While it is not unusual for most people to experience some sort of nasal or sinus congestion at some point in their lives, it will generally clear up within a few days. However, this is not the case for an estimated 37 million Americans who develop sinus infections (sinusitis) at least once a year, according to the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery.1
For these people, sinus problems can interfere with sleeping, driving, and work productivity. It may even make it difficult, if not impossible, to travel by air due to the effect of changes in air pressure during take-off and landing. Unfortunately, the number of people who suffer from sinusitis may actually be underestimated, as the condition is often assumed to be a common viral cold. This can lead to even further complications, including infections of the eye sockets or the brain itself.2
Given the large number of people who suffer from chronic sinusitis, savvy DCs should consider adding services and products catering to this underserved population. Nutritional supplements to alleviate sinusitis and nasal congestion are a great income-adding product for DCs to consider. Such supplements are easy to add and sell, with little to no overhead. Of course, DCs will first need to understand some key points about sinusitis.
What is sinusitis?
Under normal conditions, the sinus cavities are sterile, while the nasal passages are teeming with bacteria. However, if the sinuses become infected due to allergies, environmental factors such as pollutants, or certain medical conditions, sinusitis can set in.1–2 Acute sinusitis occurs when the sinuses have been infected for four weeks without improvement in symptoms. Frequent bouts of sinusitis or one attack that lasts three months or longer is considered to be chronic sinusitis.
What are the symptoms and standard treatments?
Common symptoms of a bacterial sinus infection include:
- Nasal congestion or discharge,
- pain in the face or upper teeth,
- or sneezing.
- More severe symptoms may include fever. 1–2
As expected with any bacterial infection, the most common treatment will be a course of antibiotics. However, not only can antibiotics lead to diarrhea and removal of helpful bacteria from the digestive tract, but the body may build up a tolerance over time. In more severe cases, when the sinuses actually are deformed, surgery to widen the nasal and sinus passages may be required.1–2
Supplements for nasal congestion and sinusitis
There are several herbal supplements that may help with sinus problems:
- Eyebright (Euphrasia officinalis) can alleviate a number of symptoms associated with sinusitis, including nasal, sinus, and eye congestion; inflamed eyelids; coughs; and hoarseness.3
- Stinging nettle (Urtica dioica) is often used to treat allergies or hay fever, which may trigger sinusitis attacks.4
- Echinacea purpurea is perhaps the best known of the various supplements for treating sinus and nasal problems. It helps stimulates the body’s natural defenses to help fight off bacterial infections such as sinusitis.5
Although antibiotics may provide short-term relief, they may prove ineffective over the long term. Furthermore, sinus surgery can be expensive and may not fix the problem. Nutritional supplements geared toward helping patients build up their body’s own immunity to infection will provide the most benefit for long-term relief from sinus infections.
Dee Cee Laboratories Inc. offers PHYTOFED-DF, which aims to relieve nasal and sinus congestion due to colds or hay fever without causing drowsiness.*
1 American Academy of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery. “Sinusitis: Patient Health Information.” ENTnet.org.http://www.entnet.org/content/sinusitis. Accessed March 2015.
2 A.D.A.M. Inc. “Sinusitis.” The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/health/guides/disease/sinusitis. Reviewed May 2013. Accessed March 2015.
3 eMedicineHealth. “Eyebright.” eMedicineHealth.com. http://www.emedicinehealth.com/drug-eyebright/article_em.htm. Accessed March 2015.
4 Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database Consumer Version. “Stinging nettle.” WebMD.com.http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-664-urtica%20%28stinging%20nettle%29.aspx?activeingredientid=664&activeingredientname=urtica%20%28stinging%20nettle%29. Accessed March 2015.
5 Hallnet Ltd. “Echinacea Purpurea.” HerbWisdom.com. http://www.herbwisdom.com/herb-echinacea.html. Accessed March 2015.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any disease.