Posts Tagged ‘allergies’

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.

 

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Correct Use of Nasal Spray

Rinsing your nasal passages of the dirt, pollen and other irritants that cause discomfort is a proven to help prevent symptoms related to allergies, colds and other sinus conditions.nasal spray, nasal spray addiction, saline rinse, sinus rinse, allergy spray,

“Many people turn to nasal irrigation and use a Neti pot or sinus rinse for relief,” says Ed Neuzil, ARNP, PhD and founder of herbal-enhanced Dr. Neuzil’s Irrigator nasal cleansing spray. “But for those who are adverse to the potential messiness and discomfort from nasal flushing, using a non-medicated, herbal enhanced saline based spray can be just as or more effective, better tolerated with less messiness. The trick is using the spray correctly.”

  • When first using any nasal spray, be sure to prime the pump by pulling down several times or squeeze the bottle until spray is ejected from the nozzle. This is only necessary with the first use of a new bottle or when the bottle has not been used in a while.
  • Tilt your head slightly forward and close one nostril by gently pressing against the side of your nose with your finger.
  • Then gently insert nozzle into nostril. Slightly point the tip toward the outer aspect of the eye on the same side so that the spray will enter the nasal passages. Be sure that the nozzle is positioned so that it will spray directly into the nasal passages and not up into the tip of your nose.
  • Firmly pull down on the pump or squeeze the bottle for a burst of mist. Then inhale gently through the nose to distribute spray deeper into nasal passages.
  • Repeat with other nostril.
  • When finished, wipe off the nozzle with a tissue; replace any cover or plastic cap to protect from contamination and accidental leaks.

If you are using the nasal spray correctly, the liquid should not drip from your nose or down the back of your throat,” says Neuzil.

Neuzil also stresses that the nasal spray bottle is a personal use item and should not be shared with others so as not to spread germs. It should also not be refilled with any other liquid for reasons of sanitation.

Fires Can Fuel Smoke Allergies

smoke inhalation, sinusitis, sinus irritation, Dr. Neuzil's Irrigator, saline rinseSummertime brings an increased risk for wildfires in parts of the United States. Firefighters in western states are already battling blazes while others regions are on high alert for potential flare-ups.

Loss of life and property are the greatest concerns for areas of immediate threat but the effects of wildfires can be far-reaching especially for people who suffer from smoke allergies and asthma.

Dry, windy conditions help spread the smoke over hundreds of miles and carry pollutants that cause sinus and respiratory irritation. Consider that the smoke may contain chemicals from man-made materials which increase the risk for people susceptible to adverse reactions.

The wind may also carry pollen which further contributes to discomfort and can cause serious breathing issues.

Doctors stress the importance of staying indoors when smoke is heavy in your area. If that is not possible, consider wearing a mask.

Once exposed to smoke, it is important to wash your hair and clothes as soon as possible as remnants will remain. Also use a sinus rinse to get rid of any airborne pollutants you have inhaled that could be trapped in your nasal passages.

How are you treating Allergic Rhinitis?

nasal spray, nasal spray addiction, saline rinse, sinus rinse, allergy spray, The first step to manage this condition is to avoid allergens that cause symptoms. For instance, if you are allergic to dust mites, it is important to take steps to prevent exposure to dust mites, such as frequently washing bed linens in hot water. The same is true for outdoor allergens. Limiting your exposure during times of high pollen and mold counts may help reduce symptoms.

Nasal corticosteroid sprays (i.e. Flonase® or Nasonex®) treat inflammation and reduce all symptoms of allergic rhinitis, including itching, sneezing, runny nose and stuffiness. Antihistamines (i.e. Benadryl®) in the form of liquid, pills or nasal sprays block histamine and may relieve itching, sneezing and runny nose. But they may not be as effective in reducing nasal stuffiness. Anti-leukotrienes (i.e. Singulair® or Accolate®) in pill form can also reduce the symptoms of allergic rhinitis.

Decongestant pills or nasal sprays can be used as needed if nasal stuffiness is not relieved with other medications. Decongestant nasal sprays should not be used for long periods of time because they can cause your congestion to return and worsen. In fact a new website, www.NoseSprayAddiction.com has helpful information for people who have become addicted to certain medicated nasal sprays.

Consider another alternative. Saline sinus rinses can bring relief to patients with chronic sinus or rhinitis problems without the use of medication.

If you suffer from chronic or acute sinus infections, sinus rinses can be helpful in removing and thinning out excessive mucus. If you have allergic rhinitis, these rinses can bring relief by removing allergens from the nostrils and sinuses.

Your medical practitioner may recommend allergy testing and if appropriate allergy shots if your symptoms are constant, if you do not want to take medications or feel that they are not enough, or if you want long-term control of your allergies with less need for medications. This treatment involves allergy testing to determine your allergic triggers and receiving injections periodically—as determined by your practitioner—over a period of three to five years.

Time to Call in the Expert for Allergy Relief?

You’ve been suffering through the sniffles, itchy eyes and sneezing for the same three-week period every year. Despite trying many over-the-counter medications and other therapies, nothing works.

If this describes you, it may be time to call in the expert.

A health care provider who has specialized training and experience to evaluate, diagnose and treat this symptoms may be exactly what you need. They can identify if your symptoms are triggered by allergies or another non-allergic trigger. Your health care provider will take a thorough health history followed by possible allergy testing that can help determine what specific allergen you may be sensitive to. The health care provider will determine whether skin testing, (a process where you may be exposed to “tiny” bite of allergen) or blood testing would be the most appropriate for you.

Once specific allergens are identified, your health care provider will work with you to develop a plan to avoid the allergens that trigger your symptoms. For example, if you are allergic to dust mites or indoor mold, you will want to take steps to reduce these allergens in your house as much as possible.

Once diagnosed, your provider may prescribe immunotherapy or allergy shots, a proven treatment approach providing long-term relief for many people suffering from allergic rhinitis.

Your provider might also recommend medications to decrease itchy eyes, sneezing, allergy season, ragweed season, Ed Neuzil, sinus rinse, saline spray, natural allergy reliefallergic rhinitis symptom which may include nasal corticosteroid sprays, antihistamine pills, nasal antihistamine sprays or decongestant pills. A complete list of medications used to treat allergies can be found in the AAAAI Drug Guide.

“It is important to begin taking allergy medications for seasonal allergies before tree pollen and other irritants are in the air each spring,” says Ed Neuzil, ARNP, PhD and owner of the Allergy, Sinus and Asthma Family Health Center in Lady Lake, Florida “If you start taking allergy medications before you first come into contact with spring allergens, these medications can help reduce the effects of histamine and other substances responsible for your allergy symptoms.”

Neuzil recommends checking the The National Allergy Bureau TM (NAB) for the most accurate and reliable pollen and mold levels across the U.S. in order to help across the U.S. in order to help determine when to start taking preventative steps.

 

Nothing to Sniff at: The Cost of Allergic Rhinitis

kids and allergies, allergic rhinitis, allergens, pollen season, sniffles,

Allergic rhinitis is the most common chronic condition in children.

If you have allergic rhinitis, your immune system mistakenly identifies a typically harmless substance as an intruder. This substance is called an allergen and your immune system responds to the allergen by releasing histamine and chemical mediators that typically cause symptoms in the nose, throat, eyes, ears, skin and roof of the mouth.

Allergic rhinitis can be triggered by outdoor pollutants such as pollen, dust, air pollution, smoke, etc. Often these irritants are prevalent seasonally. Common indoor allergens such as the dried skin flakes, urine and saliva found on pet dander, mold, droppings from dust mites and cockroach particles are also culprits.

Twenty to 40 million Americans are affected by allergic rhinitis, making it the sixth most prevalent chronic illness.

The peak prevalence of allergic rhinitis is observed in children and young adults. Prevalence estimates range from 10 to 30 percent of adults and up to 40 percent of children, making allergic rhinitis currently the most common chronic condition found in children.

Allergic rhinitis is responsible for at least $1.8 billion annually for the direct cost of physician visits and medication expenses, or nearly 2.5 percent of the $47 billion annual direct cost for respiratory treatment in the United States.

The estimated value of lost productivity to employers and society resulting from allergic rhinitis approaches nearly $3.8 billion annually. In the mid-1990s the resulting total annual cost for allergic rhinitis amounted to $5.6 billion.

 

Working out during allergy season

exercise, asthma, bronchorestriction, allergies, wheezing, pollutantsWarmer temperatures are welcome relief for people ready to move their exercise regime outdoors.

If you suffer from seasonal allergies or asthma, being outdoors can become unpleasant or may interfere with your ability to work out either recreationally or competitively.

Environmental substances such as pollen, dust, mold spores and air pollution can trigger symptoms such as sneezing, itchy eyes, post-nasal drip, and runny nose and, in extreme cases, hives, trouble breathing, cough and dizziness. Also, extremely dry air or cold temperatures can cause trouble breathing.

“People who often experience these symptoms may have exercise-induced bronchorestriction or EIB,” said Ed Neuzil, ARNP, PhD and owner of the Allergy Sinus and Asthma Family Health Center in Central Florida. “This happens when the tubes that bring air into and out of your lungs narrow with exercise, causing symptoms of asthma.”

Some people with EIB do not otherwise have asthma, and people with allergies may also have trouble breathing with exercise.

“It is the exposure to triggers that cause the discomfort,” says Neuzil. “So you should know what triggers your symptoms and then try to avoid them in order to not disrupt your exercise routine.”

Neuzil suggests the following:

  • Consult with an allergist prior to starting your exercise program to help determine what you may be causing your symptoms.
  • Take all allergy and asthma medications as prescribed.
  • Breathe through the nose as much as possible when exercising. The nasal passages have natural filters that will help block irritants from getting into your lungs.
  • Exercise indoors when pollen counts are high and conditions very dry or cold.
  • Always have an inhaler or other prescribed rescue medication with you in case you need it.
  • Know your early signs of symptoms so you can stop exercising before they progress to more serious ones.