Posts Tagged ‘allergy relief’

What are grass allergies?

During warm weather, our dog likes to spend time sitting in the grass under a shade tree. Sometimes, she’ll be allergies, grass pollenoutside for hours. We suspect she loves it because often she’ll stare blankly at us when we try to coax her indoors.

Once inside, however, the licking begins. Our dog is likely allergic to grass pollen. Seasonal allergies are common in pets but symptoms flare as skin irritation instead of the sneezing and itchy, watery eyes that humans experience.

Grass allergy season is strongest in late spring and summer. The pollen can be spread by wind and when the lawn is mowed. One challenge with grass is that airborne pollen from other plants can fall onto blades of grass and slide into the ground where it can stick to shoes or paws and be brought into the house.

If you or your child plays sports outside in the grass, you’re likely to get stuck with something irritating that could make you sneeze. And the skin irritation that animals experience? Humans can react that way as well. Some people will break out in hives and, in rare cases, can even have an anaphylactic reaction.

“Grass is hard to avoid so it’s important to recognize the allergy and be prepared for symptoms,” says Ed Neuzil, Jr., ARNP-BC, PhD, FAANP and owner of the Allergy,

Sinus and Asthma Family Health Center in Lady Lake, Fla. “The best way to stay symptom-free is to avoid exposure and stay inside. However, an over-the-counter anti-histamine can provide relief if you so start to experience a runny nose, itchy eyes or skin irritation.”

Neuzil also suggested taking off your shoes once in the house so you don’t track it throughout and also consider washing your clothes and hair once inside to rinse out any irritants that may stick to you. And your pets? Wash their paws, too.

 

Saline Spray for Pollen Tsunami

allergies, sneezing, saline spray, non-medicated, snifflesAcross much of the nation, many are suffering from the effects of the “pollen tsunami.” Plants and trees are blooming spreading allergy-inducing particles all over.

When suffering allergies, the key to relief is often just clearing out your nasal passages. Nasal decongestant sprays have medication that will dry out your nasal passages and reduce the swelling that causes congestion. But repeated use of a spray with chemicals can cause damage.

Saline nasal sprays, which commonly consist of a salt water solution, will clean out the nasal airways, moisturize the dry passages and can help improve the function of the mucous membranes which actually help protect your body from germs. The ingredients in the saline spray mirrors the natural components in your body.

There are typically no side effects with nasal saline sprays and the sprays will not interact with medications you might be taking. You can use a nasal saline spray alone or as a supplement to medication in order to provide additional relief in between doses.

Saline nasal sprays can even be used by children. Of course, it’s important to discuss usage with your medical practitioner before beginning treatment.

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.

 

 

 

 

Rinsing the Right Way

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

Using a sterile saline nasal spray is a safe, effective way to rinse nasal passages of irritants that can cause sniffles, sneezing, and discomfort.

As the ragweed season intensifies across the nation, many allergy sufferers turn to an often recommended approach to avoiding the symptoms by rinsing their nasal passages.

Eliminating pollen, dust, pet dander or any other allergic trigger from your sinuses can be the best way to avoid itchy nose and eyes, sneezing and sinus congestion and pressure often associated with seasonal allergies.

Recently, the Food and Drug Administration issued a consumer alert about Neti Pots and sinus rinse kits that people use to clean out their nasal passages. The therapy works by filling the containers with saline and then pouring the water through the sinuses to get rid of pollutants.

The FDA’s is concerned about the potential for harmful bacteria to develop when people use non-filtered tap water or do not clean the containers effectively. Additionally, the FDA warns that some manufacturer instructions provide misleading or contradictory guidelines for using their products.

Medical practitioners like Ed Neuzil, PhD, MSN, ARNP-BC, FAANP and owner of an allergy, asthma and sinus practice in Central Florida often recommends nasal therapy for his patients but he is worried about suggesting the traditional sinus rinses.

“The reports of two recent deaths due to patients who used contaminated water in their sinus rinse containers is certainly concerning,” said Neuzil. “I’m hesitant to suggest these methods because of the potential risk. But I’ve also had much resistance from patients who don’t like the mess, discomfort and amount of time it takes to use the Neti Pot.”

Neuzil developed an easy-to-use, safe alternative to the traditional nasal therapy tools: an herbal-enhanced nasal cleansing spray that is made with a sterile saline-based solution with natural essential oils.

“There are so many potential risk factors with people mixing their own nasal rinse solutions,” said Neuzil. “Making the process convenient and safe is likely to encourage more allergy sufferers to be compliant with nasal therapy which will ultimately lead to a better quality of life for them.”

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.”

Natural Remedies to be Thankful For

After a long journey across the Atlantic to a new and unfamiliar land, surely the Pilgrims welcomed the hospitality and friendship shown during the first Thanksgiving feast with the Native Americans.

It is possible however, that the Europeans were sniffling through the meal and not because of tears of joy.

Consider that the newcomers had not been exposed to unfamiliar flora and would not have built up immunities to the pollen associated with the blooms. Plus, had it been a rainy summer and fall season, mold spores may have populated the leaves and grass on the ground.

1st ThanksgivingThe pilgrims may have experienced their first dose of New World Allergies.

Fortunately, their hosts were experts in using herbs and plants to remedy all types of ailments, including allergies. Certain concoctions of herbs and plants would have helped alleviate symptoms including itchy eyes, congestion and coughing.

Commonly used herbs include Nettle, Goldenseal, marigold, ground ivy, Bee Pollen and Yarrow.

The ingredients could be chewed, smoked or steamed in tea.

As more people look to natural remedies to alleviate symptoms, it is appropriate to be thankful for the Native Americans the settlers encountered.

 

Do you take allergies seriously?

The combination of heat and summer rainstorms can be a recipe for irritation in the fall. Conditions are ripe for a fruitful ragweed season; in fact some areas in the south are dealing with a fresh crop of mold growing inside and outside the home.

It is not uncommon for people to suffer through the irritated sinuses and itchy eyes that plague allergy sufferers. There is good reason to take allergy symptoms seriously.itchy eyes, sneezing, allergy season, ragweed season, Ed Neuzil, sinus rinse, saline spray, natural allergy relief

  •  According to the Allergy, Sinus and Asthma Foundation of America, approximately 40 million Americans have indoor/outdoor allergies as their primary allergy. Those allergens may include tree, grass and weed pollen and mold spores.
  •  Allergies are the most frequently reported chronic condition in children, limiting activities for more than 40% of them.
  •  Allergies account for more than 17 million outpatient visits annually and seasonal allergies account for more than half of all those visits.
  •  The annual cost of allergies is estimated to be nearly $14.5 billion and is a major cause of work absenteeism among adults.

“Rather than choosing to just put up with the symptoms, allergy sufferers should take their condition seriously,” said Ed Neuzil, ARNP, PhD and owner of the Allergy, Sinus and Asthma Family Health Center in Lady Lake, Florida. “Take precautions to avoid the triggers and use a simple saline formula regularly to rinse the pollutants from your sinuses.”

Neuzil stresses,”If symptoms persist, you should see a medical practitioner to get help so that allergies do not continue to negatively impact the quality of your life.”

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.

Rinse for Runny Nose Relief

sniffles, sneezing, chronic sinus problems,  runny nose, nasal irrigationFor people who suffer with chronic sinus problems, this time of year is especially precarious.

The potential for a runny nose increases due to cold weather, exposure to colds and viruses as well as the spring pollen season beginning to flare up.

“Sinus problems are caused by a breakdown in the normal function of the nasal cavity which has a natural protective role in our bodies,” said Ed Neuzil, ARNP, PhD and owner of the Allergy, Sinus and Asthma Family Health Center in Lady Lake, Florida. “The mucous lining of the nasal cavity helps protect against infection from viruses and bacteria. When the mucous is inadequate, sinus symptoms can result.”

Neuzil believes using a cleansing saline spray regularly can provide long-lasting relief and can help in the prevention of nasal symptoms.

“Every day rinsing the nasal passages of the pollutants that trigger discomfort can provide long-term relief for sinus sufferers,” said Neuzil. “Most people bathe everyday for good hygiene and health. Cleaning your sinuses with that same consistency can also lead to a decrease in symptoms and reduced need for decongestants while improving quality of life.”

Some medical providers recommend using a Neti Pot or sinus rinse to effectively rid the nose of pollutants. These methods involve mixing a saline solution and pouring it through your sinus passages to rinse out irritants.

However, many people find the practice messy, inconvenient and unpleasant. This detours them from cleaning their nose on a consistent basis.

“A non-medicated saline spray versus a rinse can be just as effective and better tolerated,” said Neuzil. “There are even nasal sprays available with natural additives which can complement the therapy by moisturizing nasal passages providing even more relief. The trick is committing to the practice on a daily basis to provide more long-term benefits.”

 

 

 

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.