Winters in Upstate New York can be quite beautiful, but the cold, dry air can wreak havoc on your nose and throat. When cold temperatures take the moisture out of the air, the body’s mucus production slows down, inflaming the tissues in your nose and throat. Home heating can make the air inside your home as dry as the air outside, leaving no escape from the discomfort.
The irritation to your nasal passageways, left untreated, can lead to sinus infections or sinusitis. Common symptoms of prolonged exposure to dry air include:
- Dry nose
- Dry mouth
- Sore throat
- Sinus pain or pressure
The slow evaporation of the fluids and mucus can leave you vulnerable to viruses and bacteria, as well. Your body needs that mucus in your nose to trap invaders before they can infect you. Too much fluid loss leads to dehydration, which can be very serious. Fortunately, there are several easy things you can do to increase your moisture levels.
First, drink water. Up to 60% of the human body is made up of water, and it is vital to our health to keep ourselves replenished. If you don’t like water, you can add a little tea, juice, lemon slices, or other favorite fruit or herbs to make it more palatable. Here are a few other ways to rehydrate:
- Run a cool mist humidifier
- Circulate some fresh air into your home
- Remove allergens and irritants in your environment
- Irrigate your sinuses with sterile saline
- Use an over-the-counter nasal saline spray
- Gargle with warm salted water a couple times a day
- Use throat lozenges, and
- Worth repeating, drink plenty of water
These simple steps will have you feeling better in no time. You might want to talk with your doctor about any drying medications you take, such as antihistamines, to see if there are alternatives without a drying side effect. If your symptoms do not resolve within a few days, or if they become worse, be sure to call your doctor.
Our otolaryngologists, or ENTs, at Saratoga Hospital Medical Group – Ear, Nose & Throat treat adult and pediatric patients for a variety of illnesses and disorders, including sinusitis and throat infections. Conveniently located at 3050 Route 50 in Saratoga Springs, you can call 518-587-2300 to make an appointment. You do not need a referral.
Monday – Thursday: 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Friday: 8:00 AM – 4:30 PM
Extended hours, by appointment:
Monday: 7:30 AM – 8:00 AM
Tuesday and Thursday: 8:00 AM – 12:00 PM