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Chronic Stuffy Nose Often Caused by Fungi

Posted Aug 26 2008 4:03pm

If your nose is stuffy during the pollen seasons in the spring and fall, check with an allergist. Allergy injections can help control your symptoms. If your stuffy nose started after puberty, you don't have allergies and your nose is stuffy 12 months a year, allergy injections usually are ineffective. Chronic sinus infections with nasal polyps have been considered incurable because doctors didn't have the foggiest idea what causes them, but researchers at the Mayo Clinic found fungi in 96 percent of people with chronic sinusitis. Nasal polyps are small finger-like, fluid-filled blisters, often associated with asthma and serious reactions to aspirin.



The most common fungi are alternaria, penicillium, cladosporium, aspergillus, candida and fusarium. A sinus cat scan will tell whether a person has a sinus infection. If the cat scan shows fluid levels indicating a sinus infection, the doctor should order a fungus culture of the nose. If the culture is positive for fungi, the doctor should consider treatment with antifungal medication, even though there are no good studies to show the fungal medicines cure sinusitis, because the present treatment of cortisones works only in the short run, and shortens life by causing osteoporosis, high blood pressure and obesity. If the fungus infection is positive, the person should be treated with the appropriate anti-fungal medication such as Sporanox, Lamisil or Diflucan. People with positive skin tests to molds are the ones most likely to suffer asthma attacks so severe that they have to be hospitalized (14).



If your nose is stuffy during the pollen seasons in the spring and fall, check with an allergist. Allergy injections can help control your symptoms. If your stuffy nose started after puberty, you don't have allergies and your nose is stuffy 12 months a year, allergy injections usually are ineffective. Antihistamines and decongestant pills help to control your symptoms a little. Cortisone-type pills are highly effective but have side effects, such as obesity and osteoporosis. Cortisone-type nasal sprays are safer than the pills. So, doctors are continuously searching for better ways to treat people with chronically stuffy and running noses.



Surgeons can remove nasal polyps, but the polyps usually return within a few weeks. People with nasal polyps should never take aspirin as most will eventually develop shortness of breath, itching or increased nasal stuffiness when they take it. Until recently, the only effective treatment was cortisone-like injections and pills, such as prednisone, and antibiotics to treat the infections associated with polyps. However, cortisone-type pills and injections can make you fat, weaken your bones and rarely cause hip damage, so doctors try to avoid this treatment and prescribe cortisone-type pills for only a week or two, followed by cortisone-type nasal sprays to slow the return of the polyps. Polyps may be caused by infection with mycoplasma bacteria or fungi and may be treated most effectively by antibioitcs such as doxycycline, Zithromzx or Roxithromycin, or by fungi medication such as fluconazole. However, this is controversial and not accepted by many doctors; discuss it with your doctor. More information and journal references

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