Are You Sick of Seasonal Allergies and Sinusitis?
Consider an Integrative Approach!
By Stephanie Mellor, DNP, ARNP, Integrative Health and Hormone Clinic, Linn County LIVING WELL Magazine
It is estimated that nearly 37 million Americans are affected by sinusitis every year. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate there are 33 million cases of chronic sinusitis, leaving one in seven of us impacted by symptoms like fever, headache, swelling of the nasal passages, tenderness over the sinuses, nasal congestion, and halitosis.
Allergies are often predisposing factors for sinusitis. Hay fever, or allergic rhinitis, is the most common allergy, effecting roughly 7.8% of people 18 and over in the U.S. Unfortunately, unlike others allergens, wind-blown pollen is difficult to avoid, especially in the Midwest. Hay fever isn’t the only allergy Iowans face. March to June is tree pollen season in Iowa; May to August is grass pollen season; July to October is weed pollen season; and August to October is ragweed season. This means allergy sufferers could face symptoms from March all the way through late October.
The conventional approach to these frustrations often includes interventions like decongestants, analgesics (aspirin and NSAIDS), antibiotics, anti-histamines, anti-inflammatories, and even steroids. While often times these interventions do provide relief, they may not be correcting the root cause of a repetitive and annoying problem.
Integrative medicine combines conventional medicine with complementary and alternative medicine, and many patients find this approach provides them with the most comprehensive care. Research supports that this unique combination can offer beneficial results. A 2012 study, “Integrative Approach Improves Symptoms and Quality of Life for Patients with Chronic Rhinosinusitis,” showed that weekly acupuncture, counseling on dietary modification, lifestyle changes, and acupressure decreased signs and symptoms of sinusitis with no adverse effects. Demonstrating integrative therapies are safe and effective forms of treatment for chronic sinusitis.
In 1999 a landmark Mayo Clinic study, from the Mayo Foundation for Medical Education, “The Diagnosis and Incidence of Allergic Fungal Sinusitis,” revealed that 202 out of 210 patients with chronic sinusitis had not only bacterial, but fungal and viral infections as well, supporting the case to treat infections for both fungal and viral components––a more integrative approach.
Treating a non-bacterial infection with antibiotics can end up feeding opportunistic yeast, one of the potential original causes of the infection, exacerbating the situation.
Since many cases of sinusitis stem from allergies, preventing these cases involves preventing the allergic response. One of the most well known preventers is Quercetin. Quercetin is an antioxidant and flavonoid found in many plants like onions. It has anti-inflammatory properties and blocks the COX and LOX enzymes like other anti-inflammatories, but most importantly it is a mast cell stabilizer. It prevents degranulation of the mast cell and avoids the allergic response, thus avoiding allergic symptoms.
If you are tired of struggling with seasonal allergies and sinusitis, have you considered an integrative approach? Have you assessed the root cause of your problem? A solution may involve using interventions like Quercetin and natural anti-viral and anti-fungal products.
Not all over-the-counter products are readily absorbed and effective. Consult with your health care provider for a recommendation of a high quality product and the correct dosage for you.
These may not be suitable if you are pregnant, nursing, or taking blood-thinning medications.
It is always beneficial to be proactive vs. reactive. If you have been suffering from seasonal allergies and chronic sinusitis, consider a consultation with an integrative health care provider who may be able to help you resolve your issues so you can enjoy every season!
Want to Learn More?
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Looking for a natural mucolytic?
Consider N. acetyl cysteine (also known as NAC). This is an amino acid which helps break down the sulfide bonds of mucous, thinning the secretions making them easier to clear. NAC is also a precursor for glutathione, the most powerful antioxidant known to man. Thus NAC can also strengthen the immune system.