Sinusitis, Smoking and Sneezing

in Smoking

A stuffy nose is bad enough, but what happens when the congestion is actually inside your head? This is what is behind a condition called sinusitis. The sinuses consist of mucus lined hollow spaces – above and below the eyes and on each side of the nose. The sinuses normally drain quite easily. But when you have a cold or congestion due to allergies, the openings to the sinuses may get blocked, allowing mucus to accumulate. Eventually the sinuses may get infected, causing fever, headaches, and an unpleasant tasting mucus that drips down the back of your throat. Doctors call this condition sinusitis.

Sinusitis has sometimes been called the number one health complaint affecting millions of people each year. In some cases, people with sinusitis need antibiotics to clear up the infection. More often, the condition will go away on its own with in a week or two. Until it does, however, you may feel as though your entire head is under water.

To loosen congestion and ease the pain, here are few things you may want to try

Breathe some steam. The trick to relieving sinusitis is to unblock the openings so the mucus drains more freely. The easiest way to do this is simply to breathe hot, humid air. Taking at hot shower, soaking in the tub, or plugging in a room humidifier will help make the mucus watery so it drains more easily. For a more concentrated steam “bath” doctors sometimes recommend putting a pot of water on to boil. Remove it from the heat and lean over it, draping a towel around your head to trap the steam, and breathe deeply for a few minutes. Just don’t get too close to the water or you could wind up scalded.

Soothe it with soup. Doctors often suggest that people with sinusitis put hot, spicy soup on the menu – not just for dinner, but all day long. Spicy foods act as natural decongestants, helping mucus drain. In addition, drinking hot liquids will loosen mucus in the throat and airways.

Even if you’re not in the mood for soup, spicy foods can be very helpful. They contain a number of chemicals, including capsaicin, which stimulate nerves that trigger a runny nose. The more mucus is able to drain, the less stuffy your head will feel.

Raise your head. Some doctors recommend putting wood blocks under the head of your bed or propping yourself up with pillows at night. The natural process of gravity helps mucus drain.

Sniff some saline. Saline sprays, available at pharmacies, are very helpful at clearing mucus from the nose, which makes it easier for the sinuses to drain. You can make your own saline solution by putting a little bit of table salt in a cup of warm water and sniffing it out of your palm.

Tap a healthy solution. Drinking water is very helpful when you have sinusitis. Putting extra fluids in your body makes the mucus watery and more likely to drain. When you have sinusitis, doctors usually say to drink eight to twelve glasses of water a day, which, by the way, is helpful for all kinds of conditions as well as for your overall health maintenance.

Put away the cigarettes. People who smoke often have more trouble with sinusitis because smoking dries the nasal passages, making it harder for mucus and bacteria in the sinuses to drain out. By quitting smoking you will not only relieve the discomfort of sinusitis, but you will decrease your likelihood of getting it in the future.

Use a decongestant. When you head is throbbing, you may want to take a shortcut to relief by using an over the counter decongestant for a few days. These products shrink tissues, so they will produce less mucus.

It’s hard to exaggerate the dangerous of smoking. Cigarette smoke contains more than 4,000 chemicals, including, such things as cyanide, arsenic, and formaldehyde. It is estimated that more people die of cigarette smoking related illnesses every year. That’s more than the number of deaths from alcohol, illegal drugs, and motor vehicle accidents combined. Cigarettes contribute to a vast number of health threats, including cancer, heart disease, and emphysema, as well as minor problems such as wrinkles.

Most people who smoke would like to quit. But as every smoker knows, quitting can be incredibly difficult. Here are a few tricks doctors recommend.

Pick a quit date. It takes tremendous will power to give up a habit that may have lasted for years or even decades. You have to make a solid commitment. One way to do this is to pick an exact date when you’ll quit – a week from Tuesday, or on the first of the month. Before that date, tell everyone – your friends, colleagues, and family – when you plan to quit. Then go through with it. The more people you involve in your struggle, the more motivated you’ll be to go through with it.

Avoid the triggers. Every smoker has certain activities – sipping a beer, sitting out on the deck, or chatting on the phone – that just don’t seem the same without a cigarette. To help break the habit, experts recommend avoiding the activities that you associate with smoking. Don’t drink for a few weeks. Relax indoors instead of outside. Anything you can do to avoid ‘smoking behavior’ will make it easier to give up cigarettes for good.

Give yourself healthy alternatives. Just as some types of behaviors increase the craving to smoke, other reduces it. Going for a jog, working in the garden, or even washing a sink full of dishes will keep your hands and mind busy, so that you’re less likely to crave a cigarette.

Take five. Studies have shown that a cigarette craving usually is most intense for about five minutes. If you can get through those five minutes – by taking a walk, for example, or keeping your hands busy doing something else – you’ll find that the craving in the next five minutes and the five minutes after that will be much less intense.

Nip in the bud. Cats don’t smoke, but they certainly know the valve of a little catnip. Alternative practitioners have found that drinking catnip tea can reduce feelings of nervousness and tension, making it easier to give up smoking. Other herbal teas that have had a calming effect include skullcap and valerian (jalakan).

Drink a little milk. Drinking milk can give cigarette smoke an unpleasant taste. Many people who have successfully quit made it a point to drink milk during the day, which helped reduce cravings.

Make smoking difficult. If you’ve been trying to quit, but haven’t quite succeeded, you can improve your chances by limiting the places where you allow yourself to smoke. For starters, you may want to quit smoking in the car. This will allow you to cut back by a few cigarettes a day. Don’t let yourself smoke in the house, either. When it’s 200 outside and the wind is blowing, you may find that you really don’t want to have another cigarette just yet. It’s not as good acquitting, but it will lower your dependence and make it easier to quit entirely another day.

It’s not painful or socially unacceptable. It’s not even annoying – if you do it occasionally. But when your ‘achoos’ are coming on cue, you know there’s too much sneezing going on.

Sneezing is your body’s way of cleaning out the nasal passage and discharging irritating particles like dust of pollen. But when you have a cold or allergies, non stop sneezing can make your nasal passage sore and irritated. Some people even get nosebleeds from non stop sneezing.

To give your nose a break, here’s what doctors recommend.

Neutralize the problem with nettle. This herbal remedy has been shown to ease inflammation in the nasal passages and help reduce congestion that can lead to sneezing. Some people make nettle teas, but an easier solution is to take nettle supplements, available at health food stores. Following the directions on the label, you can take them whenever your nose starts getting a little twitchy.

Pour a glass of orange juice. Along with other citrus fruits and a variety of fruits and vegetables, orange juice is very rich in vitamin C, which may help relieve sneezing by reducing the amount of histamine your body releases.

Put more vegetables on the menu. Fruits and many vegetables are rich sources of bioflavonoid. These are natural chemicals, which, like vitamin C, can curtail the body’s production of sneeze causing histamine.

Sneeze proof your home. Your best natural remedy against sneezing is to scrub your house clean of allergens. Doctors recommend vacuuming, mopping, and dusting as often as possible, which will help eliminate the dust that causes sneezing. It’s also a good idea to scour bathrooms and basement, which often harbor large amounts of sneeze causing molds. You may want to wash rugs, pillows, and stuffed animals once a week to wash away allergy causing particles before they cause problems.

Clean your mattresses and bedding. Evidence has shown that microscopic skin flakes, called dander, often cause sneezing and other allergy symptoms. The best way to get rid of these particles is to wash your sheets and pillow case once a week. Many people find that covering the mattress with a plastic cover and wiping it down once a week will also help stop sneezing.

Give your cat a bath. Millions of people are allergic to cats – and, less often, to dogs. Studies have shown that washing your pet once a week can dramatically decrease the amount of sneeze causing allergens that get into the air – and, of course, into your nose. At the very least you may want to keep your pets out of the bedroom. Spending even just eight hours a day away from their allergy causing particles may help you sneeze less often the rest of the time.

Take an antihistamine. These over the counter medicines are very effective at blocking your body’s production of histamine. You don’t want to take them all the time, but if your sneezing seems to be seasonal – as it often is in people with allergies – taking antihistamines during flare ups will give you some much needed relief.

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Collier Baker

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Sinusitis, Smoking and Sneezing

This article was published on 2011/07/15