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Water vapor inhalation does not reduce the symptoms of sinusitis
If people suffer from chronic sinusitis, they are often advised to use nasal irrigation or water vapor inhalation to improve symptoms. However, researchers have now found that inhaling steam has no benefits. But the nasal douche.
If the nose is always blocked and there is sinusitis, many people try to solve these problems by inhaling water vapor. This old and well-known home remedy is said to help with some diseases of the nose. Scientists at Southampton University have now announced in a press release that steam inhalation has no effect and is therefore not an effective form of treatment. The physicians published the results of the study in the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ).
Antibiotics are often not effective in chronic sinus infections
Many people around the world suffer from chronic sinusitis. In the United States alone, approximately 25 million adult people are affected by the disease. To alleviate the symptoms, many sufferers use steam inhalation or nasal irrigation, the researchers say. Alternatively, some medical professionals suggest additional antibiotic treatment. However, these are often not effective and improper use contributes to an increase in antibiotic resistance worldwide, warns study leader Professor Paul Little. It is important nowadays to take care not to prescribe antibiotics under no circumstances. All over the world, medical professionals are intensifying their fight against antibiotic resistance in order to maintain the effectiveness of these drugs.
Almost 900 subjects are tested for the effectiveness of nasal irrigation and steam inhalation
The new study from the UK examined the effectiveness of nasal irrigation and steam inhalation in chronic sinusitis. The type of treatment is often recommended by general practitioners. The new study examined 871 patients who were randomly assigned to one of four different treatment methods, the scientists say. One group received the usual care, the second group received nasal irrigation with a salt water solution and video instructions on how to do it correctly. The third group received steam inhalation and the fourth group of subjects was treated with a combination of steam inhalation and nasal irrigation, explains Professor Paul Little of Southampton University.
Steam inhalation does not relieve the symptoms
The results of the studies clearly show that patients using nasal irrigation noticed an improvement in their condition. The patients' condition was examined once after three months and once after six months, the doctors say. Treatment with steam inhalation, however, showed no symptom relief.
Nasal irrigation leads to less headaches and less use of medication
However, there were other effects. The subjects of the groups with nasal irrigation also used fewer other medications and had fewer headaches than the participants who did not receive nasal irrigation, the authors explain in their study.
Specific instructions on nasal irrigation improve the results
The positive effects of nasal irrigation are less evident in the current study than in previous studies. In these, however, the subjects had received an even more intensive explanation of how to do a nasal irrigation, the scientists report. Further research is now urgently needed. This is the only way we can understand how much explanation and guidance is required to enable optimal treatment by nasal irrigation, the authors add. (as)