Sinus Infections: Bacteria are not Always the Problem
In the Archives of Environmental Health (July 2003;58(7):433-441), a study looked at the sinus lining in 639 patients diagnosed with chronic sinusitis. It found that many of the cases were due to a high fungal load in the air and in the sinus lining. Reducing air exposure to fungus and saline irrigation improved the health of the sinus lining. The author believes that sinusitis due to allergies or fungal sensitivity may be due to a genetic defect. Other research in appearing in Family Practice News (April 1, 1992;30) stated that allergic sinusitis can be caused by several species of fungus and recommended culturing the mucus to identify the exact fungus involved. Of the 40 subjects in the study, half had a history of allergies or asthma.
Saline irrigation is a valuable treatment for sinusitis. A study appearing in Family Practice News (August 1, 2004:49) randomly assigned 43 sinusitis patients to receive either nasal irrigation or amoxicillin. After 11 months, the group receiving the irrigation had dramatically better scores on the Rhinosinusitis Disability Index, suggesting the superiority of nasal irrigation to antibiotic therapy.
While it is common to treat chronic sinusitis with antibiotics, many cases are due to allergies or fungus. According to an article in Medical Tribune (December 7, 1995;1), between 25% and 70% of patients with allergies have sinusitis as a symptom. This is something to consider when repeated bouts of antibiotic therapy do not work.