The past six weeks have been very travel-heavy. I was gone every week, sometimes twice a week, culminating in the last week where I flew on 12 separate flights. This proved to be too much for my sinuses, and now I’ve got a sinus infection and am on a two week regimen of antibiotics. By definition, road warriors are around situations that can make them sick all the time—lots of people, dry airplane air, frequent pressure changes, etc. Sinus infections specifically are caused when the membranes in your nose and sinuses become irritated and then inflamed, caused by allergens, dust, or exposure to dry or cold air. This leads to a host of things, eventually resulting a buildup of bacteria. Sometimes after a lot of travel our bodies get run down, and we can’t help but get sick. But there are a few things you can do to help your body avoid sinus infections as much as possible.
- Wash your hands. Standard advice during cold and flu season, but remember to wash up often. Sinus infections can result from lingering colds, and washing hands helps prevent colds. This is even more important for frequent travelers.
- Drink hot liquids. Drinking hot tea (black, green, or herbal, it doesn’t matter) and soup can help keep your nasal passages moist. This is especially important while flying—ask for hot water and use your own tea bag to reap the benefits.
- Get plenty of rest. If you start feeling run down, take some time to rest. Laying around taking it easy for a weekend (or even an evening) can do wonders for your body.
- Use warm compresses. Lay a warm, damp towel over your eyes and forehead a couple of times a day. It’s not easy to do on the road, but try it right before you go to bed and when you wake up. This helps improve circulation in your sinuses.
- Use a neti pot. I’ve never done it (honestly I’m a little afraid) but people who use it to irrigate their sinuses swear by it. At this point, I’m considering it and will let you all know how it turns out.
- Take your vitamins. A good multi-vitamin and vitamin C will help keep your immune system healthy, which will prevent against all types of illness, not just sinus infections. Eating lots of vegetables will also pack you full of nutrients.
Currently, my doctor has me on two weeks of amoxicillin, and she wants me to use Sudafed and Mucinex daily. Luckily, sinus infections aren’t contagious so I can be around others without worrying about getting them sick. I’m going to take it easy this weekend so I can be healthy and ready to go for Thanksgiving. So fellow travelers, take care of yourselves and stay healthy this winter! Being sick is no fun.
Readers, what are your best tips for avoiding sickness?
*Note: Road Warriorette is not a physician, so with any OTC medications be sure to consult your physician.