Advising Sinusitis Patients to Use Nasal Irrigation May Help Improve Symptoms — Physician’s First Watch

Medical News |
July 18, 2016

Advising Sinusitis Patients to Use Nasal Irrigation May Help Improve Symptoms

By Kelly Young

Edited by Susan Sadoughi, MD, and André Sofair, MD, MPH

Patients with chronic or recurrent sinusitis who were advised to use nasal irrigation had a modest reduction in symptoms, according to a CMAJ study.

Researchers randomized roughly 900 patients with chronic or recurrent sinusitis to receive brief advice on using one of four approaches:

  • Self-administered daily nasal irrigation with a neti pot

  • Self-administered daily steam inhalation

  • Nasal irrigation plus steam inhalation

  • Usual care

At 3 months' follow-up, nasal irrigation groups had greater reductions in self-reported sinusitis symptoms than did other groups. The benefit was retained at 6 months. The authors estimate that about 13 patients would need to be treated with nasal irrigation for one person to benefit. Nasal irrigation was also associated with improvements in headaches, over-the-counter medication use, and the desire to consult a physician the next time.

For most outcomes, steam inhalation had no effect.

Reader Comments (4)

William Miley, MPH- Education Other Healthcare Professional, Other, Retired Public Health Educator

Even better is the use of the GROSSAN NASAL IRRIGATOR or WATERPIC dental irrigator with a nasal tip and saline packets with both. Beginning 40+ years ago my allegist, James Villaveces, M.D. (Still practicing, Ventura, Ca 93003) counseled use of the Waterpic tool. Now use the Grossan.. Helps clear the congestion and prevents an infection. My extended family uses too. Sinus infections are rare now.

Muktar Gadanya, MBBS, MSc, FMCPH Physician, Preventive Medicine

keen to know experiences of doctors and patients on this

Catherine Ratliff, JD, NCC Other, Other, Hot Springs, SD

I've had 3 sinus surgeries and have chronic sinusitis. I use the squeeze bottle of NeilMed mix for better penetration. By adding a third-dropper of goldenseal tincture I've reduced sinus infections by two-thirds.

Peter Modrow MD Physician, Anesthesiology, retired

As a 13 yr old, 1953, an ENT in NJ treated my sinusitis by irrigating
the sinus with a catheter placed in the sinus. The irrigation was with
saline and an antibiotic. After 2-3 treatments I was infection free.

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