Archive for August, 2010

Allergies vs. a Cold

The Osceola Sentinel Tribune has an excellent article comparing the differences between colds and allergies. Both the common cold and allergies can present with very similar symptoms including a fever, runny nose, blocked sinuses, and sneezing. The article offers a complete list to help determine whether you’re suffering from a cold or allergies. There are differences in mucous, body pain, length of time you’ve been experiencing symptoms, and degree of fever.

Understanding the difference between a cold and allergies is important to help with determining treatment. Allergies present with clear mucous and a low fever of around 100 degrees. Usually, there is also itching around the face, particularly the nose and mouth. Colds typically present with fevers around 103 and brown or green mucous. If you have questions or concerns about treatment for allergies, contact our office to set up an appointment.

Leave a Comment

Hayfever Season

Hawke’s Bay Today has an article about how pollen has been effecting local residents. Pollen allergies are common and do as little as cause a little sneezing and as much as create dangerous breathing disruptions that may be deadly. However you may be effected by pollens whether it seems like just a minor bother or if it causes serious problems you should take the allergy seriously and take steps to avoid exposure. Mornings are especially bad, so avoid being outdoors to long, then. If you need medication make sure you have it readily on hand. If you have any questions or concerns about your allergies, contact our office to set up an appointment.

Leave a Comment

Hand Sanitizer Increases Productivity

Live Science has a report on a study conducted with administrative office workers testing the effect of introducing regular use of hand sanitizer. The study showed that those who were asked to use hand sanitizer five times a day reported less illness and reduced symptoms from illness than those who engaged in their normal hand washing routines. Workers who used the hand sanitizer were out less often for illnesses such as the common cold and sinusitis.

While the sample for the study was small there may be some good information here that could do with some further research. Using hand sanitizer or increasing hand washing habits, especially during cold and flu season, can help to reduce the chance of contracting a cold or influenza and can reduce the risk of sinusitis or other illnesses. If you have questions about strategies you can take to avoid or treat sinusitis or allergies you may experience in the workplace, contact our office for more information.

Leave a Comment

The Dangers of Antibiotic Resistance

The Daily Times has an article about the growing problem of antibiotic resistant bacteria. As the article states antibiotics are becoming less effective against more and more bacteria as the effects of overuse and inappropriate uses of antibiotics make themselves known. For decades antibiotics provided a very effective way for doctors to fight bacterial infections but today, with more and more resistant bacteria, their effectiveness has been severely reduced.

Resistant bacteria can cause everything from a skin infection to sinusitis to pneumonia. Patients and doctors need to take care when it comes to treating any of these conditions with antibiotics. The first thing that should be done is ensuring that antibiotics would be appropriate at all. One of the causes of the rampant antibiotic resistance is inappropriate use of antibiotics. Antibiotics are effective against bacteria, not viruses and their use against colds or influenza has contributed to the increased bacterial resistance. If the case of sinusitis or pneumonia is determined to be bacterial, then it should be considered whether or not the condition is severe enough to warrant antibiotics. Taking more care with the use of antibiotics is one step we can take towards controlling antibiotic resistant bacteria but still research needs to be done on new methods for fighting bacterial infection.

If you have questions or concerns about sinusitis an methods of treatment, contact our office to set up an appointment.

Leave a Comment

Beware of the Beaches

The Huffington Post has a list of 9 diseases that can be contracted on America’s beaches, not listed but still of note is the possibility of contracting a sinus infection. The article focuses mostly on things you might not expect to get when you go to the beach from hepatitis to conjunctivitis. The waters and air surrounding beaches is often polluted, particular in regions that have been effected by the gulf oil spill this year. Beyond just contamination from sewage run off and waste there are also parasites and bacteria that naturally occur in ocean waters.

Bacteria and pollutants on the shores can cause many problems for those exposed. One of these problems is sinus infections. Swimming in the ocean or even just breathing in the mist on the beach can expose you to bacteria, viruses, and pollutants that can cause a sinus infection. This doesn’t mean that you should avoid going to the beach entirely, but be aware of the possibility of developing sinusitis. Check to see if there are any health or safety concerns before visiting any beach. If you have questions about how to avoid or treat sinusitis, contact our office to set up an appointment.

Leave a Comment

Pet Allergies May Worsen Ragweed Seasonal Allergies

Newswise has an article about a study suggesting that those with allergies to cats, dogs, or dust mites may experience worse symptoms during ragweed allergy season. The study suggests that people with pet allergies may have their immune systems primed by these allergies and once ragweed season starts suffer from a more severe reaction due to it. It is suggested that avoiding allergens like cats, dogs, and dust mites before the start of ragweed season may prevent the quicker onset of symptoms observed in this study.

As ragweed season is upon us many will be dealing with the effects of the increased airborne allergens. Any method for helping to prevent a reaction is probably a good step to take. Seasonal allergic rhinitis (seasonal allergies) are, in a way, convenient, because we can anticipate when they will start to effect us and take steps to reduce the impact. If you have questions about seasonal allergic rhinitis and how to better control your allergies, contact our office for more information.

Leave a Comment

Back to School Allergies

It is estimated that 50 million Americans suffer from allergies. Quite a large number of these allergy sufferers are children that are headed back to school in the coming weeks. That means that many of these children are about to be exposed to environments that may not be free of potentially deadly allergens. There’s a good reason for that, the wide array of foods, animals, insects, dusts, and molds that can cause allergies can be quite common and nearly impossible to completely eliminate from the school environment. Even with the presence of these allergens, though, allergies can be controlled, if you have a plan.

A plan to deal with allergens your children might come into contact with at school starts with education. First, you have to educate yourself on your child’s allergies and how to manage them. Learn about the severity of the allergy, the likelihood of exposure to the allergen, preventative treatments and emergency treatments. Second, you have to educate you child on their allergies. Teach them how to avoid allergens, how to manager their allergies, and how to recognize symptoms early so treatment can be administered as soon as possible. Third, you have to educate the school’s staff. The staff who will come into contact with your child need to be aware of his or her allergy, what causes it, symptoms to watch for, and how to treat an allergic reaction.

After your have educated yourself, your child, and the school staff about your child’s allergy you need to prepare for the possibility of exposure and the need for emergency treatment. Medication for treating allergies including an epi-pen for severe allergic reactions should be readily available to any staff member who will be responsible for your child during the school day. Talk to the school’s staff about what systems they have in place for dealing with these kinds of emergencies. Remember that they likely have plans in place to effectively address students suffering from allergic reactions. Make sure that you’re aware of what it is, how you can contribute to making it easier for them to assist your child, and that your child knows what the school’s emergency plans for treating severe allergic reactions are.

After you have educated and prepared, then discuss avoidance. Avoidance in an environment like a school is difficult. There are many teachers, substitute teachers, custodians, other staff members, students, and visitors and each of them could inadvertently expose your child to an allergen. Someone who brings in an animal for a demonstration. Peanut oil in foods it’s not apparent it would be an ingredient in. Â Even something like a bee flying in through a window. Avoidance is difficult and the only solution is education, as stated before. If your child and their teacher are aware of allergens to keep an eye out for avoiding potential allergens is easier.

With millions of children headed back to school this week the potential exposure to allergens for children increases. Schools can’t control for all possible allergens all the time and having a plan to deal with exposure is the only solution. Keep these points in mind:

  • Educate yourself on the allergy and treatment.
  • Educate your child on their allergy, how to treat it, how to avoid exposure, and how to know when they need to ask for help.
  • Educate school staff on your child’s allergy, how it’s treated, how they can help your child avoid a reaction, and how they can help to identify reaction.
  • Prepare by ensuring medicine is readily available with school staff and they can administer it to your child.
  • Prepare by ensuring your child has an epi-pen close by should they need it for a severe reaction.

Every allergy is a little bit different and severity and treatment vary. To make sure you have the best information to forge your school plan, set an appointment with an allergist.

Leave a Comment

Laser Surgery Helps Prevent Sinus Infections

The Great Falls Tribune has an article about a Montana doctor utilizing a Gold Laser to perform procedures including the removal of nasal polyps. The article specifically refers to a man who had polyps removed using this tool as a way to combat his chronic sinusitis. The nasal polyps had blocked his breathing and the drainage of mucous resulting in a case of chronic sinusitis that had plagued him for some time.

Chronic sinusitis can be caused by a variety of things but is very often associated with nasal cavity obstructions. Polyps, a deviated septum, or an object can all obstruct the nasal cavity preventing drainage and promoting infection. Chronic sinusitis can often be alleviated by confronting nasal cavity obstructions. If you have sinusitis symptoms lasting more than eight weeks or recurring with regularity, you may have chronic sinusitis. For treatment options and to get your questions answered contact our office for an appointment.

Leave a Comment

Bono’s Smoking

The lead singer of the rock group U2, Bono, is reportedly smoking again after having quit multiple times in past years. In 1999 it’s reported that he was ordered to quit following a treatment for a bad sinus infection. He has been smoking off and on since then.

Smoking is a dangerous habit that’s difficult to break. The various negative effects on the human body are well documented. Particular attention should be paid though to the effects on the respiratory system. It should be obvious that the respiratory system is hit hard by smoking and it can have a serious impact on the lungs but also on the sinuses. Cancer is most often brought up in the context of the negative effects of smoking but even before one may develop cancer from smoking it reduces the effectiveness of the immune system and makes smokers more prone to illness. Smokers are more prone to sinusitis due to the effect it has on mucous flow and the overall impact on the immune system. For questions and concerns about sinusitis and how smoking may be worsening or prolonging your infection, contact our office to set up an appointment.

Leave a Comment

Internists Don’t Know Enough about Chronic Sinusitis

EmaxHealth has an interesting article about a recent study by a Georgetown University Medical Center internist showing his colleagues are not up to date on more recent information about chronic sinusitis. Chronic sinusitis is one of the more common complaints that bring people to the doctor every year. A lack of information on the part of internists who may be evaluating them could lead to misdiagnosis or even choosing a less effective older treatment method.

The internist who performed the study makes a good point in that the solution to this is more studies and more review articles to bring the topic to the fore front of the attention of doctors new and old. Developments in the diagnosis and treatment of chronic sinusitis are occurring and are beneficial to patients and doctors. If you’ve been suffering from chronic sinusitis, a sinus infection lasting more than 8 weeks or with regular recurrence, contact our office to set up an appointment to discuss diagnosis and treatment options.

Leave a Comment