allergist ft. lauderdale

Why Unconventional Ways to Treat Sinus Problems Can Be Risky

What is Sinusitis?

Sinusitis is a prevalent illness caused when the air-filled cavities (sinuses) around your nose, eyes, and cheeks become inflamed. This inflammation is often due to an infection caused by a virus, bacteria, fungus, or an allergies to an irritant. Once these sinuses are inflamed, mucus cannot naturally drain. As a result, the mucus blocks the air-filled cavities, making it hard for your body to fight and heal the infection. This illness can be acute, where symptoms last less than eight weeks; chronic, where they last or recur longer than eight weeks; or recurrent, where you experience three or more acute episodes per year.


Since the sickness is quite common, several scientifically sound and verified treatments are available to combat its symptoms, as offered by an allergist and medical doctor.

· Antibiotics- A doctor may give you antibiotics if your symptoms show signs of a infection, one of a bacterial nature which has caused your sinusitis. Antibiotics are usually for treating chronic and acute sinusitis and should not be given within the week right after symptoms appear.

· Nasal corticosteroids- These are prescribed sprays that reduce symptoms such as inflammation of the nose, runny nose, sneezing and itching. While effective, they take a week or two to start improving symptoms.

· Antihistamines- These come in the form of oral and nasal sprays and can be prescribed or bought OTC (over the counter). They types antihistamines are short term fixes and work best on symptoms that are not very sever.

· Surgery- In extreme cases where chronic sinusitis is not helped medication, your doctor may recommend surgery to remove polyps or bone spurs. They can also suggest that the sinus opening be enlarged.

Alternative treatments and their risks

With the advent of social media, information is easier spread and disseminated. One such area that this affects is the treatment for medical conditions. Social media users have become staunch advocates of home remedies and alternative therapies for issues that predate their knowledge. Sinusitis is no stranger to such thinking. There are several suggested treatments that go against the advice of medical practitioners, as listed below.

1. Essential Oils.

Some believe that essential oils can treat the symptoms and, as a result, cure sinusitis. They maintain that the best way to do this is through inhalation. This treatment can do this through steam inhalation, where you combine multiple essential oils with hot water to create steam that should have therapeutic qualities.

Direct inhalation means persons taking in the essential oil directly from the container or adding a drop of oil to a cotton ball, inhaler tube, or handkerchief and breathing in. Diffusers disperse the oils in the air, which dilutes their strengths before inhalation. Aromatherapy baths and massages are also used to prompt the inhaling of essential oils to help treat sinusitis symptoms.

The risk of using essential oils lies in the effect it can have on the nasal cavity. The oils are usually potent, so direct inhalation can cause irritation and inflammation, which worsens the symptoms and the sickness itself. If inhaled in large doses or for an extended period of time, you run the risk of experiencing dizziness, head pains, and feeling as though you want to throw up. Essential oils can also cause burns, irritation, rash, and itchiness if applied directly to the skin.

They can also interact poorly with other the counter and prescription medications.

2. Neti Pots

The alternative method involves using little teapots with long sprouts as a basis for nasal irrigation. The pots use a saline solution to treat congested sinuses, which, in theory, makes them perfect for treating sinusitis. They are also employed to moisten the nasal passages that have been exposed to dry indoor air, usually from a central air conditioning system.

However, these contraptions, when used incorrectly, can increase the risk of infection. If the nasal rinsing device is unclean or not sanitized properly, it can introduce new bacteria into the sinuses, thus worsening the infection that was already there in the first place. Additionally, if your illness fighting system is compromised, then these Neti Pots can cause further complications to your situation.

3. Acupuncture

This treatment operates under the assumption of traditional medicine, Chinese ones, where your health is said to depend on the flow of qi in your body. Therefore, when the body is sick or physically unwell, it means that the body’s qi is blocked or experiencing a disrupted flow. Acupuncture is used to correct that flow. Extremely thin needles are inserted into the skin at a specific point of the body for stimulation. It is this stimulation that helps clear blockages and restores the usual flow of qi within ones body.

If a properly trained acupuncturist performs this process, it is generally safe. However, if the process is not done well or the needles used aren’t appropriately sterilized, you run the chances of negative side effects such as nausea, dizziness, and tenderness or pain around the affected area. Unclean needles can also worsen or reintroduce infections into the body, thus causing unnecessary complications.

If you are pregnant or on blood thinners, acupuncture may cause other adverse side effects as well.

4. Decongestants

This form of treatment can be available in tablet or nasal form and can be purchased over the counter and via prescription. They are often used in conjunction with antihistamines. It should be noted that some decongestants may have pseudoephedrine, which can increase blood pressure. Additionally, nasal decongestants can cause swelling in the nasal passages, which causes rebound congestion.

While home remedies may seem like an easier and more simple way to treat sinusitis, they come with unnecessary risks that complicate your original illness. It is always best to listen to your physician (an Allergist Ft. Lauderdale or medical doctor) and strictly follow their instruction to ensure that you treat and heal from sinusitis with the least amount of health complications possible.