Quality of Life
Recurrent and chronic sinusitis have a greater negative impact on quality of life than other chronic diseases (like rheumatoid arthritis, heart disease, diabetes). Granted, those disorders are no picnic either, but – according to the kids and their parents – chronic sinusitis had a greater negative effect on quality of life when compared to these other diseases.
It is difficult to separate recurrent and chronic sinusitis, or chronic rhinosinusitis (CRS), from allergic rhinitis. Over half of those with CRS have a history of allergic rhinitis. They share many of the same symptoms. This means that many of the following tips will be helpful for children with allergies or sinusitis (or, commonly, both). If your child also has asthma, eliminating their sinusitis will improve their quality of life.
The 8 General Principles
- HYDRATE ! – keep your child hydrated, use a humidifier at night, use daily saline sinus irrigations, and use a small spray bottle of saline to maintain nasal moisture and optimize nasal / sinus hygiene. Keep those respiratory cilia happy. See my post on Sinus Anatomy and Histology. If you haven’t tried saline nasal rinses, check out my 4-part series on whether they are effective, how to do them, how to make the saline solution, and other details.
Keeping them hydrated will also improve clearance of nasal and sinus secretions by keeping them thin. That’s a good thing.
- Minimize antibiotic use – When good bacteria are killed by overuse of antibiotics, some bad bacteria (or molds) that are unaffected by that antibiotic, will overgrow. Good bacteria are essential to maintain a healthy immune system. Fungal sinusitis caused by molds can be even worse than bacterial sinusitis, so beware.
- Make certain that your child sleeps and eats well – plenty of rest and good nutrition help maintain a strong immune system. An altered immune system is believed to play a key role in chronic rhinosinusitis, and in fungal sinusitis.
- Treat allergies –The majority of people with sinusitis have a history of allergic rhinitis. Get ‘em tested, get ‘em treated. A good Pediatric Allergist will help figure it all out. See my post on how to control Allergic Rhinitis for more.
- In the meantime, try to minimize use of over-the-counter allergy treatments like antihistamines. They can cause thickening of nasal secretions, resulting in reduced mucociliary clearance – that’s a bad thing. Keep those cilia happy. Consider using Quercetin, a naturally occurring bioflavonoid, that helps reduce the inflammation of the nasal epithelium that is associated with allergies and sinusitis.
- For sinus pain, try acupressure: search “acupressure” for some great websites on this remedy. For sinusitis, you can simply use the right forefinger and thumb to grasp the fleshy part of your child’s left hand that makes a ‘V’ between the thumb and forefinger, gently squeeze, massage for 10-15 seconds. This can significantly reduce the sense of facial sinus pain and pressure. (pregnant women should not do this maneuver – it may elicit premature contractions)
- Consider Probiotics – What are Probiotics? The World Health Organization defines Probiotics as “live microorganisms which when administered in adequate amounts confer a health benefit on the host.” If your child absolutely must be taking antibiotics consider supplementing their diet with Probiotic capsules, or simply feeding them live-culture yogurt. There is growing scientific support for the benefits of Probiotics in several areas of medicine. There will be more in a future post, as several people have contacted me asking for information.
- Purify your air – Replace your furnace filters! No, they were not meant to be replaced every 15 years. You knew that, right? Check them every month! Replace them every year (at least), more often if you have pets. Vacuum every week, more often if you have pets.
See my posts on air quality, and how to detoxify your indoor air.
Stop Smoking!! ‘Nuf said.
Bonus 9. and 10. These two other recommendations that I normally reserve for adults are acupuncture, and spicy foods (cayenne, capscacin), since most children are freaked by needles (most adults too for that matter), and most won’t tolerate spicy hot foods. (My kids think that ketchup is too spicy ;~D)
Bonus 11. If your child is old enough and interested, consider the various yoga positions for sinusitis.
Bonus 12. Sinusitis and Reflux
If your child has chronic sinusitis, consider that they may have reflux – GERD – that is contributing. Check back here for posts on reflux. Search the web for information on pediatric reflux and sinusitis. All of the pediatric otolaryngologists that I know believe that reflux contributes to chronic sinusitis in children. All of them. This is too big of a topic to cover here, and will be covered in detail in separate posts.
There is a post coming up next month on the Unified Airway Model that you may find interesting, and useful.
Most of these principles are not difficult. Not too burdensome to put into action. Together, they can make a difference in your little boogor-head’s quality of life. Give them a try.
What tips do you have for managing your child (or adult) with chronic sinusitis?
What works, what doesn’t work? Please leave a comment, let us know so we can all learn.
Check back here every week for more information on getting your kiddo to optimal health.
Continue to “be excellent to one another.”
Best of health and success to you and your families.
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Until next time, remember … you can pick your friends, and you can pick your nose, but you can’t pick your friend’s nose (unless you’re a boogor doctor :~D)