Allergy– In early spring when the flowering trees such as the bradford pear or redbud break out into bloom, pollen counts are already going up. This seems to fall around Valentine’s Day each year on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Remember, allergy can manifest itself in many ways, such as fatigue or sleep disturbances, and not just runny noses.
Late spring is often a time of little rain on the coast. The lack of rain in any region leads to a build-up of small airborne particles in the air. This unfortunately leads to illness in our airways, the nose, sinuses, and lungs. This can also bother our eyes and aggravate our allergies or asthma. Over the counter nasal saline can help cleanse the nasal lining, reducing the inflammation in the nasal and sinus passages.
Lawn and Garden Work- Although working in the yard after a trip to the nursery can be very rewarding, it can occasionally lead to a head cold, or worse. Sinus infections often follow mowing the lawn, planting, and other general gardening activities. However, the benefits to our health from this low stress, physical activity and the visual satisfaction of a manicured yard are great.
To avoid the ill effects of mold (dirt) and pollen (grass, trees) exposure, the frequent use of over the counter nasal saline can help cleanse the nasal lining, reducing the inflammation in the nasal and sinus passages and conserve energy. A mask is better for very allergic people.
Summer Seasonal Health Tips
Sun Exposure- Large doses of sun can lead to many problems for children, and even adults. In addition to the obvious consequences of too much sun, sunburn, there are other less recognized effects from too much sun.
Our immune system is suppressed by excessive sun exposure. The sun penetrates the skin and damages the cells of immunity circulating in the underlying blood vessels. Fever blisters, for instance, occur after excessive sun exposure (or excessive stress), because the body’s immune system is temporarily unable to contain the dormant infection.
A good layer of water resistant sunscreen designed for children is essential. Studies have shown that a severe sunburn as a child has been associated with the development of skin cancer later in life.
Fall Seasonal Health Tips
School Begins– The Fall season brings the return of school and the return of many community acquired illnesses. In our office we usually see teachers and children who have had a relatively illness free summer, come in with strept throat, or viral head colds from their exposures to others at school. Parents also come down with these conditions as they interact with their children. As always, the basic infection prevention tips, especially hand washing, can make the difference between sickness and health.
Winter Seasonal Health Tips
Cold and Dehydration- Many of the winter conditions that make us seek primary care or ear, nose and throat care is due to the weather’s affect on our body. Our nasal lining, lungs, and body tissues have to deal with the stress that cold and dry weather places on our body. To read an extensive review and illness prevention guide for cold weather, go to “How not to Get Sick” (LINK)
Light deprivation and depression- Initially recognized about twenty years ago by an astute observer and the National Institute for Mental Health, seasonal affective disorder, or SAD, is now a clinical diagnosis. It is estimated that 10 to 15 million Americans experience a form of depression that occurs in seasons with less daylight.
The lack of sunlight in the shorter winter days had been proven to be the cause. This is yet another example of our environment affecting brain function, energy utilization and health. Most interestingly, the treatment is light! So get outside on those sunny days and soak up that uplifting sunlight. For more information on the SAD, go to Weather and Health (link)