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Ongoing sinus & allergy problems...

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  • Ongoing sinus & allergy problems...

    This weekend, I came down with yet another stuffy head. Went to the doctor yesterday and yep, it's another sinus infection. More correctly, probably the same one that I had the beginning of the month that never went away. I get sinus infections several times a year and always have.

    I've been to an ENT who found a cyst in one sinus and thickening on the other side. He didn't feel that surgery was a good option for me, which I was glad to hear. I don't know anyone who has gotten more than a couple of years of relief.

    My GP wants me to do allergy testing, and is concerned that I'm allergic to horses, hay, etc. I know I am - I always have been. He's a horse person, too, and realizes I'm not going to give this up, but is concerned about my ongoign problems, too. I already take multiple allergy meds, oral and nasal, and use a sinus rinse religiously. Shots may be an option, but don't really "cure" the allergies.

    Who else deals with this while trying to ride? I feel so crummy that I don't even want to ride right now, even with my first show on my new boy coming up in 3 weeks. What do you do to deal with it?
    A proud friend of bar.ka.

  • #2
    I've heard that B complex vitamins will help with alot of allergy problems. It's worth a try
    Equine Massage Therapy Classes and Rehab for Horses


    • #3
      Me...I'm allergic to Houston....bad air, mold, anything that grows.

      I go home and irrigate after I've been at the barn to wash any extra 'junk' I've gotten in there out. That takes care of anything I pick up there.

      During really bad periods I have to irrigate with amphotericen (sp?) because I have a wierd mold sensitivity going on. Not an allergy....it's something that some people have that causes them to attack certain molds in a way that damages the lining of your nose. An ENT can run a test for something called 'major basic protein'. A positive means that you have this.

      ALSO - if you use dead sea salt spray (Oasis - brand name), and irrigate with dead sea salts (just google them and get unscented, unaldulterated bath salts - I think I got mine from Cleopatra's choice.) that keeps infections WAAAAYYY down. My ENT suggested it to me, and when I took him in the list of ingredients he said 'no wonder this stuff works better than regular salt!'.

      A regular concentration would be 1 heaping tsp. per quart of water. And put in 1/4 tsp of baking soda to buffer it.

      There is VERY little NaCl in it, and he said tha the chlorides that ARE in it are pretty hostile to any form of bacteria. He said that all the studies out there that were done on the effectiveness of irrigation use dead sea salts.


      • #4
        I am in the same boat and did allergy testing a few weeks ago. The nurse who did the testing told me that it would be relatively easy to treat a horse allergy--the old fashioned shots and the newer drops under the tongue (same stuff, new delivery method) supposedly work well on animal allergies. But it turned out I have no animal allergies. What's somewhat disturbing is that all my current allergies are to plants that only produce pollen in late summer and early fall, so why am I struggling in the middle of winter?

        The ENT doc diagnosed a fungal infection, but that's been treated, so it should no longer be a factor. I had a CT scan of my sinuses last week. I go back to the ENT in a couple of weeks for a re-evaulation. Sure hope they have some other tricks up their sleeves.



        • #5
          Do you have late cut hay? Any left over hay swept into a pile that has been there awhile, maybe under a roof leak?

          Hay dust can also be irritating. I have one rehab horse on dehydrated alfalfa cubes that I have to re-hydrate in a bucket. If I lean over to measure, the dust from scooping out of the bag of cubes is enough to start my reaction.
          Intermediate Riding Skills


          • #6
            Allergy shots. A PIA, but worth it. I have had relief from it twice. After doing them in my 20's, we moved across the country, and the allergens were all different. I started again in my 40's, and it is working again.

            Good luck. Feeling lousy really sucks.


            • #7
              I have had major allergy problems for most of my adult life. It has gotten better/worse at times.

              My current regime is as follows:

              I take a Zyrtec a day. I take a good multivitamin.

              During periods of High allergies, I rinse with the Neti nasal irrigation system. It takes a huge dent out of my problems.

              I also take Mucinex when times get really rough.

              I haven't had a sinus infection in a couple of years now. It is huge!

              I never went down the road of testing and shots. They haven't helped a lot of people I know. They are expensive. One girl I know actually went into anaphylactic shock! Very scary!

              Anyways, Good Luck. It is a terrible burden to carry. I hate allergies, but I am not going to get rid of my farm, animals or life because of my sinus issues. And yes, Mine used to be BAD!
              Life is too short to argue with a mare! Just don't engage! It is much easier that way!

              Have fun, be safe, and let the mare think it is her idea!


              • #8
                I'm one of the 'didn't have any luck with shots' ones....

                Something else I thot of....Astelin nasal spray. It's a topical antihistamine.

                Doc wanted to try a skin test to test for allergies again, but I told him that if I got off the Astelin for 2 weeks I'd have another infection, so we bagged it.

                Aftertaste is kinda nasty, but it does reduce the stuffy nose feeling, esp. if you use it AFTER you irrigate.

                And another vote here for Mucinex....


                • #9
                  sinus infection queen

                  yeh, i used to get alot of sinus infections. I'm not allregic to horses, but dust, mold, trees, weeds..go figure.

                  one year I just couldn't get the infections to stop, so the doctor did put me on a month of antibiotics and then an antimicrobial just to clear it all out. I also used the nettie pot to irrigate out and extra strenth musinex.

                  Since then, I have come up with a way to help stop the infections.

                  1)I get a flu shot every year (not the up the nose type though).
                  2)when i'm in very dusty surroundings or know that I will be, I take benedryl (so take your fav. antihist). most of the new antihistamines give me intestinal problems. I've also taken XYZAL, non drowsy anti hist that works great with no side effects! (and my intestines like it too!)
                  3)when I get home, I immediately shower and use the netti pot

                  I have only had two sinus infections in the past 8 months..that is a record for me.

                  I am going to try something new too. A friend of mine goes to a healthfood store or online and gets "silverbiotics". She says when she feels an infection coming on, she irrigates with the silverbiotics and she doesn't get them. she has very bad allergies and asthma like me and swears by it.

                  hope that is helpful
                  I love my OTTB! I get my dressage test done faster!


                  • #10
                    Singulair, Zyrtec and during ragweed season, Astelin. Usually works, but then I wouldn't lie in the hayloft, either.


                    • #11
                      My doc refuses to do allergy shots on adults. She says that they only have 25% efficacy. I'm allergic to practically everything, but this is what I do and it works well:

                      -Allegra most of the year except during late March-mid may when I do Zyrtec-D or Claritin-D.
                      -Elestat for my eyes during the same March-May time frame

                      I am also an asthmatic so I take meds for that too. The best thing you can do is just take the stuff with the decongestant in it and find out what it is what you are actually allergic to. I do avoidance the best I can, but I am not about to give up riding. I have been known to ride in a mask when the weather is really bad. Better to look funny riding than not ride at all.
                      Nothing is as good for the inside of a man as the outside of a horse. Sir Winston Churchill.


                      • #12

                        A barnmate said she has serious chronic sinus issues. She started acupuncture for it, and said it has done wonders for her.


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Grandysgirl View Post
                          My doc refuses to do allergy shots on adults. She says that they only have 25% efficacy. .
                          I am not sure where your MD got this figure, but as a medical researcher and a patient, I disagree.

                          Here is just one study showing improvement with shots.



                          • #14
                            Are you all talking about bacterial infections, with lots of yellow/green gunk?
                            Or are you talking about sinusitis, meaning runny nose, congestion, headache, itching, etc.?

                            Bacterial infections usually mean anti-biotics, in addition to the above.

                            I have had allergies to all animals, all trees, grasses, flowers, pollens, molds, house mites, etc. I had shots for 5 years when I was in my mid-40's. It helped a lot.

                            Now I still get congestion, runny nose, no infections. I take OTC antihisamines, Astelin spray, Nasacort spray. Still nasel, but not like I was before shots.

                            It helped to keep the pets out of the bedroom at night., remove carpet and drapes, and use an air purifier at night. I don't do that now, but I should.
                            There is no snooze button on a cat that wants breakfast.


                            • #15
                              I went to a minor medical and was given a sinus cocktail (dex, depo, benedril)
                              It's been a couple of weeks and I'm still doing great.


                              • #16
                                Been there way too many times...

                                I highly suggest going to an Ear, nose, &throat specialist. Mucinex is great. I just purchased a "Neti Pot" at the advice of Whicker's husband. It was inexpensive ($9.95 on Amazon) and I make my own saline (1/4 tsp. salt disolved in 8oz warm water) so the Neti Pot will work out to be much cheaper than the Simply Saline I had been using I was scoped by the ENT MD and I don't have smooth sinus passages. They have a strange peak and valley system going on with the bone and hard cartiledge. The MD was amazed at the "cavernous appearance"...his words, not mine. In any case, I am not a good candidate for surgery, so they have me going the prescription drug route. I take Clarinex, Singulair, and Flonase.


                                • #17
                                  If you are getting multiple sinus infections in a year it may be that you are just beating it back, but not really killing it. I had that problem until ENT put me on 6 weeks of antibiotics with 4 weeks of steroids. It did the trick and I went without an infection for almost 2 years. I was afraid I was going to have to have a second surgery.

                                  For whoever likes Astelin but hates the aftertaste-try the next generation called Astepro. The aftertaste is so much better.


                                  • #18
                                    Neti Pot Believer!!

                                    I will second using the Neti Pot!!! I use it at the first sign of stuffiness and it clears my head, no more stuffiness, headaches. I haven't had a cold or respiratory infection in 2 years.
                                    I suffered from chronic sinus infections for a number of years and ended up having surgery in 1993. Never again!!!
                                    My mom saw the Neti Pot on Oprah and convinced me that I needed to try it. It's kind of disgusting but anything is better than waking up with a headache every morning!


                                    • #19
                                      3 votes for the Neti Pot!

                                      1. Neti Pot sinus rinse. NeilMed.com makes a squeeze bottle that's a little easier to use then the pot. You can usually find them at any Walmart, CVS etc...

                                      2. Vitamin C (3000mg/day) - EmergenC is a great product and tastes great too.

                                      3. Quercetin - natural anti-histamine/anti-inflammatory

                                      I haven't taken an allergy pill, had a cold or been to the doctor in years!


                                      • #20
                                        I'm allergic to everything I love: the outdoors (pollen), animals (dander) and books (dust), so I take 1 Zyrtek-D and 1 Singulaire every day (12 hours apart) and wash my hands/face/etc. a lot because I'm forever patting the dog or reading a book. When I ride, I go straight home, deposit the riding clothes in a basket in the hall and take a shower and wash my hair. If I'm still at the barn and feel itchy, I find a faucet and rinse off my face and hands. This constant washing means dry skin in the winter, so I use a ton of moisturizer, and because I'm allergic to perfume too I use the fragrance-free ones.

                                        This regime usually works, but something must have snuck in last month because I ended up with another sinus infection. Nasty, but antibiotics worked great - I felt sick but human the second day of taking them.