Archive for Sinus

Is It A Winter Cold Or Allergy? The Difference

This season, some of my patients have complained to me that they have symptoms of a runny nose and sometimes, a scratchy throat and think it’s a cold. But in reality, I tell them it’s probably a winter allergy.

Colds, I tell my patients, usually display symptoms of a low-grade fever, sore throat and a cough. But as Dr. William Schaffner, a chair of preventive medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tenn. says in a report for ABC News, “you might a have a little bit of a sore throat with allergies, but’s mostly runny nose and red, itchy eyes.” Other symptoms include sneezing and dark circles under the eyes.

Also, colds can be accompanied by body aches and fatigue; symptoms not generally associated with allergic reactions.

So the question my patients ask if spring and summer brings pollen allergies, what causes the onset of winter ones.

Good question.

The winter season brings on a number of allergies associated with holiday celebrations. For instance, as Discovery Health. com states, “a stored Christmas tree and holiday ornaments or even a menorah may contain dust or even mold. A live tree’s scent may cause sinus congestion in some people. Furthermore, additional winter blankets, carpeting and clothes that been stored since the previous winter can release dust mites and old spores into the air and around the house when they are removed from storage.”

I recommend the following to limit allergen exposure: Keep pets outside as much as possible and limit them to a specific area in the house; wash all linens and clothes have been stored before using them again; keep humidity levels at 40% as recommended by National Jewish Health.com; use a HEPA air filter to clean dust from the air; and if necessary, buy a synthetic Christmas tree.

To learn more, http://www.nycallergydoctor.com/allergy.

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What You Should Know About Dry Coughs

Even though pollen counts are subsiding, a number of my patients are still experiencing dry coughs.

Dry coughs can continue after allergy, cold, or sinus symptoms have dissipated or occur without other symptoms due to certain factors.

An interesting report on WebMD states, “chronic dry coughs are usually caused by irritation from cigarette smoke, environmental irritants, allergies, postnasal drip, or asthma. Several chronic lung diseases also cause a dry hacking cough. Some people cough out of habit for no clear reason.”

Other common causes for dry coughs, says the website Patient.Co.UK “are occupational exposure to irritants (including farm workers, workers exposed to hot acidic conditions in a bottle factory); COPD; whooping cough–in young adults and may be more common than previously supposed, influenza; heartburn; gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD); and medications such as an Ace Inhibitor (Lisinopril, Enalarpil, Ramipril, etc.).”

The website goes on to say that a qualified physician is required to evaluate the causes of the cough and look for the following symptoms associated with a dry cough: “systemic signs, e.g. fever, weight loss; upper air-way signs, e.g. hoarseness, nasal speech; focal chest signs; cardiovascular system; and peak expiratory flow rate (how fast the air flows out of a person’s lungs when they exhale hard).”

Have questions about your dry cough? Feel free to contact my office for a consultation at 214-247-7447 or read more about common environmental triggers located on my website under common allergies

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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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Understanding Rhinosinusitis through Genetic Profiling

Researchers used high-resolution microbiome genetic profiling to compare sinus microbiota (microorganisms that typically inhabit a bodily organ or part) from patients undergoing sinus or nasal surgery, 10 of which had chronic rhinosinusitis and 10 of which were healthy.

NY allergy doctor discusses genetic profiling of sinusitis

 

Nicole A. Abreu, from the San Francisco State University in Hensill, and colleagues found that the sinus microbiota from patients with chronic rhinosinusitis was less diverse, with a depletion of lactic acid bacteria and an enrichment of a single bacterial species, Corynebacterium tuberculostearicum. Inoculating mice with C. tuberculostearicum in the presence of a depleted microbiome induced sinusitis, while mice with a replete mucosal microbiota were protected from this species.

The presence of Lactobacillus sakei, which the microbiome analysis had indicated was potentially protective, was a defense against C. tuberculostearicum, even when the sinus bacterial community was depleted.

“These studies demonstrate that sinus mucosal health is highly dependent on the composition of the resident microbiota as well as identify both a new sinopathogen (an infectious agent within sinuses) and a strong bacterial candidate for therapeutic intervention,” Abreu and colleagues conclude.

If you suffer from sinus pain and pressure, an allergist may be able to provide you with some relief. If you live in the NYC area, feel free to contact me for a consultation.  Together we can ease your sinus symptoms.

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2 Netipot Deaths – FDA Issues New Guidelines

A neti pot is a vessel that resembles a teapot is used to flush the nasal passage.  Many netipot users find temporary relief from allergies, congestion and colds by proper use of the netipot.

Last month, FDA reported two more incidents in Louisiana in which patients contracted infections after using netipots filled with tap water contaminated with an amoeba called Naegleria fowleri , commonly found in lakes, rivers and springs.

Although this kind of infection is rare, it primarily occurs when people swim or dive in lakes or rivers.  The naegleria fowleri travels through the nasal passages into the brain, where it causes primary amoebic meningoencephalitis. This disease attacks brain tissue and is almost always fatal. According to the CDC, of the 123 known cases occurring in the US from 1962 to 2011, only one person has survived.

Why doesn’t drinking Naegleria fowleri harm you? Stomach acid kills the amoeba, drinking contaminated water does not lead to infection.

If you are a regular reader of this blog – you know that last year Louisiana reported 2 more deaths from using infected by tap water in netipots.  Both of these people had also used water contaminated with Naegleria fowleri.

The FDA has announced new warnings and suggestions for the use of netipots – use bottled water or water that has been boiled and cooled prior to use.

Statistics from the CDC help to keep  the risk of Naegleria fowleri contamination in perspective. Millions of people swim and dive in lakes and rivers each year, yet from 2002 to 2011 there were only 32 reported Naegleria fowleri infections far less than the 36,000 drowning deaths.

And while these most recent cases of amoebic infection may be terrifying, the public should not be alarmed or fearful about freshwater swimming or neti pot use according to Dr. Philip T. Hagen, vice chairman of the Mayo Clinic’s division of preventive medicine.

“If you talk about the general population, there are more common things to be aware of and worry about than a scary amoebic infection,” said Dr. Hagen, who is also the editor of “The Mayo Clinic Book of Home Remedies.” “It’s an opportunity to remind people to be cautious and use good cleaning approaches and maintenance of their neti pot.”

If you are suffering from chronic sinus conditions, the proper  use of a netipot may provide temporary relief. An allergist can help you identify the triggers and devise a plan that can lead to permanent  sinus and/or allergy relief.  Feel free to contact my office for a consultation 866-632-5537 – 5 convenient Manhattan locations.

Dr Lubitz discusses netipots

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Zetonna on the Market

The maker of Lunesta launched a new medication Zetonna, a dry, once-a-day nasal aerosol for allergies.  Approved by the  FDA in January the release to the public was delayed due to negotiations with the company’s partner, a company spokesperson said.

Materials suggest Zetonna is appropriate for patients with either seasonal or perennial allergic rhinitis that are at least 12 years old.  The recommended dosage is one blast per nostril, per day.

It is estimated that Allergic Rhinitis affects approximately 60 million people in the United States. Symptoms can include nasal stuffiness, runny nose, sneezing, itching, and breathing difficulty.  If you suffer from nasal allergies and live in the NYC area, call my office for a consultation.  There are solutions to ease your symptoms and improve the quality of your life.

 

 

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Treating Sinusitis

Mold allergy, sinus infection, hay fever, whatever the trigger – sinusitis is
unfortunately an autumn staple in NYC.  Spurred by the body’s reaction to bacterial infiltration or allergic reaction, the sinus cavities become inflamed and swollen causing painful, pressure in the face.  Sinusitis causes nasal congestion,  from excess mucus and the swollen nasal membranes, much like a cold.  As a matter of fact, sinusitis feels like a cold you just can’t beat. The body may mount an immune response, adding fever and fatigue to the discomfort of congestion.

How is sinusitis treated? After proper exam, if the diagnosis is chronic sinusitis, antibiotic therapy and/or a corticosteroid nasal spray may be provided for treatment.  Antibiotics treat the infection and the steroid treats the inflammation.

If you have reoccurring sinus infections, or sinus condition that seems to defy treatment, call my office for a consultation.  Treatment and relief are within reach, same day appointments are available.

 

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Allergy Asthma Information on New YouTube Channel

I’ve created a library of health related videos, focusing on Allergy, Asthma, Sinus and Immunological conditions as well as research and new developments pertaining to these concerns.  I invite you to Subscribe and welcome your feedback!

Dr. Lubitz on YouTube

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Effectiveness of Adenoidectomy in Children

Children receiving an adenoidectomy to lessen chances of respiratory system infections, like sinusitis and colds, do not experience fewer incidents of these infections, according to research released in the British Medical Journal.

Before considering surgery for your child, consult an allergist.  Chronic sinus conditions can be triggered by an allergic condition that will not be cured by surgery.  View Chronic Sinusitis for a background on the condition.

 

From the full text:

Results: During the median follow-up of 24 months, there were 7.91 episodes of upper respiratory tract infections per person year in the adenoidectomy group and 7.84 in the watchful waiting group (difference in incidence rate 0.07, 95% confidence interval −0.70 to 0.85). No relevant differences were found for days of upper respiratory tract infections and middle ear complaints with fever in episodes and days, nor for health related quality of life. The prevalence of upper respiratory tract infections decreased over time in both groups. Children in the adenoidectomy group had significantly more days with fever than the children in the watchful waiting group. Two children had complications related to surgery.

Conclusion: In children selected for adenoidectomy for recurrent upper respiratory tract infections, a strategy of immediate surgery confers no clinical benefits over a strategy of initial watchful waiting.

Read the Full Text of the Study

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Breathing Easier with Sinus Surgery?

Wall Street Journal writer Laura Johannes reports today on the benefits of endoscopic sinus surgery.

Sinus pain can be debilitating when your sinuses are continually blocked and you suffer from daily misery. It is important to note however that the success of the procedure to remove bone and tissue to treat sinus pain has been met with mixed reviews in scientific studies.

Sinus surgery used to be done by cutting through the face, but today it is mostly done by sticking a thin flexible tube called an endoscope up the nostrils.

Before considering surgery, consult an allergist.  Chronic sinusitis may stem from untreated allergies.  Watch this video for more information

Call my office and we can discuss a non surgical solution to a troubled sinus condition, 866-632-5537.

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