The Art of Sinus and Allergy Maintenance
After suffering from terrible sinus problems for a while, I've discovered many ways to attack this problem. Most of it depends on what type of symptoms or problems the person is having.
Sinusitis is caused by several things. Allergies, bacterial infection, fungal infection, even yeast overgrowth. Most of the time, it is a combination of these things. In my case, it is a severe dust mite allergy and structural problems.
The first line of defense is antihistamines. The one that works the best is Chlor-Tremeton. It is also the most powerful. It will control allergic inflammation and often gets rid of dizziness and even sinus pressure. The problem is, antihistamines dry out the sinuses, and can prevent drainage. This dryness can get pretty severe, causing sore-throats, etc. Mix these drugs with Mucinex, a mucus solvent. Take 3 days off every month, to allow the sinuses to recover.
Next we have decongestants, like Sudafed or Zyrtec. Take these if you are suffering from an obvious sinus infection. Don't mix them with Mucinex. They can be sedating, so take them at night.
Singulair: this should only been taken if you suffer from asthma or chronic sinusitis that can cause asthma.
Antibiotics -don't work well against sinus infections. Take only if a severe infection is presents ESPECIALLY if there is "bloody discharge." The best way to take them is using a nebulizer such as the "SinuNeb" system. Avoid quinolones (Avelox, Levaquin) -they have dangerous side-effects. Augmentin and Zithromax work fine.
Irrigate at least once a day. There are 3 different ways to do this...
1. Spray bottle -you can mix saline and baking soda and spray it up the nose, then hold it there (see beerzoids upside down flooding method). The benefit of this, is that you can hold the solution in the sinuses for a few minutes in order to fight infection. 3ml of hydrogen peroxide can be added if there is obvious signs of an infection. I do this if my nasal discharge is yellow.
2. Neti Pot -a method to "wash out" the sinuses. You can create any solution you want.
3. Irrigation machine -such as a Grossan Hydropulse. This is what I use, and the benefit is that the pulsating water can stimulate the cilia in your sinuses. The 500ml resevoir can hold saline, baking soda, Alkalol (a mucus solvent), or a small amount of hydrogen peroxide if needed.
DO NOT USE WARM WATER DURING IRRIGATION. IT WILL MAKE SWELLING WORSE. Use cool water. Remember, we put ice on inflammation, not warm water!
You HAVE to irrigate. If you don't, you won't get better.
Avoid dairy and sugar. Dairy increases mucus, and sugar lowers your immune system. You may also want to limit your exposure to yeast -there is some evidence that yeast overgrowth/allergies, can cause sinus problems, such as nasal congestion and pressure. Talk to your ENT about this.
Avoid strenuous exercise if you have an infection. Exercise increases the release of histamine, which further creates inflammation.
Use dust mite covers and HEPA filters. Wash your sheets in hot water every 3 days. Don't bother cleaning the ducts, it doesn't do anything. Sinofresh works well to combat bacteria and fungus in the nose. I use it frequently.
STUFF THAT DOESN'T WORK
This is just my opinion, but here we go.
1. Claritin -useless as an antihistamine. The general rule is that "if it doesn't make you drowsy, it doesn't work."
2. Nasal Steroids -may reduce inflammation, but leave you open to fungal infections of the nose. Believe me, you DON'T want a fungal infection in the nose! They also cause nosebleeds and even cataracts.
3. Astelin -contains a preservative that can irritate the soft tissue of your sinuses. Also cause nosebleeds.
Hope this helps.