Posts Tagged ‘sniffles’

Air Travel can lead to sinus problems

If airline travel is in your forecast, you’ll want to arm yourself with a nasal cleansing spray to protect from the dry air when in flight.

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Airplanes can be like flying petri dishes because people travel with germs that can be dispersed throughout the cabin.

The low humidity can dry out nasal passages causing discomfort, especially during takeoff and landing.

A 2004 edition of the Journal of Environmental Health Research reported that the higher incidence of colds reported by recent aircraft passengers may be due to a decline in their ability to resist infection while flying.

“Your nose has a thin layer of mucus that actually helps traps germs and irritants. The in-flight air dries out that protective layer making you more susceptible to discomfort or even colds and viruses,” said Ed Neuzil, Ph.D., ARNP and owner of The Allergy, Sinus & Asthma Family Health Center in Lady Lake, Fla. “Cleansing your nasal passages of debris or germs with a moisturizing nasal spray helps maintain the natural protectants your body provides.”

Nasal sprays with herbal ingredients such as menthol or eucalyptol may also help open up your sinuses and alleviate some of the pressure you feel during altitude changes.

 

 

Saline Sprays Help Children with Sniffles

The cold and flu season is really kicking into high gear. Coughs and sniffles are likely unwelcome guests in your home, especially if you have children in school or day care.  Runny noses, uncovered coughs and sneezes, and unwashed hands are invitations to get sick.

Because colds are the result of a virus, there’s no cure. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, antibiotics may used to combat some symptoms but caution against giving medication to children under two years old.

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A saline nasal spray can help soothe irritated sinuses in children without concern about side effects from medicine.

Children who are suffering from nasal congestion should clean the nasal passages using a saline rinse. A neti pot or similar sinus rinses can be effective although possibly messy and unpleasant for a youngster.

A saline nasal spray can be very effective and you can find products that have essential oils added to make the treatment more pleasant while moisturizing nasal passages.  The additional moisture will help preserve the natural protectants in your child’s nose.

Show your child how to safely and carefully insert the nasal spray bottle into her nose and to distribute the spray effectively.  Make sure she uses a tissue to wipe her nose afterwards and, of course, wash hands afterwards.

Non-medicated nasal saline sprays can be used frequently throughout the day to provide relief but consult with your pediatrician about how often it can be used.

Relief from Rhinitis

Many people suffer from a sinus condition called Rhinitis. The sniffles and sinus pressure associated with it can truly affect one’s quality of life.

The causes and treatments of rhinitis was the topic of conversation on a recent eHealth Radio podcast. Board certified nurse practitioner Ed Neuzil shared helpful information for listeners. Click here to here the 10 minute interview:  ehealth radio network.

Stop sneaking sniffles

Certain sounds are often associated with seasons. Birds chirping make you think of spring. Crunching leaves are a sure sign of fall. And the winter notification is, of course, a sniffle.

Whether being outside in the cold prompts a runny nose or the onset of a virus or sinus infection, just about everyone gets the sniffles this time of year.

No matter the cause, the symptoms of nasal congestion should be addressed.

The truth is that ignoring nasal symptoms such as congestion, sneezing, runny nose or thick nasal discharge can lead to other problems:

  •  Nasal congestion reduces the sense of smell.
  • When you can’t breathe through your nose, you resort to mouth breathing which can increase the risk of mouth and throat infections. Mouth breathing also pulls all the pollution and airborne germs directly into the lungs.
  • Breathing cold dry air into the lungs will make secretions thick, slows the cleaning cilia as well as the passage of oxygen into the blood stream.

So, yes, blowing your nose is important but there is a right and wrong way to do it.  If you blow too hard, you’ll cause pressure and some mucus to build up in the sinus cavities. That may lead to further infection.

According to experts, the proper method is to blow one nostril at a time, gently. You should also use a saline nasal rinse to remove excess mucous.

If the congestion lingers for a long time or develops into something more, that’s the time to visit your medical practitioner for a consult.

 

 

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.

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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.

The little sleep disruptor

Many parents are now trying to get their kids back onto the regular “school sleeping schedule.” After a summer of late nights and lax schedules, this transition time is important so a child gets a good night’s sleep.

We know sleep is essential for good performance a.k.a. “doing well in school.” But did you know that one source of anti-sleep could be residing in your child’s bed?

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

Dust mites are miniscule insects that leave droppings to which many people are allergic.  They enjoy warm temperatures, eat dead skin from pets and humans, and burrow in sofas, beds and even stuffed animals. Believe it or not but we shed enough skin daily to feed a million dust mites.

Dust mite allergy sufferers can experience congestion, sneezing and for people with asthma, wheezing and difficulty breathing. These symptoms can make it difficult to get sleep soundly.

The best way to prevent dust mite allergy symptoms is to avoid exposure:

  • Put airtight, plastic dust-mite covers on pillows, mattresses and box springs.
  • Use pillows filled with polyester instead of feathers.
  • Wash bedding once a week in hot water and dry it in the dryer.
  • Vacuum carpets weekly and wipe up bare floors to get rid of dust.

There are some over the counter medications that help diminish the symptoms but do not treat the problem. Evaluation by your medical provider may help guide you in choosing the right medications and, in some cases, referral to a specialist who is trained in evaluating and treating allergies may be needed.

Allergy testing is used to help identify if an allergy exist and immunotherapy may be used to help stimulate your body’s immune system in developing anti-bodies to help protect against the allergy may be necessary.

One promising bit of news is that researchers are on the cusp of developing a vaccine that can combat dust-mite allergies. The University of Iowa scientists have had good success with this immunity-approach in lab animals. Here’s hoping tests on the new vaccine continue to go well for human consumption.

Diving into a common summer allergy

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The chlorine in swimming pools may aggravate allergies and sinus conditions in some people.

A popular place for kids to spend their summer can actually make them sick.

Some people have sensitivity to chlorine which is used to keep swimming pools clean.

Chlorine reactions may include itchy, red skin or even hives. According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, when immersed in the swimming pool, the chemical may cause inflammation in the lining of the sinuses and nasal passages.

This can cause congestion or even infection which may ultimately keep your child out of the water for some time. That’s because the pressure changes from diving and swimming beneath the water can cause sinus pain and headaches.

Fungi and bacteria in the water, if inhaled, can lead to other infections.

“There is a possibility frequent swimming in chlorinated water or exposure to cleaning products containing chlorine may increase the risk of developing asthma or other respiratory allergies,” said Ed Neuzil, ARNP, PhD and owner of the Allergy, Sinus and Asthma Family Health Center.  “If a child exhibits allergic reactions to the chlorine, it’s a good idea for him or her to use nose clips.”

Neuzil recommends seeing a medical practitioner if you or your child suspect chlorine allergies or sensitivity. He say there may be a lot of underlying causes of your symptoms and the allergist may offer help so that you can continue to enjoy swimming.