Nasal Irrigation Better Than Steam Inhalation for Chronic Sinus Symptoms

Chronic sinusitis symptoms helped by nasal irrigation, but not steam inhalation – the cleverly named SNIFS trial.

From EE+ Daily POEMs:

Nasal irrigation, but not steam inhalation, beneficial for chronic sinus symptoms (SNIFS)

Clinical Question:
In patients with chronic or recurrent sinus symptoms, does nasal irrigation or steam inhalation improve symptoms?

Bottom Line:
This study confirms the benefit of nasal irrigation in patients with chronic sinus symptoms seen in earlier US studies. The US studies had somewhat larger benefits, but this may be because of a more intensive intervention that included coached practice and
more follow-up contacts. This study also confirms the lack of benefit of steam inhalation. Primary care physicians should instruct patients how to use a neti pot to perform daily nasal irrigation for their chronic sinus symptoms. (LOE = 1b)

Little P, Stuart B, Mullee M, et al, for the SNIFS Study Team. Effectiveness of steam inhalation and nasal irrigation for chronic or recurrent sinus symptoms in primary care: a
pragmatic randomized controlled trial. CMAJ 2016;188(13):940-949.


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