If you have nasal allergies, then this week your nose may have picked up on the pollen before it hit the headlines: A story from CBS Chicago revealed that public health officials have already detected "dangerously high" air allergen levels this spring. Besides manifesting as post-nasal drip symptoms, raging nasal allergies can also lead to bad breath. Fortunately, a specialty breath freshening nasal spray can take care of both.
Just how much worse can hay fever make your halitosis? Quite a bit more than you might expect, actually...
Nasal allergies: By the numbers
Are air allergies really all that common? To put it succinctly: YES!! In fact, more Americans than ever before are suffering from allergies of all kinds, including the outdoor type.
According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA), 40 million people are sensitive to indoor and outdoor allergens, which include pollen, grasses, mold, ragweed, dust and dander. The organization estimates that seasonal allergies account for more than 8 million doctors' visits every year.
If you think it's only adults who are sneezing, coughing, itching and post-nasally dripping their way through spring, think again. The AAFA states that allergies are the most commonly reported chronic conditions among kids. A full 40 percent of children have been diagnosed with allergies that limit their activities.
And, boy, can nasal allergies prevent you from getting things done.
Post-nasal drip symptoms stink
Airborne allergens cause the membranes of the nose to pump out thin, watery mucus in the futile effort to wash away pollen. This leads to itching, sneezing, coughing, headaches and - perhaps worst of all - post-nasal drip.
While the latter condition may sound like nothing more than a runny nose, there's an important distinction. A cold, for example, will lead to thick mucus, which either runs forward (hopefully into a tissue) or stays put (leaving you stuffed up). By contrast, post-nasal drip is so thin that it immediately runs down the back of the throat.
You'll know you have it if you find yourself with a tickle in your throat, a mild cough and bad breath. These are post-nasal drip's symptoms, and they truly stink - literally.
That's because as the drip slides down the back of your throat, it gives oral bacteria a miniature feast. The proteins and allergens in your mucus quickly get broken down, and what results is the emission of a foul smell, one that resembles the oral funk of someone with a sinus infection.
Treat post-nasal drip with the right kind of spray
Fortunately, there's a quick fix for halitosis caused by even seriously high levels of pollen: specialty breath freshening nasal sprays. These products accomplish two things at once. On the one hand, they can cleanse the nasal passages of irritating allergens. On the other, they neutralize the odor compounds that give bad breath its funky scent.
This can be a godsend for people suffering from nasty allergies this spring. And apparently these can be quite severe, judging from CBS Chicago's take.
Dr. Joseph Leija, a physician at Gottlieb Memorial Hospital who performs the region's official allergy counts, told the news station that a lot of people in the Midwest are going to be "very miserable" this year.
"The warm March temperatures and sunny skies have encouraged the early budding of trees and flowers, and my phones at Gottlieb are ringing with sufferers seeking relief," he explained.
Oh, dear. If you have nasal allergies, then take a hay fever pill, grab a breath freshening nasal spray and hunker down for a long, long spring...