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What helps better with rhinosinusitis: flushing or steam inhalation?
Nasal irrigation with saline solutions and steam inhalations are known home remedies for chronic or recurrent rhinosinusitis. Scientists have now shown that nasal irrigation can reduce the symptoms, no positive effects have been proven for steam inhalations.
The scientists evaluated the data from 871 adults with chronic or recurrent rhinosinusitis and a "moderate to severe impact of sinus symptoms on quality of life". The participants were divided into four groups.
Group 1 was advised to rinse the nose daily with 150 ml of 2% saline for six months (n = 219). Instead, the second group should inhale steam under a towel for five minutes daily (n = 232). Group 3 should carry out both measures (n = 210). A control group received none of these recommendations (n = 210).
The change in symptoms was determined using the RSDI (Rhinosinusitis Disability Index) score, a validated measuring instrument for the health-related quality of life in rhinosinusitis.
The RSDI decrease was significantly more frequent with nasal douche. In addition, participants in the nasal douche group used OTC medication less frequently and went to the doctor less frequently. In contrast, inhalation of water vapor had no effect. Unfortunately, the study did not investigate whether steam inhalations with a phytotherapeutic agent have effects. You can find the study here. (pm)