Archive for the ‘sinus conditions’ 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.

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.

 

 

Immunotherapy Insight

There are plenty of over-the-counter medications to help with allergy symptoms: antihistamines, decongestants, steroids and more.

However, continued use can lead to the drugs being less effective and, in some cases, can trigger significant side effects.

Allergy immunotherapy could be a long-term solution for people with chronic allergies such as allergic rhinitis, allergic asthma, allergic conjunctivitis or even stinging insect allergies.

“Much like a vaccine, immunotherapy more commonly known as allergy shots, involves receiving injections of a particular allergen or allergens over a period of time so that your body develops an increased tolerance of these allergens,” said Ed Neuzil, PhD, MSN, ARNP, FAANP.  “It requires a patient come into the practitioners office on a regular basis to receive the injections.”

Neuzil says that patients may, although uncommon to his practice experience redness, itching and swelling at the injection site or they may experience some sneezing or nasal congestion. But the reactions are typically not serious and are temporary.

“The process which includes the build-up phase when the allergen is increasingly added to the body and then the maintenance phase, may last a year or so,” said Neuzil. Then if the immunotherapy is successful, maintenance treatment can go on for another three to five years.

Neuzil suggests that you speak with your medical practitioner to determine whether you’re a candidate for immunotherapy.  You can watch this video which explains how practitioners determine which allergens a patient may be allergic to.

Relief from Rhinitis

Many people suffer from a sinus condition called Rhinitis. The sniffles and sinus pressure associated with it can truly affect one’s quality of life.

The causes and treatments of rhinitis was the topic of conversation on a recent eHealth Radio podcast. Board certified nurse practitioner Ed Neuzil shared helpful information for listeners. Click here to here the 10 minute interview:  ehealth radio network.

Stop sneaking sniffles

Certain sounds are often associated with seasons. Birds chirping make you think of spring. Crunching leaves are a sure sign of fall. And the winter notification is, of course, a sniffle.

Whether being outside in the cold prompts a runny nose or the onset of a virus or sinus infection, just about everyone gets the sniffles this time of year.

No matter the cause, the symptoms of nasal congestion should be addressed.

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.

 

 

Winter Woes for your Nose

winter, indoor allergies, heat, nasal congestionMany across the country are stuck indoors after the recent winter storm. While having protection from the cold and snow outside may be the first concern, people should also beware of indoor allergens that can lead to itchy noses and eyes and nasal congestion.

Central heating circulates warm air throughout the home but also blows dust, dust mites and pet dander which can trigger irritation. A lit fireplace makes for a warm, cozy room but can also release smoke and pollutants into the air.

And while residents in the northern and Midwestern states may be envious of those of us in the South, they may turn a lighter shade of green knowing that the seasonal allergies will soon kick into high gear due to warmer temperatures.

Ed Neuzil, ARNP, PhD and owner of the Allergy, Sinus and Asthma Family Health Center in Central Florida offers advice in this video to help stay sniffle free which can be helpful no matter which climate you live in.

 

 

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.

Common Holiday Allergies

christmas tree, tree pollen, allergies, sniffles.

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

You may be miserable this holiday season but not necessarily because of stress or visiting family.

According to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, many people experience sniffling, itchy eyes and nose, and shortness of breath due to a Christmas tree allergy.

Some conifer trees carry mold spores that trigger allergic reactions or even asthma.

If you and your family prefer a real tree over an artificial one, then try putting the tree in the garage or an enclosed porch for several days until it dries. Give it a good shake outside before bringing it in to decorate.

For many, it’s post-holiday annual tradition to store away holiday decorations. Be sure to wipe everything well as you unpack items from storage before displaying the decorations in your home so dust won’t irritate your sinuses.

We traditionally associate certain fragrances with the holidays and will use artificial sprays and candles to contribute to the holiday spirit. But 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.

Of course, eliminating exposure to these potential triggers is the best way to avoid allergic reactions, but that’s not very festive. Good saline rinses used after exposure airborne pollutants will help get rid of the triggers 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 achoo.

Addicted to nasal sprays

People who suffer from chronic sinus problems often will carry a bottle of nasal spray wherever they go. That’s because one spray in each nostril can help alleviate the congestion and discomfort that the condition brings.

Either by doctor’s direction or because they’ve found an over-the-counter product that works, sinus problem sufferers use chemical nasal sprays to get relief.

The chemicals have decongesting effects that help shrink the swollen nasal membranes by constricting the network of tiny blood vessels within your nose.

With frequent use, the user can actually build up a type of immunity to the chemicals in the sprays making them less effective. Scientists say it’s because the blood vessels in the nasal lining become tolerant to the decongestant.

When the spray doesn’t work as well, it could lead to overuse and make the user feel as if she’s addicted to the nasal spray. And worse, the frequent use can damage membranes and actually cause more discomfort.

It’s important to consult with your medical practitioner if you do find yourself using the nasal sprays on a more frequent basis. Of course, read the package instructions carefully and follow them. Ideally, you should limit use of the medicated nasal sprays to three or four days.

 

 

 

 

Children’s Nasal Spray

nasal spray, nasal spray addiction, saline rinse, sinus rinse, allergy spray,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.

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.