Those suffering from long-term stuffy or runny noses can now breath a deep, heavy sigh of relief. A new form of cryotherapy treatment is now cleared by the US Federal Drug Administration to treat chronic sniffles, also called rhinitis.
Rhinitis occurs whenever inflammation happens in the nasal lining caused by both allergic reactions, such as hay fever, or nonallergic reasons like asthma, sleep apnea, or sinusitis. Developed by the Rush University Medical Center, ClariFix is a device that uses cold temperatures to target out-of-balance nerves that cause the nose to drip, run, and swell more than it should. After the nose is numbed, a small, chilled pad on a thin stem is inserted through a nostril, freezing targeted cells and interrupting the neural pathway triggering symptoms like a runny nose, sneezing, and nasal itching and congestion.
“Longstanding runny nose and congestion can slowly deprive patients of their quality of life," said professor Pete Batra in a statement. "In the past, medications were the only option that could be offered to our patients. The introduction of ClariFix now offers the possibility of a more definitive solution that has the potential to offer long-lasting relief from rhinitis symptoms.”
The outpatient procedure takes about 10 to 15 minute and works for those suffering from both sources of rhinitis. Following the procedure, most patients reported having increased pain and congestion for one or two days. Clinical studies published last fall found 80 percent of recipients had an improvement in their runny nose and congestion over a long-term period, which is hopeful for the 24 million Americans who have rhinitis.
Rhinitis is commonly treated based on how severe a person’s symptoms are and how they impact their everyday life. Rinsing the nasal passages is a common at-home remedy that provides short-term relief. Oral medications are also prescribed to help with rhinitis symptoms, such as non-sedating antihistamines for those suffering from allergic causes. Because nonallergic rhinitis is caused by such a wide array of underlying conditions, like hormonal changes or abnormal mucus buildup, a long list of medications can be used to treat it including, steroid nasal spray or drops, oral contraceptives, and immunotherapy.