Cold and flu season peaks during the fall and winter months each year. It’s a time when a painful sore throat, heavy congestion and a headache can make it difficult to breathe, sleep or function normally. The result is that many of us stay away from work and family as we try to recuperate from a bout with the flu or a cold.
If you’re suffering from the flu, a cold, allergies or sinusitis, you’re not so worried about the actual reason for your sickness. You just want to get well.
Our Utah ENT doctors at the Ear, Nose and Throat Center in Salt Lake City and Draper, Utah are ready to help and we can diagnose your flu or cold symptoms and help you recover. But there are a number of good habits people can follow that can help keep sinuses clear during cold and flu season. The American Academy of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery recommends you follow these five tips to maintain sinus health.
We also recommend you get a flu shot each year.
1. Drink Lots of Fluids
One of the best ways to stay healthy is to regularly drink fluids. You’ll stay hydrated and fluids can help ensure that your mucus or nasal discharges stays thin. Drinking fluids regularly also helps prevent congestion. The old guideline of 6-8 glasses of water each day can help your sinus health while it strengthens your immune system.
2. Use a Humidifier
A humidifier can help break down congestion by introducing moisture into your environment. Humidifiers are particularly helpful in arid states like Utah where the air is naturally dry and humidity is extremely low. And since most Utah homes are heated using forced-air furnaces that can also irritate your sinuses, you may soon find that using a humidifier in your bedroom each night can help you get more restful sleep (plus, your skin will become less dry–consider that a bonus).
3. Avoid Smoking and Drinking Alcohol
You already know that smoking can quickly irritate the nose of the smoker as well as the people around the smoker. But you may not know that alcohol can cause nasal and sinus membranes to swell, which, in some cases, exposes them to irritation and infection. If you often find yourself congested, stop smoking and drinking alcohol and monitor your health. You may be surprised by how much better you feel.
4. Avoid Contact with Allergy Triggers
If you suffer from allergies, you need to avoid contact with those items that trigger allergy symptoms like a stuffy nose and a scratchy throat. If you can’t avoid these triggers, use over-the-counter allergy medicines to help control congestion.
5. Use Nasal Sprays
Cold and flu season is one of the busiest travel times of the year. If you plan to fly, use a nasal spray decongestant before take-off. The nasal spray will help mucus drain naturally and you’ll avoid blockage of the sinuses.
The Ear, Nose and Throat Center specializes in diagnosing and treating sinus conditions, congestion, flu and cold symptoms. Contact us to set an appointment today.