This is part two of a four part interview series with Dr. Andrew J. Parker that will discuss holistic oriented treatments for ear, nose, and throat maladies. Today's topic is sinus health and clarity.
Rebecca's Hayward (RH): What are some of the 'natural' treatments you offer your patients to maintain sinus health and clarity?
Dr. Parker (Dr. P): Cleansing the sinuses with the right mixture of natural compounds can limit the need for medication and antibiotics in the majority of my patients.
I respect the ancient ritual of the Neti-pot but find it difficult for some patients to do properly, especially those with unfavorable anatomy, such as a deviated/crooked septum. A good alternative is a high-pressure squeeze bottle, such as the Neilmed system which is what the majority of my patients have had the best success with.
It is very easy to use, even for kids! Done once daily, especially after exposure to excessive dust, mold or pollen, it can not only alleviate allergies and prevent infection; it can frequently restore an impaired sense of smell.
Not only is it important to use the appropriate method of irrigation, but some other important factors are what you put in the bottle, and proper cleaning of the bottle.
RH: What should we put in the bottle?
Dr. P: We have a three part "recipe" that our patients use to irrigate their sinuses. Each component has its own purpose and the combination of all three can really help prevent sinus infections.
This product was introduced to me on the first day of my residency at New York Eye and Ear Infirmary and has been part of my practice ever since. Thanks Dr. Chodosh!
Xylitol promotes the body's natural cleansing process to remove airborne contaminants and pollutants from the nasal passages and sinuses. It does this by helping to break down "biofilms" that allow bacteria to stick to surfaces.
You frequently see it used in chewing gum, as it helps fight tooth decay by the same mechanism.
- The first component is salt and baking soda packet. This assures that the solution will be an appropriate pH level so it will not irritate your nose.
- The second component is a mucus-solvent called Alkalol. This is a blend of natural extracts and essential oils that dissolves mucus, kills bacteria, and inhibits the growth of mold and fungi.
- The last component is Xylitol. Xylitol is a white crystalline substance that looks and tastes like sugar. It is a naturally occurring 5-carbon sugar alcohol found in many fruits and vegetables and produced in small amounts by the human body.
RH: How do you advise cleaning the bottle?
Dr. P: This is an important step.
- Fill the bottle with hot water
- add a drop of Johnson's Baby Shampoo
- Put on the top of the bottle, shake it up and squeeze it out.
- Rinse out the bottle and dry it UPSIDE DOWN in a drying rack to be sure it does not retain moisture and become a breeding ground for mold and bacteria.
RH: Why do you say to clean with baby shampoo?
Dr. P: Baby shampoo is a remarkable substance… not only will it cleanse the bottle, but the residue that is left in the bottle can actually benefit the sinuses!
It acts like a surfactant and clears out crusts and debris from the nasal cavity and sinuses… pretty cool huh?
When someone has a very crusty nose, I have them irrigate their nose and sinuses with a solution made from Johnson's Baby Shampoo… it's frothy, but it works!
RH: Wow! Thank you Dr. Parker. This is great information. No wonder they call you "top doc"! I look forward to talking with you over the coming weeks about the natural remedies you use for reflux, balance and vertigo, and more.
Contact Dr. Parker at:
Parker Ear, Nose and Throat of Fairfield County
148 East Avenue, Suite 2-I
Norwalk, CT 06851
Phone (203) EAR-NOSE
Fax (203) 866-4193