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Tea has long been used for medicinal purposes. What is the origin and history of medicinal tea? What are the three varieties of tea? What are the primary benefits of medicinal tea? Are there certain types of tea that can be dangerous for particular ailments or conditions? Learn the answers to these questions and much more. Continue reading
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How do we Keep our Eyes Healthy?
Painful, watery, itchy or tired eyes can be the result of many different factors. The type of treatment needed depends on the cause of the eye problem. These factors may include the following:
- Allergies or Environmental Triggers
- Eyestrain or Stress
- Fatigue or Poor Sleeping Patterns
- Conjunctivitis or Infection in the Eye
- Insufficient Oxygen to the Cornea and Outer Eye Tissue
Allergies and Eyes
Most people associate allergies with sneezing, coughing or wheezing, and nasal discharge or “runny nose,” but the eyes are often affected by allergies. According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, eye allergy symptoms can include: Itching, redness, burning and a clear, watery discharge.
Outdoor allergens, such as pollen from grass, flowers, trees and weeds can easily trigger eye allergy symptoms as well as indoor allergens, such as dust mites, pet dander, mildew and mold. Environmental irritants such as diesel exhaust and petroleum fumes, perfumes, and cigarette smoke also can cause the eyes to fatigue, burn and water.
Eye Strain and Overuse
Recent studies show that more than 9 out of 10 adults (93.3 percent) spend more than two hours each day using a computer or other digital device, with more than 6 in 10 adults (60.8 percent) spending five or more hours every day on digital devices. This is often referred to as “digital eye strain.”
Digital eye strain or computer vision syndrome is the physical discomfort felt after two or more hours in front of a digital screen. This would include desktop and laptop computers, tablets, e-readers and cell phones. The average person who does not sit in from of a digital screen will blink the eye about 18 times per minute. This natural blinking, lubricates the eyeball and prevents dry, itching or burning eyes. However, research shows that those who spend 2 or more hours staring at a digital screen, blink the eyes less often. This can result in dry, itchy or burning eyes.
Other causes of eye strain include excessive use of the eyes in any ongoing continuous activity that requires intense and unaltered focus in vision — such as extended amounts of driving, writing, or reading. Each of these activities can cause eye fatigue. Those who work long hours using their eyes, such as accountants, researchers, illustrators or artists, editors, writers are at high risk. Those who drive vehicles without frequent visual changes, such as a truck driver who drives long distance on many miles of road with no change in scenery are also susceptible to eye strain. Continuous use of the eyes without blinking or change in focus, causes the eyes to get less exercise and to strain the eyes.
Sleeping Disorders and Fatigue
When a person does not get enough sleep the eyes are dramatically affected. After a few sleepless nights, the skin around the eyes can turn an unhealthy brown, yellow or sallow color and often become puffy.
Chronic sleep loss can lead to lackluster skin, fine lines, and dark circles under the eyes. The body releases more of the stress hormone cortisol which breaks down skin collagen. Collagen can help to maintain the elasticity and softness of the skin. Without adequate rest or sleep, the eyes cannot revive. Sleep, rest, or meditation is necessary to rejuvenate the eyes and maintain proper eye health. Those who do not get enough sleep may experience blurred vision, eye pain, dry eyes, watering or burning eyes, and in extreme cases, trouble focusing, clouded vision, double vision, and twitching of the eyelid or eyeball (myokymia). Myokymia can be very distracting and limit productivity. If a person has trouble sleeping, they should try gentle meditation exercises or napping throughout the day.
Conjunctivitis or Eye Infection
How does one know the difference between simple eye strain, allergies or an eye infection? Symptoms of an eye infection are more severe. Watery, burning, red and tired eyes caused by an allergic reaction, lack or sleep or eye strain, will generally improve or will be slightly relieved when the person rests or removes the known allergen(s) triggering the response.
Allergies can develop into conjunctivitis or eye infection if not properly treated. Untreated eye infection can be very serious and lead to vision impairment. According to the American Optometric Association, the symptoms of conjunctivitis include:
- A gritty feeling in one or both eyes
- Itching or burning sensation in one or both eyes
- Excessive tearing
- Discharge coming from one or both eyes
- Swollen eyelids
- Pink discoloration to the whites of one or both eyes
- Increased sensitivity to light
The American Optometric Association defines conjunctivitis as:
“Conjunctivitis is an inflammation or infection of the conjunctiva, the thin transparent layer of tissue that lines the inner surface of the eyelid and covers the white part of the eye… While conjunctivitis is usually a minor eye infection, sometimes it can develop into a more serious problem.”
The three major types of conjunctivitis are allergic, chemical, or infectious. Infectious conjunctivitis can be either viral or bacterial. A person can get staphylococcal or streptococcal bacteria from their own skin or respiratory system and this bacteria can spread to the eye through touch, from insects, or from other people.
People can also develop bacterial conjunctivitis from poor hygiene habits, such as rubbing or touching the eyes with unclean hands or using old, contaminated eye makeup and facial lotions. For this reason, makeup application brushes should be cleaned regularly and old makeup should be discarded after about one year, depending on use. Application sponges should be washed after each use and thrown away after about one month. Most cleansers and lotions contain fatty acids and should be discarded after six months. Makeup contamination can occur at any time, because it is always in contact with the eyes, mouth and fingers, which are highly susceptible to germs. If something has changed color or has a strange smell, throw it away immediately.
Giant papillary conjunctivitis is an inflammation of the conjunctiva, which is the tissue underneath the eyelid. Those who wear soft contact lenses, can contract this infection from the bacteria on the contact lenses. The likelihood of contracting this infection is heightened during the allergy season.
Contagious viral upper respiratory infections, such as influenza or the common cold, are generally the causes of viral conjunctivitis. This is usually contracted through coughing or sneezing, and spreads from the mucus of the nose or mouth, onto the hands and into the eye.
Lack of Oxygen to the Eye
Lack of oxygen to the brain and the eye, such as what occurs in those with sleep apnea, heart failure, lung disease or other cardio-pulmonary, or neurological conditions, can cause eye strain and result in loss of vision due to the effects on the retina, choroid or optic nerve. Also at risk are pilots or cross country hikers, who become oxygen deprived. If someone is experiencing blurring vision, pain, or swelling or pressure behind the eyes, due to lack of oxygen, they should contact their doctors or trusted health practitioner. If an insufficient amount of oxygen is entering the bloodstream, the body will react rapidly. This deficit in oxygen is called hypoxia. The eye is usually the first body part to be affected by hypoxia. A person can recover when the body regains its normal oxygen supply. Hypoxia will progress to anoxia if left untreated. Anoxia is a complete lack of oxygen which results in permanent physical damage or death.
Contact lenses, in addition to being a trigger for bacterial infections (as written above), can decrease the supply of oxygen to the cornea when it is too tight, too thick or if worn too long. However, a soft contact lens known as silicon hydrogel is less likely to cause this problem, as it provides six times more oxygen to the eye than the traditional soft lens, but these lenses are more expensive. Those who are not practicing careful hygiene with their contact lenses or who wear their lenses too long, could experience symptoms such as clouded vision and red and painful eyes. If this occurs, the person should discontinue using contact lenses and consult a medical practitioner. They might be advised to use and ointments or drops to reduce swelling, tearing, and promote healing.
To prevent bacterial or viral eye infection and allergic or chemical eye strain or infection, simple preventative measure can be taken:
- Keep windows closed during high pollen periods; use air conditioning in your home and car.
- Wash your hands thoroughly and frequently and especially after petting any animal.
- Wear glasses or sunglasses when outdoors to keep pollen out of your eyes.
- Take frequent breaks if spending long hours using the eyes (writing, driving, reading, etc.)
- Use “mite-proof” bedding covers to limit exposure to dust mites, and a dehumidifier to control mold.
- Don’t touch your eyes with your hands.
- Drink plenty of water
- Change your towel and washcloth daily, and don’t share them with others.
- Discard eye cosmetics, particularly mascara.
- Get plenty of sleep, or try meditation or frequent naps to rest the eyes.
- Don’t use anyone else’s eye cosmetics or personal eye-care items.
- Follow your eye doctor’s instructions on proper contact lens care.
- Use specially designed computer eyewear such as anti-reflective, or AR, lens, or blue light-blocking lenses
Natural Treatments for Tired Eyes
There are several natural treatments that might be effective for tired eyes. However, if you suspect that you have a serious infection and experience no relief after making lifestyle changes, see a doctor or trusted healthcare professional for an examination, accurate diagnosis, medical advice and treatment.
- Tea has been an age-old remedy to soothe tired eyes. Boil some tea in a little water and let it cool. Dip 2 clean pieces of gauze into the cool tea and place one on each eye for 15 minutes. Make sure you keep dipping the gauze into the liquid as soon as it dries, and reapply as needed.
- For temporary relief of tired eyes, lie down, close your eyes, and place a cold washcloth (compress) over your eyes. Relax for about 15 or 20 minutes. Refresh the compress as needed.
- When seeking relief for computer eye strain, researchers at Japan’s National Institute of Industrial Health have found that lowering the computer monitor’s position (and the angle of your head) increases tear production and soothes tired eyes.
- Eye exercises and vision therapy can sometimes be very effective. Specially trained therapists or ophthalmologists might provide this.
- For tired eyes, wash them with cold water, several times a day. Rinsing the eyes with water has been found to be highly effective in soothing tired eyes.
- Herbal remedies such as eyebright and goldenseal have been known to be helpful (do not use goldenseal during pregnancy, or if you are allergic to ragweed).
- An effective homeopathic remedy might be Ruta graveolens. It is most likely to be helpful in cases of eyestrain where the eyes burn and water after long periods of eye use.
Prescription or Over the Counter Medications
Your health care practitioner or doctor might advise you to control some symptoms with nonprescription medications, sold over the counter or a prescription medication for infection. These might include
- Artificial tears
- Decongestant eyedrops (don’t use eyedrops for “red eye” longer than a week, or they can make things worse)
- Oral antihistamines (note that they may dry your eyes and make your symptoms worse)
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory prescription medication
- Antibiotic eye drops or eye cream prescription medication
However, the best way to prevent eye strain or eye infection and to ensure healthy eyes, is to live a healthy, responsible life. Be sure to get plenty of sleep, avoid alcohol, drink plenty of water, protect your eyes from sun, smoke, and eyestrain, and get regular eye checkups from your trusted doctor or health practitioner.
Azari, AA; Barney, NP (October 23, 2013). “Conjunctivitis: a systematic review of diagnosis and treatment.”. JAMA: the Journal of the American Medical Association 310 (16): 1721–9. doi:10.1001/jama.2013.280318. PubMed
Brendan T. Barrett (2008). “A critical evaluation of the evidence supporting the practice of behavioural vision therapy”. Ophthalmic and Physiological Optics 29(1): 4–25, Retrieved 2015-o1-10 PubMed
Conjunctivitis, American Optometric Association, aoa.org. Accessed 2015-01-10
Cassel, G.H., Billig, M.D., Randall, H.G., The Eye Book: A Complete Guide to Eye Disorders and Health (A Johns Hopkins Press Health Book), Paperback, April 3, 1998, ISBN-13: 978-0801858475
Eye Allergy, American College of Allergy Asthma and Immunology, Accessed 2015-01-10
Goldberg, S., Trattler, W, Ophthalmology Made Ridiculously Simple, Paperback – April 15, 2012
Torin Monahan. “Vision Control and Autonomy Constraints: Managed Care Confronts Alternative Medicine.” June 1998. Retrieved 2015-o1-10 publicsurveillance.com
What Is Allergic Conjunctivitis? What Causes Allergic Conjunctivitis?”. medicalnewstoday.com. Retrieved 2015-01-10.
This article is written by Jean Voice Dart, M.S. Special Education from Illinois State University. Jean is a published author and has written hundreds of health articles as well as hosting a local television program, “Making Miracles Happen.” She is a Registered Music Therapist, Sound Therapist, and Master Level Energetic Teacher, and is the Executive Director, founder and Health and Wellness Educator of the Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance. The Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance is a registered 501 (c) 3 nonprofit health and wellness education organization. For more information about the Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance contact us or visit our website at www.montereybayholistic.com. Images used in this article are free public domain from Pixabay.com or Publicdomainpictures.net Other images are credited.
Disclaimer: The Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance is a charitable, independent registered nonprofit 501(c)3 organization and does not endorse any particular products or practices. We exist as an educational organization dedicated to providing free access to health education resources, products and services. Claims and statements herein are for informational purposes only and have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The statements about organizations, practitioners, methods of treatment, and products listed on this website are not meant to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. This information is intended for educational purposes only. The MBHA strongly recommends that you seek out your trusted medical doctor or practitioner for diagnosis and treatment of any existing health condition.
WHAT IS IT?
Multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS), “environmental illness,” “environmental sensitivity,” or “idiopathic environmental intolerance” (IEI), each refer to a variety of symptoms experienced by people after exposure to chemical, biologic, or physical substances.
In 1996 the World Health Organization proposed using the phrase “idiopathic environmental intolerance” (IEI) instead of MCS, because many people attribute symptoms to environmental agents other than chemicals, such as food or electromagnetic forces. MCS or IEI is fairly common in the United States.
Cigarette smoke, food colorings, alcohol, paint, pesticides, gasoline, plastics, car exhaust fumes, shampoos, caffeine, turpentine, new carpeting, bleach, chemical food additives, household cleaners, fragrances, and newspaper ink are some of the most commonly reported triggers. These common triggers cause severe, debilitating reactions in a MCS/IEI patient whereas the average person might be mildly affected by these products or environmental conditions. Statistical studies show that 16% of people in California and New Mexico report that their IEI or MCS symptoms severely limit their ability to function on a daily basis. Some are unable to leave their homes because of the possibility of having a severe asthmatic reaction to someone wearing perfume in an elevator or at a movie theater, for example. Some cannot live in an apartment complex because of the gas heat, or because of neighbors who smoke cigarettes. Some are never unable to open their windows because of car exhaust or the gas fumes from neighborhood lawn mowers. Some cannot ever eat food prepared in public restaurants or packaged foods due to chemical food additives, resulting severe symptoms such as fainting or vomiting. This can lead to isolation and depression. Many have multiple combinations of environmental sensitivities, dramatically limiting their abilities to function.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS?
The symptoms of MCS/IEI vary from patient to patient but the most common symptoms are respiratory distress, dizziness, gastrointestinal problems, joint pain, fatigue and severe headache.
- burning eyes
- wheezing, breathlessness
- extreme fatigue/lethargy
- nausea, upset stomach
- memory problems
- runny nose (rhinitis)
- sore throat
- chronic cough
- skin rashes and or itching skin
- sensitivity to light & noise
- sensitivity and pain with heat or cold
- insomnia or sleeping disorders
- diarrhea or constipation
- sweating profusely or uncontrollable chills
- food sensitivities and/or irritable bowel syndrome
- muscle & joint pain
- trouble concentrating, foggy-headed
WHO IS MOST LIKELY TO EXPERIENCE MCS/IEI?
MCS/IEI can affect people of all ages. There appears to be a link between fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue syndrome patients and MCS/IEI patients. MCS/IEI patients and ME/CFS/CFIDS/PVFS (myalgic encephalomyelitis – chronic fatigue) patients have very similar symptoms. Because the symptoms are so similar, it is not easy for doctors to make an accurate diagnosis. When surveying a general population of people with CFS, it was determined that 14% of MCS patients also had CFS and 41% of CFS patients met criteria for MCS diagnosis.
People with a history of allergies, sinusitis, or food intolerances or sensitivities are more likely to experience MCS/IEI. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) patients also report worsening of allergies when exposed to chemicals and environmental triggers. This may be related to a CFS/MCS/IEI diagnosis.
Research studies show that Veterans of the Persian Gulf War and people diagnosed with Gulf War illnesses (GWI) report chemical sensitivities at a three-times higher rate than civilians or veterans who did not participate in the Gulf War, or non-deployed veterans. Those who were profoundly affected by hurricane Katrina and other natural disasters, also reported to have MCS/IEI symptoms. There may be a connection between post-traumatic stress disorder and MCS/IEI.
WHAT IS THE CAUSE OF MCS/IEI?
The cause of MCS/IEI is yet to be determined. Some believe that it is the result of an incident which resulted in toxic exposure from one particular source, and developed into what is known as “spreading.” “Spreading” is a phenomenon where the body becomes sensitive to other chemicals as a result of exposure to one chemical. This phenomenon is characteristic of veterans who have MCS/IEI and also diagnosed with Gulf War illness, or others who have had a traumatic event in their lives.
It is also believed that the MCS/IEI reaction can be a result of long-term exposure to toxic chemicals, such as those who work factories or live in heavily polluted city environments. It is also a possibility that MCS/IEI is a psychological reaction rather than a biochemical reaction although the symptoms can be quite debilitating, often resulting in the person living a completely isolated lifestyle. It is also possible that MCS/IEI is an autoimmune disorder. More research is needed to determine the cause.
Some researchers believe that MCS/IEI is a misdiagnosis for another disorder. More than half of 54 people from one MCS study were mistakenly diagnosed with MCS, and instead were determined to have a somatoform disorder or panic disorder. Migraine, anxiety disorder, lupus, postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome or other forms of orthostatic intolerance, hay fever and other allergies, hypercalcemia, hypothyroidism, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, or mast cell activation diseases such as mastocytosis, or any disease or condition where symptoms can be triggered by environmental toxins, chemicals or inhalants, could be possible reasons for a MCS/IEI misdiagnosis.
DIAGNOSIS OF MCS/IEI
The definition of MCS /IEI was established by researchers and clinicians in 1999. Specific symptoms are not listed in the criteria, however respiratory symptoms, gastrointestinal symptoms, fatigue, weakness, and headaches are most common. The following six criteria must be present for a person to be diagnosed with MCS/IEI:
- The symptoms are reproducible with repeated exposure to the same chemical.
- The condition is chronic.
- Low levels of exposure (lower than previously or commonly tolerated) result in manifestations of the syndrome.
- The symptoms improve or resolve when the incitants (irritating agent such as a virus, bacterium, prion, gas, or fungus) are removed.
- Responses occur to multiple chemically unrelated substances.
- Symptoms involve multiple organ systems (most commonly the neurological, immune, respiratory, skin, gastrointestinal and musculoskeletal).
CONTROVERSY ABOUT MCS/IEI
The International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD), maintained by the World Health Organization, does not recognize MCS or environmental sensitivity as a valid diagnosis. The American Medical Association (AMA) has stated that MCS is not recognized as an established organic disease. The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology, the California Medical Association, the American College of Physicians, and the International Society of Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology also do not recognize it as a medical diagnosis or disease.
However, In 1997, U.S. Social Security Administration Commissioner John Callahan issued a court memorandum officially recognizing MCS “as a medically determinable impairment.” The SSA agrees that some MCS patients are too disabled to be meaningfully employed.
IS MCS/IEI ACCEPTED UNDER THE AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT?
The ADA does not list particular disabilities accepted under the Americans with Disabilities Act, however, some people with MCS/EI will have a disability under the ADA and some will not, depending on the severity of their symptoms. If a person’s MCS/IEI is disabling, then the employer is required by law to make accommodations. For more information about how to determine whether a person has a disability under the ADA, and suggestions as to how to work with your employer to modify your working environment, visit the Job Accommodations Network.
TREATMENT AND LIFESTYLE CHANGES
Lifestyle changes are the primary treatment for most MCS/IEI sufferers. A 2003 survey of 917 MCS patients concluded that the two most effective treatments for MCS were a chemical-free living space and chemical avoidance. Prayer and meditation also were recommended choices. Of those who tried Zoloft, prescription medication, two-thirds of patients reported it as being harmful, along with other pharmaceutical drugs and chemical, unnatural solutions.
Nutritional or dietary changes, including vitamin or herbal supplements, can also be beneficial. Many people with MCS/IEI with dietary restrictions might eliminate whole categories of foods (dairy, for example, or meat). A trusted nutritionist or healthcare practitioner can work with the patient to review and plan a diet with optimal nutrition.
In addition to meditation, dietary and lifestyle changes, some patients suffering from MCS/IEI symptoms have found acupuncture, chiropractic treatment, or yoga to be effective methods for relieving respiratory, anxiety, nausea, and pain symptoms and promoting relaxation.
However, the primary treatment remains to take action to modify the living environment and avoid MCS/IEI triggers. The following modifications may be effective:
- Vacuum pillows, beds, chairs, etc. weekly, with a HEPA filter vacuum, change the filter regularly
- Wash sheets and blankets weekly in hot water (130°F [54°C]) and dry in a hot dryer.
- Cover mattresses and pillowcases with airtight allergen-proof covers.
- Replace comforters and pillows made from natural materials (such as down, feathers, or cotton) with those made from synthetic fibers.
- Avoid wall-to-wall carpeting (especially in the bedroom) as much as possible. If you have it, be sure to vacuum often.
- Throw out all products with chemical fragrances (perfumes, cleaning supplies, shampoo, etc.)
- Buy only natural, fragrance-free products
- Close all open gaps in windows, floorboards, doors, and around drains.
- Fix and seal leaky water faucets and pipes because roaches need water and humidity to survive.
- Always keep food in airtight containers.
- Remove pet food dishes after pets have eaten.
- Keep stove and kitchen surfaces free of food and dirt.
- Use an air-purifier with a HEPA filter
- Throw out all food products with food additive and chemicals
- Do not use processed oils
- Wash all fresh fruits and vegetables before eating
- Do not eat packaged foods.
- Remove any curtains, carpeting, or wallpaper that show visible evidence of mold.
- Install exhaust fans in the kitchen and bathroom.
- Use dehumidifiers in damp areas such as the basement, and hire others to clean this regularly
- Avoid storing clothing in damp areas.
- Do not carpet damp or concrete floors, use wooden floors or tile floors only, if possible
- Do not use gas stoves or gas heating, use electric
- Do not use synthetic, plastic or man-made fibers in clothing or blankets.
- Use a solution of 1 part bleach and 20 parts water to clean areas with mold.
- Do not frequent any locations that allow smoking.
- Avoid areas with fresh paint fumes.
- Avoid the fumes of strong cleaning products.
- Avoid perfumes and aerosols.
- Use masks if needing to go around airport terminals, bus stations or train stations, or hire others to help you.
- Hire others to help you with raking, mowing, blowing leaves, gardening and cleaning the garage, yard or home.
- Close windows and stay indoors (with air conditioning) when necessary, using air purifiers.
- Have an air quality test performed by an industrial hygiene professional to assess poor air quality, dust, mold or mildew accumulation, VOC concentration, etc.
- Buy indoor exercise equipment to keep physically fit rather than participating in outdoor activities
- Make your home a pleasant enjoyable place where you can meet your needs and best care for yourself in comfort.
Principles and Methods for Assessing Autoimmunity Associated With Exposure to Chemicals: Environmental Health Criteria 236 – ehc236.pdf. World Health Organization (WHO)
Watanabe M, Tonori H and Aizawa Y, “Multiple chemical sensitivities and idiopathic environmental intolerance” (part one), Department of Preventive Medicine and Public Health, Kitasato University School of Medicine, 1-15-1 Kitasato, 228-8555 Sagamihara, Kanagawa, Japan, Environ Health Prev Med, v.7(6); Jan 2003, PMC2723465
Watanabe M, Tonori H and Aizawa Y, “Multiple chemical sensitivities and idiopathic environmental intolerance” (part two), Department of Preventive Medicine and Public Health, Kitasato University School of Medicine, 1-15-1 Kitasato, 228-8555 Sagamihara, Kanagawa, Japan, Environ Health Prev Med, v.7(6); Jan 2003, PMC2723466
Meggs WJ, Dunn KA, Bloch RM, et al. Prevalence and nature of allergy and chemical sensitivity in a general population. Arch Environ Health 1996; 51:275.
Kreutzer R, Neutra RR, Lashuay N. Prevalence of people reporting sensitivities to chemicals in a population-based survey. Am J Epidemiol. 1999;150:1-12.
Fukuda K, Nisenbaum R, Stewart G, et al. Chronic multisymptom illness affecting Air Force veterans of the Gulf War. JAMA. 1998;280:981-8.
Jason LA, Taylor RR, Kennedy CL. Chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia and multiple chemical sensitivities in a community-based sample of persons with chronic fatigue syndrome-like symptoms. Psychosom Med. 2000;62:655-63.
Bailer J, Witthöft M, Rist F. Psychological predictors of short- and medium term outcome in individuals with idiopathic environmental intolerance (IEI) and individuals with somatoform disorders. J Toxicol Environ Health A 2008; 71:766.
Sparks PJ, Daniell W, Black DW, et al. Multiple chemical sensitivity syndrome: a clinical perspective. I. Case definition, theories of pathogenesis, and research needs. J Occup Med 1994; 36:718.
Levin AS, Byers VS. Environmental illness: a disorder of immune regulation. Occup Med 1987; 2:669.
Black, DW., Temple S, “Overview of idiopathic environmental intolerance (multiple chemical sensitivity)”
This article is written by Jean Voice Dart, M.S. Special Education from Illinois State University. Jean is a published author and has written hundreds of health articles as well as hosting a local television program, “Making Miracles Happen.” She is a Registered Music Therapist, Sound Therapist, and Master Level Energetic Teacher, and is the Executive Director, founder and Health and Wellness Educator of the Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance. The Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance is a registered 501 (c) 3 nonprofit health and wellness education organization. For more information about the Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance contact us or visit our website at www.montereybayholistic.com.
Disclaimer:The Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance is a charitable, independent registered nonprofit 501(c)3 organization and does not endorse any particular products or practices. We exist as an educational organization dedicated to providing free access to health education resources, products and services. Claims and statements herein are for informational purposes only and have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The statements about organizations, practitioners, methods of treatment, and products listed on this website are not meant to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. This information is intended for educational purposes only. The MBHA strongly recommends that you seek out your trusted medical doctor or practitioner for diagnosis and treatment of any existing health condition.
What is Sinusitis?
Sinusitis afflicts millions of Americans each year. According to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, sinusitis “simply means your sinuses are inflamed, red and swollen, because of an infection or another problem.” Sinusitis can be very irritating to deal with and women are more likely than men to be diagnosed with the infection. Sinusitis affects people from the very young to the very old.
Acute sinusitis can last up to 4 weeks and chronic sinusitis can last more than 12 weeks and persist for months or years after the initial symptoms. The illness can be caused by several factors including viruses, bacteria, allergies, airborne chemicals and a weak immune system.
What are the Symptoms of Sinusitis?
According to the Center of Disease Control and Prevention, those diagnosed with sinusitis usually suffer from the following symptoms:
• Nasal Congestion
• Sore throat
• Pain between the eyes
• Post-nasal drip
Why Consider Not Using Antibiotics or Decongestants?
Many people who suffer from acute or chronic sinusitis typically take antibiotics or decongestants to treat and alleviate the symptoms of the illness. Since people usually recuperate from acute sinusitis with time, taking antibiotics can be detrimental to their short-term and long-term health. Children and adults who take antibiotics when it is not necessary may suffer stomach pain, nausea and diarrhea. The human body can also become resistant to certain kinds of antibiotics if taken too frequently.
How Can Sinusitis Be Treated Naturally?
Natural home remedies can greatly help alleviate the symptoms associated with sinusitis. Getting an abundance of rest may increase chances of a speedy recovery. Drinking plenty of fluids such as water and juice and avoiding drinking beverages with caffeine and alcohol will boost the immune system.
Rinsing out the nasal passages with a neti pot using sterile, distilled warm water will help clear the sinuses. A saline solution should be used. Saline packets are generally provided with the neti pot if a commercial brand is purchased. If distilled water is unavailable, water should be boiled and then cooled to a comfortable, warm temperature. Cool or room temperature water should never be used, because this can cause headache pain, and a neti pot should never be used with tap water because of the harmful chemicals. Care should be taken to tip the head, so that the water drains out safely from the other nostril. A netipot is very effective in cleaning out the mucous from the nasal passages and removing infection. The netipot also prevents sinus infections and allergic reactions if one has been exposed to allergens.
Steam has been used for many years to clear the sinuses. Boil water, place in a bowl, and create a “tent” with a towel over your head. You may add essential oils such as mint, lemon, or garlic. Breathe in the steam to loosen the mucous in the nasal passages. Repeat as often as necessary.
Quercitin has been found to be effective in helping to fight sinusitis. According to Deborahann Smith of Gaiam Life, “Quercetin is an anti-inflammatory and immune-boosting bioflavonoid found in the skin of red onions and apples. It helps decrease mucus production and swelling by blocking the release of histamine from immune cells.”Quercetin can be found in many fruits and vegetables such as cranberries, blueberries, kale, watercress and broccoli.”
Vitamin C and Vitamin E supplements will support the enhancement of the immune system. Covering the face with a warm towel will decrease facial pain associated with sinusitis and reduce inflammation in the nasal passages.
Acupuncture or acupressure uses pressure points on the body to work with sinusitis. According to Michael Reed Gach, PhD, “to relieve your upper or frontal sinuses, use B2, located at the bridge of your nose. This mental stress point is located in the indentation of your upper eye socket, where the bridge of the nose meets the ridge of your eyebrows. To open the maxillary sinuses in the cheek, use the foremost acupressure points for the sinuses: LI20 and St3, underneath your eyes, just below your cheekbones. Use gentle pressure. These points are safe and useful to teach to people of all ages, children and adults.” Reflexology sinus points are located at the tips of each finger and toe. Gently massage the fingertips and toes to relieve sinus pressure and pain.
Sinusitis is a common infection that affects many people. It can be treated with proper treatment at home without having to take unnecessary antibiotics.
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases – Sinusitis
Center for Disease Control and Prevention – Sinus Infections
Mayo Clinic – Acute Sinusitis
Gaiam Life: Your Guide to Better Living – Natural Remedies for Sinusitis
Acupressure Points for Sinus Infection – Michael Reed Gach, PhD
This article is written by Hang Pham, Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance Health and Wellness Educator. Hang Pham was born in Hoc Mon, Vietnam. She came to America in 1994, becoming a U.S. citizen in 2011. Hang graduated from Seaside High School with diploma and received her AA in General Studies from Monterey Peninsula College in 2011. She received her BA in Collaborative Health and Human Services from California State University Monterey Bay (CSUMB) in 2012. In addition to working as a volunteer staff with the Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance, she currently works as a Clerical Aid in the Human Resources Department of Salinas City Hall. To find out more about our Health Educators, or to apply as a Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance writer or volunteer, visit our website at www.montereybayholistic.com
The Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance is a charitable, independent registered nonprofit 501 (c) 3 organization and does not endorse any particular products or practices. We exist as an educational organization dedicated to providing free access to health education resources, products and services. Claims and statements herein are for informational purposes only and have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The statements about organizations, practitioners, methods of treatment, and products listed on this website are not meant to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. This information is intended for educational purposes only. The MBHA strongly recommends that you seek out your trusted medical doctor or practitioner for diagnosis and treatment of any existing health condition.