Tips on Clearing a Stuffed Nose

Changes in the season, colds and allergies often bring on distressing symptoms such as a stuffed nose. Clearing up a stuffy nose is simple with a few home remedies or over-the-counter medications. Avoid mixing too many methods at once especially if you haven’t previously tried natural remedies. Some herbs may interact with medications so focus on using either herbs or pharmaceuticals rather than mixing treatments at the same time.

Saline Nasal Sprays

Use saline nasal sprays to clear up a stuffed nose. These types of sprays are found at your local pharmacy or online. The Family Doctor website says to gently blow your nose before using the medication and try not to sneeze or blow your nose immediately after using the spay. Sneezing or blowing your nose can counteract the effects of the spray because the saline solution needs to remain inside your nasal cavity to help break up congestion.

Drink Green Tea

Choose caffeine-free green tea.

Drink green tea to boost your immune system and help clear up sinuses when suffering from a cold or allergies. Green tea helps clear up a stuffy nose because it contains antioxidants that stimulate the immune system. This helps to relieve all the symptoms associated with a cold such as runny nose, fever and sore throat. Green tea contains anti-inflammatory nutrients such as Vitamin C and L-theanine.

Increased Humidity

You can clear up a stuffy nose by increasing the humidity levels in your home with a vaporizer or humidifier. You can find these at your local home improvement or department store. Turn your humidifier on at night before bed so that you can breathe easier while you sleep. You can also spend 10 minutes, two or more times per day inside a sauna or hot shower to help clear up a stuffed nose. The hot steam helps clear up a stuffed nose by increasing moisture and humidity in the air.

Neti Pots

Neti pots often are used in Ayurvedic medicine. The pot resembles a small tea kettle, but is used to clean and clear out the sinuses. Saline is added to lukewarm water in the pot, and the user then pours the liquid into his nose through the spout of the pot.

Got the Cold and Flu Blues? 3 Ways to Get Better Fast

Feeling more tired than usual? Got a scratchy throat, runny nose and achy muscles? Looks like you’ve caught the flu.

Between work, school, and all around busy schedules, who can afford to be sick for very long? (Answer: No one!) Here are a few easy self-care steps that will help you and your family get on the fast track to recovery.

Be conscientious about hygiene.

This is one of the most important and simplest ways to get better. Make sure you wash your hands regularly and frequently, especially after touching objects like doorknobs, keyboards or shaking hands. Try Dial® Antibacterial Liquid Hand Soap with Moisturizer—it kills germs plus it prevents your hands from drying out after all that washing. Or let your little ones use Dial Complete® Hand Wash to make hand washing fun and foamy.

If your cold or flu has brought on the sniffles, it’s important to blow your nose to help relieve congestion. Use soft, high quality tissues like Scotties® Tissues. Plant them around your house and carry them in your purse or pocket at all times—there’s nothing worse than having to scramble for something to wipe noses with when caught off guard by sneezes.

Focus on healthy lifestyle habits.

Eat simple foods that are nutrient dense and easy for your body to digest like soups, fruits and vegetables. To give your immune system that extra edge, avoid caffeine, alcohol, refined sugars and processed foods. Also make sure to stay hydrated with plenty of fluids—this decreases inflammation and reduces congestion. The best options are filtered water, herbal teas and coconut water. And definitely make sure to get extra sleep since your body needs all its resources to fight off that virus. This is when the body recharges and refuels.

Take medicine.

There are also several natural and over the counter medicines to consider as well. One of the top reasons for people having to take sick days at work is due to their kids being sick. If you find yourself with a little one who is feeling under the weather, consider one of many Triaminic® products to help alleviate symptoms like coughing, congestion and sore throat so they can feel better while they heal. Kids need rest in order to recover, and it’s tough getting enough sleep if they are constantly coughing or have a stuffy nose. Choose from a variety of Triaminic® products, depending on individual symptoms, so kids can find some quick relief.

Increase immunity.

Herbs like elderberry or goldenseal are also great immune system boosters. These herbs help the body’s natural ability to fight off that virus. If a sore throat is an issue, make some soothing herbal tea with hot water, lemon, raw honey and some ginger and sip slowly. And lastly, a super simple thing you can do is to just add a little extra garlic to your meals. This will instantly transform your lunch or dinner into a mega immune booster.

Here’s to good health for you and your family!

How to Handle and Relieve a Sore Throat

A sore throat can cause discomfort and pain especially when you swallow or talk. The condition, also referred to as pharyngitis, is common during the colder months, and is often caused by viral illnesses, such as the flu or a cold. A bacterial infection, such as strep throat, can also be responsible for your painful throat. To ease discomfort, combine home remedies with over-the-counter treatments, and visit your doctor if needed.

Instructions

  1. Take an over-the-counter pain reliever according to the packaging instruction. Ibuprofen or acetaminophen can help reduce the pain you are experiencing.
  2. Drink warm and cold liquids to soothe your throat. Herbal tea with lemon or honey, and chilled water help keep your throat moist, prevent dehydration and have a comforting affect.
  3. Fill an eight-ounce cup with warm water and add 1 tsp. of salt to it. Gargle with the saltwater mixture two to three times per day. According to Health911, saltwater clears up dilating capillaries and rinses away mucous, thereby promoting circulation of antibodies that combat the infection.
  4. Get plenty of rest. While you rest, you are less likely to experience throat discomfort because you don’t talk or eat. Your body is also better able to fight the infection causing the sore throat.
  5. Put a humidifier in your room, because dry air may irritate your sore throat even more. A humidifier keeps moisture in the air. Place a pan filled with water in a corner of the room, as an alternative.
  6. Suck on commercial throat lozenges to help soothe the discomfort.
  7. Avoid smoking tobacco or secondhand smoke, because these only worsen your condition.
  8. Consult your doctor if the sore throat last longer than two days. Your doctor may test you for a bacterial infection, such as strep throat. If the outcome is positive, you most likely will get a prescription for antibiotics.

List of Foods to Avoid When Wearing Braces

Braces can straighten your teeth, while providing you with a healthy-looking smile. Once you have completed your orthodontic treatment, you want to avoid certain foods when wearing your braces. Without proper care, damaged braces can require replacement. The list of what to avoid ranges from chewy candies to crunchy celery sticks.

Chewy Candies and Gum

Avoid chewy candies such as caramel and jelly beans, as well as gum. Craig Davis Orthodontics states chewy candies or gum can damage your orthodontic appliances. Another disadvantage is sugar content, which can cause tooth decay. Damage to your orthodontic appliances requires visiting the dentist.

Crunchy Chips and Cookies

You can continue snacking, but monitor the types of snacks. Avoid eating crunchy snacks, including chocolate chip cookies, popcorn and baked tacos. Exchange these crunchy snacks with healthier, softer snacks. ArchWired.com provides some soft food suggestions. Choose gelatin, plain ice cream or low-fat pudding to eat during the day.

Hard Breads and Hard Baked Goods

Eating hard breads can lead to scratches on your orthodontic appliances. ArchWired.com gives soft bread and baked goods options, such as buttered corn muffins. Additional food choices include fluffy banana pancakes or butter rolls for breakfast. Order soft bread and baked goods when dining at restaurants. Avoid ordering harder food items such as garlic toast.

Other Foods to Avoid

You want to avoid other foods when wearing your braces, including acidic foods, which can damage your tooth enamel. Lemons and limes are two types of acidic foods. If you are a hot tea drinker, exchange lemon juice for whole milk or cream. If you drink cold drinks, avoid ice cubs, which can create cracks where the cement bonds on your braces. Avoid other food choices such as hard peanuts or crunchy celery sticks.

What Fruits Are Good for Diabetes?

The U.S. National Library of Medicine says diabetes occurs because of elevated blood glucose levels. The pancreas no longer uses or produces enough insulin for the body to function properly. Without enough insulin, high levels of glucose remain in the bloodstream. Diet plays a major role in controlling blood glucose levels, so people should maintain a nutritionally dense diet. Many diabetics think that they can’t eat fruits when diagnosed with diabetics; however, many fruits are good for diabetes because they have low sugar content.

Apples

Natural News cites a National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey that took place from 1999 to 2004. The research found that apples are good fruits for diabetes because they prevent conditions that cause metabolic syndrome, including diabetes. Many participants in the study saw a decrease in symptoms 24 hours after eating apples. Apples reduced inflammation related to diabetes and heart disease. According to Nutrition Data, apples are 38 on the glycemic index–the index used to determine how foods affect blood sugar levels.

Grapefruit

Grapefruits, 25 on the glycemic index, are good fruits for diabetes because they naturally lower blood sugar levels. The Diabetes Action Research and Education Foundation states that none of the ingredients in grapefruit seem to hinder insulin production. Fresh grapefruit works better than juice because of its slow conversion rate in the body.

Oranges

Oranges are low-glycemic-index fruits, at 48, and are also good for diabetics. The World’s Healthiest Foods, produced by the George Mateljan Foundation, states that fiber and Vitamin C found in oranges controls blood sugar levels. Oranges, a low-fat snack, can be part of a healthy diet that controls or reduces weight, one of the risk factors for diabetes.

Bitter Melon

The fruit juice found in bitter melon has been used as a diabetic remedy in Asia, Africa and South America. Diabetes Health says bitter melons are good fruits for diabetes because the natural ingredients lower blood sugar levels in diabetes sufferers. Diabetes Health also concludes that bitter melon helps the tissues in the body absorb glucose. However, Holistic Online says large consumptions of bitter melon juice cause stomach pain and diarrhea, and children with hypoglycemia may experience extremely low blood sugar levels.

Bananas

The American Diabetes Association says bananas have the bad reputation of being high in sugar or fattening. However, these fruits are good for diabetes because they are actually low in sugar, which won’t raise blood glucose levels. As a low-fat treat, they help diabetics maintain or lose weight. Bananas also contain potassium, which reduces sodium in the body.

How to Wear Braces as an Adult

You were one of the lucky ones who got through adolescence without the humiliation of wearing braces. Twenty years later, though, as your orthodontist glues those little pieces of metal to your teeth, you are about to find out what it’s like to wear braces as an adult. However, with some minor lifestyle adjustments, you can survive wearing braces as an adult.

Instructions

  1. Invest in oral-hygiene tools. Wearing braces as an adult draws your attention to your oral hygiene. You will quickly discover how hard it is to clean your teeth and gums when you have a mouth full of wires. A water pick, a device that uses a small, high-pressure stream of water to remove debris from small spaces in your mouth, can be a lifesaver. Ask your orthodontist which one he recommends. Also invest in a selection of different sized toothbrushes and a fluoride rinse. When your teeth feel clean, you will be less self-conscious.
  2. Drink plenty of water. Drinking water washes food particles out of your mouth, dilutes sticky or acidic substances and keeps your mouth lubricated. Moist tissue slides better across braces and won’t get caught on rough edges and tear. Also, drinking water helps maintain fresh breath, making you less self-conscious.
  3. Abstain from sticky foods. Give up trying to chew gum or eat candy while you have braces. Also, pass on food with small particles, like popcorn. These foods will get stuck in your braces and increase your anxiety of being seen with food stuck on your teeth. Your orthodontist should provide you with a list of foods to avoid.
  4. Learn snappy come-backs. Be prepared for strange comments about your appearance with braces from friends and strangers. Kids usually just get “railroad tracks.” Because the braces make you look like a teenager, adults get interesting descriptions of people’s preferences for younger partners.
  5. Smile. Know that as an adult, your self-esteem goes deeper than your appearance. Allow your personality to shine through the braces because that’s what most people really like about you. Remember, it’s only a temporary condition, anyway. The braces will come off and your teeth will be straighter than they’ve ever been.

Why Should People Floss?

Daily flossing is an essential element of proper dental hygiene. It removes plaque, which can turn into tartar and cause gingivitis and gum disease. Regular cleanings by a dentist or hygienist help reduce tartar build-up. Studies have also shown that flossing even prevents strokes and heart attacks. Treat your teeth to flossing each day to improve your health and smile.

Significance

People should floss their teeth at least once a day to remove food particles and plaque that a toothbrush doesn’t reach. Plaque is a sticky layer of material which contains bacteria, causes tooth decay, and can also cause inflammation of the gums (gingivitis), which can then lead to periodontal disease.

Plaque can start forming as soon as four hours after brushing. When plaque is not removed, it eventually hardens and turns into tartar. Tartar can only be removed by a dentist or hygienist.

Warning

More dangerous bacteria can start building up in the tartar and producing toxins. The toxins irritate a person’s gums, an inflammation called gingivitis. Gingivitis can lead to periodontitis, where the toxins invade the bones supporting the teeth. This can lead to bone loss and loose teeth, and even to teeth falling out.

Considerations

Studies have also indicated that flossing helps to prevent strokes and heart attacks. Periodontitis and even gingivitis are strong risk factors for cardiovascular disease, because of the stress of continuous inflammation in the body. In one study of stroke patients, severe periodontitis was shown to significantly increase the chances of a stroke occurring.

The American Academy of Periodontology states that people with periodontitis are almost twice as likely to have heart disease.

Prevention/Solution

Flossing has cosmetic benefits as well. It stops ugly tartar build-up, and also prevents bad breath. It’s easy to prove how flossing stops bad breath by doing some flossing and smelling the debris that is removed.

Types

Many styles of floss are available – waxed and unwaxed, wide and regular, and there are flavored kinds such as mint and cinnamon. They all work about the same. The one consideration might be to use a wide floss if you have wider spaces between your teeth, but the most important thing is to choose a product and use it daily.

Water-piks are not as effective as floss, because they do not remove plaque.

Function

Floss should be gently rubbed up and down between teeth, and into the spaces between the gums and teeth. The American Dental Association recommends flossing for two or three minutes, and states that even people who floss daily typically do not spend enough time at it.

Teeth With Braces: Foods to Avoid

When wearing braces, it’s very important to know what kinds of foods to avoid. Foods containing sugar should be minimized, and other kinds of food particles and bacteria can get stuck behind the braces and lead to tooth decay.

Sticky Food

Any foods that will pull or get stuck in your braces are best to be avoided; that includes all types of chewing gum, gummy candies, caramels, fruit roll-ups and licorice.

Hard and Crunchy Food

Popcorn is especially troublesome because the bits, pieces and hulls slip into tiny crevices. Avoid hard candy, nuts, chewing on ice, corn on the cob, pretzels, hard cookies (unless you soften them with milk first) and hard or chewy crusts of any kind. If a food is overly crunchy when you bite into it, be cautious.

Hard Food Exceptions

You can still enjoy apples or pears, but you need to cut them into small pieces or wedges first–taking a bite without doing this can cause too much stress on your braces. You can eat raw carrots, too, but shred or grate them first.

Considerations

Brush and floss your teeth often. If you have a sugary snack, brush as soon as possible.

Warning

If you do not avoid foods that are inappropriate, you will spend a lot of extra time at the orthodontist. Damaged braces can lead to a longer treatment process.

How to Prevent an Allergy Headache

An allergy headache is an awful thing to have. They can be extremely painful and even last for days! If you’ve ever spent a sleepless night due to an allergy headache, you’ll know what I mean! You don’t have to suffer from allergy headaches, though. There are several things you can do to get rid of them, and even prevent an allergy headache from happening in the first place!

Instructions

  1. Prevention is the first step to avoiding an allergy headache. One way to prevent allergy headaches is to avoid things that cause allergies. For some people, this can be certain foods, while for others it is things in the environment, such as pollens, molds and dust mites. Some people have allergy headaches caused by numerous factors.
  2. In order to avoid allergens that cause allergy headaches, it is usually necessary to make some changes in your environment. Try putting hypoallergenic mattress and pillow covers on your bed, and launder bedding frequently. You may want to hire a maid to clean your house regularly to keep down dust so that you are not exposed to it. If you have a mold problem in your house, get it addressed as soon as possible!
  3. Medication can be very effective when it comes to the prevention of an allergy headache. Nasonex is a topical steriod spray that is used in the nasal passages. It stops a lot of allergies before they even start. Another very effective medicine is Zyrtec, which just became generic, and therefore affordable for everyone! If you take these medications daily, chances are that you’ll see an incredible decrease in allergy headaches.
  4. Consider changing your diet. My own allergy headaches went away entirely when I eliminated both wheat and sugar from my diet. Not having headaches that last up to three days has dramatically improved my life! Find out what your headache triggers might be by eliminating possibly problematic foods from your diet. Wheat and sugar are typical culprits, by the way.

Tips & Warnings

See your doctor before taking any medications for allergy headaches. Sometimes, allergy headaches can be so painful they are confused with migraines. Get an accurate diagnosis.

How to Test for Allergens

Allergic reactions range from annoying to deadly. If you notice an adverse reaction to food or something in the environment, a simple test administered by a health care professional can indicate the exact allergens that irritate you. Depending on your sensitivity to allergens and your medication regimen, you may take a skin test or blood test.

Instructions

  1. Schedule an appointment with your health care provider to take an allergy test. Tell your doctor about any antihistamines you currently take — some prohibit skin testing. Also tell your doctor if you’ve ever had a life-threatening reaction to an allergen or a serious reaction to a previous test.
  2. Stop taking antihistamines one week before your test, or for a period of time specified by your doctor. Antihistamines include over-the-counter and prescription medications, nasal sprays or eye drops. If you are unsure whether you’re taking antihistamines, ask your doctor or pharmacist about your medications.
  3. Dress in a short-sleeved short or layers over a short-sleeved shirt on the day of your appointment. This will make it easier for your physician to administer the test.
  4. Go to your doctor’s office on the day of the appointment. You will be given a prick skin test on the forearm or back to detect allergens such as pollen, dust mites, molds and dander. You may alternatively be given an intradermal skin test (needle stick) or blood test, which is given to small children or people who can’t take a skin test due to medication. The test results take 15 to 20 minutes to develop, after which the doctor will discuss your results. The skin test site may flare up during this time, but effects usually fade after a few hours.
  5. Apply a cold compress or topical antihistamine to the irritated skin test site if necessary. Avoid scratching the site.