Seasonal changes tend to trigger health issues like pollen allergy, sinus, asthma and other nasal allergies. These issues are pretty common in the metropolitan cities.
Here are some tips and advices shared by Dr Jagdish Chaturvedi, an ENT specialist and a medical devices innovator based out of Bangalore, which would definitely help you in dealing with these health issues in an exclusive interview with the International Business Times, India.
IBT: How many such patients do you deal with on the daily? Is it alarming according to you?
Dr Jagdish: In my routine clinical practice I treat 5-7 patients with nasal allergies, chronic sinusitis and nasal obstruction due to deviated nasal septum and enlarged turbinates and patients with sleep apnea, which refers to sleep disorder characterised by pauses in breathing or periods of shallow breathing during sleep.
For a typical ENT surgeon, these cases can be as high as 30-40 percent of the daily patient load which maps closely to the national prevalence of chronic sinusitis to be 1 in 8 Indians, as per the National institute of Allergy and Infectious diseases. This is a very high and concerning burden of this disease.
IBT: Is there any way to treat the impact of these health issues?
Dr Jagdish: Medication, lifestyle changes and surgeries, which are the main ways to control these health issues. Many patients improve with regular courses of antibiotics, nasal sprays and anti-allergy medications. However, some continue to suffer from sinusitis despite medical treatment for over three months.
These patients require some or the other kind of surgical correction which involves improving air circulation into the sinuses and may involve removal of certain bony structures within the nose. This is done endoscopically through a procedure called FESS (Functional Endoscopic Sinus Surgery). Many patients delay surgical treatment assuming that the frequent headaches will automatically get better.
More often than not, they land up in complications affecting the eye, brain or have very poor quality of lives. That is when surgical options at resorted to.
IBT: How do patients suffering from these problems, who refuse to have medicines, deal with them naturally?
Dr Jagdish: Jala neeti and other forms of yoga do help to a certain extent and regular exercises like swimming, etc help with allergies and in improving circulation within the sinuses. These help in only a small part of the population who have normal anatomy of the nose and sinuses. Those with abnormal anatomies and more severe allergies eventually end up suffering with bad headaches, nasal stuffiness, fever, heaviness if head and facial pain almost every day for years together. They also end up spending Rs 15,000-20,000 a year on medications.
IBT: Any tips you would like to give?
Dr Jagdish: Use of salt water sprays (preferably pressurised sprays) is useful to keep the nasal passages and sinuses clean. Salt water does not cause any side effects and simply wash the nasal passages and clears them from any collected mucus that can be a source of inflammation and sinusitis. Jal neeti and yoga are natural ways of achieving these.
If medications and natural therapies fail to bring relief beyond three months, then it is advised to seek surgical treatment and leaving the disease behind can later cause more harm and is unlikely to disappear on its own. Newer and safer treatment such as balloon dilation of sinuses and other minimally invasive surgeries can be pursued to get quick relief without any other tissue removal. The formal FESS is indicated if all sinuses are involved or if there are nasal polyps and complications.