Are Your Sinuses Healthy? Is Mold the Culprit?


Are your sinuses healthy? Is Mold the Culprit? Do you need an intranasal rinse?

First of all, what are our sinuses?

Our sinuses are a connected system of hollow cavities in the skull. Sinusitis is an inflammation of these sinus cavities, usually due to a bacterial infection. Allergic rhinitis is an inflammation of the nasal passages.


“Normal sinuses are lined with a thin layer of mucus that traps dust, germs and other particles in the air. Tiny hair-like projections in the sinuses sweep the mucus (and whatever is trapped in it) towards openings that lead to the back of the throat. A sinus infection stops the normal flow of mucus from the sinuses to the back of the throat. The tiny hair-like "sweepers" become blocked when infections or allergies cause tiny nasal tissues to swell. The swelling traps mucus in the sinuses.” (American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology)

The weaker your immune system, the more likely you are to develop a sinus infection, therefore it is also important to maintain adequate immune support.

Do you need an intranasal rinse?

Nasal rinses help clear the blocked/ thickened mucus from the sinuses. There are a few different kinds. Saline nasal rinses are mentioned in a trial below, and are one of the most common forms of nasal rinses. Some people use a Neti pot, but they are also available in easy to use spray bottles. There are also antifungal nasal rinses available at local pharmacies (like Advanced Rx) to combat toxins that may be residing in the sinus passages. Below I will mention mold exposure and some treatment option to combat mold in the sinuses.

Home Neti Pot Solution Recipe:

1/2 to 1 teaspoon of finely ground kosher or sea salt (avoid iodized and flavor infused salts and any added aluminum or silicone)

16 oz either distilled or boiled tap water

1/2 teaspoon baking soda (optional)

Warm the solution to about body temperature.

What are the benefits of nasal rinses?

In a systematic review of 10 original trials, saline nasal irrigation resulted in a 27.66% improvement in nasal symptoms, a 62.1% reduction in medicine consumption, a 31.19% acceleration of mucociliary clearance time, and a 27.88% improvement in quality of life.

Saline nasal irrigation is a safe and effective way to release sinus pressure and improve symptoms. It can also help decrease the need for antibiotic medications, which is important as there is an increase in antibiotic resistant in bacteria.

How often can/ should you rinse your sinuses?

If you are someone who frequently experiences sinus congestion, using a sinus rinse twice daily may prove very beneficial. Always consult with your health care provider to see what the best plan is for you.

How does mold exposure affect my sinuses?

Check out our previous blog “Could Your Symptoms be Caused by this Surprising Culprit? A Look into Mold Biotoxins”:

A 2015 study found that approximately 90% of chronically ill patients have a history and exposure to a water damaged building, mold, or both.

The study also linked aflatoxins, ochratoxin A, and/or macrocyclic trichothecenes (types of mycotoxins secreted by mold) to chronic fatigue syndrome. The nose and sinuses are the major internal reservoirs that hold mold and toxins.

Check in with yourself and determine whether you may have any of the following mold exposure symptoms taken from a leading functional physician and mold expert, Dr. Jill Carnahan:

  1. Fatigue and weakness

  2. Headache, light sensitivity

  3. Poor memory, difficult word finding

  4. Difficulty concentration

  5. Morning stiffness, joint pain

  6. Unusual skin sensations, tingling and numbness

  7. Shortness of breath, sinus congestion or chronic cough

  8. Appetite swings, body temperature regulation,

  9. Increased urinary frequency or increased thirst

  10. Red eyes, blurred vision, sweats, mood swings, sharp pains

  11. Abdominal pain, diarrhea, bloating

  12. Tearing, disorientation, metallic taste in mouth

  13. Static shocks

  14. Vertigo, feeling lightheaded

How to I treat my mold exposure?

  1. Remove yourself from the contaminated environment, or test your home for mold! You can click here to have someone come check for mold in your home!

  2. Avoid exposure to items from the moldy environment.

  3. Use clay, charcoal, cholestyramine or other binders to bind internal mycotoxins

    • Potential binders include cholestyramine (best for orchratoxin), Welchol, charcoal, bentonite clays (gliotoxin—recommend Yerba liquid Prima Bentonite clay), calcium d-glucarate, chorella (gentle), Zeolites, chitosan, citrus pectin, apple pectin, beta-sitosterol, glucomannan, diatomaceous earth.

  4. While you are using binders, you must maintain normal bowel function and avoid constipation.  You can add magnesium citrate, buffered C powder, or even gentle laxatives.

  5. Treat colonizing molds/fungal or bacterial infections in the body

    • Common locations of colonization include sinuses, gut, bladder, vagina, lungs

    • Test and treat for candida overgrowth – living in an environment with mold leads to immune dysregulation that allows candida to overgrow in the body in some immunocompromised patients

    • Nebulizer or Nasal spray

    • Oral antifungals

  6. Enhance detoxification support

    • Some common supplements used to aid detox are liposomal glutathione, milk thistle, n-acetylcysteine, alpha lipoid acid, glycine, glutamine, and taurine.  Methylation support is also key and involves optimal levels of methylcobalamin (B12), methyl-folate, B6, riboflavin, and minerals

    • Sweating via FIR sauna therapy

  7. Avoid common mycotoxin containing foods:

    • Corn, wheat, barley, rye, peanuts, sorghum, cottonseed, some cheeses, and alcoholic beverages such as wine and beer.  Others include oats, rice, tree nuts pistachios, brazil nuts, chiles, oil seeds, spices, black pepper, dried fruits, figs, coffee, cocoa, beans, bread.

  8. HLA DR - Your Genes

    Human Leukocyte Antigens (HLAs), are found on the surface of nearly every cell in the human body.  They help the immune system tell the difference between body tissue and foreign substances.

    The immune response genes are found on chromosome six.  Patients could have two alleles, copies of genes (for each gene, one allele is inherited from a person's father, and the other is inherited from a person's mother), out of approximately 10 possible, as part of their genotype.  Based on Dr. Shoemaker's data, in normal populations compared to international registries of gene frequencies of HLA DR, we know the frequency of mold illness-susceptible patients approximates 24% of the normally distributed population.  Almost a quarter of the normal population is genetically susceptible to chronic mold illness.  Three quarters isn't.

Advanced Rx is a great local pharmacy which creates anti-fungal sinus treatments. Speak with one of our providers about how you can heal your sinuses and determine if you have been exposed to mold!

PIM wants to hear from you! Do you have an experience with sinusitis? Mold exposure? Do you find this article helpful? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

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Written by Dani Mortimer, Clinic Manager


“Chronic Sinusitis.” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 3 Mar. 2018,

“Sinus Infection | Causes, Symptoms & Treatment.” ACAAI Public Website,

Stöppler, Melissa Conrad. “Mold Exposure Symptoms, Tests, Treatment, Removal & Dangers.” MedicineNet,

“Nasal Saline for Allergic Rhinitis.” Nasal Saline for Allergic Rhinitis,

Hermelingmeier, Kristina E, et al. “Nasal Irrigation as an Adjunctive Treatment in Allergic Rhinitis: a Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis.” American Journal of Rhinology & Allergy, OceanSide Publications, Inc., 2012,

Bennett, J W, and M Klich. “Mycotoxins.” Clinical Microbiology Reviews, American Society for Microbiology, July 2003,

Brewer, Joseph H. “Intranasal Antifungal Therapy in Patients with Chronic Illness Associated with Mold and Mycotoxins: An Observational Analysis .” Global Journal of Medical Research: K Interdisciplinary , Global Journals Inc. (USA), 2015,

“Home.” Sutter Health,

“Is Toxic Mold Exposure the Cause of Your Symptoms?” Jill Carnahan, MD, 27 Nov. 2018,

“An Overview of Nasal Rinses and Sprays.” My Sinusitis, 3 Jan. 2019,