The sinuses and nasal irrigation are not very sexy subjects. But for those who suffer from chronic congestion caused by allergies and sinusitis and the dread rhinovirus, it can be a daily nuisance. In a germ saturated city like New York, where the air teems with invisible evildoers that latch onto the mucus membrane of the nose like microbial ninjas, our respiratory system is under constant attack. During the deep summer months, particularly August, the air can feel heavy and stagnant with bacterial invaders that mix with the local pollution in a vile cocktail of nastiness too awful to contemplate. It is not uncommon for city dwellers to suffer year round congestion, watery eyes, sneezing and coughing. It is no fun to be the object of everyone's glare when coughing uncontrollably on a crowded subway car. Winter in NYC is a brutal time as well, with damp and bone chilling temperatures that can tax even the most healthy immune system. It can cause some of us to fantasize about moving to New Mexico full time.
For most of us, relocation to a drier climate is not an option. Career, job, family or just the need for the speed of the city keeps us living in this complicated environment. New Yorkers are very resilient and efficient when it comes to ferreting out remedies for all manner of inconveniences and health challenges. No other city in the world can boast as many giant chain drug stores per city block as this one. The shelves of Duane Reade and CVS are stocked with every manner of cold and allergy remedy invented, from Zicam to vials of liquid Echinacea. One of the most natural of these is Ocean Saline Nasal Spray, the original #1 pharmacist-recommended nasal saline spray for dry nose and irritated nasal passages.
Most sufferers of nasal congestion tend to reach for over-the-counter nasal decongestant sprays that contain chemicals like oxymetazoline. While these products provide instant relief, it is not lasting. Many people become addicted to decongestant sprays, needing to use more spray, more often, for less and less relief. Chronic nasal obstruction is the result; this time a situation that no longer is relived by topical medication. It's commonly called 'rebound rhinitis' and, according to NYC Ear, Nose and Throat specialist, Anthony F. Jahn, MD, "this phenomenon may develop in a matter of days, which is why doctors advise the use of nasal decongestants only intermittently and for a short time."
Dr. Jahn suggests "frequent use of saline nasal spray, instead, such as non-medicated Ocean Saline Nasal Spray." "This," he explains "has the physiologic advantage of bathing the nasal lining with comforting moisture, helping to clean the nasal passages, and, perhaps of equal importance, allowing the sufferer to keep using a topical spray as frequently as desired." "Using a saline nasal spray such as Ocean has another advantage, too," stresses Dr. Jahn. "It is preferable than going 'cold turkey', which is the most drastic and difficult thing to do to overcome rebound rhinitis. It may take over a week of not breathing through the nose before gradual relief begins."
Rhinoviruses are the most common viral infective agents in humans and are the predominant cause of the common cold. The virus is spread primarily by droplets (sneeze) and less by direct contact. The virus is tiny (.018 to .028 microns), so it lingers in the air. When you walk down the stairs onto a crowded subway platform you may be passing through the residue of multiple sneezes. The smallest dose of the virus is enough to reliably start an infection. The mucociliary mechanism carries virus from the front of the nose to the back in about 15 minutes. Rather than blasting the hands with sanitizer, two blasts of saline nasal spray up each nostril is more preventative and can clean out the virus before it has a chance to incubate and reproduce.
Dr. Jahn is an advocate of preventive medicine, and gives plaudits to the Chinese for their long history of holistic practices. He says the best thing about a natural product like Ocean Saline Nasal Spray is that "it lets the body heal itself." "The thing about prevention is we need to do it all the time." He offers the following tips on minimizing catching and spreading a cold: cover your nose in crowded situations with a scarf. Minimize touching your nose and face. Wash hands frequently. Don't share utensils, and use your own telephone. (Virus can be transmitted by contact if you touch infected surface to your face.) Keep your nose moist to facilitate ciliary clearance (Use Ocean Saline Nasal Spray frequently.) Eat well, rest, and take Vitamin C.
Anthony F. Jahn, M.D., F.A.C.S. is an otolaryngologist with a subspecialty interest in ear diseases, disorders of hearing and balance, and disorders of the voice. He graduated from medical school at the University of Toronto and completed his residency at the University of Toronto Teaching Hospitals. He is board certified in Otolaryngology in both Canada and the United States. In 1979, Dr. Jahn joined the staff of Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center as Assistant Professor in Otolaryngology, and Director of the Neuro-Otology Clinic. In 1983 he accepted the position of Chief of Otolaryngology at the New Jersey Medical School in Newark. He directed the Otolaryngology training program for the State of New Jersey for nine years, and developed a busy private practice concentrated in Otology, Neuro-Otology, and voice disorders. In 1992, Dr. Jahn took up his current appointment as Director of Otology/Neuro-Otology at St. Luke's Roosevelt Hospital Center in New York.
Dr. Jahn is a nationally recognized clinician and teacher. His clinical activities related to voice disorder include work with a variety of professional singers. He has authored over 100 publications, including two text books on ear disease and several chapters on disorder of the ear and the voice. He spoke to a group of health and beauty editors about the merits of Ocean Saline Nasal Spray at the "Nose for News" luncheon at the Russian Tea Room on Wednesday, August 21st.