What are dry noses and sinuses?
One of the lesser-known conditions of sinuses that affects people is dry sinuses. In this type of condition, there is no production of mucus at all. As the sinuses become sensitive and irritating, this directly results in dryness in the nose and mouth as well.
Some people even experience bleeding from the nose or cracked skin inside the nose. After prolonged irritation, these can lead to sinus infections or sinusitis. Now, the question arises why dryness in the sinuses leads to infections?
If the air you breathe becomes too dry, the mucus in the nose and sinuses doesn’t flow properly creating a problem for the sinuses to drain as they should. This means there is an accumulation of mucus in the sinuses that can get infected by bacteria, virus or any other infectious agents.
What are the symptoms of dry nose and sinuses?
The symptoms of dry sinuses are different from those of infections of the sinuses.
The most common symptoms of dry sinuses which usually people experience are-
- Pressure in the sinuses
- Bleeding from the nose (Also Read: 7 Most Effective Tips to Stop Nose Bleeding )
- Soreness in the throat
- Dryness in the nose and mouth
- Pain and burning sensation
- Altered sense of smell (Also Read: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment of Impaired Taste and Smell )
- Congestion of the nasal ways
- Sneezing continuously
- Swelling and redness of the nose
- Formation of crusts
How do the sinuses and nose become dry?
Under normal circumstances, the mucous lining on the sinuses keeps the nasal passageways moist that sweeps out foreign particles including bacteria. But due to some factors, the nasal passageways may be unable to do so leading to dryness in the sinuses.
Some of the causes that lead to dry sinuses and nose are discussed below-
Allergies, especially that occur due to seasonal changes like hay fever, irritate the sinuses resulting in dryness and inflammation of the tissues. Some of the common allergens that can trigger a reaction are-
- Plants that are starting to bloom
- Pet dander
People who have pets in their houses such as dogs or cats are prone to allergies. They are actually allergic to their dander that can trigger allergic symptoms.
Using antihistamines and decongestants
Sometimes over usage of over the counter medications such as antihistamines and decongestants that are formulated to decongest the nose can dry out the nasal passages and the sinuses.
Not only antihistamines and decongestants, but there can be other prescribed medications also that are drying out the mucous membranes.
This is the most common reason for the nose and sinuses becoming dry and irritated. During the winter, using heaters makes the air dry which leads to nosebleeds due to lack of humidity in the house.
Without realizing much, we use various chemicals and products on a daily basis for cleaning, home repair that can irritate the nasal passages and sinuses.
These irritants can cause dryness in the sinuses and other symptoms such as allergies, nosebleeds, etc.
Some common irritants that can trigger inflammation are-
- Smoke, especially from cigarettes
- Cleaning products
- Irritants from industrial places
- Fumes from paint or furniture oils
- Strong fragrances from perfumes
This is an autoimmune disorder in which the body is always in a state of dryness as the body is unable to produce enough moisture. People with this disorder tend to have dry eyes and dry mouth quite often.
The body can make the mucous membranes also dry leading to dryness in the nose as well as sinuses.
Also Read: 5 Myths Debunked About Sinusitis
When is dryness in the nose more common?
Dry sinuses and noses are more prevalent during the winter as the levels of humidity during this season are low, making it easy for the mucous membranes to dry up quickly. This is the reason people in winter are more susceptible to viral infections.
Another factor that can cause nasal dryness is high altitude. As the altitude increases, the air becomes lighter and lacks moisture. Due to these two factors, the nasal cavity can become dry that can lead to irritation and bleeding.
What to do for dry nose and sinuses?
Nasal dryness can be discomforting. Fortunately, there are some ways that can treat the dryness in the nose and the sinuses. Some of them are discussed below-
Drink lots of water
Even if you don’t feel thirsty in winter, it is important to keep yourself hydrated. Hence, drink lots of water to prevent the nasal passages from drying. Hydration doesn’t mean drinking any beverage. Take fluids that don’t have high sugar content.
Keep the environment moist
Arid air leads to drying of the nose and the sinuses, especially during the winter. To keep the air around you moist and humid, you can keep humidifiers. These should be cleaned regularly to prevent the growth of mold and bacteria.
Take warm baths
Saunas or steam baths not only moisturize the air but also hydrate the skin. This humid air during steam baths helps to relieve dryness in the nose. But remember not to expose yourself to steam for long as this can cause skin dryness.
Petroleum jelly is a magic wand for those who have repeated episodes of nasal and sinus dryness. A pea-size amount of petroleum jelly can prevent the nasal passages from drying the nostrils. Carry and apply a water-based moisturizer regularly to keep the skin hydrated.
Try natural oils
With the help of cotton swabs, you can apply edible oils such as clarified butter, coconut oil or almond oil to the nasal passages. Edible oils are the best option as these can be used very safely.
Don’t take medications that cause nasal dryness
If possible, stop taking those medications that are associated with nasal dryness. Some medications that can cause dryness are diuretics. Talk to your doctor first before restricting any medicines.
Stop smoking and vaping
Smoking or vaping aggravate dryness in the nose and mouth in every possible way. Nonsmokers should avoid passive smoking. Hence, restrict these unhealthy habits right away.
Restrict alcohol consumption
The composition of alcohol is such that it tends to dehydrate the body. Limit your consumption of alcohol to prevent dehydration.
Few more words
A dry nose makes breathing difficult that can reduce the supply of oxygen to the rest of the body. When you breathe dry air through the mouth and throat, the surrounding areas also get dry.
If the treatment is delayed, it increases the risk of complications such as laryngitis, pharyngitis, disturbed sleeping patterns, sinusitis.
The drying of the nose can accompany other complications such as nosebleeds or extreme pain and discomfort. In such cases, it is better to get consulted with an ENT doctor for help.