Itchy, Runny Nose...

...what's to blame, al­lergy or the weather?

Wellness Update - - What Doctors Know And Your Should, Too! -

As the weather takes the coun­try on a tem­per­a­ture roller coaster ride—from sea­sonal bone-chill­ing cold to spring­like warmth and then back again— many peo­ple find them­selves reach­ing for pain re­liev­ers or other reme­dies to deal with runny noses and other symp­toms as­so­ci­ated with si­nus and al­lergy prob­lems. John Fahren­holz, M.D., as­sis­tant pro­fes­sor of Medicine who prac­tices at the Van­der­bilt Asthma, Si­nus and Al­lergy Pro­gram, says that such whip­saw­ing tem­per­a­tures can be a real chal­lenge for peo­ple with al­ler­gies—and with the rest of us, too. “Peo­ple who know they have al­ler­gies should make sure to take their al­lergy med­i­ca­tions daily dur­ing such times,” he said. But even those of us who don’t suf­fer from al­ler­gies can de­velop a runny nose when the tem­per­a­ture and hu­mid­ity are chang­ing rapidly. Rhini­tis—a swollen, itchy nose— can oc­cur in the midst of rapidly chang­ing weather that many parts of the U.S. con­tinue to ex­pe­ri­ence this year. Since sim­ply ex­pe­ri­enc­ing the weather can cause an itchy, runny nose, it can be a chal­lenge to fig­ure out who is ex­pe­ri­enc­ing al­lergy symp­toms and who is not. Here are a few guide­lines from Fahren­holz to help you— and your nose—through crazy change­able weather: • If tem­per­a­ture changes bring on an itchy, runny nose, try us­ing an over-the-counter salt wa­ter nose spray or nasal si­nus rinses. Th­ese can also be help­ful in deal­ing with cold, dry air in win­ter. • If symp­toms per­sist even when the tem­per­a­tures

level out, you may have al­ler­gies. • Don’t blame chang­ing weather for your cold or flu—there’s no ev­i­dence that cy­cles of cold and warm days make your im­mune sys­tem any more likely to pick up a virus. • Peo­ple with a ten­dency to­ward on­go­ing al­lergy symp­toms dur­ing the win­ter months should make sure to take their reg­u­lar al­lergy med­i­ca­tions. Colder air is dry which can cause ir­ri­ta­tion to the nasal tis­sues lead­ing to in­creased nasal al­lergy symp­toms. • If reg­u­lar use of over-the-counter an­ti­his­tamines or other al­lergy prod­ucts are not con­trol­ling symp­toms, the al­lergy suf­ferer should make an ap­point­ment to see a health care pro­fes­sional to see if pre­scrip­tion med­i­ca­tions, such as nasal steroids, may help. -This in­for­ma­tion pro­vided courtesy of Van­der­bilt Univer­sity Med­i­cal Cen­ter

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