There is nothing worse than the feeling of waking up on your big day of diving to find that you have blocked sinuses. All you thoughts of going just that little bit deeper turn into anxious worries about whether you’ll ne able to equalise correctly or not. Try these 7 ways to clear blocked sinuses to hopefully get you back underwater again as soon as possible.
1. Always Blow, Never Sniffle
Lets start with the most obvious. I was guilty of this for a long time until one my my freediving instructor actually shouted at me in front of the whole group. ‘STOP SNIFFING, BLOW YOUR Effin Nose!!!!’
Almost subconciously some people will sniff in to avoid snot running down thier nose. This is one of the worst things you can do. Blow that mucous out so that it doesn’t even get a chance to go anywhere near your tubes.
There exists teapot like instrument called a neti pot, which you fill will water and a little salt and procede to pour into one nostril with your head tilted to one side so the water will run out of the other nostril. This thing is similar but works by pressure which I find more effective. Similiar to the thing that you stick up your bum, you fill the plastic bottle with a pre supplied solution and then squeeze the bottle with the nozzle pressed to one nostril. Repeat for the other nostril and keep switching until all the solution is gone. Remember to do this over a sink otherwise it could be messy.
Try to maintain a healthy balanced diet. Certain foods are known to increase sinus problems including :
- Fried foods
- White flour
- Strong spices
- Meat products
Avoid meat and dairy the day before your dive and personally I would stay away from white flour and refined sugar as much as possible. Fruits and vegetables are a much better source of carbohydrates and will make you feel a ton better.
Lots of presciption and over the counter medicines have the side effect of a stuffy nose. Read the leaflet/instructions from the box and only if its not dangerous and there is no risk then stop the medication 3-4 days before a dive should have it all cleared out. The number one culprit of this is that little blue pill that men use to kickstart things ‘downstairs’.
A great little hack, whoch works sometimes is to push your tongue flat against the roof of your mouth and apply pressure with your thumb in the spot between your eyebrows. Hold for at least 20 seconds, when you let go you should begin to feel movement at the back of your throat. Give it a try…
At the time of writing I live in the canary islands which is a bunch of rocks off the coast of africa. It’s hot pretty much all year round, and its dry. Drier than a camels foot.
If the air that you breathe contains little moisture, either because of your location or by using home heating units this will affect the runniness of your mucous and may cause blockages. Use a humidifier to keep moisture in your nasal passages to allow easier draining.
7. Stay hydrated
Similar to using the humidifier, think of your mucous like tears, if your body is not hydrated enough it will thicken the mucous. Also staying well hydrated is important for all around health and diving. I’m not going to give any suggestions as everyone is different and has various needs. Use common sense.
Decongestants are not recommended here and for good reason. They are a quick fix and it’s easy to become dependent on them. In the long run, abusing medication will only make things worse.
Don’t be afraid to call off the dive if you are still struggling, nothing is worth an ear injury or sinus squeeze.