Many people who have chronic recurrent sinusitis may have an allergic reaction to fungi rather than a bacterial infection. Treatments for the two are completely different, and in some cases, fungal sinusitis can be life threatening. Two experts and a patient explain.
Erin Porter, fungal sinusitis patient and founder, EatPrayGetWell.com
Dr. Donald Dennis, ear, nose & throat surgeon, Atlanta
Dr. Joseph Han, Professor of Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery, Eastern Virginia Medical School
Teenagers used to experience rites of passage including getting a driver’s license, going out on dates, drinking, having sex, & getting a job. They’re engaging in these activities much less often today. It means less risk, but may leave adolescents less ready for adulthood and independence. Experts discuss.
Babies and Their Gut Bacteria
Children have up to five times as much asthma and allergies as their grandparents, and a new study shows that an imbalance of gut bacteria in the first year of life may be why. An expert pediatrician discusses why this occurs and ways to address the problem.
Common colds, allergies, and sinus infections have similar symptoms that make it very difficult to identify which malady a person is suffering from. However, for some people who constantly feel sick, knowing what their symptoms mean could allow them to receive better healthcare. So, how can you tell the difference between a cold, allergies, and a sinus infection?
Dr. Lisa Liberatore, an otolaryngologist specializing in sinus and sleep issues at Totum Health, New York, explains the differences between these three maladies. If a patient has body aches, fevers, and other systemic symptoms, she states that these are not usually symptoms of allergies and can be indicative of an infection. Along with these symptoms, Dr. Liberatore explains that the longevity of the symptoms can further indicate if the infection is viral or bacterial. Some infections can start off as viral, but once seven to ten days pass, a patient may begin to have fits of heavy coughing or notice yellow or green mucus. Dr. Liberatore says that this is an indication that the infection has become bacterial. Despite being a bacterial infection, antibiotics tend to do little to help the patient. The best way to get over a cold or cold-like symptoms is often to just wait out the course of the infection, consume lots of fluids, and get lots of rest.
But, for some people, these cold-like symptoms never seem to go away. Dr. Liberatore explains that if the cold lasts for a long time, or tends to progress to something worse, that can be an indication of a structural problem. This structural problem is related to chronic sinusitis which affects a person’s quality of life tremendously, causing symptoms such as severe nasal congestion to lack of productivity. Dr. Liberatore states that many primary care physicians often provide their patients with two treatment options–antibiotics or surgery. However, she explains that there are many smaller treatments present today that can provide relief to the patient without having to undergo an intense surgery.
Dr. Lisa Liberatore, otolaryngologist specializing in sinus and sleep issues at Totum Health, New York
Antibiotic resistance has left some serious infections with only one defense and the development of new antibiotics has slowed to a crawl, but a study in the journal Nature Microbiology reveals that scientists have found an entire new family of antibiotics in soil. Researchers say the new antibiotics kill a variety of bacteria, including MRSA, that are mostly resistant to current antibiotics. However its likely to take years before the find can be turned into an effective treatment.
We’ve reported on sibling abuse in the past and now a study in the journal Psychological Medicine shows that it can lead to mental illness later. Researchers say people who were bullied by a brother or sister are up to three times more likely than other children to develop schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or other psychotic disorders by age 18. Kids who are also bullied at school are four times more likely to develop mental illness.
And finally, babies crawling on the floor, especially on carpeting, kick up a lot of bacteria, dirt, pollen, and other biological bits and they breath a lot of that in. In fact, a new study in the journal Environmental Science and Technology shows that crawling babies inhale four times what an adult would when they walk across the same floor. But scientists say its not necessarily a bad thing, exposure to allergens and microbes in infancy helps babies develop immunity and may reduce the chances they develop asthma and allergies later on.
Millions of people who think they have allergies, asthma, and sinus problems may actually have “silent reflux” which can travel up the esophagus all the way to the throat and head. An expert discusses telltale symptoms and the dietary triggers that can cause the disorder.
Dr. Jamie Koufman, Director, Voice Institute of New York, Professor of Clinical Otolaryngology, New York Medical College and author, The Chronic Cough Enigma.
Some people will do almost anything to relieve their allergy symptoms but here’s an idea that works according to a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. It’s a probiotic combination of lactobacilli and bifidobacteria sold in stores under the name kidophilus. Allergy suffers taking the supplement reported few or no symptoms and a higher quality of life compared to those who took a placebo. Researchers think the probiotics work by increasing the immune symptoms T cells.
Millions of people rely on inhalers for medication for their lungs, but a new study finds that between 70% and 90% of the time patients make mistakes using them. The result is that those patients receive as little as 7% of the medicine they need. The study in the journal Chest shows that the biggest mistake is in coordination of breathing with the activation of the inhaler. Many patients inhale too late.
And finally, there’s a reason you feel better when you sit out in a grove of green trees. A study in the journal Pain shows that green light helps mitigate chronic pain. A group of rats with neuropathic pain were bathed in green light and for the next four days they tolerated more thermal and touch stimulus than a control group. Another group of rats fitted with green contact lenses showed the same benefit compared to a group getting opaque lenses. Scientists have no idea how green light works or whether the same effect holds for humans.
Synopsis: The Epi-Pen brand has become synonymous with epinephrine injectors, which can save the life of a person suffering a severe allergic reaction. Recently there’s been outcry over large price hikes for the devices, which have forced some people to seek other alternatives or go without. Experts discuss the economics involved and what patients can do to be protected without going broke.