David Westerfield

Theology. Culture. Technology.


Surviving Allergy Season (And Sinus Infections) in North Texas

To start, this is purely my experience based on trial and error. “Results May Vary,” or however the legal jargon is supposed to go to deflect responsibility for it not working, haha. 🙂

For years, I suffered from frequent and sometimes debilitating sinus infections here in North Texas, triggered of course from allergies, like ragweed and mountain cedar. But the sinus infections would hang around even after the allergy problem was taken care of. At it’s worst, I would get a sinus infection four to five times a year, and at that, it would hang around for some time after each time I got it. So what finally helped maintain me through allergy season, enough to not get a sinus infection?

At a base level, it came down to four things: diet, water, Flonase, and a Netipot.

Diet

The initial thing that helped years ago was ceasing dairy in general, but milk in particular. I reintroduced cheese and have no problems. Eliminating milk was huge though in getting rid of and keeping my sinus infections at bay because it was causing my drainage to thicken up, thus causing clogging in my nasal cavity (yeah gross), and therefore exacerbating the sinus infection or being a contributor.

But from there I went further. I read about inflammation and how your diet greatly affects this (nothing new to a lot of people, but it was news to me years ago). Over time, I gradually began researching and searching for foods to add into my diet that were more anti-inflammatory, and Lo and Behold, like many doctors say, I had to eat more veggies and proteins and less junk. And what I mean by junk in particular is less sugar, less bread, rice, processed foods, all the stuff we American’s love! As a part of this, I basically added or replaced what I was eating with more whole foods.

This was a big shift and helped a ton. Over time, I’ve shifted my diet to a lower carb, higher fat and protein diet, and it’s made a ton of difference on even my allergies, let alone my sinus infections. Here’s the other thing to consider about diet too: don’t over eat! If you eat too much, it’s simply going cause your body to inflame all over, but for our purposes here, your nasal cavity in particular, especially if you’re eating junk and high sugar and carb content.

The skinny: eat a healthier diet (duh), but in particular, limit sugar, carbs, processed food, and instead eat whole foods, protein, veggies, etc. And also watch the calories.

Water

This was another big area where I really needed to step it up. And this has also made all the difference. As mentioned before, one of the problems that causes sinus infections is simply clogging of the nasal canal. I started drinking a good 32 oz of water in the morning when I first wake up, more mid-morning, another 32oz at lunch, more mid-afternoon, 32 oz at dinner, and more at bed time. Keeping yourself well hydrated is really important to beat and keep away sinus infections. There have been all kinds of personal health benefits to this as well.

The skinny: up the amount of water you’re drinking and limit sodas, even diet sodas, replace with La Croix or some tasty flavored water with no calories, limit the amount of coffee you drink, and watch the alcohol as this always causes inflammation in the nasal cavity.

The last two points had to do with the internal nature of preventing and fighting sinus infections. These next two have to do with (sort of) the external, nasal issues themselves to address.

Flonase

Very simply, get it and use it. When the season is really bad or you feel a sinus infection possibly coming on, step it up to two sprays per nostril per day. That simple. This has been an effective medicine.

The skinny: get and use Flonase. Increase its use when allergy season is bad.

Neti Pot

This is the last thing that has been a life saver for me, particularly when allergy season is bad. This is a saline water rinse that you use to pour water through one side of your nasal canal (nostril) and out the other. I’ll do this in the morning when I wake up (before spraying Flonase!) and once in the evening. Along with drinking enough water to keep your drainage flowing, this is a big help.

To make a long story short, four things have helped my allergies for sure, but especially my sinus infections resulting, which can be cause all kinds of other problems: changing my diet to be healthier and less processed, drinking a lot more water, using Flonase to treat allergies in my nose in particular, and rinsing my nasal cavity during allergy seasons. It may not be fool proof but it has made a world of difference on my quality of life!

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2 Comments

  1. KITTY WOOTEN

    Well, this is just the post I needed to confirm what I’d kinda’ known but hadn’t been doing consistently. I’m determined to change getting sinus infections every few months. Thank you for the concise recommendations. Do you really drink that much water? Does that mess with your electrolyte balance?

    • David Westerfield

      Hey! I do drink a lot of water. I don’t think it’s messed with my electrolytes, but have no way to tell. I think the biggest thing with water is that initial amount at the beginning of the day, at lunch, later in the day and then after dinner. I’ve only found positive benefits so far and I’ve been doing it for a while. And (I want to reiterate) I’m no expert, so for all I know I’m shortening my life, haha!

      One other thing I’ll add that I didn’t put on here is that during allergy season (for me it’s ragweed and mountain cedar) I take Claritin as well. So I think it’s all of this together plus being consistent with it that makes the difference.

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