Sore septum: sinus infection or dehydration?
October 25, 2007 2:37 PM   Subscribe

On Tuesday, I had a 9-hour flight back from Paris. I drank as much water and non-caffeinated liquid as I could. Within 2-3 hours of landing, I found that my septum was rather sore to the touch.

I immediately took some Sudafed to ward off any kind of sinus infection awfulness. None of my sinus areas are at all tender, but it's Thursday and my septum is still sore. As this is a new experience, I'm curious as to whether this is a typical sign of impending sinus infection or maybe my poor inner schnoz is dehydrated?

(Other information: my septum is indeed deviated and thus it will always be; sinus headaches and the odd infection are commonplace for me.)
posted by gsh to Health & Fitness (6 answers total)
I immediately took some Sudafed to ward off any kind of sinus infection awfulness.

What? How would Sudafed prevent any kind of infection?

To answer your question, 9 hours of dry air could make your mucous membranes sore, even if you drank a lot of liquid. Also, maybe you caught some kind of upper respiratory infection on the plane. You'll certainly find out within the next couple days.
posted by rxrfrx at 2:49 PM on October 25, 2007

I'd lean more toward inner schnoz issues. I've run into this at this time of year just from the return of the need for heat, especially at night, so that might be a factor as well as your plane travel. Have you tried some hydrating nasal spray, the type that's essentially a saline solution? It's worth a try -- it might take a while to work, but resist the urge to use more than is recommended by the brand, as overuse can end up making the dryness issues worse.
posted by Dreama at 2:51 PM on October 25, 2007

Maybe you caught a cold from someone? I'm quite attuned to my body and for me that's the first sign of a cold.
posted by randomstriker at 4:22 PM on October 25, 2007

Have you tried some hydrating nasal spray, the type that's essentially a saline solution?

Or, instead of worrying about overuse of something like Afrin, go straight for the saline only nasal spray. It'll be at the drugstore in the ear/nose/throat aisle.

You probably already know this, since you have had sinus infections in the past, but are your sinuses sore to the touch? Like, if you press under your eyes with your hands, does it hurt? That's the first thing my doc does when he suspects a sinus infection. If it hurts, it's probably an infection.
posted by cooker girl at 4:54 PM on October 25, 2007

FESS put out a saline nasal spray which is great, but they also put out a schnoz-soother - it's a tube of cream that you stick up your poor, abused nasal passages to stop them cracking and drying out painfully. If it's only your septum, then perhaps getting some of this on it may assist?
posted by ninazer0 at 12:37 AM on October 26, 2007

People take Sudafed to ward off sinus awfulness because it's a decongestant. It opens up things and lets the junk drain out. Confined mucous maintained at body heat is a great culture medium. In the old days, they used to give you some kind of decongestant for a sinus infection to see if it resolved, and you only got antibiotics later if it didn't. I read somewhere on the 'net that they were going back to recommending that to avoid antibiotic resistant problems. I do that myself, and if you start early, it's pretty effective. My nose has been broken and untreated several times, so I have that weirdly shaped septum thing. (If you break your nose, it's probably not a good idea to set it yourself in the mirror.) Sudafed is also really good for that airline, "my ears won't clear" thing. It opens the Eustachian tubes, and you can sometimes head off an ear infection if you start early.
posted by unrepentanthippie at 6:10 AM on October 26, 2007

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