August 26, 2008

A nose for trouble

In the early part of Year 2006, I suffered very bad sinus problem after I returned home from Bangkok. First, it started off as a normal sore throat and cough, followed by bad runny nose. My muscus gradually turned into green thick stuff. I was having an infection. It lasted for 6 whole months! I used up almost about 170 - 200 sheets of tissue papers just in 1 day - 1.5day.

I went around scouting for many western and chinese doctors. However, their medication do not worked for me. Thereafter, I went to a government hospital, whereby the Specialist doctor, suggested that I should do an operation.

Feeling unconvinced, I consulted a second opinion, but this time, in a private hospital. Dr Huang advised that a surgery wasn't necessary for my case. He gave me some medication and there were several follow-up visits for about 6 months. 3 months prior to my visit to Dr Huang's clinic, I was on anti-oxidants from GNC as some of my friends shared that it would help my condition. Unsure if it was due to the prescribed medication by Dr Huang or the anti-oxidants from GNC, my condition improved tremendously :)

If you too have been suffering from sinus, I hope the below article that I chanced upon today will provide some good tips for you.

with love,

Changes in temperature, humidity can trigger sinus

You were feeling dandy just a while ago. Then suddenly, your nose becomes so congested you can hardly breathe. Your throat is coated in thick, viscous phlegm.

Wondering what could have caused this dramatic change in your health? Look out of your window - it could be the weather.

According to doctors TODAY spoke to, weather shifts - especially when temperatures plummet - can trigger a condition called non -allergic rhinitis (or sunus in layman-speak). Rhinitis occurs when the mucous lining of the nose becomes inflamed.

Said general practitioner Dr Lily Aw, who runs a private clinic in Pasir Ris: "Changes in temperature and humidity cause the blood vessels in the nose to dilate, resulting in nasal congestion and excessive mucous production."

Symptoms tend to show up "relatively quickly" in response to the weather changes. So, once the nasal membranes are stimulated, sinus sufferers tend to experience sneezing, a blocked or runny nose, as well as phlegm.

But don't just blame the weather. Experiencing temperature variations while moving from one place to another - for instance, returning to your freezing office from a stuffy hawker centre after lunch - cal also trigger a sinus attack.

"The cold air acts as a physical trigger. It's like when cold air triggers bronchospasm (a sudden constriction of airway muscles) wheezing in asthmatics," explained Dr Bernard Thong, head and consultant of Tan Tock Seng Hospital's rheumatology, allergy and immunology department.

"Occasionally, the food one eats may also make rhinitis worse," added Dr Thong. The "noxious stimulus of the spices" found in spicy food may cause your sinuses to act up.

Viral infeactions, such as cold or flu, can also cause an inflammation in the nose.

Dr Aw said that from experience, such cases of non-allergic rhinitis - which is commonly associated with symptoms such as body aches, tiredness, cough or fever - tend to be more common during the rainy season. That's because we tend to stay indoors more often. Windows are also closed, so ventilation is poor, making it easier to catch an infection.

Most Singaporeans also suffer from another form of rhinitis - persistent allergic rhinitis. This is triggered by certain allergens such as house dust mites or animal dander, said Dr Thong. He estimated that up to 10 per cent of the adult population suffers from this.

People prone to rhinitis include asthmatics, smokers as well as women undergoing hormonal changes such as menstruation and pregnancy.

To keep your sinuses in check, Dr Aw suggested "avoiding or reducing exposure to sudden temperature and humidty changes".

"Wearing appropriate clothing, like a sweater, when you go to a colder environment, as well as maintaining the temperature of an air-conditioned room at about 25 degree celsius can help as well," she said.

But is a stuffy nose serious enough to warrant a trip to the doctor's? It depends, said Dr Thong.

If the symptoms are troublesome, persistent and affect sleep and other daily activities, see a doctor, he advised.

Also, rhinitis can sometimes lead to "complications like infection of the sinuses and middle ear when the swelling of the nasal mucosa blocks the opening of the sinuses and Eustachian tube", said Dr Aw.

In such cases, a visit to the doctor's is advised.


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