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Steam won't help your sinus: research

Press AssociationPress Association 18/07/2016 Ben Mitchell

Steam inhalation isn't an effective way of relieving symptoms of chronic sinus congestion, according to new research.

The study, published in the CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal), also showed that advice to use nasal irrigation - when the nasal cavity is washed to flush out mucus - did help relieve symptoms but had less impact than previous studies have shown.

Millions of people a year suffer from chronic rhinosinusitis or sinus infections.

To alleviate symptoms and as an alternative to the common treatment of antibiotics, which are often not effective and contribute to antibiotic resistance, steam inhalation and nasal irrigation are widely suggested.

The research team, led by Paul Little, professor of primary care research at the University of Southampton, conducted a trial involving 871 patients from 72 primary care practices in England who were randomly allocated the alternative treatments.

Patients who used nasal irrigation showed improvement at three and six months.

But steam inhalation didn't appear to alleviate sinusitis symptoms apart from reducing headaches.

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