Posts Tagged ‘congestion’

Air Travel can lead to sinus problems

If airline travel is in your forecast, you’ll want to arm yourself with a nasal cleansing spray to protect from the dry air when in flight.

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Airplanes can be like flying petri dishes because people travel with germs that can be dispersed throughout the cabin.

The low humidity can dry out nasal passages causing discomfort, especially during takeoff and landing.

A 2004 edition of the Journal of Environmental Health Research reported that the higher incidence of colds reported by recent aircraft passengers may be due to a decline in their ability to resist infection while flying.

“Your nose has a thin layer of mucus that actually helps traps germs and irritants. The in-flight air dries out that protective layer making you more susceptible to discomfort or even colds and viruses,” said Ed Neuzil, Ph.D., ARNP and owner of The Allergy, Sinus & Asthma Family Health Center in Lady Lake, Fla. “Cleansing your nasal passages of debris or germs with a moisturizing nasal spray helps maintain the natural protectants your body provides.”

Nasal sprays with herbal ingredients such as menthol or eucalyptol may also help open up your sinuses and alleviate some of the pressure you feel during altitude changes.

 

 

How can I help my child’s sniffles?

With children being back at school, there’s a good chance you’ll hear more sniffles. Colds are spread easily in a school child sniffles, allergies, coldssetting.

Plus, the fall season can bring a new host of allergens and with the kids spending more time outside, they’ll be exposed to allergic triggers.

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.

And if you use a medicated treatment to alleviate symptoms, the non-medicated saline spray can be used in conjunction without fear of interaction.

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.

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

Nasal Congestion Remedies

Between the fall allergies and start of the cold season, many are suffering.  The runny noses, stuffy heads and sneezing can make it hard to function.

To get immediate relief, try flushing the mucous out of your nose using a saline rinse,” says Ed Neuzil, PhD, MSN, ARNP, FAANP and owner of the Allergy Sinus and Asthma Family Health Center in Lady Lake, Florida. “Whether using a neti-pot, over-the-counter saline rinse system or a nasal spray, you can effectively relieve much of the stuffiness and discomfort.”

Medicated saline sprays and drops will help reduce swollen membranes but medical practitioners warn that excessive use can actually worsen congestion.

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A little bit of exercise can temporarily alleviate nasal congestion

There are plenty of natural saline sprays that have been enhanced with herbs and essential oils. They are effective in rinsing out sinus passages while the natural additives can moisturize your nasal passages while even providing a decongesting effect. Best of all, they are not addictive and can be used frequently or can even compliment medicated options.

Neuzil says using a humidifier at night can make it easier to breathe. Add a few drops of eucalyptus oil to additional relief.

And, he says, if you’re up for it, exercise is a good solution. Nasal congestion is caused by blood vessels in your nose becoming inflamed. Exercise will help relieve the inflammation and get the blood flowing again. Try taking a 10 minute walk or do some calisthenics.  You’ll likely feel instant, temporary relief.

Year-round Seasonal Allergy Prep

seasonal allergies, sinus conditions, pollen counts, nasal irrigationWe know it’s coming every year, sometimes even two or three times, yet allergy season always seems to catch us off guard.

If only there was a way to minimize the annoying symptoms of seasonal allergies without much thought.

According to one Central Florida medical practitioner, there is.

“We know the best way to avoid the itchy, runny nose and sneezing associated with allergies is to avoid the irritants that cause them,” said Ed Neuzil, PhD, MSN, ARNP-BC, FAANP. “Because the likelihood of inhaling pollen, mold spores and dust in the spring and fall increases when certain offending plants bloom, cleaning out our nasal passages regularly can make a difference.”

Neuzil recommends that his patients use a non-medicated saline-based formula every day, throughout the year to keep nasal passages clean and healthy. He even developed an herbal-enhanced solution that helps to moisturize and soothe sinuses.

“It’s just like brushing your teeth every day for good hygiene and dental health,” notes Neuzil.  “Once you get in the habit of doing it every day, you don’t even think about it and it can absolutely make a difference.”

When the pollen levels are peaking, some people may need to resort to using medication to help with congestion but using the herbal enhanced saline spray in conjunction can even maximize the effectiveness of the medication because you’re getting rid of the allergic triggers.

“It’s important to know that over-the-counter allergy medications and sprays are meant to be used temporarily for maybe three or four days,” says Neuzil. “If you overuse them, you run the risk of becoming addicted to the medication and they can even do more harm than good.”

If your symptoms do persist, Neuzil recommends seeing a medical practitioner to determine whether you need allergy testing or other types of nasal therapy.

 

 

 

 

Diving into a common summer allergy

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The chlorine in swimming pools may aggravate allergies and sinus conditions in some people.

A popular place for kids to spend their summer can actually make them sick.

Some people have sensitivity to chlorine which is used to keep swimming pools clean.

Chlorine reactions may include itchy, red skin or even hives. According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, when immersed in the swimming pool, the chemical may cause inflammation in the lining of the sinuses and nasal passages.

This can cause congestion or even infection which may ultimately keep your child out of the water for some time. That’s because the pressure changes from diving and swimming beneath the water can cause sinus pain and headaches.

Fungi and bacteria in the water, if inhaled, can lead to other infections.

“There is a possibility frequent swimming in chlorinated water or exposure to cleaning products containing chlorine may increase the risk of developing asthma or other respiratory allergies,” said Ed Neuzil, ARNP, PhD and owner of the Allergy, Sinus and Asthma Family Health Center.  “If a child exhibits allergic reactions to the chlorine, it’s a good idea for him or her to use nose clips.”

Neuzil recommends seeing a medical practitioner if you or your child suspect chlorine allergies or sensitivity. He say there may be a lot of underlying causes of your symptoms and the allergist may offer help so that you can continue to enjoy swimming.

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.”

Dealing with Sinusitis

In the last couple of weeks, I’ve come across several people who have been suffering from, or cared for someone suffering from a “summer cold.”

When the weather is warm and inviting and vacations are planned, the last thing you want is to be is sick in bed with nasal congestion, headaches and fever.

The danger of a simple cold is that it can develop into the more serious and uncomfortable Sinusitis which is a swelling of the nasal passages.

Infection or other triggers can cause your sinuses to inflame causing a stuffy nose and pain. It may also lead to postnasal drip which can irritate the back of the throat.

While many things can cause sinusitis, the disease generally falls into two categories. Acute or Chronic.

Acute sinusitis is more common and generally the result of a viral or bacterial infection. Cold and flu-like symptoms usually persist for a few weeks and are often treated with painkillers, decongestants, nasal sprays and sometimes antibiotics.

Chronic sinusitis is diagnosed when an infection lasts 12 weeks or longer and may even last months if not properly treated. Sufferers often experience loss of smell, along with nasal discharge and halitosis.

“One of the first lines of defense should be use of a nasal spray or rinse to help clean out your nasal passages,” said Ed Neuzil, ARNP, PhD and founder of Dr. Neuzil’s Irrigator nasal cleansing spray. “Your medical practitioner may recommend a medicated spray which will help reduce inflammation but there are natural properties that can help as well.”

Essential oils such as eucalyptol and pine oil are known to be anti-inflammatory and will soothe swollen tissue.

“If you do use an over-the-counter nasal decongestant, follow the medications instructions carefully to limit use after three days,” encourages Neuzil. “If your symptoms persist, you should call your health care provider to avoid the condition from worsening.”

Surprising Summer Allergy Triggers

While much of the nation is suffering through the spring pollen season, expect the upcoming summer months to bring a new set of potential allergy triggers.

One of the most common pollutants to watch out for is mold. Outdoor mold can be found almost anywhere including in soil, mulch and rotting wood. Mold spores increase as temperatures rise and reach their peak in July in warmer states.

Summer fruits and vegetables may also prompt an oral allergy syndrome in people who are susceptible to grass allergies. The symptom, which feels like a tingly feeling after biting a juicy piece of fruit or veggie, is a cross-reaction between similar proteins in certain fruits and vegetables and the allergy-causing grass, tree or weed pollens. Symptoms are often short-lived so you can either put up with the annoying feeling or see a medical practitioner if it becomes unbearable.allergy symptoms, summer allergies, chlorine, mold spores, red eyes, irritated sinuses.

If camping is in your summer plans, you might want to avoid campfire smoke. Smoke is a common asthma trigger and may cause a dangerous asthma flare-up.

And while chlorine is not an allergen, the smell from pools can be an irritant and can cause allergy-like eye and nose symptoms.

We certainly do not want to discourage summer fun but being aware of potential allergic triggers – and avoiding them when possible – will help ensure your summer fun is uninterrupted.