Thursday, June 13, 2019

Sneezing, coughing, itchy eyes! Oh my!


It’s that time of year. In my practice, I am seeing more children and adults with sneezing, puffy eyes, itchy eyes, forehead headaches, you name it. Look outside and the reason is clear, our region is plagued by significant amounts of tree and plant pollen and flowers and trees are blooming. The pollen blankets our sidewalks, cars, and homes with fine, green powder that causes a range of allergic symptoms.

My son and I have horrible seasonal allergies. I get runny eyes and sinus headaches (the pressure above my eyes, across my forehead, and next to my nose) and he gets puffy and itchy eyes, sneezing, coughing, and asthma flares.

Here are the basics that we use to keep things under control:
-       Avoid indoor allergens by vacuuming and dusting regularly.
-       Avoid strong smells indoors such as bleach and air freshener plug-ins and instead try fragrance-free cleaners and a few drops of essential oils mixed with water. 
-       Let kids play outside as much as possible but pay attention to the Air Quality Index on the news. After playing outside, have kids wash their hands and face to rinse off the pollen.
-       Rinse your sinuses with saline (special salt) water to get rid of all of the pollen. You can buy a sinus rinse bottle or neti-pot for less than $15. When you are having a lot of symptoms use it two times a day, once in the morning and once at night. When things are going well, just use it once a day at night before bed. Sometimes my patients do not even need other medicines when they rinse their sinuses out regularly.
-       If needed, talk to your doctor about fluticasone nose spray or antihistamines that don’t cause sleepiness such as cetirizine (Zyrtex) or loratadine (Claritin).
-       Avoid using antihistamines that cause sleepiness such as diphenhydramine (Benadryl) too often unless prescribed by a doctor.

With these few tips, I hope that you can avoid sneezing, coughing, and itchy eyes.

For more information, check out a short article: https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/seasonal-allergies.html


Wednesday, June 5, 2019

News Cycle Fatigue

I recently took a week hiatus from the news. I was on a week of overnights, and the work- sleep- give kids dinner- back to work cycle didn't leave much time for CNN, Instagram, Facebook, the Times app, or other sources of the often depressing news cycle. And I was so much happier. I felt more present, more clear minded.

Do we have an obligation to be immersed in the greater world around us? In the presidential turmoil, the awful treatment of individuals in desperate situations, the lack of autonomy for an entire gender, the horror stories of workplace violence and very public child abuse? I used to think it was a social responsibility to stay informed and maintain that knowledge; but after the inadvertent hiatus, I realized that the lack of external negativity and stress made me a more complete, positive, and happier person.

So now I feel conflicted. I want to discuss the events of the world with my children, husband, colleagues. But there is a simplicity of staying within my own little bubble that is increasingly appealing. How do you grapple with the two?