Healthy Beginnings

Therapy for Chronic Sinus Congestion

Allergic rhinitis is a major respiratory health problem that affects between 10 to 30 percent of adults and more than 40 percent of children worldwide

Allergic rhinitis is a major respiratory health problem that affects between 10 to 30 percent of adults and more than 40 percent of children worldwide

The fall season is rough for those with persistent sinus problems. It becomes difficult to breathe due to goldenrod, sage and other pollinators. Many people say prayers for an early hard freeze to send these plants into dormancy.

About the same time, cleaning up summer’s leftovers means inhaling dust and smoke while raking and burning leaves.

Later on, the house furnace will blow full blast. This dries any moisture in the home causing the airways and sinus cavities to dry out and become further irritated.

When the warm weather returns, so do the blooming ornamental trees with more pollen. Maybe there’s even a trip to Burning Man with all the dust 60,000 people can stir up.

The moisture in the sinus and nasal cavities traps this dust and pollen–plus germs and viruses. These areas produce a clear, thin mucus that washes this debris down into the stomach where the gastric acid destroys them. If these invading forms were not disposed of, they would travel down the throat into the bronchi and lungs. Or they would stay in the nasal and sinus cavities to wreak allergy havoc. It is normal for these cavities to produce between one and two pints of sinus drainage every day.

Especially in dry climates, many of us battle year-round nasal congestion that can end in several sinus and/or ear infections, followed by antibiotics throughout the year. Other symptoms of chronic sinus problems are sore throat, achy ears, white or yellow mucus drainage, headache above or below the eyes, headache at the base of the skull, upset stomach and bad breath.

Allergic rhinitis is a major respiratory health problem that affects between 10 to 30 percent of adults and more than 40 percent of children worldwide, and the percentages are growing. This condition negatively affects the patient’s quality of life, school or work performance, social interaction, and creates a financial burden. It is a risk factor for asthma and many patients also suffer from atopic dermatitis and conjunctivitis, nasal polyps, upper respiratory infections, sleep disorders and impaired learning in children.

With the sinuses blocked and nasal passages swollen, the breathing alternative is through the mouth. But the throat may be swollen too and the tongue may relax enough to close off the throat, which results in snoring. Snoring can cause excessive daytime drowsiness, poor concentration and place a strain on relationships.

A study at the Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit reveals the snoring vibration causes changes in the carotid arteries that nourish the brain. When compared to non-snorers, snorers were found to have a significantly greater thickness of these arteries’ walls. This is the first sign of carotid artery disease, which leads to hardening of the arteries.

There are four sinus cavities behind the facial bones. The two frontal cavities are right above the eyebrows. Unless congested, these areas drain easily due to gravity. But they do not drain well when lying down or sleeping. Maxillary sinuses rest just below the eyes and do not ever drain easily, but do so better when lying or sleeping. Because of this, they are especially prone to infection, which can spread throughout the sinuses, ear canals and throat.

The easy solution is to take antihistamines and decongestants to dry up the mucus. But that’s the problem–they dry everything out. There’s no thin clear mucus to protect the tissues and dispose of the irritants. The sinuses and airways remain vulnerable to the next allergen onslaught.

Those with severe allergic symptoms may be prescribed corticosteroid pills or injections for only short periods of time because they are harmful to the body’s organs and can cause glaucoma, high blood pressure, cataracts, high blood sugar and osteoporosis.

Decongestant nasal sprays can be used only for several days because their rebound effect can make the congestion worse. High blood pressure, heart problems, or prostate enlargement means one should use these sprays cautiously.

Allergy shots keep your body from over-reacting to the allergen. They do not work for everybody and require frequent office visits. A patient may need years of treatment with side effects such hives and rash, and the possibility of throat swelling to the degree that it prevents any breathing.

If you suffer from frequent sinusitis and infection, getting and keeping the airways open is paramount because bacteria can’t thrive in an oxygen rich environment. Next month’s article will cover safe methods for accomplishing mucus-free sinuses for easy breathing.


Written By JeanAnn Fitzgerald | JeanAnn is a free-lance writer for health and metaphysics.

*This article was reprinted with permission from the author.