Archive for the ‘cold and flu’ Category

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.

saline nasal spray, irritated sinuses,

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.

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Saline Sprays Help Children with Sniffles

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.

saline nasal spray, irritated sinuses,

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

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.

A saline nasal spray can be very effective 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.

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.

 

 

Natural Nasal Relief

During the winter, many seek relief from sinus congestion and irritation due to colds and the flu, and the dry air associated with frigid temperatures.

While many over-the-counter medications provide relief, repeated use can result in addiction and possible side effects. Rinsing your nose with a saline solution, on the other hand, is an effective and natural nasal relief option.  Nasal washing helps rid the nose of dust, pollen and other irritants that cause discomfort.

You’ll find over-the-counter saline formula nasal therapies in drug stores, health food stores and pharmacies.  Consider looking for nasal therapies that have natural oils and herbs added to provide further relief.  These natural ingredients can further moisturize nasal passages which helps preserve the natural protectants in the nose as well as alleviate discomfort.

Additionally, some essential oils have natural antibacterial and antiseptic properties which can help protect against germs that may be inhaled.

Nasal Congestion Remedies

Between the fall allergies and start of the cold season, many are suffering.  The runny noses, stuffy heads and sneezing can make it hard to function.

To get immediate relief, try flushing the mucous out of your nose using a saline rinse,” says Ed Neuzil, PhD, MSN, ARNP, FAANP and owner of the Allergy Sinus and Asthma Family Health Center in Lady Lake, Florida. “Whether using a neti-pot, over-the-counter saline rinse system or a nasal spray, you can effectively relieve much of the stuffiness and discomfort.”

Medicated saline sprays and drops will help reduce swollen membranes but medical practitioners warn that excessive use can actually worsen congestion.

exercise, asthma, bronchorestriction, allergies, wheezing, pollutants

A little bit of exercise can temporarily alleviate nasal congestion

There are plenty of natural saline sprays that have been enhanced with herbs and essential oils. They are effective in rinsing out sinus passages while the natural additives can moisturize your nasal passages while even providing a decongesting effect. Best of all, they are not addictive and can be used frequently or can even compliment medicated options.

Neuzil says using a humidifier at night can make it easier to breathe. Add a few drops of eucalyptus oil to additional relief.

And, he says, if you’re up for it, exercise is a good solution. Nasal congestion is caused by blood vessels in your nose becoming inflamed. Exercise will help relieve the inflammation and get the blood flowing again. Try taking a 10 minute walk or do some calisthenics.  You’ll likely feel instant, temporary relief.

2013 Resolution? Get Better Sleep.

snoring, sleep apnea, trouble sleeping, sinus passages, saline nasal spray, nasal obstructions, A column in today’s newspaper cited several local community leaders who shared their New Year’s resolution plans. Surprisingly, many said they will try to get a better night’s sleep in addition to the usual “lose weight and exercise more.”

There is no disputing the health benefits of getting enough sleep. What many may not know is how one’s weight and health can influence how you sleep.

According to Ed Neuzil, ARNP, PhD and owner of the Allergy, Sinus and Asthma Family Health Center in Lady Lake, Florida, sinus obstructions can make it difficult to breathe at night whether caused by colds, allergies, and other nasal obstructions.

“When you have to breathe through your mouth while sleeping, it prevents your nose from filtering and moistening the air you breathe which can lead to sleep disturbance,” said Neuzil. In addition to infections or allergies which cause nasal blockage, excess weight can be a factor.

“The extra weight crowds your airway and interrupts the flow of air,” explains Neuzil. “In some extreme cases, it can result in pauses in breathing called ‘apnea’ and can lead to many other health problems.”

If you are sick, have allergies or suffer from other factors which affect breathing, the potential for sleep disturbance intensifies.

Neuzil’s encourages adding the following to your 2013 resolutions to help reach the goal of more restful sleep:

  • Avoid exposure to allergic triggers which means keeping pets out of your bedroom, washing bedding regularly to get rid of dust mites and staying inside when pollen peaks.
  • Use an herbal-enhanced saline nasal spray before bed to help soothe and moisturize your nasal passages. The spray will also open up your sinuses so that you are more likely to breathe through your nose, as intended, instead of your mouth.
  • Make lifestyle changes so that you eat healthier, stay active and lose weight.
  • If sleep disturbances continue, see a practitioner to address any medical issues which could be contributing to your problems.

 

 

Sorting Out Saline

A staple for the medicine cabinet during the holiday season (or even year round) should be  a saline spray to help with any sinus issues related to congestion and irritation due to colds, allergies, inhaled pollutants or a chronic nasal condition.

Saline solution is a sterile mix of salt and water. But did you know there are different types of saline? Which one is best to use?

First, it is important to know that salt or sodium is very important for normal nerve and muscle function and is required to maintain normal fluid balance in and around the body’s cells. When sodium levels become too high or too low, it can cause imbalance which may lead to disease.

Isotonic or normal saline is the main saline used intravenously because it has the same salinity or level of salt as bodily fluids. It closely mirrors the sodium that is in the body’s cells and is also used in some nasal sprays to relieve sinus congestion and pressure.

Hypertonic saline has higher salt levels than normal bodily fluids. It may be used intravenously to treat spider and varicose veins because the additional salt causes blood cells to shrink. It may also be used to treat people with edema or cystic fibrosis. Some nasal sprays have hyertonic saline because it is thought to reduce swelling of the mucous membranes.

Hypotonic saline solution has less salt than normal body fluids and is used to treat infections, often intravenously.

There are other saline solutions—Ringer Gleichenberger and Ems̶ that contain additives and are often used as nasal sprays and washes.

For some people, a hypertonic solution will more likely dry out nasal passages when used as a rinse, whereas the isotonic solution helps restore moisture.

It’s best to consult with your medical practitioner if you have a chronic sinus condition to know which type of saline is best to use for nasal therapy.