The weather’s warming up. The sun’s staying out. That’s right, it’s almost pool and beach season. But for those of you prone to sinus infections, you might want to consider a few health tips before taking a dip.
Let’s start with some background on those pesky sinus infections. They develop when the sinuses and nasal passages become inflamed, and that can happen due to bacteria, viruses (such as the cold virus) or fungi. The result, for you, can mean symptoms like congestion, headaches, dizziness and more.
How does that relate to your refreshing swim? When you dive or swim underwater, the pressure changes affect your sinus canal, and your sinus passages can become blocked. Pressure changes can force water into your nasal passages, and if you breathe water in, then that just takes it further. Mucus thickens. Congestion builds.Then there’s the chemical element. Pool chlorine can irritate the lining of your sinuses, and bacteria not killed by the chlorine can sneak in and encourage an infection. If you already have a cold or sinus infection
when you hit the water, then the pool chemicals can further aggravate your symptoms and cause more discomfort.
So how can you enjoy the water and keep your sinus problems at bay?
Consider these tips:
- Know the quality of the water where you swim. Pool water should have appropriate pH and chlorine levels to combat bacteria and mold. Avoid brackish water.
- Don’t dive or swim underwater when you have a cold. The pressure of swimming underwater or diving can push mucus or bacteria into your sinuses.
- Breathe out through your nose when swimming. Pushing the water out with your breath expels it.
- Try faster turns while swimming laps. Quick movements can help keep water out of your nasal passages.
- After a swim or dive, try a saline-solution rinse. You can help wash away chlorine and bacteria by rinsing your nasal passages.
Sinus infections shouldn’t stop you from hitting the water this spring and summer, but common precautions can make your swims and dives more enjoyable. If you have any questions about playing it safe in the pool or ocean, then give our docs a call.