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11/Nov/2019

Honey, nature’s nectar made from bees. Honey is a popular condiment for tea, toast, and rolls, and it dates back to early civilizations usage for wound healing and other ailments. As good as it tastes, it also delivers anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory support to the body.  There is much widespread belief that honey can help with allergies, particularly local raw honey. Unfortunately, according to research studies, honey doesn’t help with allergies. That said, honey has other benefits besides its sweet taste.

Honey works as an anti-inflammatory

Despite there is no scientific research to support the direct correlation to honey and allergies, honey provides anti-inflammatory support to the body. Inflammation is a response to an allergy reaction in the body. Although it can’t help prevent allergies, it can help the body’s response to allergies. When the body detects a foreign body (pollen or dust), it reacts through inflammation. This inflammation comes from the histamine surging throughout the body. The adrenal glands release cortisol to reduce inflammation. So adding honey to your diet can undoubtedly support your adrenal glands with less demand to produce cortisol.

Honey and asthma

Asthma is a chemical reaction within the body from allergies in more extreme cases. Studies show that honey is a cough suppressant resulting in less asthmatic responses to heightened allergies, called allergic asthma.

Honey and sore throat

As a natural antibacterial and antivirus, if you have a sore throat, the wound healing properties in honey can heal raw and irritated tissue in the throat. In addition, reduce inflammation in your throat from coughing or infections.

Keep honey in your pantry.

Despite there isn’t evidence to support a direct link to a reduction in allergies by ingesting honey, there are other correlations that can be attributed to honey that can ease the ailments that come with allergies. If you have asthma or even a cough, honey can help reduce your body’s inflammatory responses and provide some relief. Keep in mind that coughing is excellent and helps remove excess mucus build-up in the lungs, so it is a benefit not to suppress coughing at all times. **Do not give honey to babies under one year of age because of a rare form of botulism.

If you have a severe or persistent cough that lasts longer than two weeks, it may be time to make an appointment. Contact your doctor to make sure it isn’t another underlying health condition. If you suspect your allergies have worsened or you would like to determine if you have allergies, contact us today for an appointment.


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04/Nov/2019

If you have not had your first ENT appointment, you may wonder what to expect when you walk into the appointment. ENT (Ear Nose & Throat) doctors take care of diseases and disorders of the ears, sinus, neck, and throat. ENTs address issues relating to sinus and breathing problems that can stem from allergies and sleeping disorders. After you go through your paperwork with the front office, you can expect your ENT to discuss your medical history, give you an examination and may offer to test you depending on what he or she finds at your initial consultation.

Medical History

It is essential to bring with you any information that will help your ENT understand your unique situation. Such as previous tests or other studies. It is also important to bring a list of medications you are taking so you can discuss the results of taking over the counter or any prescription medications.

Examinations

The ENT will want to examine your ears, your throat, and your neck. This is quick, painless, and a part of the initial appointment. During the examination, the doctor may have more questions for you. So if it helps, make a list of things you would like to know more about or discuss during your visit with your doctor.

Tests

If you have a recurring problem related to sinuses, ear infections, and throat infections, the doctor may want to run some tests to confirm or rule out any concerns. These tests can range, but typically these tests comprise an allergy test, hearing tests, CT scans, and nasal endoscopy.

  • Allergy tests take a little time and are scheduled.
  • Hearing tests are between twenty and thirty minutes.
  • CT scans may be performed elsewhere. Your doctor may not perform this at the office and may refer you, and it takes between 15 and 30 minutes. If your doctor orders a scan without contrast, you will eat and drink as usual. If you are getting a CT scan with contrast, then you cannot eat or drink three hours before the appointment.
  • Nasal Endoscopy is two minutes. Quick and painless but can be a little uncomfortable,  there is not a need to schedule this for a later time.

Treatment

Depending on when the tests are performed, you will discuss treatment options necessary, depending on your unique situation. Each person is unique and has different needs.

  • Prescription medications for allergies or infections
  • Allergy shots based on allergy test panel results
  • Nose sprays can be over the counter or prescription.
  • Home treatments

There are steps you can take at home to help ease any issues you are having. For example, you can buy a nettie pot for your sinuses if you have allergies.

If the pollen is high, you can put a little Aquaphor or Vaseline around your nose when you go outside and wash it off your face once you come in.

  • Wear a hat when you go out if you do not plan to wash your hair immediately after coming inside.
  • Leave all jackets or sweaters you wore in a place isolated from areas of the house you reside in more often.
  • If you have an ear infection and cannot wait, schedule an appointment immediately.

If you have an appointment scheduled with your ENT, make sure to arrive 15 minutes early to complete any paperwork and fill out your medical history. If you need to have tests administered, you will more than likely have to schedule those for a later time. If you are going in for an allergy panel test, they may ask you to reduce or limit any antihistamine 24 hours before your appointment.


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21/Oct/2019

Having mold in your home can impact more than just your home; it affects the health of you and your family. There are classic signs of mold, such as spotting a small patch that looks dark or soot-like to large water damaged areas. Even if you spot a small area of mold that shows the conditions in your home are optimal for mold growth, and it is likely there is more you cannot see.  Though there are several types of mold, there are common molds in homes.

Common Household Molds

Here are just a few common household molds. Keep in mind this is not an exhaustive list, and there are several mold species.

  • Mold grows all over the Earth and can be found in your kitchen, shower, or bathtub. This kind of mold is called Ulocladium. Typically, black and grows in the grooves of the shower where the tile has caulk. You can find it outside windows that house air conditioning units.
  • Trichoderma and Cladosporium live wet or damp surfaces such as floors, carpet, and wallpaper. It can even be spotted in areas of high condensation around HVAC units. Reactions to this mold have been linked to pulmonary and liver problems.
  • Stachybotrys is the typical black and slimy mold that grows in high humidity that maintains the same environment for weeks. It has been linked to depression, fatigue, and sinus problems.
  • We may use penicillin to treat infections. If this mold is in your home, it causes a lot of respiratory problems and can be easily inhaled by children and pets.
Mold can grow in more than just bathrooms.

Be Proactive

Once mold begins, it can multiply, so keep an eye out around areas such as your sinks and bathtubs in your home.

  • You can purchase cleaning solutions from your local store to use after you have showered or washed dishes.
  • If you have had a recent leak in your home, check the surface and the areas close to where the leak occurred. If it has grown into your drywall or flooring, you will need to have a professional come out and restore the impacted areas.
  • Monitor places such as basements. Depending on the climate you live in, your home may be naturally susceptible to growth mold. If you live in a humid area, invest in a dehumidifier to reduce the moisture in your house.
  • If you suffer from chronic allergies and you use a humidifier during the winter, examine the room and areas close to the humidifier for mold and make sure you clean your humidifier.

If you find that you have a significant mold problem, find a local contractor or restoration company that can fix the mold problem in your house. Next, reach out to your doctor for a check-up especially if you have the symptoms associated with mold.


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14/Oct/2019

If you are a chronic allergy sufferer, you may manage your allergies effectively because it is a part of your daily routine — but you may experience more symptoms from the food you eat. Whether you manage allergy symptoms year-round or occasionally, you may encounter additional symptoms despite your attempts to manage allergies with medication or immunology treatments such as shots or sublingual drops. With Halloween approaching sweet treats are apart of the fun, however, the sugar that you consume can also be a culprit to your allergy problems.

This does not mean you are allergic to sugar, but there is a correlation with peak allergy season and certain foods like ones that contain high levels of sugar.

Inflammation

When sugar enters the body, it causes inflammation no matter if you have allergies or not. This inflammation may not be something immediately noticed however, if allergies are a concern — it is your allergic reaction to the environment that will be worse. For example, mold, ragweed, and even dust cause allergic reactions — but when allergens increase, this can send your immune system responses into a heightened state when combined with an increase in inflammatory foods that contain sugar.

Children & Sugar

When you have a child who has environmental allergies, it is essential to keep in mind the impacts of eating those Halloween treats. You may notice that your child feels worse after eating sugary snacks — fatigue and they may struggle to focus in class or on other tasks.  Refined sugar will pull double duty on stuffy noses and raise blood sugar levels. Even an increase in blood sugar levels causes additional inflammation and limits the body’s ability to fight off the allergens.

Reducing Symptoms

If you and your children plan to enjoy Halloween trick-or-treating, then there are some ways to reduce the impacts of the increased sugar and environmental allergic reactions.

Make sure you or your child take any prescription medication as recommended by your doctor.

If you are not on a prescription, then you should consider an over-the-counter medication a week before Halloween festivities begin. Be mindful of the side effects such as drowsiness, excitability, or dry mouth.

  • Drink plenty of water.
  • Be mindful of other foods you eat the week before Halloween. Reduce any other sugary foods and snacks prior to trick or treating.

After Halloween

  • Limit the number of candy/sugary snacks in one sitting.
  • If it is your child, then limit his or her treats to after a meal.
  • If you or your child have just come in from the outdoors and notice that allergies have flared, avoid sugar altogether.

If you notice that your child’s allergy symptoms increase during times like fall and spring and more so when they eat certain foods, make an appointment to visit with our staff and discuss testing and treatment options. If you suspect food allergies, there are tests that you and your child can have completed by the doctor. Stay healthy and safe this Halloween.

 


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07/Oct/2019

Eustachian tube dysfunction (ETD) is a frequent problem for individuals.  The dysfunction occurs in the Eustachian tubes that run from your ear to your throat when they become blocked with fluid. Their purpose is to make sure your ear does not back up with fluid or pressure and they are closed unless you are yawning, sneeze or swallow.

Causes

If you have recently suffered a cold, flu, or sinus infection, your Eustachian tube can build-up with fluid. If you have allergy problems, this can also increase the likelihood of a persistent or frequent build up in the ears. There are also other individuals who are more prone to having ETD.

  • Individuals who are obese are more prone. Obesity causes fatty deposits around the ears that creates the blockage.
  • Children are more prone.  Little ones have shorter and more straight Eustachian tubes which increase the likelihood of bacteria and fluid to get into the tube and become trapped.
  • If you smoke. Smoking damages the tiny hairs that sweep mucus away.

Symptoms

The symptoms of ETD can vary from person to person; however, here is a list of the signs to look for if you suspect you have ETD.

  • Ringing in one or both ears.
  • Sounds are muffled.
  • Clicking and popping in the ears.
  • Your ears feel full or plugged.
  • You are having trouble keeping your balance.

Treatment

ETD usually resolves on its own, especially if it results from the flu, a cold or sinus infection. Simple things such as yawning or chewing gum can help pop your ears and relieve the fluid. However, if you have allergies and it is constant, there are a few things you can do from home.

  • Invest in a neti-pot
  • Saline spray is an effective way to clean out the nasal area.
  • A nose spray can also reduce nasal inflammation and allow fluid to move more freely.
  • Taking an over-the-counter antihistamine such as Sudafed or Claritin.

Prevention

The way you can reduce the build-up of fluid in your ears is through prevention.

  • Don’t smoke.
  • If you are overweight, speak to your doctor about a weight loss plan.
  • Use a nose-spray, especially before you go outside if you have allergies.

If you have a constant problem with fluid, speak with your doctor about a treatment plan such as prescription nose sprays or medication that will reduce inflammation. If you suspect your infant has a fluid build-up, feed your child or offer a pacifier to loosen up the fluid. If your baby is tugging at his or her ears, crying more than usual, or waking in the night fussy or crying, it may be an ear infection.

Schedule an Appointment.

If you have tried everything from home and you still have problems with your ears, make an appointment with your doctor to see if you have a fluid build-up or if it is caused by something else. If you have ringing in your ear from tinnitus, you may need to see an audiologist.  Remember prevention is best, but if you are still suffering from a build-up of fluid, there are treatment options your doctor can discuss with you.

 


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30/Sep/2019

Being sad isn’t something we commonly associate with allergies, although there are such things as having moods affected by allergies. When cytokines are released in the body in response to allergens, they can make a person feel sick or emulate flu-like symptoms which can contribute to depressed like feelings and behavior.

Kids Are More Sensitive

In a 2002 study, it was found that during times of increased ragweed pollen, patients reported significant fatigue and malaise. They also said they felt a change in their mood. Studies also show that allergies affect children with their schoolwork, and their performance suffers; this is the same for adults. Sleep interruptions and side effects of medication can contribute to work quality.

Children are more sensitive to the changes in their bodies and are more prone to tantrums and moodiness when their allergies are bothersome. Similar in adults, they too show moodiness and other symptoms to include heightened sadness during the spring. There isn’t any specific information that says individuals with allergies have depression; no more than it is the standard that depressed individuals have allergies. However, there is a correlation between heightened allergy reactions and overall mental and emotional wellbeing.

Allergy Sadness

If you are taking allergy medications, they can contribute to your overall state. Some such as Benadryl or Zyrtec can make allergy suffers sleepy, while other medicines function as a stimulant, like Sudafed. Both Sudafed and Claritin D contain a decongestant that produces symptoms of nervousness, anxiety, and sleeplessness. They are also hard on the heart and the overall nervous system.

Some people can cope with feeling down from their allergies, where others have a tough time feeling malaise and fatigue. A person may feel irritated at the fact that their bodies do not feel up to the regular daily tasks they usually accomplish. This alone can contribute to other mood changes when someone may need to work at a steady pace or perform at a certain level for their jobs.

Don’t Be Hard On Yourself

Aside from nose sprays and medications, sublingual therapy or allergy shots are the closest things to do to remedy allergies. In the meantime, taking precautions to avoid the allergens and combat them are all a person can do.

When you feel down, tired, or wiped out, ask for help with daily chores such as picking up the kids at school or running errands to the grocery store. If your children have frequent colds or sinus infections, it could be attributed to allergies especially if you notice more mood swings during periods of high pollen. If you or a family member notice mood shifts in relationship to fluctuations in allergy season, speak with your doctor and find out if you or your other family members would benefit from allergy testing and other allergy management protocols that work best for you. In the meantime don’t feel guilty if you need to slow down and rest if your allergies are flared as this is what your body needs.

 


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16/Sep/2019

Many people suffer from some form of allergies ranging from mild to severe depending on the environment and the person’s current health condition. Allergies are a symptom of the body’s response to something in the environment. Stress and nutrition play a role in the body’s ability to cope with allergies. By managing stress and making nutrition a priority will help your adrenal glands and improve allergic reactions.

Adrenal Fatigue

Your adrenal glands sit above your kidneys, and they do a lot for the body from balancing hormones such as cortisol to supporting your immune system. Your immune system responds to what it perceives as a foreign substance in your body, such as a virus or harmful bacteria. Just the same is pollen or food consumed that your body does not agree with. Also, cortisol is a hormone that is secreted to support you during times of heightened stress. If you sustain long periods of stress, your adrenal glands will respond by producing more and more cortisol. Eventually, your adrenal glands will wear out, unable to produce the cortisol and regulate other hormones in the body. The result is a weakened immune system and increased allergy symptoms.

Stress & Nutrition

Stress is not always negative. It is what gets us moving away from danger or gets us to wake up in the morning to get to work. Small amounts of stress are motivation to get some things finished. However, long periods of heightened stress are never good for anyone. For those who are prone to other health conditions such as allergic responses to the environment makes managing the symptoms more difficult. We cannot avoid stress altogether. However, if you have experienced an unusual amount of stress, and you have noticed an increase in allergic symptoms, your adrenal glands may be suffering. Symptoms can be sneezing, watery eyes, skin rashes, or an upset stomach. They cannot produce enough cortisol to counter the inflammation in the body. This creates a vicious cycle. More histamine is produced and the harder the adrenal glands have to work. 

Make sure and get adequate nutrition and take your vitamin supplement. If you have recently recovered from an illness such as a cold or flu, increase your Vitamin C temporarily. Try adrenal friendly foods and keep a journal to record your symptoms and overall wellbeing.

Best to Eat

  • Beef
  • Wild-Caught Fish
  • Avocado
  • Coconut Oil
  • Chicken

Avoid & Reduce

  • Caffeine
  • Sugar
  • Processed Foods
  • Dried fruit
  • Fast Food 

Holly Springs North Carolina E.N.T.

If you are unsure if what you are experiencing is adrenal fatigue, it may be time for you to be tested or retested for allergies. The first step is to contact your primary care physician to rule out any other medical conditions. If you are under heightened stress, reach out to someone to help you through your difficult time. Connect with us at Holly Springs E.N.T.  and make an appointment so we can determine a plan to help you manage your allergies.


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09/Sep/2019

Histamine intolerance is a build-up of histamine, and your body cannot expel excess histamine.   What is histamine? Histamine is a substance that is stored in some of the body’s cells.  According to The International Society of DAO Deficiency, “Histamine is a molecule derived from an essential amino acid, histidine, and it is produced by decarboxylation through enzyme L-histidine decarboxylase.”

When the body recognizes a foreign substance in the body as a threat, the immune system reacts. The cells release histamine into the bloodstream to fight the foreign substance. Other conditions, such as nutrition, medical problems, and drugs, can also contribute to histamine intolerance.

Symptoms

Your doctor or a dietician needs to test you to confirm if you have histamine intolerance.  However, there are specific symptoms to look for. Keeping a journal or record of your systems based pollen counts and your allergies may better help your doctor.

  • Headaches and even migraines.

  • Nasal congestion.

  • Digestive issues.

  • Skin rashes or eczema.

Other conditions can also contribute to histamine intolerance.  This is from an enzyme deficiency.  Your body produces an enzyme that is a natural histamine blocker called Enzyme Diamine Oxidase or (DAO).  When the body is deficient in this enzyme and elevates histamine, this creates similar symptoms as histamine intolerance. However, they may be more pronounced, accompanied by additional symptoms.

Enzyme Diamine Oxidase (DAO)

There are specific foods that block DAO, and certain foods cause the body to release histamine.  It is challenging to diagnose DAO deficiency because of the vagueness of the symptoms. Some symptoms we can associate with other illnesses.  However, it has been associated with children diagnosed with attention deficit disorder.

Symptoms of DAO Deficiency

  • Headaches & migraines.

  • Hypotension, hypertension, and arrhythmia.

  • Nasal congestion and asthma.

  • Irritable bowel syndrome, constipation, stomach pain, and nausea.

  • Fibromyalgia and muscle aches.

  • Osteopathic pains.

Management

If you know what you are allergic to, then during times of elevated pollen or other environmental allergies it is best to avoid foods that elevate histamine for foods that reduce histamine and promote DAO production.

Taking a vitamin C tablet and increasing vitamin B2 will help keep your immune system in balance.  Foods low in histamine and promote DAO enzyme are fresh meat, fish eggs, vegetables (except spinach, tomatoes, avocado, and eggplant).  Fresh fruit, (except citrus and some berries) are a good choice. Adding coconut and olive oils, rice, quinoa, corn, teff, and millet will help with enzyme balance.

If you suffer from chronic allergies, speak with your doctor about histamine intolerance and your options for testing. If you have not had your allergies tested, this may be a good time to discuss testing options.


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02/Sep/2019

Allergies can be debilitating.  Sneezing, watery eyes, congestion, headaches are just a few symptoms.  For some, allergies create fatigue from the reactions and lack of sleep associated with the symptoms.  Certain foods can make symptoms worse.  A great way to reduce the symptoms along with medical treatment and antihistamines is through nutrition.

Ragweed

Ragweed has many species, and the pollen can be found 400 miles out to sea.  It thrives in rural areas and can be at its peak in urban areas between 10 in the morning to 3 p.m.  Because ragweed species are common within the United States, makes it difficult to avoid.  It can lay dormant for years until the right climate presents itself.  Places that are worse with ragweed are parts of Texas, Kansas, Missouri, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky, and Tennessee.

The symptoms associated with ragweed are like hay fever.  Itchy and watery eyes.  Sneezing, nasal congestion and may have coughing.  Those with asthma may suffer an asthmatic response, or it can become worse along with severe sinus pressure and infections.  Some may even experience ear pain if the excess fluid has built up in the ear canal.

There are ways to keep your allergy symptoms at bay.  Your doctor can assist you with immunotherapy and antihistamines.   In addition, there are ways you help them at home, reduce interaction with the pollen, and avoid foods that you should not consume during ragweed season.

Foods to Avoid

  • Banana

  • Cantaloupe

  • Cucumber

  • Honeydew

  • Watermelon

  • White potato

  • Zucchini

  • Sunflower seeds

Oral Allergy Syndrome

Oral Allergy syndrome or OAS is a reaction that occurs when your body interacts with pollen similar to the pollen of certain foods.  For example, if you are allergic to ragweed and eat a banana during the height of ragweed season you may notice some uncomfortable symptoms.  It is uncommon for young children to exhibit symptoms. Typically it affects teens and young adults.

  • Itchy mouth;
  • Scratchy throat;
  • Lips, mouth and throat swelling.

Exposure

If you eat any foods that stimulate OAS and are having a reaction, take an antihistamine immediately and stop eating the food until you consult with your doctor.  Drink plenty of water and make an appointment.

Management

Not all individuals allergic to ragweed or other environmental allergies will have these reactions when eating these foods. However, if you have these reactions, it is best to avoid them or peel and cook the foods for meals that cause OAS.  This can limit or stop the reactions with proper food handling.

If you just have the symptoms of ear pain, congestion, and headaches, then antihistamines will help if taken two weeks before ragweed begins.  Administer hydrogen peroxide and warm rags to the inflamed ear (s).  Neti pots can help clear out excess mucus in the nasal cavity.  A saline solution for your nose for a quick way to clear your nose can help in between neti pot uses.


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Holly Spring ENT is a state of the art practice specializing in ear, nose, and throat treatments for children, teens, and adults. Our practice was designed with patients in mind and our team of highly skilled physicians and staff look forward to serving you and your family.

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