Allergies and Fungus in Sinusitis



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July

Special Sinus Issue

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In this issue:

  • Fatigue and body pain linked to sinusitis

  • Cherries for pain?

  • Vitamin D and back pain

  • Enzymes for pain?

  • Back pain

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Allergies and Fungus in Sinusitis



In the Archives of Environmental Health (July 2003;58(7):433-441), a study looked at the sinus lining in 639 patients diagnosed with chronic sinusitis. It found that many of the cases were due to a high fungal load in the air and in the sinus lining. Reducing air exposure to fungus and saline irrigation improved the health of the sinus lining. The author believes that sinusitis due to allergies or fungal sensitivity may be due to a genetic defect. Other research in appearing in Family Practice News (April 1, 1992;30) stated that allergic sinusitis can be caused by several species of fungus and recommended culturing the mucus to identify the exact fungus involved. Of the 40 subjects in the study, half had a history of allergies or asthma.

Saline irrigation is a valuable treatment for sinusitis. A study appearing in Family Practice News (August 1, 2004:49) randomly assigned 43 sinusitis patients to receive either nasal irrigation or amoxicillin. After 11 months, the group receiving the irrigation had dramatically better scores on the Rhinosinusitis Disability Index, suggesting the superiority of nasal irrigation to antibiotic therapy.

While it is common to treat chronic sinusitis with antibiotics, many cases are due to allergies or fungus. According to an article in Medical Tribune (December 7, 1995;1), between 25% and 70% of patients with allergies have sinusitis as a symptom. This is something to consider when repeated bouts of antibiotic therapy do not work.





Special Sinus Issue
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Body Pain and Fatigue Linked to Sinusitis




Research published in Archives of Internal Medicine (2003;163:1832-1836.) and performed by scientists at Georgetown University Medical Center, shows a link between fatigue, unexplained pain and chronic sinusitis. A study conducted at Harvard had shown that fatigue and pain scores of sinusitis patients were similar or worse than a group 20 years older with lung disease, congestive heart failure, or back pain. According to the CDC, 32 million Americans suffer from sinus problems. On average, sinus symptoms were nine times more common in patients with unexplained chronic fatigue, and six times more common in patients with unexplained chronic pain than in the control group. Sinus symptoms were also more common in patients with unexplained fatigue than in patients with fatigue explained by illness. Unexplained fatigue can therefore be more closely associated with sinusitis than are other types of fatigue. More than 20% of the subjects in the study met the criteria for a diagnosis of chronic fatigue syndrome. Most of the chronic fatigue syndrome patients had sinus symptoms. Many noted a sudden onset of their illness, something they have in common with patients suffering with sinusitis.

 




According to research submitted to the 2009 annual meeting of the American College of Sports Medicine (abstracts 851 and 852), consuming tart cherry juice can reduce pain from exercise. Healthy runners between the ages of 18 and 50 were randomly selected to receive either tart cherry juice or a placebo to drink one week before the race. The group with the cherry reported less pain. Another study had 14 women with fibromyalgia drinking either tart cherry juice or a placebo for 10 days to see its effect on muscle pain and strength after exercise. Once again, the group receiving the cherry juice had less pain and more strength.

Cherries for Pain?

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In a study of children diagnosed with acute sinusitis of ten or more days duration, some were given a placebo and others were given antibiotics (amoxicillin or Augmentin). Those given the placebo were as likely to get better as the children who were prescribed antibiotics. Symptoms improved within seven days in 81% of children in both the placebo group and the antibiotic group. Within 10 days in 87% of all children improved.

The study published in the journal Pediatrics (April 2001;107:619-625) also found that antibiotic therapy did no better than the placebo in preventing the recurrence of symptoms. The drug did not reduce absences from school or day care when compared to the placebo. Many cases of sinusitis are caused by viruses, against which antibiotics have no effect. Some researchers believe that many cases of sinusitis are fungal in nature.

This does not mean that antibiotics should never be used, only that they should be used "judiciously." Bacterial infections will respond to antibiotics, so a doctor may prescribe antibiotics for some children with symptoms that will not go away on their own, researchers said.

Antibiotics May Not be Good for Sinusitis





Sinus Problems and Pollution





Sinuses are air pockets within the skull. They are located around the nose and eyes. Each sinus is connected to the nasal passage by a small duct which allows mucus drainage and air exchange. These ducts are called ostea and each is about the size of a pencil lead. About 34 million Americans suffer with sinus problems. Often a cold will plug up the ostea, preventing the sinuses from draining properly. The moist, warm, mucus-packed sinus becomes a breeding ground for bacteria. To the patient, it seems to be a cold that just doesn’t go away. Chronic sinusitis produces pressure between the eyes, on the sides of the nose, or in the front of the forehead. There is a stuffy feeling, and the victim frequently has headaches. He or she often has a runny nose, sore throat, and/or a cough from the constant draining of mucus.

Frequently the sinus sufferer has repeat bouts of infection and takes antibiotics on a regular basis. This can create digestive problems or immune system problems. Repeated courses of antibiotic therapy can create dysbiosis (overgrowth of yeastor other pathologic microorganism in the intestine) and ultimately lead to other problems like headaches, fatigue, digestive problems and allergies.

Smoking, air pollution and environmental allergies can irritate the ostea and create the conditions for chronic sinusitis. Indoor air pollution can be much worse than outdoor air pollution (especially during the winter).

Chemical toxicity is a huge issue. Chemical exposure can cause a wide variety of symptoms, including fatigue, headaches, skin problems, digestive problems, recurrent Candidiasis, allergies and even cancer. Some occupations that involve chemical exposure are farmers, hairdressers, photographers, refinery and factory workers, airline employees, truck drivers, auto mechanics, painters, doctors and x-ray technicians.

The "body burden" of chemicals is tested by the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention every two years. It has found that the average American now has 116 synthetic compounds in his or her body, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. These include dioxin (from burning plastic), polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (from auto exhaust) and organochlorine pesticides. Of course there are about 75,000 different chemicals produced in the United States each year, 3,000 of which are produced in quantities greater than 50,000 tons each year. Chemicals that were banned decades ago persist in the soil, air and water. DDT, banned 34 years ago, still exists in detectable levels in many people. It would be interesting to see the CDC’s result if all of these chemicals were tested for.

Recent studies have detected these pesticides, plastics and polymers not only in umbilical cord blood, but in the placenta, in human milk and in the bloodstreams and body fat of infants. These substances may have far reaching effects on our health. One toxin threatening mothers and children is mercury. Mercury has been linked to breast cancer, autism and attention deficit disorder. In 2002, a study found that nearly 15% of American women of reproductive age have enough of this contaminant in her blood to endanger a developing fetus.




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Sinus Health Check List


  • Minimize the amount of chemical and dust where you sleep. The room should have no carpeting; hardwood flooring is best. Do not store clothing, books or printed material in this room. Pure cotton or wool bedding should be used. The mattress and pillow should contain no foam. The room should be very sparsely furnished. If you have gas, forced-air heat in your home, it should be turned off in that room. Seal the vents and use electric space heaters in that room.

  • If you have gas, forced-air heating, get your ducts cleaned. Many people who catch a cold every winter are actually victims of their ductwork. During the summer, moist, air-conditioned air goes through the ducts. In early fall, dust and mold collect in the ducts. When it gets cold, the heat is turned on and the dry, heated air blows dust and mold throughout the house. Many people who think they have a cold may actually be allergic to dust or mold. Some of these people are sick all winter long. Cleaning the ducts prevents this problem.

  • Use a HEPA filter at home to clean up indoor air pollution. These are free-standing filters that remove dust, mold, pollen and smoke from the air. They are available in most appliance stores.

  • Sinuses are often worse in winter when they are exposed to hot, dry, indoor heat. A humidifier is helpful (worth noting, if there is an allergy to dust mites, a humidifier may aggravate the allergy). Make absolutely sure that you change the water and clean the humidifier regularly. Saline irrigation can reduce pain and swelling in the sinuses and nasal passages.

  • Blow your nose. Never sniff mucus back into your nose. It plugs the ostea and increases sinus pressure.

  • If you smoke, quit.

  • Make absolutely sure that you drink an adequate amount of water.

  • Steam is very helpful. Long, hot showers, going into a steam bath or simply boiling water and inhaling the vapor through your nose will help your sinuses to drain.

  • Come in for a consultation and we can help you with nutritional advice to help you and will help you with any allergy or Candida problems that you may have. Spinal adjustments are useful for improving function of the nervous system, thus improving the health of both the sinuses and the immune system. Products like vitamins A, or C may be beneficial. Arabinogalactan powder is a powerful immune booster. Spinal manipulation to improve function of the nervous system, cranial work or other hands-on therapy may be an important part of restoring your health.


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