Hurricanes Can Wreak Havoc on Your Sinuses

Storms affect atmospheric pressure (also called barometric pressure), which is the pressure of the air in the earth’s atmosphere.  Hurricanes and other strong storms can cause massive dips in this pressure. When the pressure in the earth’s atmosphere drops suddenly and dramatically, the air pressure inside your nose fights to stay in balance with the pressure on the outside. However, because the barometric pressure during a hurricane drops so low, your sinuses tend to overcompensate by swelling with air and fluid. As you might expect, this can lead to headaches, pain, and an intolerable build-up of pressure.

If you’re dealing with uncomfortable sinus pressure following a hurricane, there are several things you can try to get some relief:

  1. Gravity is your friend when you’re suffering from sinus pressure. Skip bed and choose a comfortable recliner instead. This will reduce the blood pressure in your head, which can also reduce vasodilation. You can also try propping yourself up with pillows.
  2. When your sinuses are congested, drying them out may seem like the best treatment option. However, dryness is likely to cause additional irritation, which can exacerbate the problem. Instead, try taking a warm bath or shower, which will produce soothing steam. You can also purchase steam inhalers that relieve discomfort by flooding your nasal passages with warm, moist air. In a pinch, you can also heat water on the stove and inhale the steam, but use caution to avoid getting scalded.
  3. Your body is one giant organism, and all of your systems are connected. Drink plenty of water. The extra fluid can thin mucus and help relieve pressure in your sinuses.
  4. A hot compress applied directly to your face can relieve sinus pressure. You can use a towel, and some stores even sell bean bags and other compresses that are microwave-safe and made specifically for sinus relief.

Sinus treatments have come a long way. If you suffer from chronic sinusitis or related conditions, you don’t have to suffer anymore. See your ENT provider to explore your treatment options.

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