New Year’s Resolution: Rinse Your Nose Regularly

 The start of a new year is a time when many choose to start new behaviors. Whether it’s beginning an exercise routine, making better nutrition choices or just planning to be kinder, many have resolved to do something different.

Consider doing something new for your nose.

Nasal irrigation has long been recognized as a beneficial way to clear the nose of mucus,

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A nasal spray with simple saline can eliminate the allergic triggers that may lead to annoying symptoms that affect your quality of life.

small particles and even bacteria and viruses that can lead to discomfort and inflammation.

The use of a saline solution that is streamed through the nose has been in practice since ancient times.  While often effective, the practice can be messy and uncomfortable to the squeamish.  A number of products are available to make it easier to practice and many prefer to mix their own solutions.

Medical practitioners tout nasal rinse therapy has helping to manage symptoms of rhino-sinusitis and rhinitis. Non-medicated versions can be effective and are generally safe. When practiced on a regular basis –daily even – the user may experience a significant reduction in symptoms associated with sinus issues such as congestion and itchiness.

Because saline has some anti-microbial properties, there are additional benefits in using a rinse or Neti-pot. Some over-the-counter nasal sprays are enhanced with herbs and essential oils which also have benefits including natural anti-bacterial as well as moisturizing properties which can help soothe irritated nasal passages.

Doctors warn, however, that contamination of the sinus rinse equipment can lead to nasal infections or worse in rare case so proper sterilization is recommended.

Bottom line: by getting into the habit of rinsing your nasal passages regularly, you can help avoid sinus symptoms that otherwise can be annoying or may even affect your quality of life.

 

 

Avoid Holiday Sniffles

Having a runny nose certainly does not inspire holiday cheer. But a bout of the sniffles can be quite common during this season…and they can be avoided.

According to The Christmas Tree Association, researchers found that conifers can carry mold that cause allergic reactions in some people.

The suggest shaking out as much debris as possible out of the tree before bringing it inside. Another option is to decorate your home with an artificial tree.

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The holidays can often be filled with allergic triggers that lead to sniffles.

When it’s time to store away your holiday decorations, be sure to wipe everything before you store them and when you unpack next Christmas-time so dust won’t irritate your sinuses.

If you like the smell of the holiday, take note before you use artificial sprays and candles. Those strong smells can also trigger sneezing and sniffles so you might want to tone them down a little, especially if your holiday guests seem uncomfortable.

Eliminating exposure to these potential triggers is the best way to avoid allergic reactions. One way is to use a nasal rinse after exposure to airborne pollutants to get rid of the irritants in your nose.

Using an herbal-enhanced nasal spray before you are potentially exposed to the airborne irritants at a holiday party will even help protect your sinuses by moisturizing passages so that you can focus on holiday cheer instead of holiday sniffles.

 

Prepare your Child for Cold and Flu Season

 

The cold and flu season is really kicking into high gear. Coughs and sniffles are likely unwelcome guests in your home, especially if you have children in school or day care.  Runny noses, uncovered coughs and sneezes, and unwashed hands are invitations to get sick.

Because colds are the result of a virus, there’s no cure. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, antibiotics may used to combat some symptoms but caution against giving medication to children under two years old.

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A saline nasal spray can be very effective at helping your child alleviate nasal congestion.

Children who are suffering from nasal congestion should clean the nasal passages using a saline rinse. A neti pot or similar sinus rinses can be effective although possibly messy and unpleasant for a youngster.

and you can find products that have essential oils added to make the treatment more pleasant while moisturizing nasal passages.  The additional moisture will help preserve the natural protectants in your child’s nose.

Show your child how to safely and carefully insert the nasal spray bottle into her nose and to distribute the spray effectively.  Make sure she uses a tissue to wipe her nose afterwards and, of course, wash hands afterwards.

Non-medicated nasal saline sprays can be used frequently throughout the day to provide relief but consult with your pediatrician about how often it can be used.

How does a Nasal Decongestant Help?

When allergies strike, there are many options available for getting relief from the nasal congestion and itchy sinuses that cause discomfort. While the symptoms are similar to that of a cold, allergic rhinitis or hay fever can sometimes be a chronic problem that flares up throughout the year.

According to the American Academy of Asthma, Allergy & Immunology, allergic rhinitis affects between 10% and 30% of adults and as many as 40% of children.

Medical professionals may recommend medicated decongestants that come in the form of a tablet, liquid or even a nasal spray.

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A saline nasal spray can help soothe irritated sinuses in children without concern about side effects from medicine.

The spray bottle tips are inserted in the each nostril and liquid is dispensed with a pump or squeeze of the bottle.  The user then inhales the liquid and should soon feel their nasal passages opening up so that they can breathe better.

Non-medicated nasal saline sprays are often prescribed by medical professionals in order to cleanse the nasal passages of the dirt, pollen and irritants that cause discomfort. These rinses, usually comprised of purified water and salt, can be administered the same way and the irritants flushed from the nose providing relief.

Some saline nasal rinses have added natural ingredients which can help moisturize your sinuses or even provide a refreshing feeling. These saline sprays can be used without worry of addiction and can even be supplements to medication prescribed by your doctor.

Air Travel can lead to sinus problems

If airline travel is in your forecast, you’ll want to arm yourself with a nasal cleansing spray to protect from the dry air when in flight.

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Airplanes can be like flying petri dishes because people travel with germs that can be dispersed throughout the cabin.

The low humidity can dry out nasal passages causing discomfort, especially during takeoff and landing.

A 2004 edition of the Journal of Environmental Health Research reported that the higher incidence of colds reported by recent aircraft passengers may be due to a decline in their ability to resist infection while flying.

“Your nose has a thin layer of mucus that actually helps traps germs and irritants. The in-flight air dries out that protective layer making you more susceptible to discomfort or even colds and viruses,” said Ed Neuzil, Ph.D., ARNP and owner of The Allergy, Sinus & Asthma Family Health Center in Lady Lake, Fla. “Cleansing your nasal passages of debris or germs with a moisturizing nasal spray helps maintain the natural protectants your body provides.”

Nasal sprays with herbal ingredients such as menthol or eucalyptol may also help open up your sinuses and alleviate some of the pressure you feel during altitude changes.

 

 

What are grass allergies?

During warm weather, our dog likes to spend time sitting in the grass under a shade tree. Sometimes, she’ll be allergies, grass pollenoutside for hours. We suspect she loves it because often she’ll stare blankly at us when we try to coax her indoors.

Once inside, however, the licking begins. Our dog is likely allergic to grass pollen. Seasonal allergies are common in pets but symptoms flare as skin irritation instead of the sneezing and itchy, watery eyes that humans experience.

Grass allergy season is strongest in late spring and summer. The pollen can be spread by wind and when the lawn is mowed. One challenge with grass is that airborne pollen from other plants can fall onto blades of grass and slide into the ground where it can stick to shoes or paws and be brought into the house.

If you or your child plays sports outside in the grass, you’re likely to get stuck with something irritating that could make you sneeze. And the skin irritation that animals experience? Humans can react that way as well. Some people will break out in hives and, in rare cases, can even have an anaphylactic reaction.

“Grass is hard to avoid so it’s important to recognize the allergy and be prepared for symptoms,” says Ed Neuzil, Jr., ARNP-BC, PhD, FAANP and owner of the Allergy,

Sinus and Asthma Family Health Center in Lady Lake, Fla. “The best way to stay symptom-free is to avoid exposure and stay inside. However, an over-the-counter anti-histamine can provide relief if you so start to experience a runny nose, itchy eyes or skin irritation.”

Neuzil also suggested taking off your shoes once in the house so you don’t track it throughout and also consider washing your clothes and hair once inside to rinse out any irritants that may stick to you. And your pets? Wash their paws, too.

 

Don’t let allergies ruin your summer plans.

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Be sure to pack items to help prevent and treat allergy symptoms you might encounter during summer vacation.

Before you head out for your summer vacation, you’ll want to make sure you’re prepared and protected from any allergy flare-ups and other symptoms that can make you miserable.

Few anticipate feeling lousy while on vacation or a business trip. Arming yourself is easy and you’ll be glad you are prepared. Traveling with kids? Ditto x 10.

  • Don’t leave home without it: Travelers should consider the “blooming” seasons of your destinations when making plans. Be sure to pack items that will help with relief: tissues, nasal irrigation, laundry soap to wash clothes that get particles trapped in the weave, hand sanitizer, etc.
  • Give me moisture: The dry air in-flight or visits to high altitudes can leave nasal passages parched and irritated. Swollen sinuses can cause additional discomfort due to the change in pressure during takeoff and landing. A couple of sprays of an herbal enhanced nasal spray will soothe and moisturize your nose making it easier to breath.
  • Sunlight symptoms: Some people are allergic to sunlight which can cause itchy, uncomfortable rashes. In some cases, this allergy can develop over time or can be hereditary. Medical experts suggest avoiding the sun or wear sun-protective clothing if you do go outside. Keep moisturizer and creams with corticosteroids handy. If the skin reactions are severe, be sure to visit a medical professional.

Then there are those things that can cause allergic reactions that you may not recognize. Being allergic to chlorine is not uncommon. Also, some of the fruits that are in season may share similar proteins as the weeds and grasses that trigger your seasonal allergies.

All this doesn’t mean you should only plan “Staycations,” but be aware and prepared so you can enjoy your summer adventure.