***Disclaimer: advice offered below is what suits the author and is not intended to be a professional’s recommendation.*** Hailing from the Midwest of the US, I have been cursed with allergies ever since I can remember! Every time Spring began to rear its ugly/rainy head, my sinuses would inflame and my eyes would become itchy and scratchy (no relation to the Simpson’s).
I’d have to take 5 different kinds of pills to help alleviate the symptoms. If I didn’t take care of the problems right away, the allergies would rapidly turn into a sinus infection and soon after, the dreaded “Trio Breath Killer” as I have dubbed it: congestion in the lungs, throat and nose (having a deviated septum doesn’t make the Taipei winter any easier – welcome to my life). I’m sure many of you reading this have experienced an unfortunate sinus infection at least once in your lifetime. We can all agree that it’s the absolute worst because breathing is nearly impossible!!!
When it comes to a poor turn of events such as this, I prefer to take the holistic path. I’d like to share with you all my knowledge on how I’ve been actively taking care of this issue during the winters in Taipei.
Lines of Defense: Exercise, Water, Clean Foods, X on the Tobacco/Alcohol
Exercising is perhaps the best thing in my immediate control that I use to keep my sinuses in check. It strengthens the immune system and it boosts up the respiratory system’s performance. For me, it helps keep the mucus from building up in my lungs especially.
It’s no doubt that H2O is one of the most important elements of life; after all, our bodies and the planet are both comprised of 70-75% water. It keeps our blood from clotting and helps remove toxins from the body. Nose getting a little runny? Try having another glass.
Also, to put a little more kick into the water, add some lemon juice. But don’t tell the Waterboy I told you!
Stop the sinuses from getting into your lungs. Fresh fruits and veggies are a huge helper, and will keep the sludge from clogging you up! Needless to say, avoid oils and sugars as they can create even more mucus. Same goes for milk products, which can make you even more congested (at both ends!).
“Steambox” Your Bathroom
You guessed it, crank that shower up (as hot as you can bear) and let the steam drain that nasty stuff out of your nose. Make sure to wash your face especially because there may be some irritants that could kick up another sinus fit.
Apply Warm Compress
If the sinuses still bother you after the steam box, then apply a towel soaked in warm water and place it on your face/nose and forehead. It especially helps if you lie on a flat surface and tilt your head back slightly. (For a bonus, allow the mucus to drip back, and swallow once it reaches the back of your throat. You’re welcome 😛 )
During the winter, I try to cut back on all three. If you need your caffeine fix, go for the tea, rather than the coffee bean. Tea has less caffeine, which is a diuretic and keeps you from retaining water. And to be honest, drinking tea just feels better when my sinuses are acting up because of its light and clean taste.
Booze, yeah. Just cut back. It will not only dehydrate you, but many people have even a little alcohol intolerance which will release histamines causing your nose to become irritated and swell up, making you even more congested. At least, maybe stick to a glass of red wine if you have the craving– more antioxidants.
As for the lung darts (cigarettes), if it wasn’t obvious from the multiple warning pictures of dying lungs, angry babies and rotting teeth, the smoke is a huge irritant to the nose and especially the lungs. If you have a sinus issue and smoke, there’s a good chance it may be solely from cigs. Cut back, or better yet, just quit completely.
That also means avoiding clubs, bars, KTVs, scooter pollution, and Taipei 101 fireworks.
These are some of the things that have helped me cope with changing seasons and sinus trouble here in Taipei. I hope it help you too! If you have any other remedies, I’d love to hear about them! Please leave your comments below!
*photo from superhua