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Blog posts tagged with 'sinuses'

Managing Allergies While Enjoying the Outdoors


Managing Allergies While Enjoying the OutdoorsEnjoying warmer weather outdoors can have many benefits to your health and well-being. With spring upon us it's a time when plant life begins to flourish. That means the air will be adorned with pollen and other particulates from trees, grass, mold, spores, and flowers that can trigger pesky signs of seasonal allergies, disrupting your outdoor enjoyment. With the right knowhow, you can be prepared to avoid all the sneezing, running noses, itching eyes, and other symptoms that are associated with seasonal allergies.

Facts About Allergies

Allergies occur when the immune system misidentifies a normally harmless substance as a threat to the body and it goes into defense mode trying to discharge that substance from your body. If either of your parents has allergies, you have a 1 in 3 chance of developing them, too. However, if both your parents have allergies the chances go up to 70%.

Controlling Your Environment

While it's virtually impossible to rid the world of allergens completely, there are many steps you can take to protect yourself and give your sinuses some relief. First, remember that even when you're not outside pollen and dander can still find you. Controlling your home environment is a key step to reducing your exposure. Allergens and pollen can stick to clothes, furniture, bedding, and carpets. Pollen activity in the air is usually at its strongest from 10 am to 4 pm, so keep the main windows and doors to your home closed during these hours. It's also important to know that you may be covered in pollen if you've been outdoors for any period of time. Showering as soon as you get home, washing your clothes on a regular basis, and vacuuming your bedroom and living areas will help keep pollen and particulates in your home to a minimum. The main theme here is maintaining cleanliness in high-traffic areas to reduce your exposure to allergens. You can also plan your outdoor excursions around the weather. The best time to venture outdoors is after a rainstorm or rainy day; rain can wash allergens away and significantly reduce the outdoor pollen count to help reduce allergy sensitivity.

The Many Choices in Remedies

Some people are capable of outgrowing their allergies over time; others will need to constantly be aware of them. Check with your doctor to ensure you are taking the right remedy for you. Some over-the-counter medications may raise blood pressure, while experts have also found that you can build up a tolerance to allergy medicines. Herbal supplements can provide a more natural means to managing your allergies than over-the-counter medications. Red magnolia, for example, has been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) since 100 AD as a natural nasal decongestant. Often paired with red magnolia, xanthium, is another name for the cocklebur plant native to Europe. It has been used in TCM to help open up nasal passages to ease breathing. Another common home remedy is creating a saline solution spray to help clear the sinuses.

You Can Never Be Over-Prepared for Allergies

Millions of people are affected each spring by seasonal allergies. But by knowing your personal allergic triggers, checking with your doctor to see what preventative remedy is best for you, and keeping a clean and tidy home, you can be well prepared to deal with the pollen, dander, and other particulates that invade the air during spring. Don't let the fear of allergies hold you back from enjoying the outdoors!




Community Immunity: Protecting Against Seasonal Germs


Community Immunity: Protecting Against Seasonal GermsAs summer recedes into the rearview mirror, fall seems just around the corner. For many, the changing of seasons signals a time where children go back to school, the daytime gets shorter, and the weather makes a cooler turn as the winter months approach. This is also a time where protecting your immune system is vital for your health and the health of your community.

Surfaces, Germs, People, and More Germs!

Most people tend to focus on kids spreading germs in school, but the reality is, adults—especially older citizens—need to understand the importance of good sanitation and immune system protection just as much as their younger counterparts.

One of the easiest—yet often overlooked—ways of keeping clean is habitually washing your hands. Have a family of four? That’s eight hands touching the same doorknobs, bathroom fixtures, remote controls, light switches, and more. Frequent hand washing throughout the day defends against spreading germs and bacteria. And while public drinking fountains are traditional staples at many schools, gyms, and parks, they can also harbor germs. Getting in the habit of using a personal water bottle can eliminate the need for community sharing (and the spreading of germs) at places like drinking fountains or faucets. Carrying tissues and hand sanitizers, as well as properly learning how to cover a sneeze (if no tissue is available, use the crook of your elbow) can be crucial steps in teaching children how to stay healthy for their own sake and for the people around them.

The Health of Your Community Starts with You

Seasonal changes can often put added stress on your immune system, so here are some personal tips for protecting your immune health:

  • Eat a well-balanced diet – Research indicates that proper nutrition helps strengthen your immune system.
  • Get plenty of restful sleep – While you sleep your immune system is busy rebuilding and repairing itself.
  • Wash your hands regularly – Proper hand washing with water and soap is the most effective barrier against the spread of germs. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends rubbing your hands for an average of 20 seconds.
  • Build up healthy intestinal bacteria – Good bacteria help keep bad bacteria at bay as 70% of the immune system resides in your large intestine.
  • Protect your living area – When cooking, be aware of cross contamination, look out for areas of mold in your house, and keep surface areas (doorknobs, tables, bathroom tiles, and kitchen countertops) clean.

Building up your immune system should be a daily priority. Being aware of personal hygiene can be the difference between a healthy community and a common illness. You can’t always be sure when you are completely protected from microscopic immune system zappers, but you can help defend against their spreading by taking the necessary steps to protect your immune system by practicing better cleanliness habits.




Allergy Hotspots Hidden in Plain Sight


Allergy Hotspots Hidden in Plain SightSummer often isn't the favorite season for people who suffer from allergies. As flowers are in bloom, the onslaught of pollen can be overwhelming for sinus sufferers, forcing them to seek refuge indoors. However, it may surprise you to learn that if you have allergies, not even your home may be completely allergy free if you neglect to clean these allergy hotspots hidden in plain sight.

The Living Room

Everyone loves to kick their feet up and lounge on the sofa after a hard day, but stuffed furniture—which includes your couch, cushions, and pillows—is a favorite hiding spot of microscopic dust mites. It is recommended these items should be dusted and vacuumed weekly. Furniture that's stored in basements or attics also has the potential to grow mold. A humidifier is handy to have in places where mold is prone to grow to help reduce moisture. Carpets are also great hiding spots for dust mites. While dust mites won't directly attack your sinuses, their feces can trigger allergies, which is why it's important to vacuum any rugs or indoor carpeting frequently.

The Bedroom

Skin cells are shed daily and it's something that can't be avoided. Dead skin cells trapped in bedding also attract dust mites, so switch out your bed sheets weekly. For added sinus protection, you can also add allergen-proof casings to your mattress, box spring, and pillows for extra allergy protection. If you have pets, it is a good idea to restrict them from getting on the bed so that they won't shed on your sheets.

The Bathroom

Mold and mildew love damp places. Not only are they unsightly to look at, but mold spores can also trigger sensitive sinuses. There's not much you can do to prevent a bathroom from getting wet, but you can minimize mold growth by remembering to clean those hard-to-reach places such as beneath the sink. Leave a vent or window open when you shower, and use a bleach solution to clean the bathroom tiles. You can also dry up any wet surfaces with a spare rag because mold loves standing water.

Other Hiding Spots

Dogs and cats can bring joy to a household, but animal dander, saliva, and urine are also allergy triggers. If your pet has a sleeping area, clean it as often as you would your own bedding and be extra diligent in vacuuming the household for animal fur. Dust mites and creatures called book lice also love dust from old books, so be sure to dust and vacuum your bookcases, too. Besides keeping your home tidy, you can also build up your sinuses and immune resistance with supplements. You can't totally prevent allergens from entering your breathing passages, but with a stronger immune system, they might not hit you as hard if your body is ready for them.