Sinuses! They ache when the weather changes, stuff up when you have a cold and go completely haywire during allergy season. What are they even for, anyway?
True or false: Babies don’t have sinuses.
Babies have fewer sinuses than adults, with only their ethmoid and maxillary sinuses present at birth and the others developing as they grow. Fun fact: Newborn babies' kneecaps are also made of cartilage instead of bone. Baby physiology is a little weird.
Your sinuses are lined with:
When you get sick or your sinuses get irritated, those mucous membranes can go into overdrive, causing sinus congestion and pressure.
What's going on when your sinuses get congested?
When your sinuses get clogged, either your body's making too much mucous, the mucous can't drain properly thanks to swollen tissues, or both.
In yoga class, your downward-facing dog brings on an ache in your forehead. Which sinuses need to chill?
Your frontal sinuses are in your forehead, above your eyes. In general, when your sinuses are congested, bending down can make it feel worse.
Sinus pressure tends to be worse:
For most people, sinuses are stuffiest after sleeping because they don't drain as well when you're lying down.
You've had a sinus headache all day. Which dinner will be the most comforting?
Ice cream and mac and cheese can be so tempting when you're down, but dairy can contribute to congestion. Meanwhile, there's growing evidence for the sinus-clearing powers of spice (and the steam from the soup may help a bit, too).
You're going on vacation! Which of these can trigger sinus trouble on your trip?
It's like your sinuses are just determined to spoil the fun. All of these — even just lying face-down on a massage table — can contribute to sinus trouble.
What's your best bet for over-the-counter treatment of sinus stuffiness?
A decongestant such as SUDAFED® decongestant can help relieve sinus pressure and congestion.
You can prevent some sinus trouble by:
There are lots of other health triggers for sinus troubles, including colds and flu, but keeping allergies in check can go a long way toward preventing sinus problems.
You should use distilled or boiled (and cooled) water when irrigating your sinuses with saltwater because:
Flushing your sinuses with saltwater can remove allergens and keep your passageways moist — but using water straight from the tap can introduce dangerous pathogens to your sinuses.
If your sinuses give you trouble when you wake up in the morning, you can try:
Thanks to gravity, elevating the head of your bed can help your sinuses drain a little better while you're sleeping. Bonus: If you also have trouble with acid reflux, it might help with that, too.
True or false: A hot shower can help relieve stuffy sinuses.
Thanks to the combination of warmth and steam, a hot shower can help relieve sinus pressure. Using a humidifier or just breathing in steam can also help.
How many sinuses does a typical adult have?
Typically, a grown-up has four pairs of sinuses (frontal, sphenoid, ethmoid and maxillary).
Your cheekbones hurt! Which sinuses are probably the culprit?
Your maxillary sinuses are part of your maxillary bone, which includes your cheekbones and upper jaw. Problems with your maxillary sinuses can also make your top teeth hurt.
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