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Sunday, November 07, 2010

Bioweapons in your Sinuses?

I wrote this a while back about sinus flushing.  I want to elaborate a bit more here.

Your sinuses are basically hollowed out, mucus lined structures inside your head.  Their basic anatomy is as follows (from this):  There are four pairs of paranasal sinuses, the frontal sinuses are located above the eyes, in the forehead bone.  The maxillary sinuses (antra of Highmore) are located in the cheekbones, under the eyes.  The ethmoid sinuses, also called ethmoid labyrinth are located between the eyes and the nose.  The sphenoid sinuses are located in the center of the skull, behind the nose and the eyes.

The paranasal sinuses are hollow, air-filled cavities that are lined by a mucous membrane.  The ethmoid and maxillary sinuses are present at birth.  The frontal sinus develops about the second year of life and the sphenoid about the third year.  Sometimes, the frontal sinuses do not develop.

The sinuses have small orifices (ostia) that open into recesses in the nasal cavities called meati.  The meati are covered by the turbinates (also called conchae) which consist of  bony shelves surrounded by erectile soft tissue.  There are three turbinates and three corresponding meati in each nasal cavity (superior, middle and inferior).

This is the classic medical/anatomical stuff.

Then there is the not-so-common common sense stuff.

Sinuses are relatively dark, moist, and warm - around body temperature I would imagine but perhaps a bit cooler due to the air flow.  Bacteria like to grow in this type of environment. This makes your sinuses like a bioreactor - the same kind of system as is used to grow things like Anthrax for bioweapons.

Normally the mucus membranes and cilia (tiny hairs) work to push invading bacteria, viruses and pollutants like dust and dirt out of your nose.  Of course, the better your immune system the better this will work at keeping you free from colds and other illnesses that try and enter your body through these mucus membranes.

Your environment, particularly cold temperatures (but also things like swimming, exercise, etc.), can cause your sinuses to produce extra mucus thereby flushing themselves out.  Certain foods like hot peppers can also cause your sinuses to flush out as well through extra mucus.

Your sinuses are also not readily accessible.  Unlike, say your outer ear canal, if you get an infection in your sinuses they are not directly accessible, e.g., I can easily put something like alcohol into my ear to clear the infection.  Your sinuses can also have physical blockages like polyps - which grow to block the sinus passages.  The only real means for them to clear themselves is via mucus and cilia.

If you are healthy, your sinuses will naturally clear on their own and you won't suffer sinus infections.

But this is not always the case, is it?

Lets think about what happens when you get a cold as an example.  A cold makes your sinuses irritated and swollen and they expand in size.  When this happens the space for air and mucus flow within your sinuses is reduced.  Secondly, your sinuses produce excess mucus.  When this is combined with a reduced area inside your sinuses and reduced mucus flow you have an ideal environment in which bacteria will grow.

I also believe the infection is carried in the mucus - bacteria collect in your sinuses infecting them as well as the surrounding mucus - yielding "infected mucus".   More on this in a bit...

You will find that many doctors and websites believe that swollen sinuses is the only thing causing the congestion - but I disagree.

When I start to get a cold or flu the first thing I notice is this increase in mucus.  Usually this means that it runs down the back of my throat and makes my throat "scratchy" - almost like a sore throat but not quite.  I can also tell this because I have a frequent urge to "clear" my throat as well.

If you can clear your sinuses, such as with sinus flushing, at this point, I have found that my sinuses never really get infected.  They try, but if I flush them good 2 - 3 times a day (and, critically, always before bed) all I get is the cold - never a sinus infection.

Why is this?  As far as I can see what is happening is that though mucus builds up and your sinuses swell the flushing makes the sinus environment very poor for bacteria.  Since I use a peroxide solution I think that this basically kills off all the bacteria and viruses in my sinuses - hence no problems beyond the cold or flu itself.

(I have also flushed things out of my sinuses that are clearly not part of me.  Basically gross chunks of infected mucus - strangely colored and chunky.  Clearly these are not part of my sinuses.)

But what if you don't flush and, say, use antibiotics instead?  First of all I think this is a problem because while the antibiotics might kill an infection in the sinus membranes, they really cannot effect things growing in the mucus itself (the mucus has no blood flow to bring the antibiotics to it).  Since antibiotics are not 100% effective they kill the wimpy bacteria and leave the really virulent, nasty bacteria unharmed.

This is why I think sinus decongestants and antibiotics make your sinuses a bioreactor.  You create a place where bacteria like to grow.  You feed them, you keep them warm.  Then periodically you poison the weak ones with antibiotics (the four or five courses of progressively stronger antibiotics you get over a couple of months with a bad sinus infection).

What do you think is left after this?  Only the antibiotic resistant bacteria.

Which you then sneeze out onto others.

Antibiotics don't affect viruses (unless they kill their host bacteria) - so there is no point in prescribing them for colds (though many doctors do).  My views on antibiotics are here.  You can just imagine what I think of using them for something unnecessary like a cold.

Sinus decongestants are also bad because they dry out your sinuses.  This subjects them to "cracking" - tiny open cracks in the surface - where bacteria in the mucus can enter the sinuses.  The nasty infected mucus remains in place in your sinuses.  To me conflicts with the idea that swollen sinuses are the only cause of congestion.

Personally I never use decongestants.

If infected mucus is allowed to drain down the back of your throat you can end up with bronchitis or pneumonia.  (I've found that a quick test for this is to simply kneel down and put your head on the floor by bending over.  If there's mucus running down the back of your throat it will stop because its pulled  by gravity back up into your head.)

Before I discovered all this I used to suffer every year.  First I'd get the cold or flu, then I'd get a sinus problem, then I'd wake up with a cough, then I'd suffer with a sinus infection for weeks.  This would happen at least twice a year.

My policy now is that at the first sign of that "scratchy" throat or a stuffy nose I flush - 2 - 3 times per day and always before bed time.  Since implementing this I have not had a single cough, sinus infection, or sore throat.  I first wrote about this five years ago and its still working.  Since then

I still get colds but they don't really do much,

I spend zero money on "over the counter" decongestants, Zicam, and that sort of thing,

I don't go to the doctor, and

I have not missed a day of work with a "cold" or the "flu".

I believe that flushing also mitigates flu symptoms to a large degree (I distinguish flu from colds because the mucus for flu is yellow.  For colds its clear or, if it builds up or gets infected, green.)  An important benefit of flushing for flu is the yellow mucus doesn't run down into your lungs.

So I think that though you sinuses swell with a cold or flu the real culprit is "infected mucus".  I am sure that doctors will disagree with me.  But all I can tell is you is that the theory works out in practice.  Perhaps my assignment of cause is wrong - but it works.  I am living proof. 

I think that modern medical science is creating a severe problem in your sinuses with antibiotics and decongestants by making your sinuses into a weapons-grade bioreactor where incurable sinus infecting bacteria are grown and spread to others.

1 comment:

Bette said...

Nin Jiom Pei Pa Koa ( may be another choice. i know alot of people use it, its also non alcoholic, though it's effectiveness is not as good as alcohol based cough medicine, but it's still good to use on not so serious scratchy throat.