Just because you may not suffer from sinusitis or sinus headaches or other sinus conditions, it’s easy to take your sinuses for granted. It seems we don’t pay any attention to them until they hurt!
But your sinuses play a very important role in protecting you from getting sick. They are the immune system’s first line of defense against toxins, allergens, and germs. That’s why healthy sinuses are moist and coated with a film of clear mucus — to trap foreign particles that might otherwise get into your lungs and eventually your bloodstream.
Sinuses are also a direct pathway to the brain. That’s a bit scary. Why? Because although it’s rare, sinus infections can actually spread to your brain and become life-threatening. If you have an upper respiratory infection that has lasted longer than it should, or have swelling in your face, or an unbearable headache along with a possible sinus infection, you need to see your doctor right away.
Since your sinuses lead straight to your brain, it is important to keep what goes into your nose very clean. If you use a neti pot (a technique that flushes and hydrates the sinuses with a mild saline solution), be sure it is clean and that the water you use has been boiled and then cooled to the correct temperature so that it is sterile.
Neti pots or saline spray can be a great way to keep the inside of your sinuses moist during the winter cold and flu season. They also flush out allergens, dust, and toxins that get stuck in your sinuses in dry weather. Humidifiers or vaporizers are great to use when the weather or air is dry. Sinuses need moisture. The dry air from forced heat in the winter, or from an air conditioner in the summer, can dry them out and irritate them. Dry sinuses can cause congestion and put you at greater risk for catching a virus – plus, they are just plain uncomfortable. An air filter at home can also keep irritating dust particles and allergens out of your sinuses, letting you breathe easier.
In naturopathic medicine, we always appreciate how every part of our body is important and connected to the health of the whole person. Your sinuses are an important team player in keeping you healthy!
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This Month's Vita-Mini: Vitamin S is for Sex!
Don’t laugh, but your sexual health is important! Why? Because there are so many good benefits you can receive from sex. It lowers your blood pressure, revs up your immune system, lowers your heart attack risk, and it counts as exercise!
But as we age, sometimes our sex lives are trying to tell us we have an underlying health problem. If you’ve lost your libido, or men — if you suffer from erectile dysfunction, or ladies – if you have pain during intercourse, consider it a red flag. These can all be signs of something else going on inside your body.
It’s not just your sex life that’s suffering. You may have a hormonal imbalance, poor circulation, inflammation, or your neurotransmitters may not be functioning at optimal levels. Any of these factors could be silently damaging your health in other ways too. When we get to the root of the problem and fix it, not only will your sex life improve, but more importantly, you’ve taken a step to ward off other chronic diseases that would have followed if you did nothing.
So pay more attention to vitamin “S,” and don’t be shy about telling your doctor if something just isn’t right with your sexual health. It may be an important clue to get you back on track toward greater wellness!