While in Europe recently, I found that I didn’t need to use nasal irrigation to prevent nasal congestion. I did bring along a travel WaterPik device which I often use for this purpose when away from home, but I didn’t feel the need to use it even once for the entire month we were gone. I attribute this to the higher humidity levels in Europe compared to those in Colorado where we live.
I normally use nasal irrigation with a saline solution once or twice per day. It would be unthinkable to go for a month in Colorado without doing this. I would almost certainly come down with a sinus infection during this length of time, even while continuing to take my normal medication.
According to Dr. Robert Ivker, D. O. , former President of the American Holistic Medical Association, the ideal level of relative humidity for sinus health is between 35-45%. I noticed in one of the hotels we stayed at in France that the humidity was in the low 70% range, and I’m sure it was at least that high at other times as well during the month. For whatever reason, this level of humidity seems to work better for my particular nasal congestion problems, and I have noticed before the general tendency of having fewer sinus problems while in Europe. We travel there fairly often as we operate tours in France. Dr. Ivker prefers to use a warm mist room humidifier which requires no filters and kills bacteria. He claims to have had good luck with Bionaire Clear Mist units.
Upon returning from this latest trip I decided to purchase an inexpensive humidity gauge and put it in our bedroom to deep a closer eye on the actual levels in our sleeping environment. Right now the levels are in the 50% range, which is pretty good. We live at over 7,000 feet of elevation, and we have several windows open at night at this time of year to cool off the room. During most of the year we do use a humidifier, especially in the winter months. When the furnace is on the humidity drops quite a bit, and I will now be able to monitor the levels and make better use of a humidifier with the humidity gauge. Air conditioning will also dry out the air in a room or in an automobile, so keeping close watch of this is important for people like me who continually battle nasal congestion problems.
The device I purchased was an inexpensive combination thermometer and humidity gauge. It was only about $4, but one can find digital devices with more functionality in the $20-40 range in stores like Kmart or Walmart. I would strongly recommend that people who suffer from chronic sinusitis make this small investment and keep a device to measure relative humidity in their sleep and also possibly their work environments. This simple item can be a significant tool in the regimen of all sinus sufferers to help prevent nasal congestion, especially while sleeping.
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