Spring time can be an absolute nightmare for people who have allergies. Pollen counts and allergens run rampant when the trees are in bloom and the weather starts to warm up. But did you know that winter can be just as difficult to get through if you have allergies?
Indoor allergens such as dust mites and mold can be stored up in your vents all spring and summer just to be shot into the air when you finally turn on the furnace, and they get stirred up every time it kicks on thereafter. They can get into your nose and trigger an allergic reaction.
In the winter, it can be hard to distinguish allergies from a cold. If you’ve been coughing and sneezing for several months, suffering from itchy eyes and a runny nose, it may be due to indoor allergies.
You can test your sensitivity to allergies by doing a little housekeeping. Below are a few tips on how to reduce the number of allergens in your home:
- Throw out anything that has developed mold (including shower liners and carpeting) and be sure to clean your bathroom surfaces and kitchen sink with a solution containing a small amount of bleach.
- Since humidity levels tend to fluctuate in the winter, bring in a device to help you regulate the level of moisture in your home. We recommend keeping the humidity level below 50% to control an outbreak of mold.
- Change your air filter regularly.
- Wash and change your bedding in hot water once every week. You can also find hypoallergenic pillows and bedding at almost any department store.
If you try these things and your symptoms seem to improve or subside, there’s a good chance that you may have allergies. However, the only way to know for sure is to visit a doctor. He can administer a test to diagnose your symptoms.
Let Us Help You Combat Winter Allergies
Prevention can go a long way in keeping your allergies at bay, but it’s always good to have a backup plan. Many people have found relief from their allergies by taking over-the-counter antihistamines and decongestants. In the event these treatments are not effective, however, there are also a number of treatments that doctors can prescribe to treat allergies.
To learn more about how to combat winter allergies or to schedule an appointment with an Ear, Nose, and Throat specialist in the Milwaukie, OR area, call NorthWest ENT & Allergy at (503) 513-8693 today!
An ear infection is a common ailment among young children, because the size of a child's ear makes it more difficult for fluid to drain out of it, and children's immune systems aren't as good at fighting infection as adults. In fact, ear infections are the most common reason parents bring their children to the doctor, and five out of six children have ear infections before they're 3 years old, according to the National Institutes of Health.
Ear infections, which are usually bacterial, generally result from fluid buildup behind the ear drum and sometimes follow another sickness involving the nose or throat. While common, ear infections can be prevented and easily treated, and if you have concerns about your child's ear pain, you can always consult an ear, nose and throat doctor (ENT) for treatment. NorthWest ENT & Allergy specializes in such treatments and serves the Milwaukie, OR, area.
Experts recommend several preventative steps to improve your child's chances of avoiding ear infections.
Research has shown children who are around smokers — even if the person isn't smoking anywhere near them — have a higher rate of ear infections than children who aren't around smokers. Residual fumes in people's hair and clothing can also affect children, so a smoke-free home and spending time in smoke-free environments will help prevent ear infections.
Breast Feed Your Baby
If you're able to breast feed your baby for at least 6 to 12 months, your child may have a lower risk of contracting ear infections. The research behind this suggests the antibodies in breast milk may help prevent ear infections.
When bottle feeding your baby — whether you've breast fed them in the past or not — make sure you feed them in the upright position. ENT experts strongly advise again giving your baby a bottle while he or she is lying down.
Get Your Child Vaccinated
Illness prevention comes in many forms, and getting your child the recommended childhood vaccinations will help them build a strong immune system that fights infections. Additionally, do what you can to reduce your child's exposure to illnesses, like using group childcare sparingly and choosing smaller care facilities if possible. The fewer children there are in one place, the less likely it is germs will spread.
Call NorthWest ENT & Allergy Care Today!
Watch out for signs your child is experiencing ear discomfort, like ear pulling, fussiness, and ear discharge. If you have further questions about how to best prevent illness or treat an ear infection, the experts at NorthWest ENT & Allergy can help. Call (503) 513-8693 for information
Are you a patient of Northwest ENT & Allergy Care? If so, we would love to hear about your experiences below!
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....but So is Hay Fever
Spring is in the air, and so are billions of tiny pollens that trigger allergy symptoms in millions of people. This condition is called seasonal allergic rhinitis, commonly referred to as hay fever.
What's the Problem with Pollen?
Hay fever is caused by pollen carried in the air, which starts a chain reaction in your immune system. Your immune system controls how your body defends itself. For instance, if you have an allergy to pollen, the immune system identifies pollen as an invader, or allergen. Your immune system overreacts by producing antibodies called immunoglobulin E (IgE). These antibodies travel to cells that release chemicals, causing an allergic reaction.
Hay fever can affect your quality of life. It can lead to sinus infections, disrupt your sleep, and affect your ability to learn at school or be productive at work.
Hay fever symptoms include:
- Itchiness in your nose, throat, eyes, and ears, and on the roof of your mouth
- Suffy nose (congestion)
- Runny nose
- Tearing eyes
- Dark circles under the eyes.
Know Your Sneezing Season
Depending on where you live, there are generally three pollen seasons. The start and end dates of these seasons, as well as the specific plants, vary based on the climate.
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