Posts Tagged ‘pollen’

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.

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Common Holiday Allergies

christmas tree, tree pollen, allergies, sniffles.

The holidays can often be filled with allergic triggers that lead to sniffles.

You may be miserable this holiday season but not necessarily because of stress or visiting family.

According to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, many people experience sniffling, itchy eyes and nose, and shortness of breath due to a Christmas tree allergy.

Some conifer trees carry mold spores that trigger allergic reactions or even asthma.

If you and your family prefer a real tree over an artificial one, then try putting the tree in the garage or an enclosed porch for several days until it dries. Give it a good shake outside before bringing it in to decorate.

For many, it’s post-holiday annual tradition to store away holiday decorations. Be sure to wipe everything well as you unpack items from storage before displaying the decorations in your home so dust won’t irritate your sinuses.

We traditionally associate certain fragrances with the holidays and will use artificial sprays and candles to contribute to the holiday spirit. But those strong smells can also trigger sneezing and sniffles so you might want to tone them down a little, especially if your holiday guests seem uncomfortable.

Of course, eliminating exposure to these potential triggers is the best way to avoid allergic reactions, but that’s not very festive. Good saline rinses used after exposure airborne pollutants will help get rid of the triggers in your nose.

Using an herbal-enhanced nasal spray before you are potentially exposed to the airborne irritants at a holiday party will even help protect your sinuses by moisturizing passages so that you can focus on holiday cheer instead of holiday achoo.

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.

 

 

 

 

White House Report Impacts your Nose

A new White House report on climate change is not good news for your nose. The National Climate Assessment predicts an increase in “extreme weather conditions” due to global warning.

The “wild weather” predicted by top scientists and technical experts who have studied climate change over the last four years calculated impacts in regions across the United States that will contribute to environmental conditions that especially affect one’s sinuses.

In the Northeast, Southeast and Great Plains heavy rains are predicted. The extreme precipitation will likely cause flooding. The heavy rain is most concerning as it can create an ideal environment for mold growth. Mold spores are a common allergic trigger causing sinus discomfort.

Excessive heat and drought in the Northeast, Southwest and Great Plains can lead to dry conditions (when it’s not raining) making it easier for dust and pollen to become airborne and inhaled.

Coastal areas are increasingly vulnerable to higher sea levels and storm surges and flooding which, again, could lead to mold problems if structures are impacted.

Allergy sufferers have been noticing extended seasons of discomfort as climate change has persisted over the past several years. According to scientists, it’s only going to get worse.

Itchy skin? You might blame the Spring

Frequently heard complaints of itchy eyes and sinuses due to seasonal allergies are common this time of year. But what many might not realize is that their allergic reactions to pollen might affect other parts of the body.

allergic reactions, pollen, hives, antihistamine, skin irritation

In addition to itchy noses and eyes, hay fever sufferers may experience hives.

One symptom of hay fever that gets little attention is skin irritation. Some allergy sufferers may get hives or itchy, red welts on their skin after exposure to pollen or other allergens. The red swelling can occur on your face or around your hands, feet and throat.

In addition to the rash, some may find puffiness and dark circles appear around the eyes, called “allergic shiners.” Children who constantly scratch or rub their nose vigorously, also known as the “allergic salute,” may develop a crease in their nose or an “allergic crease.”

Gardening lovers might want to take precautions because touching flowers and plants their allergic to may cause a breakout of multiple skin reactions. Wearing long sleeve shirts and gloves can provide some protection against this direct contact.

“An allergy symptom is basically your body reacting to something foreign. If you’re allergic to pollen, the body will find ways to fight off the irritant in ways, unfortunately, that can be quite uncomfortable,” said Ed Neuzil, ARNP, PhD and owner of the Allergy, Sinus and Asthma Family Health Center in Lady Lake, Florida. “People who have itchy, annoying skin conditions, such as atopic dermatitis, may find their skin irritations become worse during the hay fever season.”

Neuzil adds that some fruits and vegetables which have similar pollen proteins to the outdoor offenders can even cause itchiness and irritation in the mouth when consumed. They include oranges, tomatoes, melons and figs.  Usually reactions happen when you eat the food fresh or raw.

Of course, the best way to avoid the skin reactions is to avoid exposure.

If you do experience a skin rash due to allergies, Neuzil recommends cleaning the area of exposure and taking an antihistamine. He also suggests avoiding direct sun light and wearing tight fighting clothes which can irritate the skin.

For natural relief, apply a cold milk compress to the irritated area for up to 15 minutes at a time or soak in a lukewarm (not hot) oatmeal bath (unless allergic to oatmeal). The cooler the water, the better the effect.

 

 

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.”

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.