Preventing Sinus Infections
Although there is no guaranteed way to prevent a sinus infection, there are things you can do to reduce your risk. For example, using saline nasal spray or nasal irrigation can help keep your nose moist. Other things that can help include avoiding allergens, very dry indoor environments, and irritants such as cigarette smoke.
No methods have been scientifically tested and proven to prevent acute or chronic sinusitis. However, your healthcare provider may recommend a variety of measures that can provide you with some benefit in preventing sinusitis. These include the following:
- Keep your nose as moist as possible with frequent use of saline (salt) sprays or nasal irrigation.
- Avoid very dry indoor environments and use a humidifier, if necessary. But be aware that if you have allergies to molds, house dust mites, or cockroaches, a humid environment may also create problems.
- Avoid exposure to irritants, such as cigarette and cigar smoke or strong odors from chemicals.
- Avoid exposure to anything you're allergic to. If you have not been tested for allergies and you are getting frequent sinus infections, ask your healthcare provider to give you an allergy evaluation or to refer you to an allergy specialist.
- Avoid long periods of swimming in pools treated with chlorine, which irritates the lining of the nose and sinuses.
- Avoid water diving, which forces water into the sinuses from the nasal passages.
- You may find that air travel poses a problem if you are suffering from acute or chronic sinusitis. As air pressure in a plane is reduced, pressure can build up in your head, blocking your sinuses or the eustachian tubes in your ears.
As a result, you might feel discomfort in your sinuses or middle ear during the plane's ascent or descent. Some health experts recommend using decongestant nose drops or sprays before a flight to avoid this problem.