Archive for January, 2015

Shut Inside this Winter?

We shut out winter’s cold by sealing windows, cutting drafts and weatherproofing our living areas.  And as we insulated ourselves from the outdoors, we are also sealing in several allergens that can trigger allergy symptoms despite January’s bitter temperatures.

Pet dander.

Your pets are your babies. They are spending less time outdoors and more time in the same dry air environment drying out their skin and yours. Pet allergy symptoms may increase during winter months. Give yourself a safe haven – don’t let Fifi sleep on your bed or groom herself on the couch. Vacuum more often and have someone less susceptible brush your pets between groomings.

Mold.

As the heat inside goes up – moisture trapped in walls, basements and bathrooms can trigger mold growth. While most molds are benign, those susceptible to mold spores can find allergy symptoms disarming; troubled breathing, sneezing, runny or stuffy nose, itchy eyes, throat and/or inside of ears, hives, swollen eyelids, coughing, and wheezing.  A simple blood test can confirm if your symptoms are attributed to a mold allergy. If mold is to blame, it is important to remove the source of the mold to successfully eliminate it; repair leaks, ventilate the bathroom, discard old periodicals and newspapers and use a dehumidifier in damp basements.

Stress.

Although there is no “Allergy to People” diagnosis, as we are forced indoors we may find ourselves a little shorter with our coworkers, mates and children. Stress lowers immune responses and can lead to increases in cold and flu and even hives. Winter Blues (more casual connotation) or Seasonal Affects Disorder can be attributed to lack of quality time outdoors and decreased exposure to sunlight. For example, many of us are leaving for work at dawn and home after dark, missing out on sunlight and fresh air.  Maximize your exposure to sunlight, if possible sit near a window at work or lunch. Plan activities and outings to break up your winter routine. Vacation in the summer? Why not take a few days off in the winter to relax and unwind? For more serious depression, see a specialist.

If you have any questions regarding winter allergy symptoms, feel free to give my office a call. I’d be happy to set up a consultation to help improve your quality of life; enjoy winter while waiting on spring.

Having sinus problems? Visit this post for several tips to ease sinus pain

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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6 Tips to Ease Sinus Congestion, Pain & Pressure

Cold NYC weather means upping the heat, lowering humidity and for many – painful sinus headaches.

If you are experiencing sinus pain here are 6 Tips that may help.

  1. Recognize what is causing your sinus problems

Are your sinus problems caused by a physical ailment?  Narrow sinus passages, a deviated nasal septum, nasal polyps, allergies, or chronic infections? Each can interfere with sinus drainage. To alleviate pain, congestion and chance of infection, it is important the sinus pathways stay open, uncongested and moist for proper drainage.

  1. Humidify Your Indoor Air

Heated indoor air wreaks havoc on delicate nasal membranes.  As dry air dries out nasal passages, mucus becomes much thicker, clogging sinuses, and resulting in sinus pain and pressure.

A standard recommendation is to use a room humidifier in your bedroom from October until April, maintaining humidity at 30%. Higher humidity levels can aggravate asthma and can encourage mold growth.

  1. Irrigate Your Nasal Passages

Many people find sinus relief by irrigating nasal passages with a saline solution.

Irrigation helps to rinse out allergens, irritants, and excess mucus. There are saline sprays available at your local drugstore, or you can make your own solution at home.  To make your own saline mixture, combine about 16 ounces (1 pint) of lukewarm distilled, sterile water with 1 teaspoon of salt. You can also add 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda make the wash gentler on nasal membranes.  Place the mixture into a Neti pot.  Leaning over the sink at a 45-degree angle, place the spout into your top nostril and gently pour the wash in. The saline water will flow through your nasal cavity into the other nostril and out. Blow your nose to get rid of remaining water. Repeat the steps on your other nostril.

  1. Keep sinuses open and draining

Drinking plenty of fluids will help thin the mucus. A warm, moist washcloth applied to your face several times a day or inhaling steam two to four times a day, can help open spaces in your sinuses. Be cautious when inhaling steam. To avoid burns, try sitting in your in the bathroom with the hot shower running.

  1. Avoid Sinus Irritants

Pollution, cigarette smoke, cleaning products, hair spray, perfumes, air fresheners can irritate your sinuses. If you suffer from allergies, avoiding allergens or allergy triggers is central to keeping inflammation down and sinuses draining properly. During winter months, allergies to pets and mold can be especially hard on those susceptible to dander and mold triggers.

  1. Treat Sinus Problems

Using medications to help control your sinus symptoms can be effective in the short term. Do not use other the counter sprays for more than 3 days or other the counter oral medications for more than 7 days.

Decongestants can help reduce the swelling in your nasal passages along with easing stuffiness and pressure.

Pain relievers and anti-inflammatory medicine can be used to treat the pain of sinus pressure, but be sure to follow the label directions carefully. Again, do not use these medications for more than 7 days.

Allergy medicines, antihistamines can help if your sinus problems are related to allergies. Over-the-counter antihistamines include cetirizine (Zyrtec), diphenhydramine (Benadryl, Genahist, and others), fexofenadine (Allegra) and loratadine (Claritin). It is important to see an allergist for recurring allergy related sinus problems or if your allergic sinus condition leads to reoccurring sinus infections.

Need more help?

If the 6 preceding tips don’t help, we still ease your symptoms.  We can use intranasal or oral steroids to decrease inflammation and mucus production in the lining of the nose. Nasal steroids can also treat nasal polyps that often cause obstruction. While there are OTC steroid nasal sprays, do not use them for over 7 days without consulting a physician.

Take control of your reoccurring sinus problems and remember that you don’t have to suffer with sinus pain, pressure or infections. We have the technology to discover the cause of your sinus condition and the tools to end your pain and discomfort.

Contact my office with your questions or concerns or read more about Allergic Conditions on our website at NYCAllergyDoctor.com

 

based on http://www.webmd.com/allergies/sinus-pain-pressure-11/sinus-tips?page=3

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