Antibiotic Allergies


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antibiotics

Penicillin is a common antibiotic used to treat many illnesses. When it was discovered it was considered a breakthrough in the treatment of illness and infections. It is derived from the penicillin mold, the blue-green mold found on moldy oranges. Before penicillin, common infections and diseases that are only a nuisance to us today were quite often fatal. For years penicillin was the only effective antibiotic treatment available for doctors to use. It is relatively cheap and easy to manufacture, making it the most often used antibiotic world wide.

Allergic reactions to penicillin can often be a serious and life threatening matter. They can range from annoying rashes to life threatening breathing difficulties. You might recall answering the question ” are you allergic to penicillin” on a medical question form at your doctors office or upon admittance to a hospital for treatment. This is because doctors must know if you are do to the potential for catastrophic results should you be given penicillin and you are allergic to it. Knowing if they are allergic to penicillin is something every person should know. Penicillin is the most common drug.

It is unclear why some people have an allergic reaction to penicillin while others don’t. It is also unknown what predisposes one person with an allergy to penicillin to minor while another person allergic to it will experience life threatening symptoms. For those who are allergic to penicillin, the only treatment is not to use it. Fortunately there are other powerful antibiotics available to replace penicillin. Prior to their discovery, penicillin allergy could sometimes have grave consequences. It could leave doctors with their hands tied in treating the infection or disease.

Common symptoms of penicillin allergy are as follows. A rash or hives that can range from a minor rash to a dark red rash that covers large portions of the body. Swollen lips tongue and face, ranging from minor swelling to extreme swelling. Itchy,irritated eyes that can be bloodshot and watery. The most serious reaction happens in people that are highly allergic to penicillin. An anaphylactic reaction is a reaction that manifests itself as a swelling of the bronchial airway, making it difficult to breath. This can also be accompanied by a sudden drop in blood pressure. This reaction can be deadly, so it’s important to be aware of this fact.

If you are given penicillin and experience any of these symptoms, tell your doctor immediately. It’s much better to be safe than sorry. The most serious reaction, the anaphylactic reaction, appears almost immediately. The other less minor reactions can take hours to appear. Treatments for the symptoms are readily available but as of yet there is no cure for the allergy itself. If your child has never been given penicillin it is imperative that you let your doctor know this. He or she can make a determination as to whether or not your child is allergic to it prior to administering a large dose of penicillin.

Article by Sven Ullmann, who runs DeservedHealth.com.

Penicillin Allergy and Using Other Antibiotics

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Sinus Pain


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sinus-painYour sinuses are lined with a membrane that manufactures a sticky substance known as mucus. When the membrane swells – most likely because of an infection or an allergy, mucus production kicks into overdrive. The combination of inflamed membrane and excess mucous blocks those tiny passages between your sinuses and nose. That’s when you feel the pressure build behind your forehead and eyes.

Breathe a Sign of Relief

For most people decongestants are the treatment of choice for sinus pain. “If a blocked nose is your only symptom, an over-the-counter oral decongestant can help,” says Salah D. Salmon, MD, director of the Sinus Center at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary in Boston.  Dr. Salmon also stated “Be sure to choose a product with an antihistamine if your sinus pain is associated with allergy.”

What about localized decongestants such as sprays and drops? “They can be extremely effective, too.” Dr. Salmon says. “But you shouldn’t use them for more than three days in a row. They can be habit forming if you use them for too long. And once their medicinal effects wear off, they can produce rebound congestion.”

But decongestants are not your only option for dealing with sinus pain. The following strategies can help ease the pressure and keep you breathing easy.

Just add water. “Dryness often sets the stage for a sinus infection,” Dr. Salmon says. You can keep your sinuses moist by drinking plenty of water every day. A saltwater solution, administered as either a nasal spray or nose drops, can also help, he notes. You can make your own solution by mixing 2 tablespoons of salt into a glass filled with 8 ounces of warm water. Use this preparation three to four times a day.

Hold your head high. Elevating your head while you sleep promotes sinus drainage, experts say. Prop up your bedposts ath the head of your bed on books or bricks and see if it helps.

Clear the air. Anything that irritates the nasal passages is an ally of sinus pain. “Pay close attention to air quality,” says Dr. Guillermo Mendoza, MD, chief of allergy for Kaiser-Permanente. “Avoid smoggy environments, cigarette smoke and any other pollutants that you’re sensitive to.” You may also need to stay away from seemingly harmless items such as scented laundry detergents and scented tissues.

“C” your way clear. Dr. Mendoza recommends a daily dose of vitamin C as a preventative against sinus pain. “If you are prone to sinus infection or you have a chronic sinus problem, take 1,000 milligrams of times-release vitamin C a day,” he advises.

Don’t catch a cold. If you have a chronic sinus problem, a cold will only intensify your sinus symptoms, Dr. Mendoza says. So do what you can to steer clear of cold-causing viruses: Eat a balanced diet, get regular exercise, practice good hygiene (as in lots of hand washing), and stay away from people who have colds.

Excerpted from: Pain Remedies by Philip Goldberg.  Rodale Press

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