August 9, 2020

The Editor Speaks: Sinus from the sniff/sneeze pit


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I have been suffering from sinuses over the last ten years. Up to then, yes for over 63 years, I have NEVER had allergies of any kind. I have watched sufferers of sinus attacks and watched them sneeze, sniff, continuing blowing and wiping their nose and eyes, and never appreciated their miserable suffering.

I do now.

I blamed my sudden attacks on as I used to live in George Town and fairly close to that ever increasing giant heap of rubbish with its obnoxious smells and frequent fires. When we moved nearly two years ago to Newlands I thought at least my sinus problems would abate.

Not to be.

In fact today I have had the worst attack of my life and no end of taking sinus pills have made one bit of difference. The only slight relief was to lie down but then I couldn’t work.

I awoke in the middle of the night and it started from then.

I have gone through a whole roll of kitchen towels, sodden handkerchiefs and my wife went out for a drive just to get away from me.

So what causes sinus attacks?

There’s plenty of information on the Internet and I am not alone. There are 31 million people in the United States alone that have some form of sinus. Not that that makes me feel any better.

Fellow sufferers I can appreciate your misery better now and I know that won’t make you feel any better at all.

Sinus disease is responsible for 16 million doctor visits and $150 million spent on prescription medications. People who have allergies, asthma, structural blockages in the nose or sinuses, or people with weak immune systems are at greater risk.

The sinuses are hollow pockets within the bones surrounding the nose. They produce mucus, which drains into the nose. If your nose is swollen due to inflammation, it can block the sinuses and cause pain, congestion, post-nasal drip, a cough, and tooth or facial pain. Sinusitis can be acute, lasting up to four weeks, usually after a cold, or it can be chronic, lasting for months or even years with or without symptoms. Allergies, nasal problems, and certain conditions, such as cystic fibrosis, can also cause acute and chronic sinusitis, according to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

I have tried various over the counter medications today but nothing has worked so what about natural ones?

Everyday health tells me to “Try these 10 natural remedies for sinus pain relief to help break the sinus pain cycle:
Actually there were only eight as the other two tells you to go to a doctor and not to take antibiotics right away.

Here are the eight:

1.Flush your nasal passages. “There is a lot of debate about which sinus pain remedies work and what has been proven, but saline spray and washes like the neti pot are indisputable,” says Spencer C. Payne, MD, an associate professor of otolaryngology – head and neck surgery at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. A saline wash thins mucus and helps flush it out of the nasal passages. “Saline washes have been studied and proven to be effective, and should be the first line of defense against sinusitis,” Dr. Payne says. If you have sinus problems, Payne recommends daily use of a saline solution via the neti pot or other device to keep the sinuses moist, and to double up when you are fighting a cold or allergies.

2.Try bromelain. Sold as a supplement, bromelain is a protein found in pineapple stems. For years, it’s been used by prize fighters to reduce swelling. “Bromelain appears to be beneficial and helps reduce swelling in the nasal passages,” says , MD, MPH, an internist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City and assistant professor at the Hofstra North Shore-LIJ School of Medicine. Just be sure to talk to your doctor first, because bromelain may interact with other medications you’re taking. And be sure to follow exact dosing instructions.

3.Take a steam. Hot water vapor can help moisten the sinuses. “Sprinkle a few drops of eucalyptus or menthol in the shower and steam up your bathroom,” Dr. Graham suggests. “A hot, steamy shower or bath can also help to loosen up mucus and debris that is stuck inside your nose,” says Sam S. Rizk, MD, a ear, nose, and throat doctor and facial plastic surgeon.
Drink up. Staying hydrated helps your body in many ways, including keeping your sinuses moist.

4.Drink water throughout the day, and make sure to steer clear of caffeinated or alcoholic drinks, which can cause dehydration, Graham says. Although recommended fluid intake differs from person to person, an easy guideline is to drink at least eight 8-ounce glasses a day. How can you tell if you are getting enough fluids? “If the color of your urine is clear, you are hydrated,” Graham says.

5.Spice it up. Spicy foods such as mustard, hot peppers, curry, horseradish, and wasabi may help clear sinuses, Graham says. If you like spice, consider adding some “hot” spices to your meals to open your nasal passages.

6.Allergy-proof your home. Allergies can make sinus pain worse. The latest guidelines from the American Academy of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery call for controlling your home environment by getting rid of dust mites, installing an air filter system, using bedding with allergen-barriers, and keeping any pets out of the bedroom to help curb nasal allergies.

7.Use a humidifier. A humidifier can keep the air moist, but be sure to keep it clean, especially if you have mold allergies, says Satish Govindaraj, MD, an associate professor of otolaryngology and neurosurgery at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. A dirty humidifier can breed mold. And you should only use a humidifier during dry months, not when it’s humid. In addition, keep an eye on the humidity level in the room, Payne adds. “Thirty-five to 50 percent humidity is ideal,” he says. “If you start fogging the windows, the humidity level is too high.”

8.Apply warm compresses. “You can use a warm compress to help keep the nasal tissues moist,” Dr. Rizk says. “Or, fill a deep bowl or pot with steaming water and place your face over it with a towel around your head to breathe the steam in.” Just be careful not to burn yourself. You can also follow up the warm compress with a cold compress, which may help relieve sinus pain.


I can’t say any of those grabs me. I was hoping something like eating gallons of ice cream.

Looks like I will just suffer and hope it goes away. It always has. Eventually.

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