Question: What is the best thing for a sinus infection especially if you are someone who usually ends up needing antibiotics?
Answer: A study done at the Mayo Clinic found that 85 per cent of chronic sinusitis sufferers have fungal growth in their sinus cavities.
This does not mean that sufferers do not end up with bacterial infections that can respond to antibiotics, but it does suggest perhaps a major contributing factor to chronic sinusitis is an underlying fungal infection.
Antibiotic use promotes fungal growth in the body by destroying the bacteria that normally defend against its overgrowth, thus creating a vicious cycle with fungal infection burdening the immune system and creating an environment in the sinus cavities to promote pathogenic bacterial growth.
Many individuals end up in a situation where antibiotics cease to be effective let alone addressing the underlying fungal problem.
Avoid sugars including refined sugar, flour, alcohol, fruit and fruit juice, peanut butter, and mushroom.
Orange juice seems to contribute to mucous production in some people, perhaps it is the mold content. I had a patient who would go into a sneezing fit every morning after his breakfast and it turned out to be his morning OJ.
Cow dairy protein will increase mucous production in most people so avoid milk, cream, yogurt, and ice cream especially since it is a double whammy with milk protein and sugar.
Gluten grains, in particular wheat can cause chronic sinus congestion in some people as well.
The herb goldenseal, ideally as a freeze dried extract as it is much more potent, is antifungal, antibacterial and soothing to the mucous membranes making it useful for bladder and colon infections as well. Goldenseal cannot be used in conjunction with antibiotics.
As a nasal rinse, I have had success with a saline nasal spray containing grapefruit seed extract — an excellent antifungal and antibacterial. I do not recommend decongesting the nasal passages without killing the organism your sinuses are trying to defend themselves against by trapping the organism in mucous.
Olba’s oil nose inhaler contains antimicrobial volatile oils that open the sinus passages and give quick relief as well.
The nutrients, of course, that bolster immunity in general include vitamin A, B6, B12, C, D, iron and zinc.
Mouldy environments may be contributors as well which are sometimes unavoidable so in those cases a HEPA filter for your living/work space may be helpful.
Question: I had a really bad cold and cough and I am pretty much better, but the phlegm in my lungs is slow to clear, going on five weeks now. My sleep is suffering. Any suggestions?
Answer: Yes, that can be stubborn to break down and be expectorated.
Consider the previously mentioned dietary factors to avoid continued production.
The amino acid N-acetyl L-cysteine (NAC) is quite effective for breaking down mucous even in situations like cystic fibrosis where mucous production is inherent to the disease process. Elberberry concentrate is a tasty syrup that is both adult and child friendly expectorant.
A steam inhalation with boiling water in a mixing bowl add 5 drops each of eucalyptus and thyme essential oils cover head with a towel and stay there and inhale deeply through your nose being careful not to burn yourself.
Kali Simmonds, ND, is a doctor of naturopathic medicine who practises in Charlottetown. The information provided is not intended to diagnose or substitute the advice of your health-care professional. Please consult with a health-care provider before making any changes. She welcomes questions for this column, which is published every second Tuesday in The Guardian. She can be reached by mail at 34 Queen St., Charlottetown, C1A 4A3 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.