Posts Tagged ‘airborne pollutants’

Why does my nose itch each fall?

The news headlines and your nose are probably telling you what you already know. The fall ragweed season is upon us and many people are likely to suffer through it.

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

ragweed, fall allergies, sinus rinse

Fall allergy sufferers can often blame ragweed for their discomfort. Rinsing nasal passages regularly can help.

Visit your local drug store and you’ll see shelves stocked 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 should meet with a medical professional to get relief.

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

  • Keep windows and doors closed to keep out airborne pollutants.
  • 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.
  • Install HEPA filters in your home. Found in most home improvement stores, they’ll help filter out pollen that gets into the air conditioning system.
  • Rinse your nose! Seriously. It’s the same as washing out anything else that has trapped dirt and other pollutants.

Some choose to use 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. But there have been recent cases of people getting very ill from bacteria in the water so doctors recommend using distilled water in the Neti Pot.

However, Neuzil cautions Neti Pot and saline rinse users that the simple saline alone can lead to other sinus problems. If used too much it can dry out nasal passages 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 the season without getting appropriate relief.

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Allergy season from a Medical Practitioner’s Perspective

When you’re suffering with itchy eyes and nose, sniffles and what seems like a never-ending need to hack, you probably don’t care what other people are feeling.

itchy eyes, sneezing, allergy season, ragweed season, Ed Neuzil, sinus rinse, saline spray, natural allergy reliefBut you may take some solace in knowing medical practitioners who are seeing lots of allergy sufferers are sharing your pain. They’d like to see their patients breathing easy without fear of a sneezing attack.

“In our office, we are seeing many with a combination of nasal congestion and sinus pressure which often leads to sinus-triggered headaches along with frequent sneezing bouts,” said Ed Neuzil, ARNP, PhD and owner of the Allergy, Sinus and Asthma Family Health Center in Lady Lake, Florida. “It is especially concerning for people with asthma who may experience tightness to the chest, wheezing and dry ‘hacking’ type cough along with increased shortness of breath when active.”

Neuzil says the process for getting to this point is the same for just about everyone.

“The weather starts to become beautiful and people want to be outside more,” said Neuzil. “So they’ll open up their homes to air out the house when, in fact, they’re allowing the bad stuff to get in, such as pollen, dust and other allergic type triggers.”

What to do:

Neuzil says it’s best to reduce exposure by keeping windows and doors closed and using a good HEPA filter on your A/C system.

If you’ve been outdoors and finally coming in for the day, your clothes need to go into the washer, you need to take a shower before going to bed, rinsing out your hair, your nose and your eyes of the pollen and other contaminants you’ve been exposed to.

Remember the longer you’ve been exposed, the greater the change of triggering a reaction. Some people cleans their nasal passages with a saline based nasal spray while other use a flushing system to clear the nose of the pollutants they’ve inhaled.

“The biggest mistake is that many patients when feeling well will appropriately reduce their medication but when exposed to the higher pollen levels, will delay re-starting their medications hoping their symptoms will resolve on their own,” says Neuzil. “However, that may happen in some cases but there’s also the risk of symptoms escalating into an infection that over-the-counter allergy medication might have been able to resolve and prevent the infection from evolving.”

Dry earth, dry nose

The escalating drought crisis in California is causing concern besides the obvious lack of water. drought, allergies, pollen, low humidity, airborne pollutantsThe parched conditions may prompt other environmental changes that lead to discomfort for allergy sufferers.

 First, the warmer temperatures associated with the drought has prompted some pollen-producing plans to bloom early, dispensing their airborne allergens that trigger itchy eyes and runny noses.

And while some other plant-culprits may be withering due to the lack of rain, the potential for mold growth increases in the warm temperatures. Mold spores usually hidden on the ground dry out and, with a gust of wind, easily become airborne along with dust, dirt and other pollutants.

Inhaling any of these irritants can cause even the seemingly allergy-free to experience some sinus discomfort.

In arid areas with low humidity, the dry air can further dry out nasal passages which are actually designed to help protect the body from pollutants and germs. However, the nasal passages need some moisture in order to stay healthy and do their thing.

Medical practitioners recommend that you take a shower after coming indoors and wash your clothes. Leave windows closed and don’t hang wash out to dry.

Using a moisturizing nasal spray throughout the day can help soothe parched nasal passages. Dr. Neuzil’s Irrigator nasal cleansing spray includes natural essential oils that have moisturizing properties. Spraying it into your nose a few times a day can help avoid nasal passages from getting dried out and thus avoid discomfort.

Building Up Allergies

The news that one of Norway’s Olympic athletes dropped out of competition due to allergies caught our attention.  We wouldn’t have expected that a man who spends his days on the ski slopes would be suddenly stricken with symptoms at what is now the most famous venue for his sport.

But Aksel Lund Svindal says he began to not feel well after arriving in Sochi and attributed it to a “dust” in the air. Doctor-prescribed allergy medicine to help Svindal also affected his performance.

 Prior to the Games’ start, the news media chattered about the Russians push to get host city Sochi ready for an influx of visitors. In fact, some journalists who arrived a few days before reported construction crews still working day and night to get new hotels and venues ready.construction, dust, allergies, chemicals, mold, Sochi, Olympics

 Construction can be a significant source of allergic triggers because it stirs up all sorts of pollutants including dust, mold spores and even chemicals that are used in the building process.

The fine, airborne particles can get into air ducts, on your shoes and clothes, and travel through open windows exposing people to triggers that can cause sinus discomfort and irritated eyes.

“Symptoms may include wheezing, sneezing, a runny nose and sore throat,” said Ed Neuzil, ARNP, PhD and owner of the Allergy, Sinus and Asthma Family Health Center in Lady Lake, Florida. “For constructions workers, it’s a real problem that can be remedied somewhat by wearing face masks while working and removing clothing and showering thoroughly after work.”

The same tactics should apply if you are near ongoing construction work. Neuzil suggests carrying a saline spray with you at all times so you can discreetly rinse nasal passages of any irritants you’ve inhaled. He created an herbal-enhanced nasal spray called Dr. Neuzil’s Irrigator which had natural essential oils that will also moisturize nasal passages while rinsing.

“It’s a good idea to have a saline spray with you wherever you go,” advises Neuzil. “Especially when traveling, it’s possible you’ll pass another city’s construction sites and expose yourself to a cloud of irritants.”

If rinsing doesn’t help, Neuzil recommends trying over-the-counter antihistamines to reduce symptoms; but should they persist, visit your medical practitioner for further assessment and suggestions on relief.