How Can I Escape the Misery of Hay Fever (Allergic Rhinitis)?

Question: I dread the spring because I get such terrible hay fever. What do you suggest I do to prevent and/or treat it?

Answer: Nature works in cycles. And since we are part of nature, we are affected by seasonal disorders, some natural and some man-made. You only have to look at the adverts on TV to see what problems are around. Cold and flu products predominate in autumn and winter; treatments for diarrhoea and tummy upsets in the summer months, and antihistamines and other anti-allergic drugs in the spring and summer months, when any people suffer hay fever.

As flowers blossom in the spring and summer, the pollination season arrives. The pollen of some plants is transported by bees and butterflies, while other plants (especially trees, grasses and agricultural crops) throw pollen in the air to spread it. This is when you and many other susceptible people suffer from hay fever, medically called seasonal allergic rhinitis. Like all allergies, this doesn’t affect everyone. In many cases, hay fever and its related allergies, asthma and eczema, run in families; other possible contributory factors include trauma at birth and whether or not you were breast-fed as a baby.

The immune system, the body’s defensive mechanism, is designed to detect, and repel foreign bodies such as bacteria. As soon as aliens enter, the white blood cells (lymphocytes) act as immigration officers and try to arrest the invaders by sending a message to the immune system to develop antibodies (small protein particles) to neutralize them and stop them multiplying. Non-living particles, such as pollen, dust, chemicals, petrol or paint fumes, are a different matter.

Confronted with these dead particles, the immune system becomes helpless and can’t produce antibodies. But these invaders can interfere with the normal functioning of the body. So the body mounts a different defensive strategy and tries to get rid of them at the places where they enter. The blood cells release histamine to dilate blood vessels so that they can produce excess fluids to wash away the particles or pollen – that’s why with hay fever your eyes and nose water. Sneezing is another reflex, to try to blow the particles away.

Although this allergic reaction is the body’s natural way of dealing with the problem, the symptoms are bothersome. Antihistamine will block the reaction for a few hours, but this does nothing to solve the underlying problem. However, there is a smart way of getting the body not to react violently and that is to desensitise it. That means making the body immune to these particles, or raising the threshold so that the body goes on to red alert only when the pollen count is really high (nine plus).

Diet

* To improve gut function, avoid yeast products, citrus fruits, coffee, alcohol, fried food, curries, cheese, mushrooms, canned products, processed foods.
* Make ginger tea: grate a large lump of peeled fresh ginger into a teapot, cover with boiling water and infuse for five to ten minutes. You can keep adding boiling water to this as the ginger goes on cooking:

Supplements

* Sinus oil: put two drops in each nostril twice daily for two months during the hay fever season.
* Cold Relief: infuse contents in hot water for ten minutes, strain and drink. Use once per day for relief of symptoms.

Practice retention breathing (This breathing exercise is useful for any type of nasal congestion.) Breathe in slowly through your nose, then hold your breath for ten to 15 seconds. Just when you think you are running out of air, breathe out slowly. Then breathe in gently, but take only half a breath. Hold that breath for ten seconds, release, then repeat the half breath, hold for ten seconds and release.

Do this five to ten times daily. The process of holding your breath accumulates carbon dioxide in the blood, which triggers a defensive mechanism that leads to an automatic clearing of the nasal passage because the body thinks it is being starved of air.

Arthritis Treatment: Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs – Cons and Pros

One of the most common chronic ailments worldwide is arthritis. The term “arthritis” is derived from the Greek… “arthron” meaning joint, and “it is” meaning inflammation. It is used to refer to a group of more than 100 different conditions.

Arthritis remains the leading cause of disability in the United States.

One of the most common treatments used for arthritis are non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS). These drugs reduce pain and inflammation. Their mechanism of action is through the blockade of enzymes called cyclooxygenase. Cyclooxygenase (there are two types- COX 1 and COX2) is key to the production of prostaglandins, hormone-like substances that have many physiologic effects. Some prostaglandins cause inflammation, some are responsible for mucus production to protect the lining of the stomach, some are responsible for normal functioning of the kidneys, and some are responsible for clotting.

As a result of these myriad actions, blockade of prostaglandins can also cause a multiplicity of effects and side effects.

Side effects of NSAIDS can limit their use and effectiveness. The most common side effect is gastrointestinal irritation and the development of ulcers in the stomach and small bowel. This side effect can be mitigated by using NSAID that selectively block COX 2 only since this is the type of cyclooxygenase that specifically channels inflammation and has less of an effect on mucus production in the stomach. Also using proton pump inhibitors- drugs that protect the stomach- along with an NSAID is another effective strategy.

Patients with kidney issues should not take NSAIDS since these drugs can significantly alter kidney function. NSAIDS also cause fluid retention.

Less common side effects include liver damage, bone marrow abnormalities, and allergic reactions.

The major concern is the increased risk of blood clots, strokes, and heart attacks associated with all NSAIDS regardless of whether they are COX-2 selective or not. These drugs should not be used in patients with recent coronary bypass. A major ongoing clinical trial, the PRECISION study, is seeking to answer the question as to whether some NSAIDS are riskier than others.

One option that can reduce the likelihood of NSAID side effect is to use topical (rub-on) NSAIDS. Examples are Pennsaid and Voltaren gel.

So what are NSAIDS good for? I’m going to stop beating up on them and talk about the potentially good things. Obviously, they are excellent analgesics and anti-inflammatory drugs.

In addition, there is accumulating data indicating that NSAIDS may be effective anti-cancer agents. One study published in Cancer Prevention Research showed that former smokers who took Celebrex, a COX-2 inhibitor had reduced levels of Ki-67, a marker of potential tumor growth. Other studies suggest NSAIDS may be protective against colon cancer. And the dermatology literature has suggested that low dose aspirin may reduce the risk of melanoma.

Side Effects Of Anti Anxiety Drugs

For anyone suffering from anxiety, panic attacks, social anxiety attacks and other similar mental disorders, the desire to find some relief is very important. However there are many different drugs that are available in the market today and finding one that works for you can be a bit daunting. The best way to find the right anti anxiety drugs for you is to talk with your doctor and find a treatment that will alleviate your problems.

If you’re interested, the medical reasoning behind anti anxiety drugs shows they have certain chemicals within them that produce a calming and relaxing effect on the patient. There are however some side effects from these drugs and it’s therefore best to consult with your medical practitioner before you begin a course of treatment with any anti anxiety meds.

The traditional way to treat anxiety used to be with anxiolytics, which were anti anxiety agents. Today while these anxiety drugs are still used there are other methods that are also used. For many people however, treating their excessive anxiety with anti anxiety drugs is the most proven way of reducing their symptoms and allowing them to lead normal lives.

The most popular anxiolytics today is Benzodiazepines. Others like Alprazolam (Xanax) and Lorazepam (Ativan) are also used. Valium (Diazepam) is still widely used to treat the symptoms of anxiety; however its active agent desmethyldiazepam, makes the choice of Valium a dubious relief format.

Other types of anxiety medications are serotonin specific reuptake inhibitors or SSRIs. The brand names that are given include Citalopram, Fluoxetine, Fluvoxamine and others. These SSRIs have milder forms of side effects than that of the usual anti anxiety drugs, and there is also less chance of becoming dependent upon these drugs. The main drawback to SSRIs is that you must take them continuously for up to three to five weeks before any sign of improvement begins to show.

While there are known and reported side effects from the continued use of Benzodiazepines and Buspirones, people suffering from milder complaints can use these anti anxiety drugs without becoming overly addicted to them. Benzodiazepines can be given at least 30 to 60 minutes before a person suffering from anxiety is exposed to any stressful situations. Buspirones take at least 2 to 3 weeks before an improvement can be seen.

You should also be aware of the side effects that some of these anti anxiety drugs can have on you, especially if you suffer from certain medical conditions or suffer from allergic reactions to certain drugs, or are pregnant or trying to get pregnant or you’re a breast feeding mother. As with all drugs and treatments you should always consult with your doctor prior to taking any medication. It is hopeful that talking with your doctor will provide you with the information necessary to help reduce and cure your anxiety successfully.