Red Tides, Sinusitis, Nasonex and Astelin
NOTE: While this article deals with medical topic, I am not providing this as a medical advise to you. If you have a similar problem like I had, please consult your physician, an ENT or an Allergy specialist.
Last two years, I had a bit of struggle with Sinus infections. This all started when I went into the murky brown water in the middle of the summer in Manresa. Immediately after the session a runny nose did not stop for a day. A few weeks later my nose became really stuffy and for several months after that I could not smell a thing. For someone who like to drink wine that was a bit of problem.
Since that happening, even if there is a bit of a sign of red tides, my nose will get stuffy. This is even if I did the nasal rinse religiously. Not only my noses got stuffy, there was quite a bit of odorous discharge which did not go away. This is a standard symptom of infected sinus.
I consulted a doctor on this and I was prescribed Amoxicillin for two weeks. This actually did work. But after that treatment was done, the infection came back, of course I did not stop surfing (how could I). I also continued to do the nasal rinsing. I was also recommended that I use Nasonex in conjunction to reduce the swelling, and also to use Mucinex D to thin out discharges to help it drain. The Mucinex did work to temporarily relief the congestion and the sense of smell did come back while I was using it. But it had pseudo-ephedrine and I did not want to continue to use it too much.
As the condition came back I asked for the second dose of Amoxicillin for another couple of weeks, but at the same time the doctor advised to give Astelin a try, and for me that seemed to worked the best in preventing the onset of the reaction to the red tide component in the water.
This year I have been out in a condition several times where I was afraid of getting the infection back. But as soon as I have gotten a sign of runny or stuffy nose, I sprayed Astelin and it basically prevented from the nose from getting fully stuffy and then get into the infection mode.
I have spoken to several other surfers including many members of StokeMaster.COM and the symptoms are very very similar to mine.
What I think was going on my case is that going into red tide infested water causes an allergic reaction, which closed up the drainage, and caused secondary infections. Once the infections set in, it is very difficult to get rid of except using antibiotic. I am susceptible to many sort of nasal allergies since I was a very young child and also has a slightly deformed septum too (and on top of that I broke my nose a few years back right under my eyes from surfing [what else!]).
Nasonex in my case did not work well and requires a long-term use for it to be effective, but Astelin, being an antihistamine works very quickly, preventing the onset of a full blown inflammation of my nasal cavities and in my case, that really helped me because I don't know when the red tide strikes or attack me or accidentally paddling into floating pile of brown raw smelling foam.