Re: Heal Me

1

Magnets in your shoes.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 05-10-09 11:01 PM
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IANAD but it sounds like maybe you are not getting completely cured and that is why the infections keep coming back. You are taking all the pills when you get a prescription, right?


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 05-10-09 11:06 PM
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What about them Neti Boats? I hear good things.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-10-09 11:07 PM
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I have had an almost constant sinus infection/bronchitis for the last five months. I seem to go on 4-6 week cycles of getting a sinus infection that progresses to bronchitis and will only clear up once I break down and get a prescription for antibiotics. I'm tired of not being able to breathe and constantly taking to my sickbed like some Victorian lady with consumption.

And this is an unusually good winter for you? What the hell are the bad ones like?


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 05-10-09 11:11 PM
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3: Indeed. For a low, low price, you get a one-way trip to Healthy Sinusland! Sadly, your cabin is below decks and you must eat all your meals at the same table with a bunch of strangers who are very boring and who have much worse sinus problems than you do. But hey, Julie the cruise director is cute as hell!


Posted by: NCProsecutor | Link to this comment | 05-10-09 11:12 PM
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Whenever I get a cold, like I did last month, I get over all the symptoms really fast except for blowing my nose a lot in the morning and coughing up a tiny amount of phlegm once every hour throughout the day. That seems to be almost entirely gone now, but it's really really unattractive.

This happens about once or twice a year. If twice, that's like 1/6 of my life I spend coughing up tiny amounts of phlegm. It's gross. I don't take anything really, ever, unless I am truly horribly miserable. Maybe I should look into it.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 05-10-09 11:14 PM
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3: Joking aside, I'm a big fan of the neti pot, but it's not for everyone. eekbeat didn't like it, and prefers a different form of nasal irrigation where you use a squeeze bottle up one nostril and the water comes out the other nostril.

Either way, it seems salt water going up there helps. And yes, a week or so ago, I was really having a go of it. Neti potting like every four hours for a couple weeks straight.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 05-10-09 11:19 PM
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3, 7: Yeah, seriously, I've heard good things, too. I just can't bear the thought of doing it, but it's certainly worth a try -- especially given what you've endured.


Posted by: NCProsecutor | Link to this comment | 05-10-09 11:26 PM
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I've done makeshift netipotting at home to relieve aching sinuses. Really does help.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 05-10-09 11:34 PM
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9: As I've been lame about posting lately, I'll refer to an old post about makeshift neti potting.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 05-10-09 11:49 PM
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I found the neti pot gives me excrutiating headaches. Not every time I use it, and sometimes it's really helpful, but when it does cause a headache it's one of those 'omg, I want to die' ones.

If you're getting constant sinus infections you may need proper investigation. One of my relatives has similar issues -- ongoing for years -- and it cleared up when she had some small polyps removed from her sinuses. I think she's had it done twice as they came back the first time. Basically, the polyps were causing an obstruction that was leading to blockages and infections.

That kind of cycle just doesn't sound remotely natural unless there's something explicable at the root of it.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 05-11-09 12:07 AM
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You know, of all the medical specialties, i think being a general practicioner would be the hardest, because you have to do the diagnosis, and not miss anything that is actually way serious. And this really seems like the tricky part of health care - just when are nagging issues actually something important, and when is it the classic "give my kid antibiotics for his headcold". Which is to say, since i don't know much beyond psychopharmacology, the main thing i'd say is sufficient vitamin d might be important (both improving lung function directly, and improving immune system ability to stop infection) - either real going to the beach/or at least tank top/shorts in the midday sun during the summer, or 2-5k d3 gelcaps/day. I wish i could find the youtube of borat doing the 'is your kid sickly pale and stying inside all the time listening to indie-rock'. maybe go to an ENT doc, it sounds like your current doc doesn't have anything popping up on her radar for your symptoms.



Posted by: yoyo | Link to this comment | 05-11-09 12:18 AM
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Have you been tested for allergies? I had what I thought was a year-long cold in the head that just wouldn't go away, and it turned out that what I have is a dust/dust mites allergy.


Posted by: Jesurgislac | Link to this comment | 05-11-09 12:52 AM
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As Yoyo said, get thee to a specialist. If you only go to your GP when the sinus problem progresses to bronchitis, the underlying cause of infection may not actually be being treated correctly. Different infections require different antibiotics for differing periods of time. The chief danger of so-so treatment is that it's the strongest beasties that survive, meaning that it gets harder to knock out subsequent infections.

Re: dogs, dust and Flophousing: Pool your pennies and get a HEPA -filter equipped vacuum. Does wonders.


Posted by: DominEditrix | Link to this comment | 05-11-09 12:59 AM
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I start taking a pelargonium extract as soon as I get any sinus problems. I find that it helps me. It sounds like your problems may be more severe, but it couldn't hurt to try.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 05-11-09 4:50 AM
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Wash your hands, wash your hands, wash your hands. Seriously. My fall was what your winter sounds like, and by January I was begging my best friend, who's a doctor, for something I could do to stop getting sick. She told me to take multivitamin, get plenty of sleep, but most importantly: wash my hands like a crazy woman.

And it only counts if you scrub for at least 30 seconds--easily timed by singing the alphabet song, including the "now I know my ABCs" part, in your head.

Wash your hands or use hand sanitizer until your co-workers think you have OCD. I started the crazy handwashing in January, and haven't been sick since, despite many co-workers with colds and one with the flu.


Posted by: Roadrunner | Link to this comment | 05-11-09 5:15 AM
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I too think you should visit a specialist. One thing to be checked for is a deviated septum. Mine is slightly deviated (see under fruit, low-hanging) and contributed to running battles with sinusitis (escalating at times to bronchitis/pneumonia) the whole time I swam competitively. In my case, not sticking my face into the chemical stew for multiple hours a day greatly reduced the problem so I never got the septum corrected. (I think at the time they broke your nose to do so, it looks as though there are less drastic measures available now.) But unless you had your nose broken within the last year (which I suspect you would have mentioned), a pre-existing deviated septum would probably only be a contributing aggravant to an underlying cause (as in my case).


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05-11-09 5:39 AM
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Becks, a friend of mind kept getting really bad sinus infections just like you. She ended up actually having some kind of surgery, as well as some kind of vaccine, I think? Now she neti-pots the hell out of her nose and I think she only got briefly sick once this last winter. Which, compared to the winter before of being sick for 4 months straight, was quite an improvement.


Posted by: m. leblanc | Link to this comment | 05-11-09 5:43 AM
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I experienced this when I was 17-18. It turned out to be a deviated septum that was causing blockage which led to chronic infections. A single (albeit unpleasant) surgery fixed it and I've had, I think, one sinus infection in the 2 decades since then.

I'd recommend seeing a specialist. That's what finally took care of it for me. The GP just kept giving me antibiotics.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 05-11-09 6:10 AM
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One more otolaryngologist suggestion. If that's not it, is there a way to remove animal hair from your life for a month to see if that helps?


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 05-11-09 6:28 AM
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I agree with all of the people advising you to hie to a doctor.

That said, a number of people have told me that this spring is particularly bad for allergies; people who had thought that their allergies had mostly subsided are breaking out their inhalers.

Secondly, dude, the Flophouse cannot be the most sanitary place in the world. Dust makes me itchy on the inside, and a thorough vacuuming helps---for me. Another possible culprit is mildew. I did a photo shoot in the famous Chelsea Hotel a month or so ago, and the place was a superfund: within an hour or two we were all feeling the effects of mildew or mold: a kind of sick-feeling head-swelling, sneezing, itchy throats. If that's the problem, I really don't know how you would clean to get rid of it. Maybe a HEPA filter would help.

Lastly, damn, I'm sorry Becks.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 05-11-09 6:31 AM
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16: Possibly you could have too much of a good thing there - some allergic sensitivities are linked to hand washing, apparently.

I've found that things like rhinitis and sinusitis, dusty / mouldy environments, lack of money, lack of good sleep and general low mood are not as distinct and dissimilar as one might have thought; instead, they're bound up together in an alliance of obviously crappy intent, albeit one mysterious in its origins.

Ultimately, if it is a household allergen - say mould - that's aggravating things, you might want to move house.


Posted by: Charlie | Link to this comment | 05-11-09 7:01 AM
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Poor Becks!

I find personally that a neti-pot (or squeeze bottle) works wonders for allergies but not as well once things have progressed to a sinus infection as everything was too blocked up to do any good. But if you're in between sinus infections at the moment, using the neti-pot might help prevent them. Hot soup with cayenne pepper also seems to help clear congestion for me.

The Flophouse likely needs to be cleaner, if only to give your respiratory system break. I have a cat and cat allergies (whee failure of practical rationality!) but regular vacuuming keeps the worst of it away. "Regular" here might mean "daily" in the common areas. (Sorry, whoseever dog it is.)


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 05-11-09 8:15 AM
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You should swim more. Pools are a great way to clear you out.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 05-11-09 9:06 AM
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Get yourself to an otorhinolaryngologist. Those guys have more syllables than anyone.


Posted by: unimaginative | Link to this comment | 05-11-09 9:17 AM
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Some people here are awfully quick to blame the DFHs. Probably they mean Ackerman.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 05-11-09 9:26 AM
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There is something going around DC . . . It starts as a sore throat, leads to alot of phlegm and coughing, and won't go away. Seth Roberts seems to think that lots of fermented food is good for fighting off colds and infections . . . pickles, kombucha, kimchi, beer, wine, stinky cheeses, yogurt. More bacteria leads to more immunity from bacteria. Conversely, antibiotics lead to more infections.

http://www.blog.sethroberts.net/2009/05/10/antibiotics-associated-with-later-infection/


Posted by: bjk | Link to this comment | 05-11-09 9:27 AM
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Feces contain more bacteria than anything. Take Seth's food advice.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 05-11-09 9:33 AM
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I have exactly what bjk describes. The ENT suggestions are all good. I should suck it up and do that. I had sinus surgery when I was in HS that was supposed to take care of this (I did have a deviated septum). Maybe I need a touch up or something.


Posted by: Becks | Link to this comment | 05-11-09 9:40 AM
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(hope not. That was a miserable surgery. Also, they perforated my septum, making me whistle loudly when I breathed. Drove my college roommate nuts. They had to go back in and fix it.)


Posted by: Becks | Link to this comment | 05-11-09 9:42 AM
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Yeah, but that's the easy way out, Becks. If you prefer, I could freak you out again by suggesting you have another rare genetic disorder.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05-11-09 9:43 AM
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HEPA air filters will keep a room free of a lot of dust. I had bad allergies in the central valley of California.

Also, you should go to a doctor.

Folk wisdom stuff:

My godmother takes this fermented yeast stuff called Diamond V. You can buy the human version as a supplement called Epicor which is made by Embria health sciences. Vitacost sells it for less than anyone else. It's supposed to be a natural immune system balancer.

Diamond V is something that is added to animal feed. The company discovered that their employees who worked in the plant had significantly lower rates of health claims than those who worked in the offices. They started doing some testing, though of course as a supplement they have to say that the statements haven't been evaluated by the FDA.

Some people just buy the animal stuff, because it's much cheaper.

My godmother said it was the only thing that cured a bad sinus infection, and she's had no colds in the year and a half that she's been taking it whereas she used to have at least a few.

When I have more money, I want to start taking it. I dropped the fish oil supplements because of cost.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 05-11-09 9:53 AM
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32 was I.

I'd be interested if any of the scientists who read here could look over their claims. My view is that B vitamins and amino acids can't hurt you even if they don't help.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 05-11-09 10:00 AM
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Not fun, Becks. ms bill had something very similar this winter for about two months. Her internist gave her a course of antibiotics on what seemed to me to be a hunch, and the meds didn't help. She attributes her eventual cure to: more attention to good diet, use of the neti pot, and 8 hours of sleep most nights. I still think seeing a slightly more clued-in doc is a good idea.


Posted by: bill | Link to this comment | 05-11-09 10:25 AM
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Have you seen a doc? Gotten tested for allergies and/or asthma? Because like everyone else, I think a doctor is a better person to ask about this problem than the mineshaft.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 05-11-09 10:56 AM
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I've found doctors to be often useless . . . I had a rash on my leg (tmi?) and flaxseed cured it almost immediately. The dermatologist offered steroids, but who wants to take steroids? But you can't write a prescription for flaxseed oil.


Posted by: bjk | Link to this comment | 05-11-09 11:01 AM
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I think a doctor is a better person to ask about this problem than the mineshaft

Crazy talk! Are you new to the internet? *Everyone* knows better than doctors.


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 05-11-09 11:02 AM
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but who wants to take steroids?

A partial list.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 05-11-09 11:08 AM
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Well, I've never been shy about seeing doctors (and I'm no big fan of 'alternative' therapies) but doctors do seem to be much more in their element where the diagnosis unfolds along a known path and where certain specific tests give strong confirmation. When it comes to vague, chronic complaints with multiple potential 'causes' they're not so helpful, in my experience. Mention that you're having poor sleep, for instance, and they'll try to talk you into an SSRI prescription.


Posted by: Charlie | Link to this comment | 05-11-09 11:22 AM
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36: At the risk of humorlessness, I imagine the referent was corticosteroids (anti-inflammatory) which are pretty different from anabolic steroids.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 05-11-09 11:26 AM
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39: If you talk about poor sleep enough, they may send you for a sleep study, though usually they like you to exhaust the psych route first. Most sleep doctors don't like how often meds are prescribed.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 05-11-09 11:35 AM
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If it ends up being a matter of boosting your immune system (you're washing hands, using the neti, getting enough sleep, cleaning your home thoroughly), you might like Integrative Therapeutics EHB (Echinacea, Hydrastine, Berberine). It's a Naturopathic product with herbs and vitamins. It's disintegrated every cold or infection I've ever had, within a day if I catch it at the onset. I'm an acupuncturist, so this is promoting my competition, btw. I think everyone should have a bottle of this in their medicine cabinet.


Posted by: AK | Link to this comment | 05-11-09 11:38 AM
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29: Maybe I need a touch up or something.

Worth a look, I recall that it was something they were hesitant to do too early because of continued growth. This procedure is not generally performed on minors, because the cartilaginous septum grows until around age 18.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05-11-09 11:43 AM
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Well, I've never been shy about seeing doctors (and I'm no big fan of 'alternative' therapies) but doctors do seem to be much more in their element where the diagnosis unfolds along a known path and where certain specific tests give strong confirmation.


Agreed. Chronic problems or problems that don't show up in the usual way can make things challenging for the doctor.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 05-11-09 11:49 AM
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Have you been tested for allergies?

I recently discovered Zyrtec, which has done me a world of good - cured a persistent cough in addition to clearing out my head. (Is there an unfogged prohibition of brand names? There probably should be, but the stuff really did help me, and I think there's a generic version.)

At the risk of further sounding like a commercial, I also didn't have any of the unpleasant side effects that I associate with antihistamines.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 05-11-09 12:42 PM
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You don't want to take echinacea, though, if you think you may have a ragweed allergy. (I won't take echinacea for that reason, though the potential reactions are a lot scarer than I realized.)


Posted by: Magpie | Link to this comment | 05-11-09 1:44 PM
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45: Zyrtec and I had a love affair, and it was was OTC in France before it was here so I would stock up . . . until I connected my freakishly vivid nightmares to my Zyrtec habit. They are in fact a symptom. So now me and Allegra have a thing.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 05-11-09 1:51 PM
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I would like to add my voice to the chorus of people praising the neti pot. The Neti Pot: It changed my life.


Posted by: Chris (non-bald) | Link to this comment | 05-11-09 1:54 PM
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Zyrtec (cetirizine) is available generically. Bit of possibly useful information: Zyrtec and Zantac (ranitidine) combined is remarkably effective at curing hives.


Posted by: zadfrack | Link to this comment | 05-11-09 1:58 PM
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I have not yet partaken of neti pot. However, I was alarmed to see a "neti pot massage" listed among the spa offerings at a hotel we stayed at recently. I am pretty darn sure I don't want another person pouring salt water up my nose as part of any backrub experience.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 05-11-09 2:00 PM
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pouring salt water up my nose

We did NOT torture prisoners. We simply gave them neti pot massages, followed by lemon chicken dinners in an air-conditioned room.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05-11-09 2:08 PM
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i've read that some blogs welcome doctors or medical students as commenters...


Posted by: bill | Link to this comment | 05-11-09 2:15 PM
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doctors do seem to be much more in their element where the diagnosis unfolds along a known path and where certain specific tests give strong confirmation.

Sure, but internet comment threads do a better job of diagnosing weird chronic health problems?


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 05-11-09 2:23 PM
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I didn't think Becks was asking for a diagnosis, and she's already seeing a doctor (and the advice "you should see a doctor" *is* advice that the Internet can be good at.)


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 05-11-09 2:54 PM
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Whatever you do, don't take any cold medicine that includes both an antihistamine and a decongestant. A surprisingly large number of cold medicines have these two ingredients. Apparently it's just a stupid combination.


Posted by: Molly | Link to this comment | 05-11-09 4:05 PM
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A surprisingly large number of cold medicines have these two ingredients.

Like NyQuil! I miss the old pseudoephedrine-laden NyQuil. Why is it a bad combination?


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 05-11-09 4:09 PM
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A doctor that I saw once explained it to me. My understanding of his explanation is that antihistamines are for allergy-like symptoms. When you have constant watery runny nose and you just want to stop having to blow your nose every 5 seconds, an antihistamine will dry the snot up. Decongestants are for when you're, well, congested. They thin out the mucus so that it can come out of your sinuses. So they're doing completely opposite things. I also have a clear memory of the doctor waving at his sinus area and referring to this combination as "mucking things up in there." (Fortunately he did not gesture at my sinus area, I was feeling so sick I may have hurt him.) The baffling thing is that if this is really obvious medical information, then why do 90% of cold medicines have antihistamine decongestant combinations? Maybe these drugs together (in combination with the cold that I had to begin with) don't make everyone flat-on-your-back sick, as they did me.


Posted by: Molly | Link to this comment | 05-11-09 5:57 PM
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OK, but what if you have itchy eyes/sneezy type allergy symptoms (which the antihistamines counter) and are also congested as a motherfucker? because my allergies involve that double whammy: congestion, in fact, is my biggest season allergy problem--head like a concrete balloon.....


Posted by: lurker | Link to this comment | 05-11-09 8:02 PM
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Longtime sinus sufferer. Sometimes I think my problems have been purely physiological, other times I'm convinced they were related to stress.

Have to agree with suggestions re HEPA filter:good for both dust and mold. Also with using a humidifier in the winter especially if you have forced air heat, as dry air killed my sinues.

But big thing for me was food allergies. I eventually was able to dientify some foods that pretty consistently caused my sinuses to balloon, and some of those times when other crap was going on, the food allergy kicked sinus swellng and sensitivty into high gear and the problem stayed long after the residues from the food were out of my system.


Posted by: Middle Aged Man | Link to this comment | 05-11-09 8:11 PM
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hrm. Look it's a lurker party! Sorry I don't have any real medical information lurker. It's possible the doctor was just saying that in my case taking these drugs was bad, since it caused a sinus infection for my own personal sinuses. YSMV.


Posted by: Molly | Link to this comment | 05-11-09 9:11 PM
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57: Antihistimines block the inflammation, swelling, and general over-activity of the mucus membranes and decongestants work by constricting the capillaries. So, they're not working antagonistically. The main problems are that antihistimines make people drowsy and the decongestants raise blood pressure. There can be other side effects too.

Once you're in a full allergic response an antihistimine won't work very quickly while a decongestant will.

Given it's so easy to buy and use one, the other, or both as needed for the symptoms, I don't see any need for the combinations. Everyone reacts differently to these so experimentation is good.


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 05-11-09 10:10 PM
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It's your own (post-nasal) drip, but it's suggested that you do stay away from the brown antihistamines.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 05-11-09 10:14 PM
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Everyone reacts differently to these so experimentation is good.

This is the important instruction.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05-11-09 10:18 PM
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One pill blocks the swelling
and one pill slows the blood


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05-11-09 10:22 PM
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Fish oil shouldn't be expensive. look at bulknutrition.com if its just a location thing

I'm not really sure how effective or even researched various bacterial products are for altering immune system function. thought things like washing hands and not using the same river for sewage and drinking are big advances, if you want microbes, go roll around in some dirt (no ticks, plseas)

If the neti pot thign helps, N-acetyl cysteine might too, its a mucalytic, so a little different from guaifenesin.

then there are the adrenergic things. first one was original use of amphetamine. also ephedrine, pseudoephedrine. i think beta2 adrenoceptors also inhibit histamine release.

AFAIK, antihistamines work for congestion by reducing the allergic reaction, which increases mucus to wash out the cause. also vasoconstriction, not sure how important that is.

as far as mold - you wouldn't necessarily have to move, if you don't live in an appartment, you could use an ozone generator to destroy the problem. i don't know how you'd convince a landlord to do this, since you'd probably need the people in adjoining apartments to stay out for a few hours. not a cheap option though...an air filter might be more practical


Posted by: yoyo | Link to this comment | 05-12-09 2:38 AM
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