Posts Tagged ‘sinusitis’

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.

 

 

 

 

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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.”

Time to Call in the Expert for Allergy Relief?

You’ve been suffering through the sniffles, itchy eyes and sneezing for the same three-week period every year. Despite trying many over-the-counter medications and other therapies, nothing works.

If this describes you, it may be time to call in the expert.

A health care provider who has specialized training and experience to evaluate, diagnose and treat this symptoms may be exactly what you need. They can identify if your symptoms are triggered by allergies or another non-allergic trigger. Your health care provider will take a thorough health history followed by possible allergy testing that can help determine what specific allergen you may be sensitive to. The health care provider will determine whether skin testing, (a process where you may be exposed to “tiny” bite of allergen) or blood testing would be the most appropriate for you.

Once specific allergens are identified, your health care provider will work with you to develop a plan to avoid the allergens that trigger your symptoms. For example, if you are allergic to dust mites or indoor mold, you will want to take steps to reduce these allergens in your house as much as possible.

Once diagnosed, your provider may prescribe immunotherapy or allergy shots, a proven treatment approach providing long-term relief for many people suffering from allergic rhinitis.

Your provider might also recommend medications to decrease itchy eyes, sneezing, allergy season, ragweed season, Ed Neuzil, sinus rinse, saline spray, natural allergy reliefallergic rhinitis symptom which may include nasal corticosteroid sprays, antihistamine pills, nasal antihistamine sprays or decongestant pills. A complete list of medications used to treat allergies can be found in the AAAAI Drug Guide.

“It is important to begin taking allergy medications for seasonal allergies before tree pollen and other irritants are in the air each spring,” says Ed Neuzil, ARNP, PhD and owner of the Allergy, Sinus and Asthma Family Health Center in Lady Lake, Florida “If you start taking allergy medications before you first come into contact with spring allergens, these medications can help reduce the effects of histamine and other substances responsible for your allergy symptoms.”

Neuzil recommends checking the The National Allergy Bureau TM (NAB) for the most accurate and reliable pollen and mold levels across the U.S. in order to help across the U.S. in order to help determine when to start taking preventative steps.

 

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.

 

 

Sorting Out Saline

A staple for the medicine cabinet during the holiday season (or even year round) should be  a saline spray to help with any sinus issues related to congestion and irritation due to colds, allergies, inhaled pollutants or a chronic nasal condition.

Saline solution is a sterile mix of salt and water. But did you know there are different types of saline? Which one is best to use?

First, it is important to know that salt or sodium is very important for normal nerve and muscle function and is required to maintain normal fluid balance in and around the body’s cells. When sodium levels become too high or too low, it can cause imbalance which may lead to disease.

Isotonic or normal saline is the main saline used intravenously because it has the same salinity or level of salt as bodily fluids. It closely mirrors the sodium that is in the body’s cells and is also used in some nasal sprays to relieve sinus congestion and pressure.

Hypertonic saline has higher salt levels than normal bodily fluids. It may be used intravenously to treat spider and varicose veins because the additional salt causes blood cells to shrink. It may also be used to treat people with edema or cystic fibrosis. Some nasal sprays have hyertonic saline because it is thought to reduce swelling of the mucous membranes.

Hypotonic saline solution has less salt than normal body fluids and is used to treat infections, often intravenously.

There are other saline solutions—Ringer Gleichenberger and Ems̶ that contain additives and are often used as nasal sprays and washes.

For some people, a hypertonic solution will more likely dry out nasal passages when used as a rinse, whereas the isotonic solution helps restore moisture.

It’s best to consult with your medical practitioner if you have a chronic sinus condition to know which type of saline is best to use for nasal therapy.

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.