacle such as a neti pot.
3. Avoid summer irritants.
There are few chemical irritants during summer that trigger allergies. Here are some of the worst ones, and what you can do to reduce allergy symptoms:
• Automobile exhaust and smog from travelers on the road. Keep your windows up when driving in heavy traffic, and if you live in a busy city, don’t venture out during rush hour traffic.
• Campfire smoke, which damages the mucous membrane. If you enjoy camping, try to sit where the wind isn’t blowing smoke towards you.
• Chlorine in pools, especially indoor with little ventilation. Wear a nose clip to prevent the water from shooting into your nose, and if possible, swim in an outdoor saltwater pool.
4. Prepare your sinuses for air travel.
Since the air on planes is so dry and germy, make sure to moisten your sinuses with saline spray before takeoff, and drink lots of water during your flight. If you have sinus problems prior to flying, try using a nasal spray such as Afrin to help you breathe on board.
5. If nonprescription medications don’t provide relief, see a doctor.
Nonprescription antihistamines and decongestants may be able to help you feel better, but if you have summer allergy symptoms that aren’t relieved by over the counter medications, you should see a doctor. You may have sinusitis or more severe allergies that are more likely to be relieved with antibiotics, a steroid nasal spray, or allergy shots.
Call Sound Health Services for Summer Allergy Relief
If you’ve tried everything you can and still can’t get relief for your sinus problems, call (314) 332-1377 for an appointment with an ENT doctor at Sound Health. We’d love to help you breathe better so you can enjoy the rest of your summer!