Archive for the ‘natural health solutions’ Category

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.

Nature’s Germ Killers

Cold and flu season has everyone on edge. We are afraid to touch anything because of the potential for lurking germs.

Doctors always warn us to wash our hands frequently and many people arm themselves with anti-bacterial lotion and squirt and wipe all day long.

Now, researchers are concerned that overusing antibacterial soap can be dangerous because when so many people use the gels, bacteria develop stronger strains that become resistant to antibiotics.

Lucky for us, Mother Nature has provided us with some natural germ killers which can help us fight off germs and stay healthy without chemicals.

A number of natural essential oils have antibacterial and anti septic properties. Essential oils are made from plants and are commonly used for their scent and in some foods.

Aromatherapy uses essential oils, often to make you feel relaxed and to eliminate stress. But when introduced into your system, some of these essential oils have a greater benefit:

Essential oils of cinnamon, eucalyptus, and pine have antibacterial properties which help kill bacteria.

Camphor, eucalyptus, ginger, peppermint and thyme are antiseptic which means they inhibit the growth and reproduction of microorganisms including bacteria and viruses.

A number of personal care products are available that are enhanced with natural germ fighters and you should consult with your medical practitioner about using them. Combined with other precautions that you should take during the cold and flu season such as a healthy diet, exercise and plenty of sleep to keep your immune system working well, these essential oils may help prevent illness.

Of course, make an appointment with your doctor if you really start to feel badly.

Sniffling and sneezing? You might blame your parents.

Do your sinuses flare up at the slightest exposure to pollen, dust or mold spores? It is likely due to an allergic reaction where the human immune system overreacts to a foreign substance that is eaten, inhaled, injected or touched.

The immune reaction may cause symptoms such as coughing, sneezing, itchy eyes, runny nose and a scratchy throat. In severe cases, inhaling these allergens can cause asthma attacks, difficulty breathing or worse.

If this diagnosis is familiar to you, there is a good possibility that one or both of your parents share the same problem.

According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, allergies have a genetic component. In fact, if only one parent has allergies of any type, the likelihood of each child having an allergy is 1 in 3.  If both parents have allergies, the likelihood of the children having the allergies increases to 7 in 10.

“If your allergies are severe,” said Ed Neuzil, ARNP, MSN, PhD and founder of Dr. Neuzil’s Irrigator nasal cleansing spray. “Then you’ll want to visit your medical practitioner and try to determine what allergens prompt your discomfort. Once you find out, it will be important to try to avoid exposure to those pollutants as much as possible.”

allergies, sneezing, saline spray, non-medicated, snifflesWhat is that old saying? “A family that sticks together, sniffles together?”

The Annual Ragweed Ritual

itchy eyes, sneezing, allergy season, ragweed season, Ed Neuzil, sinus rinse, saline spray, natural allergy reliefThe headlines are probably telling you what you already know. The fall ragweed season is upon us and it is likely to be worse than previous years.

Symptoms may include itchy eyes and nose, a scratchy throat, frequent sneezing, maybe a cough and just feeling yucky.

Visit your local drug store and you’ll see they’ve stocked the shelves with antihistamines, a variety of saline sprays and more to help you get relief.

According to Ed Neuzil, ARNP, PhD and owner of the Allergy, Sinus and Asthma Family Health Center in Lady Lake, Florida, people who suffer to the point that the pollen is affecting their quality of life and the symptoms appear consistently each allergy season, then they should meet with a medical professional to determine the best plan of action.

But Neuzil also advises taking precautionary steps to avoid symptoms. It can be as simple as:

  1. Keep your windows and doors close so that the airborne pollutants don’t come inside.
  2. If you spend a lot of time outdoors, remove your clothing, wash your face and even wash your hair to get rid of any pollen that may have gotten on you.
  3. Install HEPA filters in your home. They’ll do a better job of filtering out pollen and can be found at most home improvement stores.
  4. Rinse your nose! Seriously. It’s the same as washing out anything else that has trapped dirt and other pollutants.

Some opt for using the ancient saline rinsing system called the “Neti Pot.” This natural therapy involves making a saline concoction that is poured through the nose and helps rinse out nasal passages.

Recent cases of people getting very ill from bacteria in the water got lots of media play.  So doctors recommend that you use distilled water if this is your therapy of choice.

Still, Neuzil cautions Neti Pot and saline rinse users that the simple saline alone can lead to other sinus problems if used too much and he suggests you consult with a practitioner if you use them frequently.

There are other methods, however. In fact, Neuzil developed a non-medicated saline nasal spray that is enhanced with essential oils which help moisturize nasal passages.

Whatever your allergy therapy of choice, it’s important that you don’t try to suffer through season without getting appropriate relief.