By Svetlana Kogan, M.D.
Website question: My allergies are worse than ever this month. What can I do for relief?
Dr.Kogan answered: Scientists are reporting that higher-than-average seasonal temperatures and heightened carbon dioxide levels are creating longer ragweed seasons and more concentrated pollen counts. In addition, the red tide is here in Naples on and off this fall, and as a result more people may be reporting allergic symptoms. To get immediate relief, try irrigating your nasal passages with saline. To do: mix 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt with a pint of lukewarm water and add to a Neti Pot. I like the one by Himalayan Institute available at my online link:
Tilt your head to one side, then pour a small amount of the solution into one nostril and let it drain out of the other nostril. Repeat the routine on the opposite side, and alternate for a total of three rinses on each side. This is best done in the morning and at night. The salt will act as a natural antibacterial agent, while the water will wash away any impurities and mucus. Another synergistic remedy for allergies is homeopathic sublingual tablets Allergy Relief by Hevert (available at the same online link as above). Use as directed on the box and enjoy allergy relief within an hour of the first dose.
Keep balancing and strengthening your immune system by eating healthy organic foods, and avoiding greasy fried fast foods. Hydrate, get good sleep, and decrease the amount of alcohol intake as it depresses your immune system and activates histamine release which is already at an all time high with allergies. Cardiovascular exercise and improved endurance also contribute to the decrease of incidence of allergic reactions. Think about it this way: if the body is strong and wholesome all around, it will have a better fighting chance when allergens surround it. This accounts for the fact that you can have two people of the same age, gender,and working conditions – and the one with better overall health will have a smaller chance of developing allergies.
Website question: My Mom has battled with osteoporosis for a long time, so I’ve always taken calcium and vitamin D supplements. But I read an article that said these supplements can actually have dangerous side effects. Could I possibly be taking too much calcium and vitamin D?
Dr.Kogan answers: Calcium and vitamin D are helpful for prevention of osteoporosis, but the dose depends on your age, medical history and current blood test levels. In some cases, excessive use of supplements can lead to dangerously high levels of calcium in the blood. This in turn, may trigger high blood pressure and kidney failure. Headlines on this subject stem from a report in the Journal of American Nephrology, which found that postmenopausal women, pregnant women, transplant recipients, and those on dialysis, are at the highest risk for this kind of overdose. If you have experienced abdominal pain, excessive thirst, constipation and muscle weakness, see your doctor right away.
Otherwise, rest assured that if you are eating a diet rich in calcium, you will likely have good preventive levels. Calcium rich foods are: yogurt, kefir, cheese, eggs, cruciferous vegetables such as kale, collard greens, and broccoli, spinach, okra, and sardines to mention a few. If you do not have any osteopenia (early osteoporosis) – chances are you currently do not even need to take any calcium pills – just eat calcium rich diet. In fact, multivitamins, joint-support supplements and many antacids can also contain calcium and contribute to excessive intake. As far as the vitamin D goes, it is extremely difficult to get it from the diet – only fatty fish flesh possesses some significant levels. So we truly have to manufacture it in our skin with the aid of the sun’s ultraviolet light or take it as a supplement.
Due to our proximity to the equator here in Florida, it is easier to get enough sunlight to help manufacture that vitamin D all year round. If you are fair skinned – it is enough to spend 5-10 total daily minutes outside in the midday. If you are dark-skinned the time required in the sun doubles.
Because of the damaging effects of the midday sun-rays, this exposure may be too much for some people at risk for malignant melanoma . So you may want to just measure your vitamin D 25 (OH) levels with your doctor and if the levels are low – just take a daily supplement of vitamin D3 (the dose depends on your level of deficiency, age and needs – speak to your doc). Vitamin D blood levels should be especially carefully monitored in folks with heart failure, cancers, or hormonal diseases. Overall, I applaud your decision not to take supplements blindly. Everyone’s circumstances and needs are different and it is good to team up with your medical docotor to figure out what is best for you.
Svetlana Kogan, M.D. is a Board Certified Medical Doctor with 20 years of experience. She has appeared as a health expert on FOX, ABC, CBS, and NBC prime time TV, and has authored hundreds of publications for internet and print. She just moved her Concierge Internal Medicine practice from Manhattan NYC to Naples, where her focus is on fusing traditional medicine with holistic approach to illness and prevention.
720 Fifth Ave S, Unit 209
Naples , FL 34102
Phone: (239) 676-6883