Archive for October, 2012

Sinus Headache Pain

During allergy season, many patients suffer from sinus headache pain. Occurring in the center of the face, the bridge of the nose and the cheeks, it often appears in tandem with nasal congestion and clear or opaque nasal discharge.

First we must understand what sinuses are. Sinuses are air-filled spaces positioned within bones of the head, lying beneath, above, between the eyes, surrounding the nose. Both the nose and sinuses are lined with a thin membrane that swells and produces mucus when irritated. The sinuses normally discharged through small openings called ostia which connect the sinuses to the nasal passages.  Allergies, irritants or other conditions may cause nasal or sinus membranes to constrict which can block the ostia. This results in a sinus headache.

At home treatments for occasional sinus flare-ups:

  1. Take an antihistamine. This will block the action of histamine, a substance released during an allergic reaction. Histamine causes swelling of the lining of the sinuses and ostia and stimulates mucus production.
  2. Take guaifenesin (OTC Mucinex is one brand), which thins the mucus so that it drains more easily. You may also use a decongestant, which reduces membrane swelling and opens the nasal and sinus passages.
  3. Inhaling steam or a steam bath is also beneficial.  Exercise caution so not to burn your face or skin.

If nasal discharge is yellow or green, there may be a bacterial infection of the sinuses present. Bacteria live throughout the nose and sinuses. Normally bacteria drains from sinuses in mucus. But if a sinus is plugged up, the bacteria can propagate within the sinus.

To treat a sinus infection, you’ll need an antibiotic and a decongestant, but no antihistamine. (Antihistamines dry out the mucus membranes and make drainage more difficult.) If a decongestant does not offer sufficient relief, we can prescribe a steroid nasal spray.

If your sinus discharge is yellow or green or your sinus condition becomes chronic or is unresponsive to at home treatment, contact my office for a consultation- 866-632-5537.  We can relieve the pain and pressure of sinus headaches as well as getting to the cause of reoccurring sinus conditions.

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Can a Protein Catalyst Promote Allergy Development

A study, published in the journal “Nature Medicine,” by Donald Cook and researchers at Duke University’s Duke Asthma, Allergy and Airway Center, found protein in house dust trigger allergy reactions though the protein itself is not classified as an allergen in the traditional sense.

“There are some things in the environment, for example, cigarette smoke or ozone or diesel exhaust, that are not allergens but can nonetheless promote allergic responses,” explained Donald Cook, a scientist at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences at the National Institutes of Health. “That’s what we looked at.”

Working with the assumption that some components of bacteria trigger immune responses, “we asked if some of these bacterial components could specifically activate the kind of immune response that’s associated with allergies,” he said.

The research found a substance called flagellin, a protein found in common household dust, was “very potent”.

“Typically, when you become allergic to something, it doesn’t happen instantly. It takes time to develop. So we think that when this flagellin is inhaled into the lungs, it activates the immune system so that it’s more likely to develop allergies to real allergens,” Cook said.

Conducted on mice, the research allowed mice to inhale a specific protein – ovalbumin (from chicken eggs). Nothing happened, as ovalbumin does not typically cause an allergic reaction.

In the next step, mice inhaled the protein in combination with various bacterial substances, one of them being this flagellin. When exposed to the egg protein again alone, the mice showed signs of an allergic response.

“They became allergic to the ovalbumin. They didn’t become allergic to the flagellin,” Cook said.

Where can flagellin be found in the environment?

“We looked in samples of house dust, and we found that we could detect flagellin in those samples of house dust. Then what we did was allow mice to inhale house dust extracts. We found that when they did that, they became allergic to the (indoor) allergens that are normally found in house dust.”

“We don’t know which allergens in the house dust are most important,” Cook said. Normal dust found in homes may contain cockroach, cat, dog, mold allergens and dust mite.

If you need help solving the allergy riddle, please contact my office for a consultation – 866-632-5537.  For over 25years I’ve assisted NYC allergy sufferers overcome their allergy symptoms

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FAAN Walk Oct 13

FAAN Walk for Food Allergy in Westchester, NY

October 13, 2012

Glen Island Park
Pelham Road
New Rochelle, NY 10801

Check in: 9:00 a.m. Walk: 10:00 am
Distance: 2 miles

More information available here

For more on Food Allergies watch this video discussion


If you have questions about food allergy and treatment, please contact my office for a consultation 866-632-5537.

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Botox for Hay Fever

Keeping an eye on studies currently underway examining the application of botox as a gel under the nose.  This gel serves to block nerve endings located inside the nose from releasing the chemicals that lead to hay fever symptoms.

Interesting concept.



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Those with Egg Allergies can be Safely Vaccinated Against the Flu

Canadian researchers have released a new study in which they followed 367 egg-allergic people, mostly children, who have received a flu shot over the past five years.  Nearly 1/3 of these patients have experienced an anaphylatic episode after eating eggs.  This study reveals that  none of those patients,  have had a serious reaction to the flu vaccine. And only 13 of the 367 had mild “allergy-like” symptoms, like itchy skin or hives, within a day of the jab.

“This article is important because it provides additional data on the safety of influenza vaccine in children with a history of anaphylaxis to egg,” said Dr. Lynda Schneider, director of the allergy program at Boston Children’s Hospital. Dr. Snyder was not involved in the study but has researched the safety of the flu vaccine for egg-allergic child.

Health experts recommend that children from age 6 months get an annual flu shot. Although the flu causes no more than a week or so of misery in most kids, children younger than 5 are at increased risk of flu complications like pneumonia, bronchitis and sinus infections.

Egg allergy, meanwhile, affects about 1.5 percent of U.S. kids, according to the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology and this concern may be the reason many children have never received a flu shot.

Egg-allergic children should be inoculated with the  flu vaccine  from a doctor that can recognize and treat a severe reaction.

If you have any questions or concerns and live in the NYC area – please feel free to contact my office for a consultation. 866-632-5537.

Read the entire article here




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