Dr. Christopher Pittman, Baptist Health Family Clinic-West
Cold weather causing trouble for your nose? Dr. Pittman has some advice for you!
What are the common nasal symptoms this time of year?
Nasal congestion, nasal drainage, and dry nose.
What can be done for nasal congestion?
Drink plenty of liquids. Try a humidifier. Also, blowing your nose is better than sniffling the mucus back into your head. The best technique – press a finger over one nostril when you blow gently to clear the other.
The opposite of congestion is nasal drainage. What can be done for nasal drainage?
Antihistamines and decongestants can help with postnasal drip caused by sinusitis and viral infections. They can also be effective, along with steroid medications or nasal sprays, for postnasal drip caused by allergies. The older, over-the-counter antihistamines, including Benadryl and Chlor-Trimetron, might not be the best choices for postnasal drip. When they dry out mucus, they can actually thicken it. The newer generation of antihistamines, including Claritin, Allegra, Zyrtec, may be better options, and are less likely to cause drowsiness. It’s a good idea to check with your doctor before treating your postnasal drip because all of these medications can have side effects.
What are some things we can do to help with dry nose?
Dry nose is usually caused by dry weather, but can also be allergies, decongestant medications or antihistamine medications. Increase your fluid intake to hydrate your body so that it can produce mucous. Drink at least six 8 ounce glasses a day of water, juice or tea. Use a nasal saline spray as needed to moisturize the nasal passages. Saline nasal sprays are available for purchase over-the-counter at most drug stores. Make sure to purchase a spray that is 100 percent saline. Because the spray contains only saline (salt water) it can be used as often as needed to hydrate the nose.
Place a humidifier or a vaporizer in your home and office to add moisture to the air you breathe. Regularly clean the humidifier or vaporizer to keep bacteria growth inside the machine at bay. Bacteria that grows inside the machine will come out into the mist and contaminate the air you breathe.
When should you see a doctor?
See a doctor if nasal dryness is not relieved within one week of home treatment.
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