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Acute and chronic sinusitis are caused by different factors1 which means that there are different ways to try and prevent and treat them.2,3
As acute sinusitis is most often caused by an infectious virus and sometimes by a bacteria,4 prevention strategies include:
When in contact with those who are sick, washing your hands thoroughly and regularly, either with soap or an alcohol-based rub, can prevent the spread of the virus or bacteria.2
Recent research has taught us that people who get an average of less than five hours’ sleep per night in the week before facing a common cold virus (which can lead to sinusitis) are more likely to get infected than those who have slept an average of more than seven hours per night.5
Sinusitis may be caused by the common cold virus,9 or the flu virus,6 so it’s important to realise that the amount of regular sleep we get also profoundly affects how we respond to the flu vaccination.7
If you get seven to nine hours’ sleep per night in the week before having the flu vaccination, you will develop a powerful antibody response post vaccination (i.e. your immune system will be stronger and you are much less likely to catch the flu). If, on the other hand, you only get four to six hours’ sleep per night in the week before, you will produce only about half the number of antibodies post vaccination and are therefore much more likely to catch the flu.7
In a nutshell, getting enough sleep helps fight against infection and illness.7
As chronic sinusitis is more likely to be caused by allergies8 or environmental, genetic or anatomical factors3 than by a virus or bacteria, strategies for prevention include:
Smoking may cause chronic sinusitis1 so try to quit if you are struggling with recurrent sinus congestion.3
Evidence suggests that allergies may play a significant role in causing chronic sinusitis and shows that the risk is reduced by using a high-quality air filtration device.8 Minimise exposure to common allergens such as household dust, dust mites and animal dander (flakes of skin in their fur) and be aware that carpeting and feather bedding may also play a role in allergic sinusitis.8
Specific foods may exacerbate allergies or sensitivities in certain individuals.8 Consider consulting a dietician if you have eliminated other possible causes for your chronic sinusitis.
Whether your sinus congestion and other symptoms are a result of acute or chronic sinusitis, following various tips at home can help you feel better and symptoms can be treated with various over-the-counter (OTC) medications.