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Category Archives: Allergies

Saline Nasal Irrigation: A Viable Alternative

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How to Treat Upper Respiratory Conditions

Sinus sufferers–there may be relief available to you that is simple, effective and inexpensive! According to David Rabago, MD, and Aleksandra Zgierska, MD, PhD, of the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, nasal irrigation with liquid saline is an excellent way to manage symptoms associated with chronic rhino-sinusitis.

Saline nasal irrigation is type of therapy for upper respiratory conditions that bathes the nasal cavity with spray or liquid saline. There is also some evidence, though it is less conclusive, that spray and liquid saline nasal irrigation might be used to manage symptoms of mild to moderate allergic rhinitis and acute upper respiratory tract infections.

According to an article in American Family Physician,

“Consensus guidelines recommend saline nasal irrigation as a treatment for a variety of other conditions, including rhinitis or pregnancy and acute rhinosinusitis”

The quality of a patient’s life can be seriously diminished by upper respiratory conditions, such as acute and chronic rhinosinusitis, viral upper respiratory tract infection (URTI), and allergic rhinitis. The use of saline nasal irrigation was first described in medical literature in the early 20th Century. Saline nasal irrigation is an effective management strategy for many sinonasal conditions. In a survey of 330 family physicians, 87 percent reported recommending it to their patients for one or more conditions.

Here’s how the procedure works:

  • Saline is injected into one nostril and is allowed to drain out of the other nostril, bathing the nasal cavity.
  • Saline nasal irrigation can be performed with low positive pressure from a spray or squirt bottle, or with gravity-based pressure using a vessel with a nasal spout, such as a Netti pot. Both are available over the counter.
  • Of course, before attempting this or any other type of treatment, consult your physician.

For information and to find a physician in the mountains who can help with allergy testing, contact Mountains Community Hospital at (909) 336-3651. The hospital is located at 29191 Hospital Road in Lake Arrowhead.

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Untimely Allergy Season Underscores the Benefits of Testing

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Are you a victim of allergies?

Are you far from being your usually healthy and chipper self?  Are your sinuses clogged and sore?  Are your eyes watering so it looks like you’ve been crying for days? How about your nose; it is running like the Danube river? Are you sneezing all the time but don’t have a cold? If so, that may not be a cold you’re contending with.  An unusually damp late summer and early fall, combined with an unusually mild winter thus far has resulted in a significant amount of pollen in the air that typically doesn’t arrive until spring.  The result is a lot of misery for a lot of people who have been caught off guard

With one out of every five Americans suffering from some type of allergy, if they find out what’s causing it the allergy is almost always treatable. While it may take awhile to pinpoint the source of the irritant, it is almost always possible to get relief by either staying away from it or taking some type of medication to prevent the symptoms.

Many allergies are genetic and are passed down from generation to generation and can include everything from mold and mildew to flowers, animals, the weather, food, smog, medication and latex gloves to name only a few. Did you know if one of your parents had allergies that increases the chance 30 percent that you will have them too at some point in your life? If both parents suffer or suffered from allergies the chance that their children will have them jumps to a whopping 60 percent.

Historically, when people have an airborne allergy it almost always affects their head and what otherwise might be a cold, isn’t. Allergic reactions can be classified as those that occur when the immune system encounters and overreacts to substances that are not genuinely harmful. According to the Nasonex website people who are susceptible to nasal allergies have immune systems that react to an airborne allergy by creating an antibody called immunoglobulin. This antibody fights the airborne substance but it also creates inflammation which ends up as that stuffy feeling in your head.

Asthma may be tied to allergies. According to researchers at the National Institute of Health, more than half of all current asthma cases can be attributed to allergies.

Unfortunately, during certain times of the year many different types of pine trees emit allergens that affect many people living in or visiting the mountains. Naturally the Santa Ana winds, which usually appear in southern California in October and November, can wreak havoc on people who suffer from plant or tree airborne allergens.  Surprisingly, we have already experienced Santa Ana conditions in recent weeks.

Fortunately many people can cope with and/or be relieved of their allergic reactions by having allergy testing performed through their physician. Knowing what you’re allergic to goes a long, long way in being able to manage outbreaks and making life, on the whole, a lot more pleasant. Being tested for allergies is easy and it gives you the choice to stay away from the substance(s) causing the sneezing, stuffiness, rash or other symptoms or, particularly in the case of food allergies, giving into temptation and accepting the risks involved with having a reaction. Testing is well worth the investment of time and money.

For information and to find a physician in the mountains who can help with allergy testing, contact Mountains Community Hospital at (909) 336-3651. The hospital is located at 29191 Hospital Road in Lake Arrowhead.

Eczema: Help is on the Way from Mountains Community Hospital

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Hope for those with Eczema

Ever heard of Atopic Dermatitis? How about Seborrhea Dermatitis? If not, you’re hardly alone. These strange names are just a few of the medical terms for common allergic reactions to a condition known as eczema.

Eczema can cover several skin issues that cause swollen, irritated and/or itchy skin and make life generally miserable for those who suffer from this all-too-common condition. Dandruff, diaper rash and rashes that appear after touching plants like poison oak or poison ivy are also considered types of eczema.

Cold, dry winter weather can wreak havoc on skin and can lead to a variety of skin conditions that require special attention. Eczema is one of those conditions as it can pop up suddenly and is adversely affected by weather and dry winter air. Often times, the result is dry, flaky areas of skin that can be very uncomfortable and for the patient and unsightly to all.

Because winter air generally has less moisture, patients often experience outbreaks characterized by scaly, itchy, swollen spots when the weather is cold. People who know they are prone to experiencing dry skin during the winter should be vigilant by using a reliable product to keep their skin moisturized. Working to keep skin moist is important any time of year for eczema patients. So they need to use lotions that do not contain dyes or fragrances since these ingredients can exacerbate breakouts. Many dermatologists urge patients to moisturize two or three times daily during winter months.

Eczema patients should take warm baths or showers and should moisturize their bodies after they emerge from the tub or shower. The Mayo Clinic urges patients to use dye and fragrance-free laundry detergent and skip fabric softener as well as perfumed dryer sheets. Also, people with eczema should keep their fingernails short so they will do only minimum damage to their skin if they scratch itchy spots.

Because we care about your health at Mountains Community Hospital, we urge eczema patients who smoke and/or who suffer from a lot of stress to quit smoking and work toward reducing stress levels, both of which will help keep flare-ups at bay.

Atopic Dermatitis is a type of eczema but it occurs in people who have a predisposition to allergens which can range from food to hay fever and other airborne allergens such as weeds, flowers and pollen. It is vital that people who suffer with this type of eczema learn what their “triggers” are so they can reduce the possibility of outbreaks.

Remember, Mountains Community Hospital cares about your health and invites you to log onto their website at www.mchcares.com. For information on medical issues click on the link entitled Resource Center. “We’re here to help” and have been for over half a century.

Allergies Got You Down?

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Girl blowing a dandelion

Season allergies are more than inconvenient to those who suffer from them.

It’s that time of year again. Is your nose watering? How about those itchy eyes? Well, summer’s here and so are many allergens. Living and traveling up and down the mountain highways can affect a person’s nasal passages. And, with that, comes some problems. While many people are unaffected by the brightly colored Spanish Broom that grows along mountain highways, other people are very sensitive to its pollen.

Often, during the spring and early summer, vehicles and anything else left outdoors may be covered with a thin layer of yellow dust that travels in the wind. While the forest service has cut a lot of the “non-native species noxious weed” over the past two years along Highway 330 and Highway 18, there’s still plenty of pollen throughout the area. While the yellow flowers are beautiful and fragrant, many people are allergic to the bright yellow blooms.

Some signs of allergic reactions (regardless of the source) are: a runny nose, itchy eyes, congestion and sneezing. Allergy symptoms can be at their worst when people are outside enjoying the fresh air at concerts, barbecues or other outdoor events. Symptoms erupt when the patient comes into contact with an “allergy trigger.” When this occurs, the body produces higher levels of certain substances, including histamines. Medications that help relieve symptoms include anti-histamines, which are available over-the-counter or, if symptoms are severe enough, by prescription.

According to http://www.everydayhealth.com, medical specialists don’t ordinarily do skin tests for pine tree allergies because this condition is quite rare. With millions of pine trees in the inhabited San Bernardino Mountain communities, it’s good that pine tree pollen allergies are less common than those that spring from other sources. If pine tree pollen is suspected, the patient may have to search to find a physician who can perform a skin test. However, if the physician and patient believe this test would be beneficial, pine tree extract for testing can be obtained by most doctors.

Skin testing for allergies has been around for quite awhile. Tests will reveal what allergies, if any, are present. Not all runny noses, congestion and other “cold-like” symptoms mean allergies. However, when they re-occur with every spring and/or summer, chronic allergies are something to consider. While there are many allergens that affect people, some of the most well known are pollen from grasses (especially newly-mowed grass), weeds, trees, outdoor mold spores, and animal dander as well as dust mites. Summer in the mountains is an exciting time. So doesn’t let allergies slow you down. Take control of them by finding out what they are so you can enjoy the great outdoors.