Nasal Air Filters - New Hope for Natural Allergy Treatment?

  • There is a new product in development in Denmark called a nasal air filter that may hold some promise for treating seasonal nasal allergies naturally. A small study published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology last May reported promising results for the product called Rhinix.


    There are many effective nasal allergy medicines already available, both over-the-counter and by prescription. So why even look at an experimental "natural" product? I've discussed the strong interest in natural therapies for allergies in the past; but in a nutshell, people consider them because:


    • They might be cheaper
    • They don't require a consultation with a physician
    • They may be more easily accessible
    • They seem safer than a chemical solution


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    Those reasons don't always pan out, but in my opinion, I think most people would probably elect a natural product over a medicine-based.


    So, What Is a Nasal Air Filter & How Does It Work?


    The Rhinix nasal air filter consists of two small contact lens-sized membranes that fit inside each nostril, connected by a small plastic ring that rests on the base of your nose between your nostrils. It might seem as though it would be uncomfortable at first, but study participants said that over time one no longer noticed it was there.


    The filters work kind of like an air filter in a furnace, preventing you from inhaling certain allergens, such as grass pollen. The membranes do not inhibit air flow, so you do not notice any difference in your ability to breathe through your nose. The device is disposable and designed to be worn for no longer than a day.


    Facts About the Study


    As I mentioned earlier, the study was small. But Peter Kenney, a medical and doctoral student at Aarhus University in Denmark who is the inventor of the Rhinix air filter, says a larger, more extensive study is planned for the near future, in collaboration with Danish allergy and asthma experts. Here are the details of this first study:


    • 24 participants with a known grass pollen allergy
    • Each exposed 30 minutes at a time to grass pollen, with a total of 210 total minutes of exposure
    • Half of the time participants wore the Rhinix device; the other half of the time, they wore a placebo device without the membranes


    Results of the Study


    So did it work? Well, there were definitely some encouraging results. Although all participants still had some nasal allergy symptoms, whether they wore the Rhinix filter or the placebo, overall they saw a 21 percent decrease in symptoms with Rhinix.


    And when looking at individual symptoms, the results were even more positive:


    • Sneezing reduced 45 percent
    • Itching of the nasal passage reduced 35 percent
    • Runny nose reduced 12 percent
    • Throat irritation reduced 75 percent


    It will be interesting to see if they realize the same results when studying a larger group!


    In Summary


    The Rhinix nasal air filter, which has not yet been widely manufactured, nor approved for use in the U.S., shows definite promise as an alternative or complementary nasal allergy treatment. It obviously requires further study before we know just how effective it can be for people who suffer from nasal allergy.


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    And, will it work well for allergens other than grass pollen? How effective will it be for mouth breathers like me? Will it be affordable? And how long before it might be available in the U.S.? All of these questions will probably not be answered for months, or even years. Still, it is exciting to know that such innovations in natural allergy treatments are on the horizon.


Published On: September 19, 2014