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Understanding and Fighting Hay Fever

Hay Fever known in medicine as allergic rhinitis, is an allergic inflammation of the nasal mucosa and nasal airways to pollens of any kind of plants, including those used to make hay. The symptoms are similar to those of a common cold or flu: stuffy nose, runny nose, sneezing, itchy and watery eyes, inflammation of the nasal passages, sinusitis, breathing difficulty, increased clear watery mucus.

Allergic rhinitis refers generally to an allergic reaction caused by any type of allergen, such us pollen, dust, air pollution, animal dander (shed skin and hair), chemicals, etc.   


Allergy - Hay Fever - Allergic Rhinitis

Individuals with a sensitive immune system react to these allergens once they are inhaled. The allergens trigger the production of antibody immunoglobulin E (IgE) in such individuals, this causing the release of histamines and other chemicals, resulting in the allergic symptoms described above.

Allergies are very common today and increasing each year. Heredity, developing itself in decrease immunity with each generation, and environmental pollution contribute to a predisposition to allergies. Western countries are more affected and the trend is growing.

Hay fever is usually caused by pollen of specific seasonal plants, most common in spring. However, it is not unusual to suffer from hay fever throughout the year. The pollen that causes hay fever varies by regions and between individuals. The most predominant pollen is the tiny, almost invisible pollen from plants that are pollinated by wind and not those pollinated by insects. Those pollinated by insects have large pollens which are not airborne being too heavy.  

In Japan, the most commonly allergic pollen comes from two native Japanese tree species, used in massive reforestation after the World War II, cryptomeria and Japanese cypress trees.  

In North America, the most common allergic pollen is ragweed, late summer and fall.

What is the treatment in hay fever?… How are allergies diagnosed?
The goal is to prevent and reduce the symptoms in hay fever or allergic rhinitis, as there is not a real understanding of the cause of allergic reaction in western medicine.

Avoiding the allergen is the most effective measure, if it can be applied. To control symptoms, doctors prescribe intranasal corticosteroids, associated or not with oral antihistamines and decongestants. Long term treatment with corticosteroids is not recommended due to the side-effects of prolonged steroid therapy.

Nasal irrigation with saline solution can also help to wipe-off the allergens and clear the nasal passages.

Desensitization to allergens, by immunotherapy or allergy shots, can have some results if it is given for one full year, but it is discontinued if there is no improvement after five years.

Desensitization and increased immunity of respiratory mucosa to allergen have been seen in prolonged aerosol salt therapy. Using home salt therapy on a daily basis, for 7-8 hours a day, for at least three years, greatly improves the respiratory immunity to infections and allergens.  

Nasal allergy
due to its chronic nature, can cause recurrent sinusitis, malformation of the nasal passages, nasal polyps, otitis media and hearing problems, orthodontic problems and there is a high risk in developing allergic asthma, as the sensitive area grows from the nasal passages to lower respiratory tract.



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Understanding Emphysema

Emphysema is a long-term, chronic disease. People with emphysema have breathing difficulty, especially with exhaling the air out of the lungs. The most common cause for emphysema is smoking and quitting smoking reduces the progression of the disease.

Curios about what you can find in a cigarette, beside trouble breathing?

content of cigarette

Emphysema is part of the chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

What happens in emphysema?

Emphysema is diagnosed when the sensitive walls of the air sacs in the lungs are destroyed and usually it is irreversible; this damage occurs usually because of the toxins in cigarette smoke. The air become trapped in air pockets in the lungs and lungs become enlarged and breathing more difficult. They may break, damage and form scar tissue. During a lung function test, a person with emphysema will show a far longer time in emptying lungs than a person without emphysema.

Emphysema sufferers feel as there is an obstruction in emptying the lungs at exhalation and emphysema is the main form of COPD. The other form of COPD is chronic bronchitis.

Smoking is a major cause of emphysema but is not the only one. The deficiency of Alpha-1 antitrypsin is another cause found in about 3% of people suffering of emphysema, beside second hand smoke, air pollution, factory fumes and silica dust. Alpha-1 antitrypsin is a natural protein that circulates into blood and its main function is to keep the white cell from damaging normal tissue. From normal presence of alpha-1 antitrypsin white cells distinguish between normal tissue and invaders cells in infections.

What are the symptoms in emphysema?

There may be no symptoms for many years, but as disease progresses, shortness of breath (dyspnoea) may slowly develop. In early stages of emphysema dyspnoea may be present only with physical effort and later it may be present at rest as well. There may be recurring infections, pneumonia, chest infections, influenza and cold as the respiratory immunity is compromise.

What is the treatment in emphysema?

Emphysema is not a curable disease. However, symptoms can be relieved and slowed down its progression, with proper treatment.

            Quit smoking – smoking is the main cause and stopping smoking will help considerable to slow down progression

            Bronchodilators – such as Salbutamol, that relieves constriction in the air ways, breathing difficulty and coughing.

            Steroid sprays – helps with shortness of breath; however, they must be used with caution because of the great side effects, especially in long-term usage. Side effects include weakened bones or osteoporosis, elevated blood pressure, weight gain, cataracts and diabetes.

            Antibiotic therapy – recurrent chest infections require repetitive antibiotic treatments. These also have significant side effects in many people and decrease respiratory immunity.

            Natural therapy – Of great use here are natural therapies, such as breathing exercises, rehabilitation techniques and home salt therapy. These help in strengthening the lungs and make breathing easy. The aerosol salt particles in home salt therapy help to clean the excess mucus production, reduce the inflammation and fight bacterial, fungal and viral infections. Offering long-term exposure during night, it reduces the recurring episodes of lung and chest infections and provides quicker recovery from pneumonia. Home salt therapy helps the body's natural healing force to fight better against emphysema and slows the progression of the disease.  

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