May is a tough month for people with seasonal allergies. Hay fever already causes serious nasal and sinus problems, but when allergens peak during the late spring, bad breath can really go into overdrive, thanks to post-nasal drip. With such problems in mind, the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) has declared May to be National Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month.
Sneezing, coughing, itching and stinking
Allergies are a huge problem in the U.S., and more so now than ever before. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that, between children and adults, 25 million Americans have been diagnosed with hay fever or seasonal allergies in the past year.
Just one year! And that's not even the total prevalence: In all, about 40 million people have indoor/outdoor allergies as their primary type of sensitivity, according to the AAFA. This means that when spring has sprung, pollen, ragweed and mold do a real number on millions of nasal passages nationwide.
Hence this year's National Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month, an observance that is intended to draw public attention to a widespread problem.
The issue with allergies isn't just that they make you sneeze, cough and itch. It's also that they lead to post-nasal drip, a problem that creates conditions that are just right for bad breath.
Drip, drip, drip without end
While it may sound like a stuffy nose, post-nasal drip is exactly the opposite. Irritated by allergens or pathogens, your nasal passages create a steady stream of thin, watery liquid. Rather than exiting through your nose, which we call (what else) a "runny nose," post-nasal drip trickles down the back of your throat. If you've got a persistent cough, nasal discharge and stinky halitosis, it's possible that you've got post-nasal drip on your hands...er, in your throat.
Dealing with post-nasal drip is a three-step process. To start, you'll need to try to avoid allergens or, failing that, to treat your system to an over-the-counter allergy medication. This can help stanch the flow of fluid, which gives odor-causing oral bacteria less sustenance.
Step Two involves gargling with a specialty breath freshening rinse, preferably one that is all-natural and alcohol-free. By doing so, you can clear away microbes and neutralize the smell of bad breath caused by seasonal allergies.
In Step Three, you can use a specialty breath freshening nasal spray to eliminate odor and sooth your ailing nose.