Have chronic sinus problems got you feeling down? The cause may have more to do with your environment than anything else – at least that is what a study conducted by the Mayo Clinic revealed. The research showed that moldy home and work environments were responsible for chronic sinus issues in as many as 9 out of 10 cases.
This contradicts what researchers believed about 20 years ago, when it was assumed that all sinus infections were the result of either bacteria or viruses – but it is now recognized that when fungi like mold enters the sinus cavity, a suppressed immune system is likely to have a strong adverse reaction, the result being fungal sinusitis. Since fungi love damp, dark conditions, the sinus cavity is a perfect growing place, making it difficult to eliminate them once they are in place. Just think of how tough it is to get rid of other fungal infections in the body. Athlete’s foot for example is well-known for being a recurring condition, and fungal sinusitis acts much the same way.
The problem is that there is almost no way to tell the difference between sinus issues caused by fungi and those caused by viruses or bacteria, and often a sinus infection is a combination of two or even all three types. Headaches, sinus pressure, congestion, and discolored discharge, are all symptoms of all three types of sinus infection. If you suspect mold may be causing your sinus problems, the only way to know for sure is to get tested for fungal sinusitis by your doctor.
So what happens if it turns out your chronic sinus problems are mold related? Well, at least you know now why the antibiotics haven’t been working, as antibiotics can’t kill fungi. Also, a decongestant will have little effect. Some fungal sinus problems require surgery to remove the fungus – this is usually done with an endoscopic procedure. Don’t worry, you won’t need to be opened up – the surgeon will enter the sinus cavity through the opening that already exists (your nostrils). This is an effective treatment, although certain types of fungus are more resilient and may still cause a recurring issue.
It’s best to ensure that your home and office are free from mold in the first place. What can you do at home to protect yourself from fungal sinusitis? Keep fresh air circulating throughout the home – temperature extremes and moisture will combine to create the perfect environment for mold to thrive. Only use your humidifier in the dry months, and keep houseplants to a minimum – a few are good for air quality, but too many will increase humidity. Don’t leave any leaks uncared for, and attack any mold you find with bleach and make sure it is killed. Call a mold removal service if you find that mold has taken root deeper in your home.
By taking these few simple precautions you can keep down the amount of mold you are exposed to. You may well find that your sinus problems clear up once exposure to mold is eliminated.