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If you’re dealing with a chronic sinusbaby-shampoo-and-sinus-problems infection, you may have tried all sorts of treatments, including a course of antibiotics. However, these drugs could actually aggravate the underlying problem.

You may be wondering how that’s possible. But the answer is really quite simple: Antibiotics kill both the bad and good bacteria in your nasal passages. Once the good bacteria are wiped out, there’s nothing in the nasal cavity to help protect against the buildup of bad bacteria.

With this in mind, Dr. Mas Takashima, director of the Sinus Center at Baylor College of Medicine is developing new therapies to reduce symptoms and fight off sinus infections. And you’ll be surprised to learn that they include baby shampoo sinus irrigations and probiotic nasal rinses.

“These new therapies are targeting the bacteria in ways that haven’t been utilized in the past,” says Takashima. “These techniques are helping those with chronic and acute sinusitis. Whenever I tell my patients about the new therapeutic protocols they’re very surprised, but they get the results they want and need.”

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How do they work?

Takashima explains that the concept behind baby shampoo irrigation is to cleanse the nasal cavity with a surfactant. This means the shampoo breaks down the oily layers that protect bad bacteria from being flushed away. Regular saline irrigation formulas can’t penetrate this barrier, but baby shampoo can.

“We tell our children to wash their hands with soap, not with plain water, in order to clean bacteria from their hands. The same concept is being used in the sinuses,” said Takashima.

For the most effective results, the solution should contain a half teaspoon of shampoo in 8 ounces of saline. To make your own saline, just mix 3 heaping teaspoons of salt with 1 rounded teaspoon of baking soda and store in a small Ziplock bag. Add 1 teaspoon of the mixture and a half teaspoon of baby shampoo to 8 ounces (1 cup) of lukewarm distilled or boiled water.

Use a rubber ear bulb syringe or infant nasal bulb to draw the liquid, then gently flush your nostrils with it.

To replenish healthy bacteria and prevent reoccurrence, add a probiotic rinse. You can use the same instructions to create the saline solution. Then, instead of adding shampoo, break open a probiotic capsule and pour the contents into the solution.

“I often encounter previously healthy patients who tell me, ‘I haven’t been able to shake this sinus infection and multiple courses of antibiotics and steroids aren’t helping.’ This tells me that something must have occurred to cause a change in the patient’s natural ability to fight off sinus infections,” Takashima said.

He said probiotics would be extremely helpful in this scenario because it can help replenish the good bacteria. This, in turn, prevents harmful bacteria from taking up residence in the sinuses.

Takashima recommends consulting your doctor for appropriate diagnosis before trying irrigation at home. This is because there are many different causes of sinus infection and you want to make sure you’re treating the right one.

Here is a list of recommended baby shampoos for relieving sinus infection:


New ways to flush out sinus infections. News Release. Baylor College of Medicine. Apr 2015.

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