Posts Tagged ‘ragweed season’

Why does my nose itch each fall?

The news headlines and your nose are probably telling you what you already know. The fall ragweed season is upon us and many people are likely to suffer through it.

Symptoms may include itchy eyes and nose, a scratchy throat, frequent sneezing, and maybe a cough.

ragweed, fall allergies, sinus rinse

Fall allergy sufferers can often blame ragweed for their discomfort. Rinsing nasal passages regularly can help.

Visit your local drug store and you’ll see shelves stocked with antihistamines, a variety of saline sprays and more to help you get relief.

According to Ed Neuzil, ARNP, PhD and owner of the Allergy, Sinus and Asthma Family Health Center in Lady Lake, Florida, people who suffer to the point that the pollen is affecting their quality of life should meet with a medical professional to get relief.

But Neuzil also advises taking precautionary steps to avoid symptoms. It can be as simple as:

  • Keep windows and doors closed to keep out airborne pollutants.
  • If you spend a lot of time outdoors, remove your clothing, wash your face and even wash your hair to get rid of any pollen that may have gotten on you.
  • Install HEPA filters in your home. Found in most home improvement stores, they’ll help filter out pollen that gets into the air conditioning system.
  • Rinse your nose! Seriously. It’s the same as washing out anything else that has trapped dirt and other pollutants.

Some choose to use the ancient saline rinsing system called the “Neti Pot.” This natural therapy involves making a saline concoction that is poured through the nose and helps rinse out nasal passages. But there have been recent cases of people getting very ill from bacteria in the water so doctors recommend using distilled water in the Neti Pot.

However, Neuzil cautions Neti Pot and saline rinse users that the simple saline alone can lead to other sinus problems. If used too much it can dry out nasal passages and he suggests you consult with a practitioner if you use them frequently.

There are other methods, however. In fact, Neuzil developed a non-medicated saline nasal spray that is enhanced with essential oils which help moisturize nasal passages.

Whatever your allergy therapy of choice, it’s important that you don’t try to suffer through the season without getting appropriate relief.

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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.

 

 

Soothing Sore Throats Caused by Allergies

Here in Florida, we are experiencing Chamber of Commerce weather with mild temperatures during the day and cooler at night, low humidity and little rain.

Some of us are actually giddy about what seems like a dramatic meteorological change for the better, until the suffering begins.

ragweed, pollen, airborne irritants, fall allergy season,

These pretty flowers, called Ragweed, can produce one billion pollen particles every day.

The ragweed season is already in full bloom in Florida due to our warmer temperatures; plus, fall usually brings an increase in mold spores after the warm, rainy summer.

While sniffling and sneezing are common symptoms of allergies, some sufferers experience throat irritation that can be painful and may feel like strep. There may not be other symptoms associated with this allergic outbreak, but it can be just as debilitating as the viral infection.

The main culprit in an allergy-induced sore throat is postnasal drip caused when sinus drainage flows down the throat triggering frequent episodes of throat clearing.  The increased drainage may be triggered from exposure to airborne allergens which, when inhaled, can cause a scratchy, raw feeling in the throat.

The most important thing to do when you start to experience symptoms is to remove yourself from the irritants as much as possible. Recognizing that it can be a difficult thing to do, Frances “Ed” Neuzil, ARNP, PhD and owner of the Allergy Sinus and Asthma Family Health Center in Lady Lake, Florida recommends other tactics for relief:

  • Use a saline based nasal spray to clean your nasal passages of the allergens and irritants that may be trapped in your sinuses.
  • Avoid dairy products at this time as they may have a tendency to thicken the nasal drainage.
  • Avoid hot or spicy foods as well as food higher in acid content such as fruits and tomato products.
  • Gargle with an antiseptic throat gargle; and, for irritation, an over the counter throat spray (check with your pharmacist for assistance) may reduce the painful irritated feeling.

While not dangerous or contagious, the allergy symptoms can be enough to keep someone home from school or work. Neuzil recommends seeing your medical practitioner if symptoms persist.

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.”

Eat to Stop the Sniffles

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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.

The Annual Ragweed Ritual

itchy eyes, sneezing, allergy season, ragweed season, Ed Neuzil, sinus rinse, saline spray, natural allergy reliefThe headlines are probably telling you what you already know. The fall ragweed season is upon us and it is likely to be worse than previous years.

Symptoms may include itchy eyes and nose, a scratchy throat, frequent sneezing, maybe a cough and just feeling yucky.

Visit your local drug store and you’ll see they’ve stocked the shelves with antihistamines, a variety of saline sprays and more to help you get relief.

According to Ed Neuzil, ARNP, PhD and owner of the Allergy, Sinus and Asthma Family Health Center in Lady Lake, Florida, people who suffer to the point that the pollen is affecting their quality of life and the symptoms appear consistently each allergy season, then they should meet with a medical professional to determine the best plan of action.

But Neuzil also advises taking precautionary steps to avoid symptoms. It can be as simple as:

  1. Keep your windows and doors close so that the airborne pollutants don’t come inside.
  2. If you spend a lot of time outdoors, remove your clothing, wash your face and even wash your hair to get rid of any pollen that may have gotten on you.
  3. Install HEPA filters in your home. They’ll do a better job of filtering out pollen and can be found at most home improvement stores.
  4. Rinse your nose! Seriously. It’s the same as washing out anything else that has trapped dirt and other pollutants.

Some opt for using the ancient saline rinsing system called the “Neti Pot.” This natural therapy involves making a saline concoction that is poured through the nose and helps rinse out nasal passages.

Recent cases of people getting very ill from bacteria in the water got lots of media play.  So doctors recommend that you use distilled water if this is your therapy of choice.

Still, Neuzil cautions Neti Pot and saline rinse users that the simple saline alone can lead to other sinus problems if used too much and he suggests you consult with a practitioner if you use them frequently.

There are other methods, however. In fact, Neuzil developed a non-medicated saline nasal spray that is enhanced with essential oils which help moisturize nasal passages.

Whatever your allergy therapy of choice, it’s important that you don’t try to suffer through season without getting appropriate relief.