Combination Products

Cold and allergy combination products include one or more drugs from each of the five categories we've discussed Somewhat like a Chinese menu, you can order a la carte or go for a combo plate. Table 9.2 shows you some of the most common combinations. When you are choosing a product, your underlying assumption should be that you want to take as little medication as possible, since there's no sense in needlessly exposing yourself to side TABLE 9.2 Drug Combinations for Sinusitis Decongestants +...

The Workplace

The incidence of sinusitis and asthma has increased during the past decade. Although the cause for this increase remains unknown, one theory is that it's because more people are working in sealed buildings where they can't open a window to let in fresh air. Instead, the interior air is constantly recirculated. As a result, it tends to be quite dry. And if the building is contaminated with indoor pollutants such as mold and spores, fibers from carpeting and upholstery, and chemicals in...

Preface

It's amazing how few books have been written about sinusitis. Considering the millions of people who suffer from sinusitis each year, you'd think that there would be volumes in every bookstore, not to mention frequent magazine and newspaper articles on the topic. I first realized the need for such a book when Judy Foreman, a syndicated health columnist, interviewed me for an article on nasal irrigations for sinusitis. Judy later informed me that she received more e-mail in response to that...

Acute Sinusitis When a Bad Cold Gets Worse

When you get a sinus infection, one of two things happens you get better or you don't. If your symptoms are gone within a month, or even two or three, you had acute sinusitis. But if the pain, congestion, drainage, or other symptoms last longer than three months, you have chronic sinusitis. What's so magical about the three-month time period Nothing. It's just an arbitrary cutoff that experts in the field have agreed to. If a health problem persists for longer than three months, it seems...

Genetic Causes of Sinusitis

Although it's likely that many genetic links to sinusitis will be found in the future, for now these are the two we know the most about. This inherited disorder, which is usually diagnosed in childhood, is caused by a genetic defect (called a DNA mutation) that leads ,171 to abnormal secretions in various organs of the body, including the lungs, pancreas, liver, and reproductive tract. In the respiratory system, this dysfunction produces very thick mucus, which can block the lungs and sinuses,...

Antihistamines

A general consensus exists among physicians that oral deconges-tants and mucus-thinning agents benefit many patients with sinusitis. By contrast, the role of antihistamines is more controversial. Because antihistamines can dry out your nasal passages and thicken secretions, some doctors believe people with sinusitis should never take them. I don't share this view. I believe antihistamines do have a role for many people with sinusitis, particularly those whose infections seem to be related to...

Sarcoidosis

Sarcoidosis is a rare illness that produces small beadlike patches of inflamed tissue known as granulomas throughout the body. These granulomas are most common in the lungs but can also occur in the nasal passages, triggering sinus inflammation and infection. The cause of sarcoidosis is not known, but it's believed to be due to an abnormal stimulation of the immune system. It occurs three to four times more frequently in blacks and is also more common in women than in men. In some cases, people...

Triad Asthma

This disease gets its name from its three associated problems asthma, aspirin sensitivity, and nasal polyps. Triad asthma, which is also referred to as Samter's triad or aspirin-induced asthma, is a relatively common disorder, thought to occur in up to 10 percent of those with asthma. People with triad asthma have an overactive enzyme that leads to chronic inflammation of the mucous membranes in the sinuses and lungs. This enzyme, called 5-lipoxygenase, results in the overproduction of certain...

Neti Pots

Neti pots are small cups that look like a genie's lamp, with a handle on one end and a spout on the other. The name comes from jala neti, a centuries-old yoga practice in which these pots are used for nasal irrigation. You fill the neti pot with salt water and tilt your head sideways. While breathing gently through your mouth, you pour the water Devices commonly used for nasal irrigation include (left to right) a bulb syringe, an irrigation bottle, and a neti pot. Devices commonly used for...

Pain Relievers and Cough Suppressants

Along with the three categories I've already discussed, two other types of drugs are commonly combined in cold and allergy medications pain relievers and cough suppressants. Pain relievers include aspirin, acetaminophen (Tylenol), and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (Advil, Motrin, Aleve), also known as NSAIDs. These medications treat both headache pain and the discomfort described as facial pressure due to blocked sinuses. The most common nonnarcotic cough suppressant is...

Nasal Tape

You've probably seen pro football players on the sidelines wearing odd-looking pieces of tape across the bridge of their noses. Although the strips' effectiveness in enhancing athletic performance through better nasal breathing is doubtful, they can help relieve nasal obstruction in a subset of sinusitis sufferers whose obstruction is caused by a very specific problem a narrowed nasal valve. What's a nasal valve Well, it's not the solid bone part at the bridge and it's not the soft cartilage at...

Making the Diagnosis Do You Really Have Sinusitis

Unless you have prior experience with sinusitis, you may have trouble distinguishing it from other ailments, such as colds and allergies. People often mistakenly confuse the three because so many of their symptoms are similar. But they are, in fact, different entities with different causes Colds. Whereas sinusitis is caused by bacteria, colds are caused by viruses. These much smaller microorganisms invade the body's cells, where they reproduce and are eventually released into the bloodstream to...

How Your Sinuses Work

Before you can understand how to treat the things that can go wrong with your sinuses, you have to know what the sinuses are and how healthy sinuses work. We're about to embark on a journey through the human anatomy that will be a little like the 1960s movie Fantastic Voyage, except your destination as a miniaturized traveler is the nasal passages instead of the brain, and I'm sorry to have to say that the actress Raquel Welch is nowhere to be found. Entering the Nasal House Your Nose as the...

Eustachian Tube Dysfunction

Because the ears, nose, and throat are all connected, it's not uncommon for problems in one area to spill over into another. One example is Eustachian tube dysfunction (ETD). Eustachian tubes are narrow passageways that connect the inside of the ears to the back of the nose in an area known as the nasopharynx (refer back to Figure 2.2). These tubes equalize the pressure between your ears and the outside atmosphere. When you feel your ears popping in an elevator or on an airplane, that's your...

Children and Sinusitis

Like adults, children can develop sinus infections. Most often, kids' infections follow on the heels of a cold, but they can also be triggered by allergies. Although the infection process is the same as in grown-ups, several factors specific to children affect the way we diagnose and treat pediatric sinusitis. First, doctors have a harder time distinguishing between a child's sinusitis and severe cold or allergies. In an infant or a young child, the only symptom of sinusitis that parents may...

When Healthy Sinuses Become Blocked

While sinus anatomy can be likened to a house, sinus function runs more like a car. With an automobile, you know there's a lot of firing and whirring going on under the hood, but as long as the car runs OK, you tend not to think about it. Then, after months or years without any problems, you start to hear a strange knocking sound. You hope it will go away, but instead the engine conks out on the highway, stranding you on your way to work. Similarly, when your sinuses are healthy, you breathe in...

Sinusitis and Quality of Life

It's a simple but revealing question compared to one year ago, how would you rate your health today I frequently ask this question to patients who have been referred to me with sinusitis, and nearly always their answer is worse. If you're struggling with sinus problems, chances are you would say the same. What's important about this response is it reflects that sinusitis leads to more than just headaches or nasal drainage or blocked breathing passages. It affects your overall quality of life....

Vacuum Sinusitis

Vacuum sinusitis is a peculiar ailment in which a person seems to develop sinusitis symptoms without having an infection. We're not even 100 percent sure it exists, but we do know people sometimes have symptoms of sinusitis, particularly facial pain, which temporarily get better when they take sinus medications a normal CT scan that shows no obstructions of sinus ostia One possible explanation is that these patients actually have intermittent blockage one day the doors are shut, the next...

Concha Bullosa Or Silent Reflux

Acute sinusitis sinusitis that lasts three months or less adenoid lump of tissue at the back of the nose that contains cells designed to fight infection enlarged adenoids can block nasal breathing, particularly in children adenoidectomy surgery to remove the adenoids allergen substance that triggers an allergy allergic fungal sinusitis type of sinusitis caused by a reaction to fungus in the sinuses allergic rhinitis inflammation of the nasal passages caused by an allergic reaction may be...