Archive for October, 2015

What’s the right way to blow your nose?

Certain sounds are associated with seasons. You hear jingle bells in the winter, birds chirping in spring and kids yelling with delight when school is out marks that summer is here.

Aside from the rustle of falling leaves, you’ll also hear a lot more sniffles this time of year due to colds, the flu and fall allergies.

Of course, blowing the nose helps with this symptom. But is it always a good thing?

seasonal allergies, sinus conditions, pollen counts, nasal irrigation

There’s a right way and a wrong way to blow your nose.

The truth is that ignoring nasal symptoms such as congestion, sneezing, runny nose or thick nasal discharge can lead to other problems:

  • Nasal congestion reduces the sense of smell.
  • When you can’t breathe through your nose, you resort to mouth breathing which can increase the risk of mouth and throat infections. Mouth breathing also pulls all the pollution and airborne germs directly into the lungs.
  • Breathing cold dry air into the lungs will make secretions thick, slows the cleaning cilia as well as the passage of oxygen into the blood stream.

So, yes, blowing your nose is important but there is a right and wrong way to do it.  If you blow too hard, you’ll cause pressure and some mucus to build up in the sinus cavities. That may lead to further infection.

According to experts, the proper method is to blow one nostril at a time, gently. You should also use a saline nasal rinse to remove excess mucous.

If the congestion lingers for a long time or develops into something more, that’s the time to visit your medical practitioner for a consult.

 

 

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Is it a cold or do I have allergies?

It is the time of year when fall allergies and colds tend to overlap. The symptoms of each can be similar and therefore can make it difficult to know how to treat what ails you.

“A cold generally is more of an upper viral infection that affects the nose and throat,” said Ed Neuzil, ARNP, PhD and owner of the Allergy, Sinus and Asthma Family Health Center in Central Florida. “My patients will tell me that they had a scratchy throat that has gotten better but now their head is stuffy and their nose is running but everything is clear. These are cold-like symptoms.”

Neuzil explains further the differences between cold symptoms and allergies in this video. He also explains when you should see a medical practitioner to get help.