Good grief this is timely!!
I'm actively investigating this very question.
Most of you know the story of sozlet's problems with congestion and resulting ear problems. She had several surgeries in May of 2009 because of severe negative pressure in her right eardrum. That was pulling the eardrum in towards her middle ear, to the point where it was a) very stretched out and b) touching the bones of her middle ear. Which is very bad.
She did very well when the tubes were still in and functioning.
The tube in her right ear recently came out, and the eardrum healed. The negative pressure is happening again.
While she's been tested extensively for allergies, none have yet been found. However she "acts" allergic -- there is a lot of swelling in her sinuses, which causes the Eustachian tube to close up. The closed Eustachian tube is the cause of ear problems, including the current negative pressure, which is worrisome.
I got a referral for an allergist to pursue the allergy angle again. We saw her last week. She did tests, again nothing specific was found. She thinks that sozlet may have a chemical sensitivity rather than an allergy per se -- that regular pollutants irritate her tissues and cause a reaction that parallels allergic reactions.
I had only been expecting allergy testing and so was surprised when she asked where my pharmacy is and prescribed Nasonex.
I said er um and explained that we hadn't had a good experience with Nasonex. It made her moody and short-tempered and also didn't seem to really solve the underlying problems. It's not something I wanted to do again unless it's really necessary.
She said Oh OK, let's do Flonase then. She said that often if one doesn't work well, the other is better.
She also said that they are both steroids but they're topical and so are not absorbed into the system and so they don't have side effects of mood changes etc. Hmm. That really wasn't our experience.
She just kind of rattled on after the Flonase part though, and made a follow-up appt.
I've had an email exchange with her office, trying to narrow down how important it is to do this.
One thing with us is that the swelling is the issue, not the mucus per se, so saline lavage doesn't get at the core issue.
I don't want sozlet to have serious ear problems. If this needs to be done to allow her Eustachian tube to do its job, fine, we'll go there.
But I'm in active research mode re: Flonase/ Nasonex and am not super enthused.
And whatever she has is an all-year thing, so if starts taking it and it serves the purpose, she'd have to take it indefinitely, which also gives me pause.
But as of right now I haven't come to any conclusions. Will be reading with interest.