Really bad sinuses in a really allergen-filled house. What can I do? Is it even my house?
So, I have the worst sinuses ever. Or, should I say, I have the worst right sinus—about a year and a half ago, I got a horrible cold and did something terrible to my inner ear. I had buckethead
for three days and it finally got better. I never took anything for it, because I was away at college and the school nurse "didn't see anything".
Even though it got better, I felt like I had some kind of pocket of fluid behind my jaw, and I couldn't lay on my right side because of the pressure. Miraculously, on the plane home from Chicago to Virginia, my ear popped quite painfully and that problem went away as well. (Strangely, I was on an airplane a few weeks ago, and I felt great as soon as my ears popped—very loudly and painfully—but as soon as we landed, I was back to normal.)
But I'm still having problems, which I think is exacerbated by living in a very dusty, moldy, asbestos-y, 2-cat household in the middle of pollen-heavy southwest Virginia. My right sinus always feels like I have tons of congestion, which radiates into my ear. It's definitely worse at night, and I've also noticed that my hearing isn't as clear in my right ear, probably due to the fact that my cold was so bad that year and a half ago. The reason I don't think it's earwax is because this has been going on in some form or another since I first got that "cold" (it felt way worse than a cold, though). I saw a doctor about six months ago, and she gave me antibiotics because she "saw scarring", which totally helped...as long as I took them. Eight days later, it was back to usual. I went back, and she looked in my ear and said she didn't see anything.
My real question is: What can I do? I think it's my house that's making this worse, because we were gone for three days a while ago and my strange congestion was noticeably better, though not gone completely. Should I turn my fan on (that's dusty too)? Should I just never move anything, never stir up dust, and wait until I leave home again in four months? But what if it's not my house? Sudafed (pseudoephedrine) is the only thing that helps, but I fear that they're discontinuing it soon in favor of phenylephrine, which is barely a substitute. Can a doctor do anything? I don't want to bother a doctor, since I don't have insurance and my school schedule forbids an appointment most times of the day.
I have "see a doctor" on a post-it note already, so I'm hoping for some other suggestions or anecdotes, in case I really should just wait it out and see if it gets better away from home.
Oh, and neti pots are too expensive (I have $1.19 in my checking right now) and about as much of a long-term solution as Sudafed...