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There are three main aspects of treating dry sinuses: identifying the cause of the dryness and avoiding them, and reintroducing moisture into the nose. Sometimes you can solve the problem simply by avoiding triggers and giving your body time to recover, but other times you'll need to actively reintroduce moisture into your nose. Common ways of doing this include inhaling steam or mist, washing out the nasal passages, or putting moisturizer in the nose. If your sinus problems are severe or persistent, you should consult a healthcare provider or an otolaryngologist; an ear, nose, and throat specialist.
Many causes of dry sinuses are environmental: dust, pollen, or animal dander can cause dryness, as can weather that's cool and dry. Stale or musty air in a room is another common cause of dryness, and often occurs when an area is not properly ventilated. Likewise, hot, dry air from a climate control system can also cause problems. Airborne irritants like hairspray, tobacco smoke, and cleaning products can irritate and dry out the nose as well. Additionally, dry sinuses can be a side effect of medication; for instance, decongestants and antihistamines are often very drying, as are some anti-anxiety medications and blood pressure medications. Many people also get dry nasal passages when they have certain illnesses, like the common cold.
The first thing to do in treating dry sinuses is to observe your triggers, and try to avoid them. For instance, if you tend to have problems only when you're inside your home, you can try adjusting your climate control, regularly ventilating your rooms, or getting a High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filter to catch any allergens. If you're on a drying medication, then you can discuss alternatives with your doctor. You should also make sure that your body is well-hydrated, since dehydration can affect the nose.
After identifying and avoiding triggers, you can start to introduce moisture into your nose. If you only have mildly dry sinuses, or your nose is only dry near the nostrils, then you can put a little lotion or Vaseline® in or near your nostrils, or put a wet washcloth over your face and breathe through it for a few minutes. To prevent moisture loss while you sleep, you can lightly tie a slightly damp scarf or bandanna over your face.
For more serious cases of dryness, you can try humidifying the air around you. You can do this with a humidifier or vaporizer, or by putting bowls of hot water around a room. It's important to sit near the source of the vapor, however, to get it deeply into your nose. If you don't want to increase the humidity of an entire area, you can take a long, steamy shower, or drape a towel over your head and put your face over a pot of hot water.
Another way to re-moisten your nasal passages is with a nasal saline spray or mist. There are many Over-The-Counter (OTC) products, but you can also make your own saline solution by mixing together about 1 pint (16 oz) of lukewarm water and a half a teaspoon of salt. You can then use a bulb syringe to put get the mixture into your nose. Another popular means of treatment is a neti pot, which is a small pot with a spout that is used to pour water into one nostril while a person holds his or her head with the mouth open at about a 45 degree angle over a sink. The water then travels through the sinuses and out the other nostril. Though pre-mixed neti pot solutions are available, you can also use a homemade saline solution.
Most means of treating dry sinuses are very safe as long as you practice good hygiene. Any humidifiers, vaporizers, syringes, and neti pots should be cleaned often to avoid a build up of mold, fungi, or bacteria, and you should only use distilled or sterilized water to make home saline solutions. You should never use plain tap water, as this can cause infections, and in rare cases, parasitic infestations and death. It's also important to avoid over-humidifying the air in your house, as this can encourage dust mites, which can lead to nasal allergies.