Shannon Medical Center | Health Beat | Winter 2021

6 HEALTH BEAT By David Huchton, MD, Shannon Clinic Otolaryngology You’re sneezing and coughing, and your eyes are watery, red and itchy.Then there’s that runny, stuffy nose. Maybe you remember having the same miserable symptoms last year when the seasons changed. What’s going on? You may have seasonal aller- gies, or what’s commonly called hay fever, or you may have chronic sinusitis, a condition that occurs when the sinus cavities inside your nose and head are swollen or inflamed for three months or longer. Other common symptoms of sinusitis include thick, discolored discharge from the nose; drain- age down the back of the throat; nasal congestion; pain, tenderness and swelling around the eyes, cheeks, nose or forehead; and reduced sense of taste and smell. Patients have also experienced ear pain, coughing or throat clearing, aching in the jaw or teeth, bad breath, and fatigue. WHAT CAUSES ALLERGIES/HAY FEVER? Hay fever could be a contributing factor to chronic sinusitis. If you do have hay fever, it rarely means you’re allergic to hay.The culprit usually is due to tree pollen, grass pollen, weed pollen, dust or dust mites, or mold or mold spores. Frequently, it is also a combination of reactions to all of the above. That’s because a variety of airborne pollens can set off allergy symptoms, depending on your location and the time of year. One thing you’ll notice is that those symptoms arrive with the seasons. According to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, hay fever is often trig- gered by: ● Tree pollen in early spring. ● Grasses during late spring and early summer. ● Weeds in late summer and fall. In this geographic area, mold and mold spores are also very prevalent and are a cause of aller- gies year-round. Pollen is usually harmless. But if you have hay fever, your immune system mis- takes pollen for an invader, triggering the release of chemicals (such as histamine) that lead to those uncomfortable symptoms. FINDING RELIEF If you think you might have allergies, tell your doctor. You may need a skin or blood test to learn what you’re allergic to.Then your doctor can rec- ommend a treatment plan, which may include: Avoiding your allergy triggers. Try to spend less time outdoors when pollen counts are high. You can find pollen counts online or get them through apps on your smartphone. Taking over-the-counter or prescription medicines. Options include nasal steroid sprays and antihistamine pills.These medications gen- erally work best when you start them just before allergy season begins. Also, using a gentle saline rinse once or twice per day, especially if you have been outdoors in the wind or dust, frequently is helpful for controlling or diminishing allergy symptoms. What about allergy shots? Allergy shots (immunotherapy) might be another option. It takes time, but the shots can build up your body’s resis- tance to specific hay fever triggers. Many people who get allergy shots see their symptoms improve or even disappear. IF YOUR SYMPTOMS PERSIST Your physician will be able to determine the root of your symptoms through imaging tests, allergy tests, and collecting samples from your nasal and sinus discharge. Chronic sinusitis is treated with a variety of methods, including nasal corticosteroids, oral or injected corticosteroids, saline nasal irri- gation, antibiotics, and immunotherapy. In some cases, a surgical intervention, either in the office or under anesthesia, may become necessary. If you are having allergy symptoms and can’t find relief for an extended period of time, talk to your doctor. It is recommended to see a doctor immediately if you have symptoms such as fever, swelling or redness around your eyes, severe head- aches, forehead swelling, confusion, vision changes, or a stiff neck. Avocado deviled eggs Makes 12 servings. Ingredients 12 eggs 2 medium avocados, chopped 1 medium tomato, chopped 2 tablespoons red onion, finely chopped 1 clove garlic, minced 1 tablespoon cilantro, finely chopped 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice 1 ⁄ 4 teaspoon salt Sprinkle of paprika 1 ⁄ 2 jalapeño pepper, minced (optional) Directions ■ Hard-boil eggs by placing eggs in an even layer in large pot covered by 2 inches of cold water. Heat pan on high and bring to rolling boil. Immediately turn off heat, cover pot with lid and let eggs sit on hot burner for 10 minutes. ■ Transfer eggs to bowl of ice water to cool; peel eggs. ■ Slice eggs lengthwise and scoop out yolks; place yolks in large mixing bowl. ■ Add avocados to yolks and mash with fork until completely mixed. ■ Add remaining ingredients, except paprika. Stir to combine. ■ Carefully scoop about 1 tablespoon of mixture into each egg-white half. ■ Sprinkle with paprika to garnish. ■ Top with jalapeño, if using. Eggs take longer to cook at higher elevations. Fresh eggs are more difficult to peel; to make it easy (and end up with a smooth, perfectly peeled egg), buy your eggs 1 to 2 weeks before you plan to make this recipe, if possible. Nutrition information Serving size: 2 egg halves. Amount per serving: 130 calo- ries, 10g total fat, 185mg cho- lesterol, 4g carbohydrates, 7g protein, 2g dietary fiber, 120mg sodium. Source: American Institute for Cancer Research Wellness Is it sniffles or sinusitis? For more information on hay fever, allergies and chronic sinusitis, call Shannon Clinic Otolaryngology at 325-481-2283 .