Fall Allergy And Sinus Season Is Here

Wednesday, September 20, 2017
Autumn officially begins later this week, yet seasonal fall allergies have affected many around the Chattanooga region for the past several weeks.  Tiffany Potter, APRN-BC, FNP-C, from CHI Memorial Convenient Care – Cleveland has advice for managing common allergy and sinus symptoms.
Sinus symptoms are rampant now that the ragweed has bloomed. You should begin taking a daily over-the-counter antihistamine (as long as you do not have any liver disease) if you have the following symptoms:

·         runny nose        
·         sinus congestion (with or without headache)
·         scratchy throat (especially in the morning)
·         itchy or watery eyes
·         a mild cough

Medications that have cetirizine, fexofenadine, loratadine, or levocetirizine are good options.
  For the best result, take your antihistamine daily in the early evening hours.  This will allow it time to work on sinus drainage that has accumulated during the day.  Taking an antihistamine in the early evening hours may also help you avoid that scratchy morning throat and morning phlegm that collects while you sleep, which then drains into your chest as you are getting on with your day. 
Now that school is back in session, providers are seeing a local of viral cold symptoms, which are similar to allergy symptoms.  The common cold does not require antibiotics, but can be relieved by managing the symptoms.  Symptoms are typically worse between days three to six, and can last up to 10 days. Over-the-counter sinus and cold medications can help provide some relief until the cold runs its course.
Bacterial sinus infections are not as common as you might believe.  The color of the sinus drainage does not necessarily indicate bacteria, but instead, a response of a healthy immune system.  The color of the white blood cells that respond to inflammation have a green hue which creates the green-yellow color of mucus.  The recommendation is to hold off on antibiotics for at least seven days after the onset of symptoms.  Possible signs of an actual sinus infection are:

·         fever
·         swelling of lymph nodes in the neck
·         sinus pressure when bending forward
·         tooth or dental pain
·         bad breath or taste in your mouth
·         ear fullness and pressure
Antibiotics may be warranted if symptoms persist beyond seven to 10 days and less than four weeks.
CHI Memorial Convenient Care – Cleveland is at 645 Paul Huff Parkway NW Ste. 105, Cleveland, Tn. 37312.  Office hours are Monday - Friday, 8 a.m. – 8 p.m., and Saturday - Sunday, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.  For more information, call (423) 790-7750.

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