A towel and a bowl of steaming water may be a more effective way to tackle sinusitis than drugs.
In a new trial, up to 300 patients will use steam inhalation to treat a condition that is often tackled with antibiotics. It comes in the wake of research showing that the amount of patients who recovered in ten days was about the same, whether they took an antibiotic or a placebo.
Acute sinusitis - inflammation of the linings of the sinuses - affects up to five per cent of adults. Symptoms include headache, sore face and a blocked nose.
In the trial, at Southampton University, researchers will compare steam inhalation and nasal irrigation, where patients flush 150ml of saline though each nostril daily for six months. The hot steam is thought to help clear the airways, which improves breathing and mucus flow.