We are heading into a time of the year when many of my patients experience more sinus problems. I noticed on the news that the pollen counts are really creeping up.
If you have had sinus problems for more than 12 weeks then the condition is considered chronic. There are some unlucky folks who experience sinus problems all year long.
They experience the symptoms of the sinuses feeling constantly full, pressure in the ears or forehead, and/or they are constantly clearing the throat. Often, they will wake with a sore or scratchy throat from the post nasal drip or from having to sleep with the mouth open.
There are acute infections that have green or bright yellow mucous that need to be treated with antibiotics or specific antimicrobial nutrients, however if one has been on one or more rounds of antibiotics and the condition is still there, it requires a different approach.
It is unlikely that the problem is still bacterial. This indicates that other microbes such as yeast or viruses are taking advantage or that the entire lymphatic system has gotten sluggish.
Here are some suggestions that will likely improve the situation:
1. Reduce factors that cause excessive mucus production and inflammation by reducing wheat, dairy ,and sugar. My experience is that eliminating wheat and dairy can fix 50% of chronic patients regardless of their presenting complaints. In other discussions sugar intake has been linked to reduced immune competence. Reducing sugar intake is essential for chronic cases. Besides that, sugar feeds most any bugs (yeast, bacteria, or virus) in the body. Other foods may also have to be evaluated. I also find that certain medications can lead to increased mucous production.
2. Thin existing mucus. Iodine is necessary to make an enzyme called muconase, which is an enzyme which helps digest mucus and has a thinning effect. Talk to me about getting liquid iodine. I can provide the proper form. Add iodine to a water bottle and drink it throughout the day. Iodine also has antibacterial and antifungal properties.
3. Rinse or Wash away excessive mucus by using a nasal lavage to thin the mucus and soothe membranes. There is a recipe below that has worked well. The salt water is quite soothing and provides the relief. If the problem continues then contact me about another recipe that uses iodine. Read more…
4. Add nutrients that have antibacterial and antifungal properties.
There are a number of different products that work well and I can test to see which one is right for you. There are products with oregano, caprylic acid, and combinations of botanicals and vitamins that are quite effective.
5. Support the Immune System for chronic infections by feeding the immune system with immune modulating botanicals and vitamins.
Vitamin D is the biggest player in immune function, see my blog post, along with Vitamin A to strengthen epithelial tissues, like the linings of the nose and the sinus.
A good multivitamin provides key trace nutrients such as zinc and selenium. Some people require enzymes, such as bromelain, to further thin mucous, while others require “drainage products” to stimulate lymphatic movement and to keep immune cells circulating. An example is n-acetyl cysteine, NAC, at 600 mg per day.
I find rubbing or tapping the chest is a helpful strategy to keep lymphatics flowing and to stimulate sinuses to drain through appropriate channels. Rub or tap the chest from the shoulders to the breastbone.
Remember, any time there is a source of chronic infection there will be a problem sooner or later. The sooner it is addressed the better, especially if you have been on multiple rounds of antibiotics. Please contact me if the sinus condition becomes chronic or if you are not sure what support is right for your body.
Rinse and Salt Lavage
The following Lavage can be used to bring comfort as the nutrients and diet reduce mucous ad inflammation. This is by no means the only sinus wash available but the one listed below is safe and can bring comfort.
Use 8 ounces of pure water (no fluoridated or chlorinated water), add ½ teaspoon of Celtic Sea Salt and a pinch of baking soda to adjust the pH. Use a teaspoon and inhale through one nostril while closing the other. Some people prefer to use a Neti Pot which looks like a tiny teapot and is designed for nasal lavage. Try to inhale a teaspoon of the liquid, blow your nose and inhale another. Continue the process using 2 or 3 teaspoons of the liquid or until you feel you have maximum benefit. The salt will dehydrate any bacteria or virus in the region and bring relief to the nasal passages. It also thins and strips mucus, so expect to cough up or see multicolored mucus when you blow your nose. The salt water mixture can be used throughout the day.