Everything You Need To Keep Your Sinuses Happy, According To Experts

Whether you’re fighting off a winter cold or seasonal allergies, experts share how to find some relief.
A SinuCleanse Breathe neti pot, Arm & Hammer Simply Saline nasal rinse and a Honeywell humidifier.

There are many unpleasant aspects of the cold winter season, and chief among them is the havoc it can wreak on sinuses. Even those who are not allergy-prone or actively sick can find themselves with never-ending nasal and sinus discomfort.

Dr. Navya Mysore, a primary care provider at One Medical in Brooklyn, told HuffPost that when our nose is exposed to cold and dry air, the lining becomes irritated and inflamed, producing mucus that can result in nasal congestion. That excessive mucus drips into the back of the throat and irritates it, causing a post-nasal drip cough. As if that weren’t enough, she noted, “excess mucus can also obstruct the sinuses and when it becomes trapped this encourages bacteria to grow. If it hangs out for a long time, the increased amount of bacteria can cause a sinus infection.”

This means that caring for your sinuses is not solely a comfort measure, but a preventative one if you are hoping to avoid more serious complications.

Dr. David Godin, an otolaryngologist and president of ENT and Allergy Associates in New York and New Jersey, pointed out that spending more time indoors while surrounded by drying central heating can also be sinus-wrecking because you’re more exposed to allergens such as dust mites and animals that could potentially aggravate sinonasal issues. “Wintertime is also cold and flu season, and therefore there are more cold-like illnesses and sinus infections,” he said. Being indoors and in close contact with other people makes it significantly easier to spread sinonasal infections.

Luckily, both experts agreed that there are steps you can take to assuage nasal and sinus discomfort using common over-the-counter products that you can find online and in stores. Below, we’ve rounded up a handy list of items based on their recommendations for cold-weather sinus care. Take a look and pick some up for yourself and your family, so you can keep everyone feeling their best for the rest of the season.

HuffPost and its publishing partners may receive a share from purchases made via links on this page. Every item is independently selected by the HuffPost Shopping team. Prices and availability are subject to change. The experts consulted for this story do not necessarily endorse the products ahead unless otherwise noted.

Honeywell Cool Moisture humidifier
Otolaryngologist Dr. David Godin recommends using a humidifier at home and at the office. "This can help open up swollen nasal passages and help with ciliar motility and help prevent nasal bleeding due to dryness," he said, adding that it's important to use distilled water in the units and change it daily.

One Medical primary care provider Dr. Navya Mysore loves the Honeywell Cool Moisture humidifier. She finds a humidifier to be an absolute winter essential for nasal and sinus health but notes that "you just want to make sure that you are cleaning your humidifier regularly and changing the filter as well." This highly-rated Honeywell humidifier has an easy-fill tank and a run time of up to 24 hours. Best of all, it's easy to clean in the dishwasher.
SinuCleanse Breathe soft-tip neti pot
Both experts agreed that nasal irrigation via neti pot can be extremely helpful. "Neti pots are safe and effective to use for most people," Mysore said. However, she emphasized that you should always use distilled water at room temperature, never tap water. She cautioned that people who use one regularly may experience mild side effects, like nasal irritation, a stinging sensation or nosebleeds.

"Reducing the amount of salt in your solution, using the neti pot less often and changing the temperature of the water may help reduce side effects," she noted.

We found this kit on Amazon that includes a soft-tip neti pot and 30 saline packets. Just don't forget to clean it thoroughly and properly after each use!
Nano Ionic facial steamer
According to Mysore, facial steamers like this one can work wonders on sinus congestion, and some people might find them to be easier to use than a neti pot. "Facial steamers offer a fast and effective way to cleanse and clear sinuses, providing relief during allergy or cold and flu season," she said. This steamer also has an aromatherapy funnel and cotton, so you can enjoy whatever scent you prefer during your steam. It's easy to use and can be operated for up to 10 minutes at a time.
Arm & Hammer Simply Saline daily care nasal mist
"Saline nasal sprays can be a helpful way to clear congestion and help your sinuses as well," Mysore said. And though she noted that many are great, she prefers this one from Arm & Hammer. It's made with purified water, salt and baking soda that work together to help alleviate congestion, irritation and stuffy noses.

Little Remedies sterile saline mist
"This one from Little Remedies is great for your kids including newborns," Mysore told us. It's a sterile saline mist that can help to flush mucus and soothe your little one's runny, stuffy and crusty nose.
Breathe Right nasal strips
Mysore told HuffPost that nasal strips can be an effective tool in your home arsenal. "They widen nostrils and make it easier for air to flow through the nose. It can help with congestion and also can help alleviate snoring," she said. This pack of Breathe Right strips includes 44 clear strips and could be a good starting point for anyone trying to get nightly congestion under control.
NeilMed SinuRince kit
As a neti pot alternative, Mysore also recommended the Neilmed SinuRinse bottle, which she really likes: "You keep the bottle straight and gently squeeze as opposed to tilting with the neti pot and this can be more comfortable for many patients." She again emphasized the importance of using distilled room temperature water when filling the bottle to rinse.

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