Observed Sinus Improvement in an Otolaryngology Clinic After the Use of Saline Irrigation for Chronic Rhinosunisitis
Jared J. Tompkins, M.D.Otolaryngology
Resident in a Mid-South area notorious for sinus allergy complaints.
About the author: The author is an Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery resident physician at the University of Tennessee, located in Memphis. He is a graduate of the Georgetown University School of Medicine. He treats patients of all ages for sinus complaints, using saline irrigation, medication, and surgery. Like many of his patients, he also has seasonal allergies, which he treats with nasal saline irrigation, alone. Dr. Tompkins has no affiliations with pharmaceutical companies or other industries.
As an Otolaryngology (Ear, Nose, and Throat, or “ENT”) resident, I am exposed to a wide array of patients, ranging from children to the elderly. I have found that chronic rhinosinusitis, otherwise known as sinus congestion, affects people of all ages, and backgrounds. Patients typically come to the ENT clinic with complaints of nasal congestion, runny nose, and headaches. One simple, yet highly effective treatment for all people with sinus complaints is saline irrigation, which can be done using a neti-pot.
I believe that there are two steps to treat chronic sinus complaints: #1) Remove the offending agent that’s causing the reaction, and #2) Block the body’s response to the offending agent. Saline irrigation involves the rinsing of particulate matter, such as pollen, dust, and other allergens, from the nasal and sinus cavities. By removing the offending agent, it prevents the body from producing the mucous and inflammation that causes the congestion and discomfort one gets with sinus disease. This saline irrigation cleanses the nose of mucous, leaving a clear path for medications to get to the surface within the nose that they target. Therefore, I believe nasal saline rinses not only remove the offending agent that is causing the body to react, but also enhance the topical nasal medications by providing a clear pathway to their intended target. That is why I prescribe nasal saline irrigation as the first-line therapy to all of my chronic rhinosinusitis patients.