Tag Archives for " inflammation "

Is it ok to walk around barefoot in my home? I’m concerned about my feet absorbing mycotoxins.

Is it ok to walk around barefoot in my home?  I’m concerned about my feet absorbing mycotoxins.

Often we end up researching and writing articles in response to client questions, and this is one such article.  If your floors are warm or carpeted, it often feels good to walk around barefoot in the house.  However, this may or may not be a good idea, depending on what is on your floors.  Can toxins really go into or out of your feet?

“Foot detoxing” pads, baths and creams have been popular for a while.  Usually they show the pad or water turning brown with “toxins” after supposedly releasing them from your body through the feet.  However, there have been very few studies on their effectiveness.  In a small 2012 study, the researchers sampled water from before and after foot baths with the popular IonCleanse device, as well as hair and urine samples.  They found no evidence to suggest that ionic footbaths help promote the elimination of toxic elements from the body through the feet, urine, or hair.   So, it’s unlikely that these methods are able to pull toxins out of the body.

However, some molecules can be absorbed through the skin (particularly the feet) into the bloodstream.   You can even “taste” with your feet; if you apply garlic to the soles of your feet in a plastic bag ala this video, you can taste it in your mouth between 15 minutes to one hour later.  This is because small, light molecules like allicin (the chemical released in freshly-cut garlic) can penetrate the skin and the bloodstream, traveling throughout your body.  Dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO) is a chemical that has similarities to allicin and is very easily absorbed through the skin.  Part of the DMSO is transformed to the volatile metabolite dimethyl sulfide, which gives a characteristic garlic- or oyster-like smell when excreted through the lungs.  (Adverse reactions of dimethyl sulfoxide in humans: a systematic review)  Therefore, we are susceptible to chemicals that behave in this way.  Scientists and drug-researchers are constantly in search of chemicals that can deliver drugs more easily to the bloodstream, and therefore new “carriers” are of great interest.  

What about mycotoxins that may happen to be on the floors?  Can we get mycotoxin poisoning from walking around barefoot?   Although there’s no direct answer via testing, research on individual mycotoxins shows that they can be absorbed through the skin, so it’s reasonable to assume that they can be absorbed through the skin of the soles of the feet.  Since mycotoxin concentration on surfaces is highly variable, however, it remains to be seen whether concentrations sufficient to cause illness are present on floors. 

We found that a 2014 paper summarizing previous research on the absorption of the most common mycotoxins through skin and their effects, was most helpful.   This research documented mostly animal trials to determine toxicity, but there are also reports of workers who were accidentally exposed to these toxins.   The actual methods of damage incurred by these toxins can be quite complex, so we will spare you the details, but many of them cause oxidative stress that stimulate the immune system, triggering inflammation and cell damage.  Here are some examples:

  • T-2 toxin, a member of the trichothecene mycotoxin family, is produced by various species of Fusarium fungus, which can infect corn, wheat, barley and rice crops in the field or during storage.  It’s infamous for allegedly being used as a bioweapon during the military conflicts in Laos (1975-81), Kampuchea (1979-81), and Afghanistan (1979-81) to produce lethal and nonlethal casualties. (CBRNE - T-2 Mycotoxins) T-2 toxin causes oxidative stress, which releases cytokines (proteins that help control inflammation in the body) that are thought to cause the death of the outer layer of skin cells (keratinocyte apoptosis).   T-2 mycotoxicosis can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, leukopenia, hemorrhaging, skin inflammation, and in severe cases, death. (T-2 Mycotoxicosis)  The reported LD50 (amount which causes death in 50% of exposures) of T-2 toxin is approximately 1 mg/kg of body weight. (Medical Aspects of Chemical and Biological Warfare)
  • Citrinin (CTN) is a product of several fungal species belonging to the genera Penicillium, Aspergillus and Monascus. To summarize, CTN under in vivo conditions has the ability to cause oxidative stress and ROS-mediated DNA damage in mouse skin upon topical exposure, leading to skin death.
  • Patulin (PAT) is a toxic chemical naturally produced by several species of mold, especially within Aspergillus, Penicillium and Byssochlamys.  A single topical application of PAT to mouse skin generates ROS, which causes DNA damage in skin cells.  In small doses it causes death of the cells, but in larger doses it initiates tumor growth.
  • Aflatoxins are products of  several types of Aspergillus molds, with AFB1 known as the  most potent teratogen (causing malformation of embryos), mutagen and hepatocarcinogen (causes liver cancer) of all aflatoxins. Like in the case of PAT, AFB1 may also cause skin tumors in mouse skin after long-term and higher-dose application.
  • Ochratoxin A (OTA) is a fungal metabolite produced by Aspergillus ochraceus and Penicillium verrucosum. OTA is found in a variety of plant food products such as cereals. To summarize, a single topical exposure of OTA at the dose level of 20–80 μg/mouse (20-80 millionths of a gram, with a mouse weight of 40-45 grams, translates to 0.5-2.0 ppm) induces the production of ROS, resulting in the skin cell death. On the other hand, a single topical exposure of OTA at a dose level of 100 nmol/mouse causes significant enhancement of short-term markers of skin tumor promotion in mouse skin.

As you can see, the least effect of these mycotoxins is to cause skin cell death, but the worst effects are whole-body!  They are effectively absorbed through the skin.  However, is it reasonable to assume that they would be found on your floors, in a sufficient quantity to cause illness?  

A 2012 study of a family that started to experience illness shortly after moving to a home in Hawaii in 2008 indicates that mycotoxin levels in the low parts-per-billion range on various surfaces in the home (including a sandal and a bath towel), as well as elevated fungal counts, can cause systemic illness.  The father and mother, aged 40 and 39, had an 8 year old daughter, a 5 year old son and a pet dog, living in a 2-story home with a crawlspace that had water intrusion.  According to one of the two inspection companies hired to investigate the home for mold, “A serious moisture/mold problem is observed in the crawlspace directly below the bedrooms. Moisture is penetrating the walls of the foundation. The HVAC system is designed to force air into the crawl space, forcing crawl space air into the bedrooms and other areas above. Moisture intrusion also results from the master shower into the crawl space as well as from sprinklers, damp soil against the foundation, lack of roof gutters, and poor grading.” Similar findings were in the second report, plus: “Smoke testing revealed communication between the crawl space and upper level bedrooms via electrical outlets and electrical ducts and plumbing. The conduit holes were not sealed, permitting observance of light coming through spaces in the floor joists. A musty odor was present in the master bathroom and noted to get stronger when the fan coil was turned on.”  ERMI tests for mold indicated ERMI levels of 2 to 3 throughout the home, which “represent a moderately high index, and further investigation should be conducted to establish if your home has a mold contamination problem”.  (Interpreting ERMI test results) Here are the test results for mycotoxins; mycotoxins can be measured from air or dust samples and in this case the dust was analyzed:

All four of the family members and the dog tested positive for OTA and some for tricothecenes in their urine; they had health problems involving the upper and lower respiratory tract, headaches, neurocognitive deficits, and severe sinusitis. They had chronic sinusitis and nasal inflammation, and the isolation of bacteria (Pseudomonas and Acinetobacter) and molds (Penicillium and Aspergillus) from nasal secretions from the father and daughter is consistent with other cause and effect symptoms of mold exposure.  Even the dog suffered from 72 lesions, an ear mass and lipomas (which were surgically removed), in were found OTA and tricothecenes.  The mother gave birth to a daughter 3 months after moving out of the home, which had skin inflammation and discolorations because of being exposed to mycotoxins in the womb and via breastmilk.  

Therefore, we can conclude from this sad scenario that mold, bacteria and mycotoxins are a real concern in house dust when the home has water intrusion and mold issues.  There’s no way to know how much of the mycotoxins were inhaled versus absorbed through their skin, but of course young children are closer to the floor, often crawling and sitting on it, thus sitting in dust, stirring up dust, and breathing it in.  The dog obviously suffered from laying on the floor!  

According to IndoorScience, a reputable indoor air-quality testing company, 

  • there are no guidelines for “acceptable” amounts of mycotoxins in house dust, 

  • mycotoxin testing is much more expensive than standard mold testing, and 

  • there are only a few labs that perform mycotoxin testing.   

However, if you have water intrusion or mold problems in your home that you suspect are causing health problems, mycotoxins or toxins from actinobacteria (see our article here) could very well be the culprit.  In these cases, solving the water intrusion problem and remediation and thorough cleaning will also remove the mycotoxins and bacterial toxins!  Here are some tips for maintaining a cleaner home from our related article

  • Invest in a HEPA air cleaner to remove dust from the air

  • Clean floors regularly with a HEPA vacuum and mopping (some appliances do both)

  • Filter the air that comes into your home via window filters

  • Change your HVAC filter regularly and even upgrade it if possible

  • Try to remove your outdoor shoes at the door, and wear indoor shoes or slippers only in the home

  • Minimize clutter, upholstery and carpets that can hold dust. 

These are also common recommendations of doctors and practitioners who see mold illness in their patients, because removing them from surfaces is helpful whether the toxins are inhaled or absorbed.  If you suspect water intrusion anywhere in your home (even in places you can’t see, like the crawlspace or attic),  of course you’ll need to address remediation in the moldy area pronto.  However, since you don’t know how air currents may be carrying dust and toxins into the living space, it’s a safe bet to also step up the cleaning and keep your shoes on!

Photo by Jimmy Chang on Unsplash

Cancer may be a case of nature AND nuture: Why it’s time to pay attention to Inflammogens

Cancer may be a case of nature AND nuture: Why it’s time to pay attention to Inflammogens

The New Yorker article “All the Carcinogens We Cannot See” is quite eye-opening.  You’ve probably known people who lived a “bad” life, drinking or smoking or doing drugs, to a ripe old age, and then also a number of “innocent” young victims of cancer.  What’s the rhyme or reason of evading cancer or acquiring it?   This is the question that thousands of scientists engage every day as they test chemicals on bacteria or animals.  In the 1970’s, biochemist Bruce Ames was able to measure that many mutagens are carcinogens: if a chemical or toxin causes a mutation in bacteria, then it’s likely to also be a carcinogen.  Thus, the Ames test for mutagens remains the standard lab technique for screening substances that may cause cancer.  However, there are many chemicals that cause cancer but are not obviously mutagenic, such as diethylstilbestrol (DES), which increases the risk of vaginal, cervical, and breast cancer.  Also, it has been discovered that with or without exposure to mutagens, most people have a small number of mutated genes.  What is the “trigger” that begins cancer growth?

A well-known example is cigarette smoke.  It contains more than 60 mutagens, which are by extension carcinogens. Surprisingly, however, in a 2023 study that examined the characteristic fingerprints of DNA damage caused by cigarette smoke in human lung cancers, ninety-two per cent had the mutations associated with the DNA-damaging substances in smoke. But about eight per cent lacked this kind of mutagenic damage, and clear mechanisms of cancer in between 8-10 percent of smokers is lacking, causing scientists to think that there are missing cancer-causing agents.

Other studies have confirmed that a second agent is necessary to “activate” the mutations into cancerous tumors.  In one study, DMBA, a cancer-linked chemical that was found in coal tar, only caused cancer in a small percentage of the mice that were exposed to it.  However, after adding an inflammatory oil after exposure to DMBA, more than half of the mice developed malignant tumors.  In another study, mice with a powerful cancer-causing gene only developed cancer when they were also plagued with poorly healing wounds, causing chronic inflammation.  It was inflammation that triggered tumors. 

What does this tell us (other than animals do a lot of our dirty work)?  It’s not mutagens alone that cause cancer:  in many cases, malignancies are only activated when another environmental toxin causes chronic irritation that catapults them out of normalcy. “The mutant cells just lie there,” according to Allan Balmain, a cancer geneticist at the University of California, San Francisco.. “It’s the inflammation that awakens them.”

Unfortunately, there are a lot of sources of inflammation.  According to the Cleveland Clinic, the some of the most common reasons for chronic inflammation in the body are autoimmune diseases, exposure to toxins, and untreated acute inflammation, as from an infection or injury.  Then there are lifestyle factors such as drinking alcohol in excess, obesity, chronic stress and smoking. 

Air pollution also featured prominently in The New Yorker article, and it’s a frequent topic in the news today in expected areas (cities and industrial zones) and unexpected areas (wildfires in the wilderness).  In fact, British epidemiologists Richard Doll and Austin Bradford Hill, who are celebrated for determining the primary cause of lung cancer–smoking–also correlated the disease to proximity to major roadways, gasworks, industrial plants, and coal fires, and thus, by extension, exposure to high levels of air pollution.  Since then, it’s been discovered that when lung cancer occurs in people who have never smoked, the malignant cells often carry a mutation in a gene known as EGFR.  Using data from the U.K., South Korea, and Taiwan, researchers found that in each of the three countries, tthe higher the level of air pollution, the higher the incidence of EGFR-mutated lung cancer. This confirms a link between air pollution and nonsmoking-related lung cancer by mutation.  But there is something else in the air pollution besides mutagens, and it is inflammogens.  Again using all mice that were genetically primed to have EGFR mutations, mice who received larger doses of a liquid simulating air pollution (PM2.5) in their lungs, had more tumors.  The PM2.5-treated mice were full of inflammatory cells.  It seems to be the combination of mutation AND inflammation that caused the mutation to develop into cancer.  Looking more closely at the inflammation, macrophages (large cells that eat foreign particles) promoted an immune response by secreting interleukin-1 beta, a potent inflammatory signal,. If the interleukin-1 beta was blocked with an antibody, the effect of air-pollution exposure dissipated.  Accordingly,  immune-deficient mice did not have inflammation and defeated the effects of air pollution.

Whew, that’s a lot of science.  What we can take away is that inflammation could be the invisible criminal accomplice in many cancer cases, as well as in other diseases.  There’s been a big focus on knowing your genetics, and firms like The DNA Company recognize that purposefully changing your lifestyle with better food, exercise, less stress and sometimes specific supplements can mitigate the effects of DNA deficiencies by defeating the accomplice, inflammation.  In this spirit, we hope that whether you get your DNA tested or not, you are aware of the air quality in and outside your home, and do your best to avoid inflammation by ascribing to a healthy lifestyle and less stress.  These include cleaning often with non-toxic cleaners like TotalClean, changing your HVAC filters regularly, using masks and HEPA filters where necessary, and using bi-polar devices  like the Germ Defender, Upgraded Air Angel Mobile or Whole Home Polar Ionizer that can also help purify the air of VOCs and particulates.  (For more information about your immune system at a molecular level and specific ways to build it up, check out our article here).  The answer to disease, like the cause, is two-fold: take the physical steps you can avoid toxins and inflammation, and sort out the mental toxins (stresses) that cause inflammation too.   At HypoAir, we wish you a healthy home and year!

Photo by Al Elmes on Unsplash

How increased oxygenation can assist recovery from inflammatory disease

How increased oxygenation can assist recovery from inflammatory disease

If you've ever traveled to a mountain resort or done any high-altitude sports, you know that the “thin air” has an effect on our bodies.  High altitude air has the same percentage of oxygen by volume as sea level air, but because the atmospheric pressure is lower in the mountains, oxygen molecules are more sparse.  This means with every breath you take, you’re getting less oxygen.  “Altitude sickness” includes problems sleeping, fatigue, headaches, and even life-threatening pulmonary edema (buildup of fluids in the lungs).   Technically the signs of altitude sickness can begin at elevations of 5000 feet above sea level.  We know that the amount of oxygen in every breath you take is very important for people with good health; and even more so for people whose health has been compromised by biotoxins or injury.

Sadly, we understand that many of our clients come to us because they are going through mold or other biotoxin illness and know first-hand how damaging the effects can be.  One such illness is called Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome (CIRS), which was defined by Dr. Ritchie Shoemaker in the 1990’s.  He pioneered a treatment protocol that many doctors use today to help their patients recover from this syndrome.  Steps 8 and 9 relate to improving oxygen delivery to cells to decrease inflammation.  Although he does not prescribe respiratory methods for increasing oxygenation (it’s more through detoxification, supplements and correcting enzymes), studies have shown that supplemental oxygen can benefit CIRS patients.  

Biotoxins are extremely small, fat soluble molecules capable of going from cell to cell through membranes without being carried directly in the blood stream rendering them impossible to find in the blood stream. Biotoxins can enter through inhalation, direct contact with contaminated water, ingestion, tick bites and spider bites. These biotoxins, in genetically susceptible people whose immune system (antibodies) do not recognize and tag them, lead to chronic inflammation and long lasting chronic illness. Biotoxins bind to certain surface receptors, particularly those on white blood cells (macrophages, monocytes and dendritic cells) called antigen presenting cells. (Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome (CIRS) Evaluation and Treatment)

Why more oxygen?

Hypoxia (low oxygen in body tissues) can cause inflammation; for example, in persons with mountain sickness, levels of circulating proinflammatory cytokines increase, and leakage of fluid (“vascular leakage”) causes pulmonary or cerebral edema.  The reverse is also true: inflammation can cause hypoxia, such as in inflammatory bowel disease, where the entire mucosa becomes even more hypoxic.  Basically the inflammation is preventing oxygen from reaching capillaries.  Therefore inflammation and hypoxia can be interdependent. (2021 study Hypoxia and Inflammation)

In conjunction with biotoxin “detoxing” treatments, then, it’s possible that other ways of increasing oxygen could reduce inflammation.  Following are some ways proven to increase oxygenation of your cells.

  • Moderate exercise (as approved by your doctor) can be a good way to bring more oxygen to your cells and reduce inflammation.  This 2010 review shows how many studies have linked exercise with lowering of C-reactive protein (CRP) levels, which are a marker of inflammation.  This 2021 article cites benefits of exercise to sufferers of other chronic inflammatory diseases such as coronary heart patients and type 2 diabetes patients.  Although your oxygen levels may drop slightly during exercise, in the long run, exercise results in increased levels of arterial oxygen levels at rest, which will bring more oxygen to all of your cells. (Adjustments during exercise)

  • Deep-breathing techniques are helpful to everyone, not just those with chronic inflammation.  Check out our article for more information on breathing exercises that you can do without specialized equipment, and this article for devices that help improve breathing too. 

  • ELO water (a commercially available oxygen-enriched bottled drinking water ) was shown to increase arterial blood oxygen levels, improved cellular oxygenation and altered markers of mitochondrial function in rats, and was recommended as an effective adjuvant therapy even in people with longstanding diabetes already on insulin. The following charts show that this particular bottled water does indeed have higher dissolved oxygen (DO) than standard tap water, even with the bottle left open for a week.  (2021 study)

  • This 2022 study showed improvement of 75% of 49 dogs who suffered from Systemic Inflammatory Response Syndrome (SIRS) and were given HBOT sessions.  

  • Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) has several positive effects on inflammation:

    • it may be able to stop certain types of fungus from growing in our bodies (studies). 

    • It promotes a strong immune system

    • It allows the brain to heal, improving memory and cognitive issues)

    • reduces inflammation on the cellular level by increasing anti-inflammatory cytokines and helps accelerate fibroblast activation.

  • Supplemental oxygen through a face mask or cannula and portable cannisters should only be prescribed by a doctor, because supplemental oxygen in those who are getting enough oxygen (healthy subjects) can cause airway inflammation and oxidative stress, quite the opposite of what is desired.

  • Continuous Positive Airway Pressure machines (CPAPs) do not increase the percentage of oxygen in the air you are breathing in; they just pressurize ambient air so that your airways stay open while you sleep.  However, if you have sleep apnea or problems getting enough air while you sleep, check with your doctor to see whether a CPAP would be helpful.

  • Another way to increase oxygenation safely is achieved with dedicated air-sealing and adding oxygen to your bedroom.  We’ve written an article on how Altitude Control Technology can increase the oxygen supply to your bedroom, so that your resting and sleeping hours are more productive in terms of healing your body. 

    • Although such systems are an investment, if you plan on staying in your home it could benefit you in the long term.

    • We’ve also laid out some alternatives in the article for increasing oxygen in your bedroom and home by increasing ventilation from outside.

Taking care of your body’s air filters

Taking care of your body’s air filters

A little bit of knowledge about our bodies really makes us appreciate all their functions and complexities!  Take for example our respiratory system starting with the nose.  It’s important to understand how our nose and sinuses work.  If you’re not an Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) doctor and you want to learn how air gets to your lungs, here is a very helpful video.  (It’s made by a clinic on the US west coast that does not do surgeries, yet they are able to help their patients by thoroughly examining and diagnosing the nasal structure and breathing and recommending treatment from there).  The video also illustrates the point that we need to utilize ALL of the area and defenses in our nasal passages to help us breathe, fight infection, smell and taste, and to be careful about removing or reducing any one spot so that nasal flow is not redirected too radically.

Here are the main defenses that are built into our body to prevent contamination by particulates in the air:

  1. Hairs in your nose entrap larger particles, which can be blown out 
  2. Mucus in the nasal passages entraps smaller particles as air bounces off mucus-lined surfaces
  3. Moderate resistance from undulating passages in the nose causes the air to be slightly turbulent and capture more particles
  4. Tiny hairs, called cilia, along your air passages move in a sweeping motion to keep the passages clean.
  5. Sinuses produce the mucus and warm and humidify the air going down to your lungs.

A lot of peoples’ breathing problems originate in the sinuses. 

Sinuses are admittedly a bit of a mystery (nysinuscenter.com).  We do know that they generate mucus to moisten our nasal pathways, and they give resonance to our voice (with a plugged nose our voices sound very different).  We each have 4 sets of sinuses, which are normally empty except for warm, moist air and a small amount of mucus.  There are small pathways into and out of each sinus cavity, called ostia.  Knowing these few details, then, tells us that we don’t breathe through our sinuses, yet, when they get plugged with mucus or inflamed with infection, they can swell and severely obstruct  nasal passages.  Here is a diagram of the sinuses and how blocking the ostia can promote infection and swelling:

Source: Navage.com

There are several non-medicated ways that doctors may suggest to take care of your sinuses and nasal passages, to keep them performing well and protecting our respiratory system.  Some of these are nasal sprays, nasal irrigation, humidifiers, steams and saunas, and staying hydrated.

Nasal sprays at the minimum are saline solutions packaged in a spray bottle.  To use a nasal spray, block off one nostril by applying gentle pressure to the side of the nose, insert the tip of the bottle into the other nostril, and squeeze the bottle forcefully while inhaling through your nose.  Then spray the other side, making sure to block the opposite nostril.  The saline solution moistens the nasal passages and helps the mucus to stay thin so that it flows down the back of your throat and doesn’t plug the ostia. Various chemicals are added to some nasal sprays to shrink membranes and provide longer-lasting moisture, but in general these are not necessary for a healthy individual.  It’s a great idea to use nasal sprays when the humidity is low, or you’re traveling in close proximity to other people, to keep your nasal passages moist and able to discharge microbes easily.  

Nasal sprays with essential oils (EOs) have been observed to lessen symptoms of allergenic rhinitis (AR).  Rhinitis is when a reaction occurs that causes nasal congestion, runny nose, sneezing, and itching. Most types of rhinitis are caused by inflammation and are associated with symptoms in the eyes, ears, or throat. (hopkinsmedicine.org)  In a 2021 study using Puressentiel® Respiratory-Decongestant Nasal Spray (PRDNS), which is a spray containing 4 essential oils, 43 patients with persistent mild or persistent moderate-to-severe AR used the spray 1x in the morning and 1x in the evening for 30 days.  They were tested at Day 0 (before treatment) and Day 30 for Allergic Rhinitis Control Test (ARCT) scores. The proportion of patients with controlled rhinitis after 30 days of treatment with intranasal PRDNS administration was 69.8% versus 14% before treatment.

This is great news, and you can even DIY your own Essential Oil nasal spray to fight mold and microbes.  This video by Dr. Jill Crista, a naturopathic doctor and one of the leading experts in mold-related illness, shows how to do this.  Personally, I buy a generic 1.5 oz plain saline spray, pop the top off, add only 1 drop of food-grade teatree oil or 1 drop of oregano oil, replace the top and shake to make a strong mold killer for those days when I’ve been exposed to too much mold or start to feel a cold coming on.. 

Why irrigate?

Irrigation does several things: 

  • it gets the harmful particles like viruses, bacteria and mold out more quickly than your body can do it alone, reducing the chances of infection

  • It can help clear the ostia so that sinuses can maintain natural drainage and not become blocked

  • it clears the cilia so they are not overloaded with thick mucus or particles.

  • The salts in the sinus rinse shrink inflamed sinus tissue by pulling out water.

According to navage.com, a nasal irrigant manufacturer: “There is no clinical evidence that saline from nasal irrigation devices of any type consistently enters into and rinses inside the frontal, sphenoid, and ethmoid sinus cavities. Nasal irrigation can and often does penetrate the maxillary sinuses with saline.”  So, although many irrigations are marketed as “sinus rinses”, they technically only go into 1 out of 4 sets of sinuses. 

There are several nasal irrigation systems, some of which are called Navage (a powered suction saline system), neti pots, and a nasal squeeze bottle. Here is an excellent video on how to irrigate your nose using a squeeze bottle.   

Humidifiers, steam and saunas do help to open nasal passageways temporarily.  Warm moist air causes the blood supply to your respiratory mucous membrane to improve. This means they are better able to purify themselves, which in turn strengthens your natural defense mechanisms. Your bronchial muscles also relax in the warm air – a great benefit for those suffering from asthma or bronchitis. (klafs.com)  If you do use a humidifier, take care to clean it regularly, as it can breed mold and bacteria.  In addition, ultrasonic humidifiers can actually increase the PM2.5 levels in your indoor air (see our post here). 

According to healthline.com, besides using moisture in the air, make sure you help your body from the inside by staying hydrated.  Drinking plenty of fluids like water or tea — especially if you have a dry nose during a cold — can help moisturize your nose from the inside out.

Just like any filter, occasional maintenance is needed, and your body is no exception!  We hope that you stay well throughout the year and keep those nasal passages clean and moist for your best breathing.