Wintertime! In which I vacillate wildly between ridiculous sinus pressure and congestion, and dry, painful nostrils that require near constant itching that I bet is really endearing to my co-workers and handsome dudes on the Metro! Right now I am having some vicious dryness and itching going on, and I can’t quit whining about my suffering. How can I go ON when my face feels like a desert this week and will most certainly be a plugged-up sewer next week?
Seriously, I would divorce my sinuses from my face if I could figure out a way.
Whatever, we can fix this. Without medicine! Follow my simple steps and you, too, can get a little relief.
So You’re All Dried Up
First things first, you need to get a little lubrication going on in there. Some people swear by a neti pot, that little teakettle you funnel into one nostril so you can let all the business pour out the other. Oprah handled this already, so I sort of assume you know about it. It’ll help lube you up a bit and flush out allergens that are aggravating the itch factor. Make sure you use distilled water for your saline solution, though, so microorganisms don’t swim into your brain.
If, like mine, your pet is shedding like a fuzzy little maniac, cutting back on that can really help with your itching. I use a Furminator on Olga. The Furminator is like the Cadillac of pet brushes. It pulls up the under-layer of fur, so your pet sheds way less, and is less likely to groom the bejeesus out of herself. Buy it on Amazon so you save literally dozens of dollars.
Obviously, if you’re dry in the nostrils, you’re probably dry all over your body, so up the moisture and humidity on and in yourself. Drink more water. Use a humidifier if you can. My apartment is weirdly moist year-round.
My grandpa puts five-gallon buckets filled with water all over his basement so he doesn’t get nosebleeds. It might sound wacky but he’s still a badass who rides a Harley and walks daily on his “threadmill” so I don’t question his wisdom. But if you’re already at the nosebleed stage, you’re probably beyond my help. Put some Neosporin on a Q-Tip, gently rub it around in there and prepare better next time.
So You’re Kind of Snotty
Oh, my nasal little friend. Help is on the way. Of course, you can use the neti pot to push things on through. That really helps me, plus is fascinatingly gross to use. But you’re smart; you have probably already used your neti pot. Move forward.
Everyone will tell you to spice-sweat out your congestion, but I’m over peppers. Peppers are old news! Instead, I urge you to follow the ways of my people and horseradish that shizz instead. I don’t remember a Polish meal at my grandma’s house without legit ground horseradish (NOT horsey sauce, which is delicious but not what we’re going for here). I put mine on kielbasa and eat it basically by the dollop, but you can do what you want with it. The first thing that came up when I searched was “horseradish in vodka,” so if that’s your jam, I’d say have at it. The super-spicy ground mustard at döner places will work well, too. Put that on your pretzel!
Garlic will also clear up your sinuses, but since you already have super-sexy horseradish breath, you probably don’t want to eat it. So use a beauty product with it instead! Garlic has antiseptic properties, so if you have problematic skin (and I do), it can help clear things up without being really harsh. Plus, I totally buy into the school of thought that a weird smell means a product is working. The Cosmetic Warrior mask from Lush has that going for it, and legitimately cleared up a head cold I dealt with for two days prior.
And there’s the old standby: mint. You know this because you’ve been using Vicks Vaporub for your entire life. But as soothing as a chest rub is, it doesn’t make for a very work-appropriate fragrance. You can carry it through the day with mentholated products, though.
C.O. Bigelow makes a Mentha Vitamin Body Wash that isn’t too spendy (sometimes it’s on mega sale at Bath and Body Works, holla at the suburban moms!) and tingles your more sensitive bits, so, you know, bonus. A clear menthol balm slicked on your surely raw nostrils can also be a discrete help. The original Burt’s Bees flavor is the cheapest and best.
When I told my sister about this story, she had an addendum for y’all.
Kelsey: Shove Kleenex up there at all times. If you need a picture for an example, take the one from my Facebook.
Kelsey: I sat at work like that once.
Lindsey: Would you be ok with that on the public Internet forever?
Kelsey: I don't care at all.
Kelsey: No one knows how to stick solid objects up their nose quite like me.
So, there you go. You have options.
What do you do for your sinus woes during the winter? Do you have better moisturizing tips for my nostrils? By the time you read this, I’ll probably be full-blown Snot City, so maybe a moot point, but I will tuck it away for next time.
Lindsey is not picking her nose on Twitter, she swears: @lindseywoho.