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"Sinus Problems and Bacterial Infections "

by Hana R. Solomon, MD


Chronic Sinusitis

- Chronic sinusitis is one of the most commonly diagnosed chronic illnesses in the United States, affecting forty to fifty million Americans each year.

- Chronic sinusitis begins with an inflammation of the mucous membranes in your sinuses. This inflammation causes fluid buildup, eventually plugging the sinus cavity and preventing normal mucus drainage.

-Chronic sinusitis can be a miserable condition that significantly impairs your quality of life. If you have chronic sinusitis, you may have difficulty breathing through your nose or experience frequent headaches and tenderness in the face or aching behind the eyes. You may also have frequent yellow or greenish discharge from your nose or drainage down the back of your throat.

- Chronic sinusitis can be caused by infections of the upper respiratory tract - the nose, pharynx, sinuses and throat - but there are noninfectious triggers also. Allergies are a common cause, and anatomical problems such as a deviated nasal septum or polyps can bring on chronic sinusitis.

- Although most cases of sinusitis clear up in less than four weeks (termed “acute”), when the condition recurs or lasts longer than twelve consecutive weeks, you have developed a case of chronic sinusitis.

- Chronic sinusitis may be caused by mold or fungi in the sinuses.

- Research suggests that nasal irrigation is useful in the treatment of chronic sinusitis, with improvements in sinus-related quality of life, decreases in symptoms and decreases medication use.

- Symptoms include bad breath, fatigue, lack of concentration, difficulty kissing, and depression.

Biofilm is a covering, a film, often stuck to the membranes much like plaque on the teeth or the slippery slime on river stones. This bacterial community consists of two major components: bacteria and the body’s white cells (the cells which fight infections). Biofilm is often stuck to the mucosal linings and is very difficult to remove. More than 99% of all bacteria live in biofilm communities. Some are beneficial, but biofilm can cause problems. Antibiotics kill or inhibit bacteria but if the bacteria are within a biofilm, the antibiotic may not necessarily reach them. Often, these films can be physically removed by simply washing them away.

"I have practiced internal medicine for many years in academic settings. Early in my career I became aware of nasal lavage (washing) solutions for patients with allergies and recurrent sinus infections. However, in those days, ways to deliver a good lavage were limited and there was little in the medical literature to verify the benefits. So I prescribed this for a few patients but did not promote it for wide-scale use. About six years ago, three changes occurred that have influenced my thinking about nasal lavage. First of all, I personally started getting recurrent sinus infections and a worsening of my allergies (which probably contributed to the infections). Secondly, after moving to Columbia, Missouri, working at the University of Missouri Health Care, I heard about the Nasopure nasal lavage system. I contacted Dr. Solomon for more information and was able to meet with her to learn more. I was impressed with her commitment to promote nasal lavage. I decided to start using it myself. It was easy to use but I must admit that I would try it for few days and then forget about it. However, after getting over yet another sinus infection, I was determined to use it on a regular basis and have done so (using it at least once per day) ever since. One cannot draw general scientific conclusions from one person’s experience but I have found that the frequency of my infections has decreased dramatically. Third, medical studies started to come out showing the benefits of nasal lavage. This has been gratifying because it is normally very difficult to find funding for this type of research and I laud the efforts of the investigators in this area. To me it is clear that nasal lavage is very useful for patients with allergies or sinusitis. Lavage can lessen the need for medications. The problem is getting the patient to use lavage regularly, as my personal experience has shown.

I have found the following tips helpful:

1. Carefully educate the patient on the benefits of nasal lavage. I frequently compare it with the importance of handwashing.

2. Address any concerns such as the often expressed fear that it will go into their ears.

3. If you use it yourself as I do, let them know that.

4. Tell them to keep the bottle in the shower or on the edge of the tub so that they can’t miss it before bathing. is also has the advantage of allowing the solution to drain while in the shower.

5. On return visits, ask them how their use of saline lavage is working for them. Keep encouraging its use.
6. Recommend that nasal lavage be performed daily, even (or especially) on vacation. Using on long plane rides can also be very beneficial. In summary, I feel that every patient with allergies or recurrent sinus infections should be given the opportunity to try saline lavage. With encouragement from their care providers, they will hopefully find it of benefit and will continue to use it regularly."

- Robert Hodge, MD, FACP, FACPE, CPE Past Chair of Internal Medicine University Medical Center, University of Missouri, Columbia, Missouri

Best Nasal Wash
"My ENT asked me to use a nasal wash. I tried another first. Hated it. So I did some extensive searching on Amazon and found Nasopure product, then visited your web site. What sold me was the simplicity of use as indicated in the videos of the young man demonstrating its use and also the four-year-old girl trying it for the first time. I've used it now for several days, and it's much easier (and less gross!) than I'd expected/feared."

- Clifton R.

"Hi! I’m replacing my original unit as it finally developed a crack at the seam. Lasted a long time! I originally learned of Nasopure from my aunt probably 10(?) years ago. I recommend your products to friends since it has really helped my with allergies. With my allergies under control, I haven’t had a cold in years Thanks for your great product and knowledge."

- Paula W.

Chapter from "Clearing The Air One Nose at a Time: Caring for Your Personal Filter" by Hana R. Solomon MD, 2013"
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Rabago, D., & Zgierska, A. (2009, November 15). Saline nasal irrigation for upper respiratory conditions. American family physician.