Millions of Americans in pursuit of a remedy for stuffy nose and sinus pressure turn to over the counter (OTC) nasal sprays because of their quick action, availability and presumed safety. But did you know prolonged use of topical nasal decongestants (TNDs) often leads to addiction? Case in Point: A 32-year-old male was referred to me because of complaints of chronic nasal blockage. The patient suspected his problem was hay fever (allergic rhinitis). During the interview, he revealed that a year ago he began to have trouble sleeping because of a stuffy nose. He felt considerably better after using a TND before going to bed. Within 2 weeks he began to awaken in the middle of the night requiring another dose of his nasal spray for relief. One month later he required doses 4 times daily in order to avoid severe nasal congestion. By the time I saw him, he was going through almost a bottle of nasal spray daily. His diagnosis was Rhinitis Medicamentosa (RM) which means nasal inflammation (rhi...
1. Practice good hygiene. Keep your body clean, wash your hands
frequently and try to avoid touching the sores.
2. Take salt baths. This method can clean, dry and ease the pain
of blisters and sores. Mix a few tablespoons of salt in a shallow
3. Cool the affected area. Applying ice directly to the sores or
drying the area with a blow dryer on the cool setting can offer
4. Wear loose-fitting clothing. Loose clothing reduces
discomfort and promotes healing of the sores. Wear cotton, rather
than synthetic underwear.
5. Wear sun block. Keeping your skin protected can help prevent
the recurrence of HSV-1.
6. Urinate in a cool bath or shower. If you experience painful
urination, this process dilutes the urine and prevents burning the
7. Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water each day.
8. Practice abstinence when you are experiencing symptoms of
herpes. Help prevent the spread of herpes by avoiding sexual
activity when you are experiencing any symptoms, including
Treatment for Oral Herpes Oral Treatments Acyclovir (Zovirax), valacyclovir (Valtrex), and famciclovir (Famvir) -- the anti-viral pills used to treat genital herpes -- can also treat the cold sores associated with oral herpes. In addition, acyclovir is available in topical form, as is penciclovir (a related drug). Topical Treatments These ointments or creams can help shorten healing time and duration of symptoms. However, none are truly effective in eliminating outbreaks. Penciclovir (Denavir) heals herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV-1) sores on average about half a day faster than without treatment, stops viral shedding, and reduces the duration of pain. Ideally, the patient should apply the cream within the first hour of symptoms, although the medication can still help if applied later. The drug is continued for 4 consecutive days, and should be reapplied every 2 hours while awake. Acyclovir cream (Zovirax) works best when applied early (at the first sign of pain or tingling). Docosanol cream (Ab...
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