Posts Tagged ‘sneezing’

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.

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.

exercise, asthma, bronchorestriction, allergies, wheezing, pollutants

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.

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.”

Could your favorite scented candle make you sick?

There’s something about a crisp fall day that inspires some to light a candle and fill the room with scents of pumpkin spice, apple cider and evergreen.

While a pleasant sensory experience, some may soon find themselves sneezing.

It would be nice to think a pumpkin pie was melted and shaped into a pillar of wax that leaves you with a warm, happy feeling once lit. But the truth is many scented candles are filled with chemicals and metals that create the good smells.

Medical practitioners are identifying more patients who have fragrance allergies or sensitivities that lead to discomfort.

allergy, fragrance, scented candles

Scented candles may smell good but the fragrances may cause allergy symptoms.

“Being near a burning, scented candle can cause allergic reactions such as sneezing, runny nose, watery eyes and even headaches,” said Ed Neuzil, ARNP, PhD and owner of the Allergy, Sinus and Asthma Family Health Center in Lady Lake, Florida. “In extreme cases, some people exhibit breathing difficulties and wheezing. Additionally, some people are sensitive to the soot released from the flame.”

Experts suspect that fragrance allergies are becoming more prominent because fragrances are more prevalent in products such as shampoos, lotions, cleaning supplies and cosmetics. They recommend the following tips to minimize candle soot pollution:

  • Because many scented and slow burning candles may contain metals, consumers should look to see if the core of the wick is shiny metal. If you see metal, do not burn, or check with the manufacturer.
  • When you do burn candles, keep the wicks cut short to one-quarter of an inch. A longer wick causes a larger flame and thus more soot.
  • Do not shake or tip candles because the candle can smoke and send soot into the air to land on walls, carpets and furniture.
  • Keep candles in places away from children and pets. Besides fire hazard, small children and animals may accidentally disturb a candle, causing it to smoke and release soot.
  • Refrain from burning scented or slow-burning candles that have additives. Look for candles, such as beeswax, that do not contain high levels of pollutants.

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.”

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.

 

Working out during allergy season

exercise, asthma, bronchorestriction, allergies, wheezing, pollutantsWarmer temperatures are welcome relief for people ready to move their exercise regime outdoors.

If you suffer from seasonal allergies or asthma, being outdoors can become unpleasant or may interfere with your ability to work out either recreationally or competitively.

Environmental substances such as pollen, dust, mold spores and air pollution can trigger symptoms such as sneezing, itchy eyes, post-nasal drip, and runny nose and, in extreme cases, hives, trouble breathing, cough and dizziness. Also, extremely dry air or cold temperatures can cause trouble breathing.

“People who often experience these symptoms may have exercise-induced bronchorestriction or EIB,” said Ed Neuzil, ARNP, PhD and owner of the Allergy Sinus and Asthma Family Health Center in Central Florida. “This happens when the tubes that bring air into and out of your lungs narrow with exercise, causing symptoms of asthma.”

Some people with EIB do not otherwise have asthma, and people with allergies may also have trouble breathing with exercise.

“It is the exposure to triggers that cause the discomfort,” says Neuzil. “So you should know what triggers your symptoms and then try to avoid them in order to not disrupt your exercise routine.”

Neuzil suggests the following:

  • Consult with an allergist prior to starting your exercise program to help determine what you may be causing your symptoms.
  • Take all allergy and asthma medications as prescribed.
  • Breathe through the nose as much as possible when exercising. The nasal passages have natural filters that will help block irritants from getting into your lungs.
  • Exercise indoors when pollen counts are high and conditions very dry or cold.
  • Always have an inhaler or other prescribed rescue medication with you in case you need it.
  • Know your early signs of symptoms so you can stop exercising before they progress to more serious ones.

Planning your Spring Garden? Make sure it’s sneeze-proof.

For many, planting a garden is a rite of spring. The bright colors from the blooms are welcome change after a dark, dreary winter.

pollen, allergic triggers, spring allergies, sneezing, sniffles

You can plant a beautiful yet sneeze-less spring garden .

What you decide to plant could contribute to another seasonal occurrence – allergies. Pollen from certain plants often triggers the sniffles, sneezing and itchy eyes and nose associated with spring allergies.

Good news! You can still enjoy beautiful color in your yard with flowers, trees and grasses that produce little or no pollen, thereby eliminating potential for inhaling particles that cause discomfort.

Avoid adding wind-pollinated plants to your garden because their pollen becomes airborne and subsequently inhaled, irritating airways. According to the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension, plants pollinated by insects and animals tend to have large, sticky pollen grains that are not airborne and pose less problem to allergy sufferers. In fact, most colorful flowers are insect-pollinated.

Thomas Ogren, author of The Allergy-Free Gardening, says that because the male part of the plant produces pollen, try to plant female versions which may be called “seedless” or fruitless.” Ogren explains this better in a radio interview.

The American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology has identified certain flowers, trees and grasses that are better for people who suffer from outdoor allergies. These include:

  • Cactus
  • Dahlia
  • Daisy
  • Geranium
  • Hibiscus
  • Iris
  • Magnolia
  • Roses
  • Snapdragon
  • Tulips

Avoid planting these highly-allergenic trees and grasses:

  • Ash
  • Cedar
  • Cottonwood
  • Maple
  • Oak
  • Johnson grass
  • Rye grass
  • Timothy grass

 

 

 

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.

 

41 Reasons to Sneeze

Sometimes it seems as though we never get a break. For many Americans, the summer has been just an extension of the spring allergy season. Plus, some parts of the country experienced heavy rain which can lead to production of mold spores; yet another sinus aggravator.

Fall is right around the corner and environmental experts are now saying that the Ragweed season will be especially intense, especially in the East.

Ragweeds are flowering plants in the sunflower family.  There are 41 species worldwide (15 in the U.S.) and they are big-time pollen producers.

ragweed, pollen, airborne irritants, fall allergy season,

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

It used to be that North America’s high mountain and desert areas had little or no ragweed growth and thus were refuges for hay fever sufferers. But guess what? Each ragweed plant can produce a billion pollen grains every day. That pollen becomes airborne and can travel hundreds of miles.

In fact, ragweed thrives on carbon dioxide so the issue of Global Warming plays a role in spreading this pollen source. Ragweed pollen is pretty much everywhere in the United States and moving to another region will likely not give you any relief.

So what can you do? According to Ed Neuzil, ARNP, PhD and owner of Allergy, Sinus and Asthma Family Health Center in Lady Lake Florida, you should do your best to avoid exposure:

  1.  Check pollen counts in your area.
  2. Try to stay indoors on windy days.
  3. If you do go outside, remove your clothing and launder it immediately after coming inside and take a shower. Be sure to rinse your nose, eyes and hair of pollen.
  4. An herbal-enhanced saline spray can help get rid of airborne irritants that you inhale while outside.

Still think you’re immune? According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of American, 75 percent of Americans are allergic to ragweed. By late summer, 10 to 20 percent of the population suffers from symptoms such as sneezing, stuffy, itchy and runny noses.

The good news is that the ragweed plant only lives one season and you can look for comfort and relief when the frost sets in and kills the plant.