Archive for April, 2014

Tiny Nasal Filter Claims To Help Allergy Sufferers

You know the saying, “wake up and smell the roses.” Well, for a lot of my patients, smelling roses or for that matter, any flowers, trees or grasses at this time of year may give them a severe allergic response. So when a walk in the park is no walk in the park, what can an allergy sufferer do?

Well a new device that you wear in your nose–about the size of a contact lens and works like a miniature air filter for a furnace–might make life easier for some of the estimated 500 million people worldwide who suffer from itching, sneezing and a runny nose as soon as the pollen season starts.

Known under the brand name, Rhinix, the filter is supposed to be on market this spring and claims significant reduction in spring allergy symptoms.

The filter was developed from the results of a study by a medical team from Aarhus University in Denmark; the results were published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.

The Journal states that “the research group included 24 people with a known allergy to grass pollen. They were exposed to a amount of grass pollen for 30 minutes at a time until they had 210 minutes of exposure. One time they wore the device without the filtering membrane ( a placebo used for comparison). Another time they wore the device with the filtering membrane.”

The filtering membrane “helped reduce nasal symptoms by 21 percent. Daily itching was decreased by 36 percent, daily runny nose dropped by 12 percent, daily sneezing reduced by 45 percent and throat irritation was reduced by 75 percent.”

The lead author of the study, Peter Kenney said that the filter is disposable and is only meant for daily use. He said “some people will probably use it the entire day whereas others might just use them when they are in an exposed environment (such as a park).”

Since the filters are held together by a small plastic ring, there have been comments that for some, it may prove uncomfortable or not cosmetically pleasing.

Also commenting on the Journal’s study was Dr. Mark Glaum, vice chair of the rhinitis, rhinosinusitis and ocular allergy committee of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, who expressed reservations on the study saying, “the changes in the individual’s symptoms weren’t huge, but for people with just nasal symptoms, it might help to a degree.” He also expressed the hope that a larger study on a group of people be conducted to see if they had the same results.

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Measles Outbreak Reported In NYC

Parents are very concerned about the health of their children–what they eat, are they getting enough exercise, etc. A lot of my patients who are parents remind me of my mother who still lives in Brooklyn. Even now, at 93, my mother still comments on my weight. Well, that’s mothers for you.

Yet some parents are very lax in getting their children vaccinated against childhood diseases such as mumps and measles. They figure that those diseases are a thing of the past, that they don’t exist anymore. Well I’ve got news for them. Those childhood illnesses are making a comeback.

Just a few weeks ago, the Health Department of the City of New York reported an outbreak of measles in the city. The initial cases started in the Bronx and spread to the Lower East Side. The 25 cases reported then included 12 children and 13 adults. Today it is 28 cases.

The Health Department defines “measles as a virus that is highly contagious whose symptoms included a generalized rash and high fever, accompanied by a cough, red eyes, and runny nose, lasting five to six days. The rash begins on the face and spreads down the body, and may include the palms of the hands and soles of their feet.”

Most of the New York cases of the measles occurred after individuals or immigrants visited countries that had measles outbreaks. Other cases occurred by random exposure to sick individuals. So it is important when traveling abroad to pay attention to US Consular health advisories concerning foreign travel.

I cannot say enough that the vaccines are very safe and that any side effects are minimal and may include soreness where the shot was given.

Those who should be inoculated are babies at 12 months of age. Two doses are measles vaccine are required for full protection. Children usually get the second dose at 4 to 6 years of age before going to school. Also older children and adults should get the vaccine if not already done so. It’s never too late to be vaccinated.


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