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Simple Solutions for Sinus Health

sinushealthJacquie Eubanks RN BSN

We inhale an unbelievable 11,000 liters of air each day. The main function of the sinuses is to prevent pollutants, micro-organisms, dust particles and dirt from entering the body through the nasal passages. The sinuses are lined with mucus membranes, which secrete moisturizing fluids that protect the nose and nasal passages, while filtering, warming, and moistening the air we breathe. Most of the millions of bacteria in our noses are harmless, and even when they manage to reach the sinus cavities, they are normally drained away along with mucus.  However, as 31 million Americans can attest, sinuses are susceptible to inflammation and infection. Sinusitis, inflammation of the sinuses, can result from an allergy or a bacterial infection that can follow a viral infection, such as a cold. In fact, acute sinusitis often feels like a never ending cold.

The body’s immune response to the infection causes inflammation or swelling of the sinus lining, blocking the drainage channels and causing mucus to accumulate in the sinuses. Acute sinusitis is normally diagnosed when symptoms of stuffy nose, congestion, and pain or pressure in the sinus areas, as well as yellow or green drainage from the nose, persist for up to four weeks. Acute viral sinusitis is the likely cause when you have been sick for less than 10 days and are not getting worse. Viral sinusitis does not benefit from antibiotics, but might be treated with OTC pain relievers, saline nasal irrigation, or steroid nasal sprays. Acute bacterial sinusitis is the likely diagnosis when you don’t get better within 10 days or begin to get better but then get worse. The same treatments will help but often antibiotics will speed the healing process.

Chronic sinusitis is diagnosed when symptoms last for 12 weeks or longer, usually the result of an inflammatory immune response rather than infection. Sinus inflammation with symptoms that can include fever, headache, stuffy nose and impaired sense of smell may be associated with allergies or asthma. Additionally, researchers at the Mayo Clinic’s Department of Otorhinolaryngology found positive fungal cultures in those with chronic sinusitis, which will be investigated further. Currently, as antibiotics that target bacteria do not alleviate chronic sinusitis nor eliminate inflammation, antihistamines, nasal steroid sprays, decongestants and systemic steroids are the general treatment options. As with acute sinusitis, saline nasal washes or nasal sprays are useful in treating the symptoms. Warm compresses applied to the facial area and sleeping with the head raised can also help to reduce sinus pressure and pain.

Strategies for prevention of sinusitis include:

  • Daily use of nasal irrigation gently keeps nasal passages clear, decreases congestion and swelling, removes debris, allergens and bacteria, and moistens mucus membranes. Use of a saline nasal spray can help to keep nasal passages moist during the daytime.
  • A humidifier can help by adding moisture to dry indoor air, especially during winter months when homes are heated.
  • As much as possible, avoid upper respiratory infections by supporting your immune health, minimizing contact with those who have colds and washing hands frequently with regular soap and water.
  • Seasonal allergy sufferers should take steps to keep their allergies under control by avoiding triggers, activities or environments that might aggravate symptoms. If avoiding allergens is not an option, keep OTC antihistamines, decongestants and saline nasal sprays on hand for short term use in the event of an acute allergy attack.
  • Consider inflammation reducing supplements such as omega-3’s, curcumin, garlic, or bromelain.
  • Optimize vitamin D levels through appropriate and sensible sun exposure or vitamin D3 supplementation.
  • Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water, which helps to keep nasal secretions thin.
  • Avoid second hand cigarette smoke and air contaminants that can irritate the lungs and nasal passages.
  • Inhaling steam by lingering in a hot shower, or adding some eucalyptus or menthol essential oil to a bowl of hot water and breathing in the vapors, helps to clear and keep nasal passages open.
  • Consider following a low histamine diet that excludes alcohol, pickled foods, smoked meat products, shellfish, vinegar, peanuts, beans, pulses and additional high histamine level foods.

Professional Supplement Center carries these and other high quality supplements that support and sinus and overall health:

Aller-C Quercetin ...Aller-C Quercetin & Bioflavonoids by Vital Nutrients – This potent and effective formula provides allergy and sinus support by maintaining and supporting proper levels of enzymes and physiologic factors necessary for normal respiratory and sinus function. Gluten, dairy, soy, wheat, rye, barley, egg and sugar free formulation.

AirMaxx Vegetarian...AirMaxx Vegetarian Tablets by Nutritional Frontiers – Formulated for allergy, sinus and lung support, AirMaxx supports proper respiratory function and provides ingredients that help maintain histamine levels within the normal ranges. Gluten free, vegetarian formulation.

Inspir-ActionInspir-Action by Bioclinic Naturals – This synergistic combination of nutrients and botanicals contains clinically relevant dosages of each active ingredient, providing support for the entire respiratory system by building and maintaining healthy lung and bronchial passageways. Provides relief for symptoms of sinusitis, cough, and congestion and helps restore normal function. Gluten, dairy, soy, wheat and yeast free formulation.

Clear Sinus and EarClear Sinus & Ear® by Clear Products – This unique homeopathic and herbal formula provides safe and effective relief from symptoms of sinus pressure, as well as  sinus and ear congestion often associated with colds, water activities and air travel. Used successfully by pilots, flight attendants, scuba divers and swimmers. Gluten and lactose free formulation.

Sinus-ToneSinus-Tone by Energetix – This homeopathic drainage remedy is designed to assist the body in moving toxins out through the drainage systems, while helping to loosen congestion and soothing the mucous membranes of the nasal passages. Gluten free formulation.

 

References:
Anatomy of the Sinuses.  https://www.cedars-sinai.edu/Patients/Programs-and-Services/Sinus-Center/Anatomy-of-the-Sinuses.aspx
Research on Chronic Sinusitis. http://www.mayoclinic.org/departments-centers/otorhinolaryngology-ent/minnesota/research/chronic-sinusitis
Sinusitis. http://www.entnet.org/content/sinusitis
Research on Chronic Sinusitis. http://www.mayoclinic.org/departments-centers/otorhinolaryngology-ent/minnesota/research/chronic-sinusitis
What to do about sinusitis. http://www.health.harvard.edu/diseases-and-conditions/what_to_do_about_sinusitis
Sinusitis Overview. http://www.aaaai.org/conditions-and-treatments/allergies/sinusitis
13 Most Anti-Inflammatory Foods You Can Eat. https://authoritynutrition.com/13-anti-inflammatory-foods/