Spring is here, the sun is out, lambs are running around the Canterbury Plains, and the Garden City's flowers are blooming. The change of season is welcomed by most - but for many, Spring also means a flare-up of allergies. Sinus irritation from dust, pollens, and allergies is common, although many people will never have sinus problems.
At the Ear Hygiene Clinic, we see many clients with "blocked" or itchy ears when, after discussion, it's likely to be allergy/sinus related.
The sinuses are air-filled spaces with the bones of the skull and face. They are centred around the nasal cavity and have several functions, including humidifying and heating inhaled air, increasing the resonance of speech and giving lightness to the weight of our heads.
We have four sets of sinuses:
In order to assist your body in keeping these four areas clear of mucus, we recommend that you take an antihistamine in the morning and use a nasal spray for relief if you are prone to allergies/sinus issues in Spring.
The following sinus treatments can help ease the symptoms of allergies:
Antihistamines are available over the counter at your chemist. We recommend Telfast - an antihistamine that is non-drowsy, able to be taken daily, and can be stopped at any time. Use per instructions.
Otrivin Nasal Spray is a fast-acting, effective nasal spray to assist in drying out your sinuses, allowing the ear drum to "pop". This can be purchased at a chemist or from our clinic in Ferrymead, but is designed to be used for just five days at a time before requiring a break. Flixonase and alanase are also recommended by our nurses, and these are suitable for every day use. Use per instructions.
A sinus rinse is a natural home remedy recommended by Ear, Nose & Throat Specialists as the first stop to healthy sinus maintenance. Please see further information at the bottom of this post.
Should you not feel any improvement from these treatments, the Ear Hygiene Clinic nurses are ready to help!
Sinus Rinse Instructions
Purpose: To reduce nasal secretions and reduce crusting.
We recommend Neilmed Sinus Rinse if you are wanting to purchase a rinse, otherwise you can make your own at home with the "recipe" below:
1/2 teaspoon common salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
Mix together the salt and baking soda in 200ml of warm water (preferably sterile or distilled tap water that has been boiled for 3 - 5 minutes). Place volume into atomiser/pot/"sinus rinse" bottle.
Irrigate at least half a bottle of solution up each nostril 1 - 3 times per day to relieve symptoms.
Rinse and leave bottle to dry after each use.
You are able to use this when showering.
Follow up with flixonase (steroid) for a chronic nasal drip.
Worried about sinus issues/blocked ears when flying? See our blog post about how to care for your ears to reduce mid-flight pain: