Allergy Season Survival Tips

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Due to numerous years of record-breaking levels of seasonal pollens, it is essential to have an allergy survival plan in place. But you ask Why such high levels?

Well for starts climate change – the rise in worldwide temperatures and greenhouse gasses, the record amounts of precipitation, and lastly an overplanting of male plants have led to a longer allergy seasons. All these factors create the perfect storm for those of us that suffer from seasonal and mold allergies. But there are techniques to stay one step ahead for an allergy-free season!

First, you need to know if you have seasonal allergies, and then you can customize a successful allergen prevention and management plan.

Second, many sufferers don’t realize that medications often work better before the symptoms take hold. You may need less if started before peak allergy periods.

One area that may be significantly affected if you suffer from allergies is sleep patterns. Allergy sufferers are often sleepy during the day, especially when on drowsiness-causing OTC medications or oral decongestants.

The key to OTC medication is to get the right treatment to control your seasonal and indoor allergies, so you can breathe and sleep better at night.

Here are some allergy survival strategies that are extremely helpful to allergy sufferers:

  1. Cool eye compresses may improve the appearance and reduce unwanted swelling of the eyes due to allergy symptoms.
  2. Wear big sunglasses to block pollen from entering into your eyes and eyelids, especially on windy days.
  3. Change your clothing before going into your bedroom to reduce pollens from being brought into your bedroom.
  4. Shower and shampoo your hair in the evening if you have been out on high-pollen days to remove unwanted seasonal pollens and molds from landing on your pillow and bed sheets during the night.
  5. Wear a wide-brimmed hat to prevent pollen from landing on top of your head.
  6. Try avoid using hair gel or similar hair-care products that can act as “pollen magnets”.
  7. Try exercising indoors on high-pollen days (warm, dry, sunny and windy days and lower on cooler, moist, wet and “windless” days).
  8. When working in the garden or lawn mowing wear a pollen mask, use gloves and avoid touching your eyes and face.
  9. Try never dry clothing outdoors on high-pollen days, as pollen will stick to your linens, towels, etc.

Avoid Certain Plants and Flowers

Many flowers will drive up your allergy symptoms, especially if you inhale their aroma up close. Try avoid the following plant if you have allergies: Daisies, chrysanthemum, amaranths, dahlia, sunflower, black-eyed Susan, zinnia, privet, and lilac. The following plants won’t aggravate your allergies and can and can be planted in your Allergy-Friendly Garden: Gladiolus, periwinkle, begonia, bougainvillea, iris and orchid.

Clean the Air

At home or when driving, keep all the windows closed and put the air conditioner on “re-circulate the air” to keep out the pollens. Clean the filters in air conditioners frequently during the allergy season. Enjoy the great outdoors this season with these simple, practical and proven ways to stay allergy-free!

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Allergies

Environmental Allergens
Environmental Allergens

The majority of people around the world are allergic to something or the other. Among the common triggers of allergic reactions include specific food types, pollen, dust, fungi and sometimes chemicals in medicines. Allergic reaction can cause mild irritation in some people and in some, they may be fatal. That is why it is important for people who have allergies to carry their anti-allergy medicines at all times. The best thing to do is avoid coming into contact with what you are allergic too.


What is it?

Allergies are the response of the immune system to a substance. When your body, the immune system to be precise, does not agree with something, you will experience an allergic reaction. Allergies are hypersensitive disorders, and when ignored, can lead to conditions like diarrhea, asthma, vomiting, sinusitis, and swelling of the face or other body parts.

Allergies are the over exaggerated reaction of a person’s immune system to a particular substance or particle. That is why something, that is good for you, may prove to be dangerous for another individual who is allergic to it.

While most allergies are developed at an early age, some people can become allergic to certain substances as they age. There is no saying what may cause the allergy or what they may become allergic to, but the most common factor causing an allergic reaction is changes in the immune system.

Treatment for allergies, therefore, include natural treatments, steroid injections and medicines that modify the structure of the immune system and minimize the reaction. People who are allergic to particles in the environment, like dust, pollen and such are more susceptible to their reactions.

 

Symptoms

The allergic reactions that people have can range from mild and fatal. The early stages of an allergic reaction could be acute and result in rashes, or running nose, itchy eyes, etc. that cause discomfort in the person. Severe allergies can lead to

  • Sneezing and running nose (Rhinitis)
  • Sinusitis
  • Coughing, some people may have an attack of asthma on exposure to allergens
  • Redness of the eye, itching and watering of eyes (Hayfever and Allergies)
  • Breakout of hives, rashes with inflammation of the skin
  • Vomiting and diarrhea
  • Bloating of stomach, pain in the abdomen

Often, the allergies may appear in the form of rashes or a common cold and may occur repetitively. In such cases, the first step is to identify what you are allergic to and also consult a doctor for preventive medication.


Causes

 Allergies can be caused due to

  • Foods like nuts, dairy products, fish, etc.
  • Non-food proteins like latex
  • Toxins that interact with certain proteins in the food
  • Hereditary (genetic structure causes allergies in some people)

So it’s off to the bin I go with my bread… better luck next time for that cheese and tom!

breadspoThis morning’s rush to the bread bin reminded me of a not-so-healthy nasal passage condition I researched years ago and thought vital to share… mold and not just the cute, furry stuff that lines your damp pavements but rather the growing, tiny, mushroom-like structures which when given the right conditions, such as our moist and dark nasal passages can simply take over!

That’s right, the mold I noticed on my bread can actually find its way into the delicate nasal and sinus passages resulting in fungal sinusitis. Although curable, this is a persistent condition which is difficult to rid the body of entirely. This is because when mold propagates, it releases millions of tiny spore-like structures which attach themselves to the mucus linings with anchor-type root systems… you could picture them as weeds growing in your linings but at a rate much faster than the pesky weeds on your driveway.

It was found in a study done by the Mayo Clinic that there is a link between fungal sinusitis and chronic rhinosinusitis.

So what are the common symptoms you say? These include swelling, inflammation and edema of the membrane linings which can cause one to feel blocked or congested. As Fungal sinusitis is related to allergies, common allergy symptoms may also be present. Most of all chronic sinusitis symptoms may appear such as colored nasal mucus, pressure, sinus pain, drained and tired feelings, a lack of energy, post nasal drip, fevers or high body temperature, sneezing and excess fluid secretions.

Diagnosing fungal sinusitis is done with the help of a laboratory test whereby patients are tested for mycetoma, aspergilloma, fungal balls in the sinusitis, eosinophilic mucin sinusitis, saprophytic fungal growth and invasive fungal sinusitis. This test will confirm if fungal sinusitis is present or not.

So even though there’s no hope for my cheese and tom sandwich due to the state of my bread, it doesn’t mean fungus located in your nasal passages is not treatable. There are numerous treatments which may be offered. These include steroids, immunotherapy, anti-fungal agents and anti-inflammatory therapies however as mentioned earlier, fungus is majorly tricky to fully get rid of because of their pesky spores so the chances of it returning are pretty darn high.

And what of natural therapies? One such therapy currently on the market is the Sinus-Pro, Fungus Allergy Remedy; a homeopathic preparation which works from the inside out helping prevent and halt the growth of fungal spores in delicate linings whilst also treating any inflammation or swelling caused by the irrigation that these spores have caused. This then also assists the body in safely shedding the spores as they are unable to attach in the delicate linings. What’s best about this treatment is that it does not have any nasty side effects which one often hears of with steroid treatments. This remedy can be found online at http://www.sinus-pro.com/remedies/fungus.asp

The side effects that may be experienced from using Conventional Nasal Sprays

Conventional nasal sprays are some of the most frequently used drugs for the treatment of common cold and sinus symptoms.  These nasal sprays are used locally by administering measured doses of medicine into the patient’s body through their nose or nasal passages (nostrils). These sprays are very effective in relieving nasal congestion and stuffiness. Different nasal sprays are also used to treat different conditions such as hayfever, sinusitis and allergies etc.

Before knowing what side effects nasal sprays can have, we must first understand how a common nasal spray works.

How it works

When a dose of medicine is sprayed into the nose, certain drugs in the spray begin to narrow the blood vessels. This constriction process helps to reduce inflammation and allows one to feel freed from stuffiness and congestion. But the draw back of these nasal sprays is that after some time the effect of the nasal spray wears down and the blood vessels expand again. Problems start from here. In order to stay sinus free one needs to use these nasal sprays again and again, with increased dosages. Repeated use of conventional nasal sprays can cause side effects.

Common side effects of using Conventional nasal sprays

The side effects of conventional nasal sprays vary from one to another depending on the drugs contained in them. Side effects range from mild to severe and it also varies from one individual to another, depending on their health condition and their usage of the nasal spray.

Here are some common side effects caused by using conventional nasal sprays:-

  • Pricking or burning sensation in the nose, which can be very painful
  • The nostrils may become extremely dry
  • An altered taste may be experienced
  • Dizziness and sleepiness are very common side effects
  • Palpitation in the arms and hands
  • Weakness and fatigue
  • Prone to fungal invasion of the nose or the throat
  • Continuous coughing
  • Skin irritation may occur and it varies from mild to severe
  • Nasal blisters or ulcers also seen in some
  • Women may have very painful menstruations
  • Excessive watering of the eyes
  • Triggers some allergic reaction in the body
  • Nose bleeds

Severe side effects of conventional nasal sprays

The continuous and chronic use of conventional nasal sprays results in more severe side effects such as the examples below:

  • Increased thirstiness and urination
  • Sever skin allergy
  • Severe nasal bleeding may occur
  • Chronic Post Nasal Drip (PND) – backward flow of mucus from the sinuses to the back of the throat
  • A sensation of nausea or vomiting
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Constant painful headaches
  • Itching and swelling particularly of the face, tongue and throat
  • Continuous fits of sneezing
  • Some patients may experience a rapid and throbbing heartbeat

It is important to contact a doctor immediately if any of the above side effects are experienced when using a nasal spray.

Rebound Rhinitis/Congestion

Another common side effect of using conventional nasal sprays is a condition known as ‘rebound rhinitis or rebound congestion’. This is a condition that develops if a person is using their nasal spray for more than 3 – 5 days continuously. Besides your body becoming “addicted to” or dependent on the nasal spray, continuous use of a nasal spray can cause the mucus membranes to become excessively dry. Under normal conditions, the inside of the nose should be neither dry nor have excessive mucus. The body has a built in mechanism that combats a dry nose by telling the mucus membranes to increase its mucus production excessively. This causes a runny nose (rhinitis) or causes you to feel stuffy (congestion). The normal reaction is to use more and more of the nasal spray thereby resulting in a vicious cycle of rebound rhinitis and/or congestion.

Nasal Spray Alternatives

In order to avoid the side effects of conventional nasal sprays, there are some other alternatives that you may consider using. These alternatives are also known to treat congestion, allergies and even a blocked nose. Here are some of the options:

  • Homeopathic treatment and medicines (in tablets and nasal sprays)
  • Steam inhalation
  • Saline nasal drops
  • Certain herbal remedies
  • Essential oils like Eucalyptus, Rosemary and Lavender
  • Nasal irrigation (netti pot)

Always use these alternative medicines exactly as prescribed. Always consult with your doctor before attempting to use any medicines, alternative or otherwise especially if you have other chronic health conditions.

Fungal Allergies on the Rise

A new find to add to the ever growing list of allergens… Yip, another item you can’t even see to worry about. It’s called Basidiomycetes and is a class of fungi that forms part of puffballs, brackets and very yummy mushrooms. Basidiomycetes is predominantly an outside fungi however its spores do have the potential to migrate in doors.

Respiratory allergy sufferers such as those that have asthma have been found to be highly sensitive to basidiomycetes.

Bird poop can even be fatal…. Yip, it’s true, Cryptococcus neoformans is an airborne fungi that often growths on old bird poop and can result in a fatal systemic infection in those individuals who are severely immune-compromised. This is due to the air-borne basidiospores found in the Cryptococcus neoformans that results in an infection of the lungs called cryptococcosis.

Decaying wood, animal dung and decaying leaves are also an ideal habitat for Basidiomycetes, so be wary the next time you pass a toadstool or skewer your next scrumptious mushroom as it could be fungal allergy causing.

For more information on fungal allergy’s and suitable and safe treatments visit http://www.sinus-pro.com/remedies/fungus.asp

Allergic Fungal Allergy vs. Just an Allergy

So I know fungi or as it is often termed mold, can grow in the body cavities and yes, it does cause the body to react in various ways but how can you tell if it’s just an allergy or a fungal allergy? One allergy is the same as the other isn’t it?

An allergy is basically an overreaction of one or more of the bodies systems to a harmful particle it comes into contact with. These particles by themselves are safe however in certain individuals the body perceives these as vicious body invaders and as a result starts to swell, becomes red, leaks excess fluid, cause sneezing, watery eyes, itchiness all over and results in you feeling pretty down.

Both fungal and normal allergies progress if not treated, both can be accompanied by yucky bacteria and both cause outrageously foul breath. Allergens, both fungal as well as pet dander, dust and foreign particles are airborne therefore easily contracted. The symptoms of both mold and fungal allergies are also the same however there is one main difference. Fungal allergies often lead to wheezing and a shortness of breath common with asthma type symptoms.

As these two conditions are so similar a visit to your GP or Specialist may need to be considered as they will be able to culture a sample from your nasal passages and sinus cavities to identify if mold is in fact present. Remember, fungi spreads easily with spores easily dislodged from their carriers. This means that even a small whoosh of air is all that is needed to disperse millions of spores ready to migrate into and flourish in deeper body recesses. Fungi is also extremely resilient as it grows like a plant with a root system to anchor itself into the delicate membrane linings. For more information on fungal allergies and treatments visit http://www.sinus-pro.com/remedies/fungus.asp

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