Sinusitis is one of the most common medical problems, affecting over 29 million people in the United States alone. One type of sinus irritation that can lead to sinusitis is a dry sinus. If you are currently dealing with sinus problems, there are steps you can take to get better. Read on to find out what you are dealing with and how to treat it.
What are sinus infections?
Sinuses are air-filled cavities around your nose, eyes, and cheeks that are all connected. They are lined with delicate mucus-producing tissues called nasal mucosa that drain through the nose.
Sinus infections, or sinusitis, occur when these areas get inflamed, the lining swells up, and drainage does not occur properly. Inflammation most often occurs from an infection caused by a virus, bacteria or allergies. Read more about sinusitis here.
What is a dry sinus?
When we think of sinus infections, we think of blocked up or congested nasal passageways. Common symptoms of a sinus infection include a runny nose, headaches, facial pain, and cough.
But there’s another type of sinus irritation that does not cause you to produce any mucus at all. Instead, it actually dries out your sinus cavities and makes them sensitive and painful, resulting in uncomfortable dry nose and mouth. You may even experience a bloody nose or cracked skin. This is what’s called a dry sinus. Dry and irritated sinuses can keep your nose from working well and can cause sinusitis.
How to treat dry sinuses
There are several things you can do to try to alleviate dry sinus discomfort.
- Make sure the humidity in your environment is at the right level. Ideally, your home humidity level should be around 30–50%. Think about getting a humidifier in your home if the air is too dry or taking a steam bath.
- Drink a lot of water and keep yourself hydrated. This will alleviate some dryness in the nose and throat. Avoid drinking alcohol or smoking as this can cause further dehydration.
- Reconsider taking antihistamines. They may exacerbate the dryness and lead to further discomfort. Antihistamines are sometimes used to relieve symptoms of allergies but can be drying to the nose.
- Avoid other medications that increase dryness. Many traditional sinusitis medications can dry out your nasal passages. Consider getting over-the-counter emollients, nasal sprays, or nasal drops to cleanse and lubricate your nasal passages instead.
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