The importance of sinus maintenance
We frequently remind patients who have chronic sinusitis that even after a sinus surgery or other procedure, you may experience a return of sinus and nasal symptoms. Surgery and other procedures can control the symptoms and complications of sinus conditions, but chronic sinusitis is an ongoing health issue.
Whether you have had traditional sinus surgery, functional endoscopic sinus surgery (FESS) or balloon sinus dilation (also called balloon sinuplasty), there are steps you can take to help ensure that your sinus passages stay clean and clear for as long as possible. These steps are very important for sinus maintenance.
Chronic sinusitis is one of the most commonly diagnosed chronic diseases of any kind. Sinus surgeries or procedures can provide relief of symptoms, but patients still might experience a return of the symptoms that make sinusitis so unpleasant: sinus headache, sinus pressure, post-nasal drip, fever, drowsiness and bad breath.
Even the most advanced surgical methods, such as balloon sinus dilation, may only help relieve symptoms and might not provide a permanent solution to your chronic sinusitis. Everyday sinus maintenance and care of the nasal passages and sinuses is an important part of your overall health and can prevent return of the worst symptoms.
We recommend these simple steps to promote long-lasting sinus health:
- Moisturize the nose and sinus. You can maximize moisture in your nose by using a humidifier, drinking plenty of water and avoiding substances that dry (astringents) such as alcohol and caffeine. Avoid smoking or second-hand smoke too, and regularly use sinus rinse. The more moisture in your sinuses, the thinner your mucus will be, allowing the sinuses to drain better. Better drainage helps prevent infection.
- Avoid allergens. Wear a mask if you are in a dusty environment. Avoid smoking and second-hand smoke, and airborne pollens during the spring and summer. During allergy season, use your air-conditioning.
- Consider a saline sinus rinse. Saline is very effective in removing allergens and other particulates that inflame the sinuses. Also it can help remove inflammatory mucus during colds or sinus infections. There are many over the counter saline sinus kits available. Make sure you read the directions and use distilled water with the recommended salt packets.
- Prevent colds. Avoid exposure to colds and flu, as these will amplify your sinus conditions. Regularly wash your hands (even when you feel you don’t need to) and get an annual flu vaccination. If a cold lasts more than 10 days it time to be seen as likely it might be a bacterial sinus infection and antibiotics may be required.