When your head feels like it’s about to explode with sinus congestion, there are a few simple things you can do to help clear things up. If you’re waking with a stuffy head, consider your sleeping situation. Is there mold along the edge of your bedroom windows? This is a really common problem (especially here in Seattle) and cleans up pretty easily with a 10% bleach solution. Many folks don’t even realize it’s mold, but just think there’s a little dirt along the window ledge. If there’s black dirt-looking stuff, that’s mold. Kill it and you’ll sleep better. You can also get a HEPA filter for your bedroom & place it between the window and your bed.

Another common cause of morning sinus congestion and headaches, is dust mites. Strip the bed, vacuum your mattress, cover it with a dust mite cover before you put the clean bedding on, get new pillows and cover them with dust mite covers as well. Dust mite covers are available at most department stores and I’ve seen people with chronic headaches get immediate relief from doing this.

For treating the congestion itself, try the NeilMed Sinus Wash. These have become my new favorite sinus wash. You can find these inexpensive kits at nearly any drug store. They come with a little dispenser and 50 pre-mixed packets that are pH and saline balanced so they don’t sting (really, truly they don’t). The instructions are on the box and are easy to follow. Just use it with warm distilled water, once or twice a day for great relief.

An old fashioned steam inhalation with a towel over your head and using a few drops of thyme oil and/or eucalyptus oil in the water, is also an incredibly effective way to promote sinus drainage (as well as to combat bronchial infections). Obviously you have to be very careful not to burn yourself with the steam or by spilling steaming hot water on yourself, but with the observation of basic precautions, this is a great therapy for both prevention and treatment of sinus congestion.

There are many other things that can be done to combat sinus headaches, but these suggestions are usually a great place to start.

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