Clear Sinuses...Drug Free
by Building Inspector and Indoor Air Specialist, Dan Schilling
© Copyright 2002 Residential Inspections LLC, All Rights Reserved
Nothing seems to be more “in your face” than having sinuses that don't allow air to flow through them freely. Approximately 33 million Americans suffer from sinus diseases every year. I wrote this article to help you understand why this is a problem for so many people today, and to offer a few simple techniques to keep your sinuses cleansed without artificially dilating them with chemical drugs.
The Wrong Solution
I do not believe I have ever heard of so many people having sinus problems before. Everyone is turning toward inhalers, sprays, and pills to try to open up their sinuses without asking why they have become clogged, often infected, in the first place. The first direction most people turn to for help is the medical community. What are our medical options? Pathetically, the choice is usually chemical drugs or sinus surgery!
I had a very close friend who had sinus surgery. Even after being hit on a motorcycle, unable to work for months due to surgeries, physical therapy, and infection complications, he still told me that his sinus surgery was the most excruciating pain he had ever experienced in his entire life. Furthermore, I couldn't begin to tell you how many clients I work with who have become addicted to chemical inhalers, nasal sprays, and pills just to keep their sinuses open. After studying the side effects and addictive characteristics of these drugs, other than the fact that they are reprehensibly “government approved,” it amazes me that so many people resort to their use. I guess if you can't breathe, you'll do anything.
The Primary Causes of Sinus Problems
Before I explain a few simple and harmless solutions, I want you to understand what causes these epidemic levels of sinus complications. Basically, there are three things that will keep your sinuses naturally clear; they are heat, cold, and moisture. Heat has a very natural cleansing affect on the sinuses. Whether working outdoors in the hot summer or sitting in a sauna or steam room, the heat starts the sinus drainage process which in turn clears out the particles that collect, irritate, and clog sinuses. Similarly, working or playing outside in cold weather has a draining and cleansing affect. Most of us can relate to these effects of heat and cold. Swimming is also an activity that cleans sinuses. Anyone who has ever gone swimming and inevitably gotten a little water up into their sinuses understands how this rapidly cleans your sinuses.
The problem is that we spend almost all of our time indoors where we control the climate to make sure it never gets too hot or too cold. We also rarely swim or otherwise expose our sinuses to water. Indoors we not only lack the temperature differences and moisture, but we inhale air loaded with enormous amounts of indoor particle contaminants that clog and irritate our sinuses. When our sinuses are not properly cleansed, they become clogged, and can also become seriously infected. This leads to the vicious cycle of chemical drugs and/or surgery, followed by more sinus problems later. This inconvenience and pain could have been totally avoided had someone only explained what caused the sinus problems instead of how to treat the symptoms. Of course, on the economic side of this is the fact that no one in the medical community can turn huge profits from people who do not get sick and become dependent on chemical drugs or surgery. Therefore, self-help solutions are seldom mentioned.
So what can you do?
How do we clean our sinuses if we never get into the heat or cold, or go swimming? There are four simple things you can do which should help tremendously to keep your sinuses clean and guard against sinus infections.
When you take a shower, simply hold two fingers together as if you were making a salute only put them under your nose. Allow the water from the showerhead to land on your fingers while you slowly inhale the moisture droplets as they bounce up off of your fingers. Do this just before you get out of the shower. By the time you dry off, the debris that was clogging your sinuses will be dissolved and ready to blow into a tissue. Having not done this before, it may seem a little awkward at first, but you will be amazed at how fast and easy it is to do once you get used to it.
Sometimes you need to clean your sinuses, but may not have time to get your moisture from a shower. The simple solution is to have a standard spray bottle on hand filled with clean water. These spray bottles have adjustable spray tips and are available at most pharmacies and discount department stores. Simply hold one nostril closed, tilt your head back, and spray a mist of water up the other nostril while you slowly inhale. Two or three sprays up each nostril and within a few minutes your sinuses will begin to drain clean and open up.
Nasal Irrigation Cups
The above methods work most of the time and are great for sinus maintenance, but when sinuses get really blocked, you might want to try a nasal irrigation cup. These are available at most pharmacies for about $10-15.00. They look like a little tea pot and come with packets of saline solution to be mixed in warm water. Instructions are included, but basically you lean over a sink and slowly pour about half the water in one nostril and let it flow out the other side; then reverse with the remainder of the water. Again, in a matter of a few minutes, your sinuses will drain and open up without the use of drugs. Doing this may sound a little odd, but it works amazingly well. I had a friend who worked as a painter in an auto body shop whom I showed method this to. Even though he wore a face mask when painting, he was amazed to see that all the colors of paint he had sprayed that day came out of his sinuses! Paint and many other airborne particles absorb into your body through your sinuses and can lead to other health problems. Furthermore, research has proved that mold spores lodged in the sinuses was the leading cause for all chronic sinus infections.
The cleansing and detoxifying actions of the body, such as waste elimination, vomiting, spitting, sweating, runny eyes, and yes, runny sinuses, all require water from within our bodies in order to function properly. If we do not drink enough water, we will suffer for it somehow. The symptoms of chronic dehydration are subtle but many. Sinus, allergy, and asthma symptoms can be reduced or eliminated by drinking six to eight glasses of water each day. However, it must be noted that coffee, cola, tea, and alcoholic beverages do not count as water because they all contribute to dehydration.
When to Cleanse Your Sinuses
You should always be mindful of your sinuses, not just when they are clogged. Whenever you expose yourself to a significant amount of airborne particles, you should cleanse your sinuses. Significant exposures would include things like sweeping the garage or basement floors, vacuuming the house with a poor quality vacuum cleaner, cutting wood or any other material with a saw, spray painting, visiting a smoky bar or restaurant, exposure to high levels of pollen or mold spores, etc. If you keep your sinuses cleansed, you will not only be able to breathe better, but you will be able to smell things better than you have for a long time. Being able to smell well is not only a blessing, but an important sense for warning our bodies when we are breathing things that we should not be inhaling.
with those you care about.