Sniffles, Sneezes and Sinus infections…

allergy & immunology Jun 08, 2021
Woman sneezing into a tissue, showing signs of a cold or allergy, with a concerned expression, in a home environment.

Autoimmunity and allergies can BOTH affect our sinus health. 

Of all the patients that walk into my office for nose and sinus symptoms, we determine that about 1/3 have symptoms caused by allergies, 1/3 have a condition termed non-allergic rhinitis and 1/3 have BOTH

Although the underlying mechanisms and treatment strategies may vary a bit.
There are a few take-home messages for caring for your nasal and sinus mucosa- the tissues that line the inside of our nose and sinuses.  

The purpose of our nasal mucosa is to condition the air we breathe before it reaches our lungs.
It warms, humidifiers, and filters out potentially harmful substances in the air we breathe.
When it becomes irritated and/or inflamed it secretes mucus and can become swollen leading to the symptoms of runny nose and nasal congestion that we all dread with colds and allergies. 

When nose and sinus inflammation becomes chronic in the case of allergies or non-allergic rhinitis, it can lead to enlargement of structures known as turbinates.
This process can eventually cause the sinus drainage pathways to become blocked and can lead to an increased susceptibility to sinus infections over time. 

Additionally, allergists and Ear, Nose, and Throat physicians are increasingly interested in information about the microbiome of our nose and sinus cavities.

These are the bacteria, viruses, and fungi that cohabitate with us.

The amounts and types of these microbes can vary greatly based on many factors including the use of antibiotics, recent viral infection, and underlying health conditions. 




What can we do to help ourselves out? 

  1. Nasal saline:  Saltwater helps loosen mucus in the nasal and sinus passageways and rinse away pollen and other debris.
    It increases mucus clearance by about 30%.

    Safety Tips:
      Do Not use water directly from the faucet. This runs the risk of severe infection.Talk to your physician before you use ANYTHING other than saline in your rinse bottles
  2. Get your beauty sleep.
    Sleep is the time our body is able to repair.
    On average, our bodies require 7-8 hours of sleep each night to function at their best. 

  3. Clean up your air quality.
    One of the main functions of our nasal passageways is to warm up, humidify and clean up the air we breathe in before it hits our lungs.

    Our mucosa is the main interface between our bodies and the environment. The first tissues to see all of the particulate matter in the air- this includes allergens AND irritants. 

  4. Food is Medicine.
    The data is increasingly clear…

    A plant-forward diet feeds good gut bugs promoting the creation of short-chained fatty acids and anti-inflammatory chemical signals throughout the body.
    That said. There is NO one-size-fits-all diet that works for everyone. 

  5. Immunotherapy has been one of the MOST natural allergy treatments available for well over 100 years!
    This treatment option uses a formulation based specifically on your allergy profile and uses purified pollen or other allergens to treat your symptoms.  

Want to learn more?

Download your copy of my 5 Evidence-based Granola Approaches to Allergies with even MORE helpful tips and tricks here.



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