Posts Tagged ‘itchy nose’

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.”

eCigarettes: A Smoking Gun?

This week’s announcement that CVS pharmacies will stop selling cigarettes is welcome news to us. Aside from undisputed concerns about smoking leading to death and disease, our resident allergy and sinus expert often lectures patients about the allergic reactions smokers and their nearby victims can experience.

smoking, asthma, allergies, vapor, The chemicals and noxious particles from smoking cigarettes causes inflammation and swelling of nasal passages resulting in sneezing, itchy sinuses, and runny, stuffy noses. For people with asthma, these allergic reactions can lead to more serious symptoms.

Some smokers trying to avoid the potential for disease may resort to the newly popular electronic cigarettes which purport to have fewer amounts of nicotine and chemicals among other benefits. The eCigarettes are battery operated and emit a vapor so the user simulates smoking.

But the Food and Drug Association is not so quick to sign off on this alternative, citing a need for more research. Because eCigarettes still deliver nicotine, flavor and other chemicals to the user, there is still potential for harm.

“The FDA has found that there are still emissions from the electronic cigarettes which contribute to second-hand smoke,” said Ed Neuzil, ARNP, PhD and owner of the Allergy, Sinus and Asthma Family Health Center in Lady Lake, Florida. “Second-hand smoke poses a dire risk for children who are much more likely to develop asthma and allergies when they inhale the chemicals in all cigarettes.”

While more research on eCigarettes is ongoing, Neuzil stresses the best way to avoid the health hazards is to stop smoking all together.




Eat to Stop the Sniffles

seasonal allergies, sniffles, itchy eyes, nasal congestion, food allergies,

Certain foods may influence symptoms of seasonal allergies.

People who suffer from seasonal allergies can almost set their clocks to when when their itchy eyes and stuffy noses will start due to blooming plants, trees and grasses. They will stock up on allergy medicine and saline spray in hopes of staving off irritating symptoms.

Studies have shown that a trip to the grocery store may also be in order for people with seasonal allergies.

“Certain foods have been shown to help alleviate some allergy symptoms,” said Ed Neuzil, ARNP, PhD and owner of the Allergy, Sinus and Asthma Family Health Center, in Lady Lake, Florida. “Sipping some tea or eating warm fluids is always good for breaking up congestion in your airways.”

Research has also shown eating fish with healthy omega-3 fatty acids and yogurt with probiotics may help ease symptoms. Similarly, Neuzil tells his patients to avoid certain foods which can exacerbate allergy symptoms.

“Some fruits and vegetables contain proteins that are similar to those in certain pollens which trigger allergic reactions” said Neuzil. “For example, if you’re allergic to ragweed, you may experience similar symptoms when you eat melons or tomatoes because their proteins mirror each other.”

For some people, drinking alcohol may cause nasal congestion so it may be a good idea to refrain from beer or wine if allergy season is your sniffle season. And some people with food allergies may experience a stuffy nose when they consume certain trigger foods.

If your allergies are affecting the quality of your life, consider speaking with a medical practitioner about being tested to potentially identify foods that may make you sneeze. Check out this Hometown Health TV video to learn more about the allergy testing process.

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.

Creepy, Crawly Sneeze-Causers

allergy triggers, dust mites, asthma, indoor allergens

Dust mite allergens are the most common cause of allergy and asthma triggers.

It’s enough that cold and flu season is rampant; plus parts of the South are battling pollen blooms that trigger allergy attacks.

Your efforts to stay indoors and avoid exposure to the pollutants and germs that cause allergy symptoms might further exacerbate the potential for feeling badly.

As clean as you think your home is, you likely still have tiny producers of allergic triggers inside.

According to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, dust mite allergens are the most common triggers of allergy and asthma symptoms. These microscopic creatures eat human skin and can live in all climates. It is their excrement and exoskeleton which contribute to humans’ sinus misery.

Controlling them is key to limiting exposure:

  • Encase mattresses, box springs and pillows in special allergen-proof fabrics and wash linens weekly in hot water.
  • Keep humidity low by using a dehumidifier or air conditioning.
  • Wall-to-wall carpeting harbors dust mites so consider area rugs which can be regularly washed.
  • People with allergies should use a vacuum with a HEPA filter.

Cockroach droppings contain an allergen which makes it the most prevalent trigger for asthma symptoms, especially affecting children living in densely populated, urban neighborhoods.

Be sure to keep food in lidded containers and clean up floors and counters after meals. Cockroaches need water so make sure any leaky faucets and pipes are sealed and block areas such as wall cracks, windows and crevices to prevent roaches from entering the home.

Scientists attribute a growing number of allergy cases to Asian Ladybugs which can be found infesting typically rural and suburban homes in the Midwest and along the East coast.

The Asian ladybugs release a foul-smelling liquid when threatened and the proteins in that fluid become airborne causing allergic symptoms in susceptible people such as allergic rhinitis, allergic conjunctivitis, chronic cough and asthma.

Avoidance is the best preventative measure and includes ensuring gaps around windows and doors are sealed to prevent the ladybugs from entering the home. Also clean up any dead insects you may find to reduce the amount of insect proteins in the home. You may need to contact a pest control expert for help.

An allergist can help you identify which triggers are causing your itchy eyes and runny nose and can help you strategize on how to make your home a respite from allergies again.


Rocky Mountain High, Dry and Uncomfortable


mountains, sinusitis, saline rinse, saline spray, eucalyptol oil, high altitude, altitude sickness

Our family has just returned from a fabulous vacation to Colorado where we spent a few days in the Rocky Mountains.  The scenery was absolutely breathtaking and we certainly took advantage of all the area has to offer.

I’ve visited that region before but this vacation was noticeably better because I was better prepared on this trip.

Living in Florida year-round means that I’m especially susceptible to the symptoms that come with being at a high altitude.  It takes a day or so to acclimate to the seemingly lack of oxygen once you’re there. It was unnerving our first day there because it seemed as though I was always gasping for air.

The other condition that comes with the territory is the potential for sinus problems because of the high, dry environment. These include sinus pressure, congestion and bloody noses and are caused by the combination of elevation, colder weather and low humidity. Overall, your body loses water in the high elevations and you become easily dehydrated.

Knowing all of that, I packed appropriately on this trip and definitely noticed a difference:

1)      We packed reusable, plastic (BPA free) water bottles that we refilled every day and took with us wherever we went so we could always hydrate.

2)      I brought my bottle of herbal-enhanced nasal cleansing spray which rinsed out pollutants while moisturizing my nasal passages.  My spray has natural essential oils which help soothe my irritated sinus passages.  It’s not medicated so I didn’t have to worry about the side effects that come with using a decongestant and it’s easier and more convenient to use than a Neti Pot or sinus rinse

3)      Two or three times a day, after rinsing with the saline spray, I applied eucalyptol oil inside my nostrils. Our ENT had given us the bottle to try. That provided extra moisture for my nose.

I still experienced some sinus comfort, ironically, on the day we headed back to Denver (a lower elevation).  My nose was congested, itchy and bloody. I had to rinse and blow my nose a few times before feeling better. Again, the eucalyptol oil helped a lot to keep my nose moist for longer periods.

This trip was a good reminder to try to think ahead when traveling and do your research so you know what to pack. Being as prepared as we were helped ensure that we stayed healthy and could maximize enjoyment.