Ep.10 - Addictive Nasal Sprays, Allergic Shiners, and Listener Questions

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This has to be our favorite episode of the first season of the Swain Sinus Show. Dr. Ron Swain and Stacy Wellborn speed through some incredible listener’s sinus and allergy questions submitted through drrronswain.com and swainsinusshow.com. Wow, did we have some super-duper questions. We hope you enjoy listening to this show as much as we did making it.

Check out these great questions:

Listener Questions:

> Are nasal sprays addictive? > If my snort is green or yellow, does it means I have a sinus infection? > Will regularly eating local honey help with my allergies? > Am I still contagious If I’m on antibiotics? > Do sinus issues cause the bags under my eyes? > What is an allergic shiner?

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Thanks so much for listening, breathe easy, and have a great day.

Ep.10 - Full Show Transcript

Stacy: Hello, Dr. Swain.

Dr. Swain: Hey, Stacy, how are you?

Stacy: I'm great. We are now several episodes into this podcast, and we've been receiving some questions. So I thought I might throw out some of the questions we've been getting that are really more maybe myths, and I'd like for you to tell me the true facts.

Dr. Swain: I'll do my best, here we go.

Stacy: All right, so I'm gonna shoot this at you. Are nasal sprays are addictive?

Dr. Swain: False. Some are, some are not. Typically, the nasal steroid sprays that people, you know, that are sold over-the-counter, Flonase, Nasonex, Rhinocort, those are not addictive. The decongestant nasal sprays, things like Oxymetazoline, or Neo-Synephrine, they can be addictive. Usually, if you read the package inside, it will tell you on the packages, you know, do not use more than three days. So those medicines, they make the blood vessels constrict and so people can breathe better through their nose and usually that's good to use if you're acutely ill, and you can actually follow that with a nasal steroid spray, but the nasal steroid sprays themselves are not addictive, the nasal decongestant medication can be.

Stacy: Great. So if my snort is green or yellow, it means I have an infection?

Dr. Swain: Maybe, big maybe. If you have, you know, discolored drainage from your nose, and you've got fever and facial pain or, you know, people talk about their teeth hurting and they're congested, then it's probably reasonable to assume you got a sinus infection. If you blow your nose and you've got some yellow drainage, it doesn't necessarily mean that you have a sinus infection.

Stacy: All right, I'm gonna take a little tangent on that, why do my teeth hurt?

Dr. Swain: When you're acutely sick?

Stacy: Yeah.

Dr. Swain: Your maxillary sinus sits right above your teeth, and that when the sinus is closed, you can get negative pressure on the sinus and so if you've got a closed space that's full of pus, that hurts.

Stacy: Never thought about that. All right. I've also heard and people have asked about local honey will help with my allergies.

Dr. Swain: Maybe. The thinking behind that is the bees they're using local pollen, if you take a little bit of honey that is giving some exposure to that local pollen and that that can help you not react in such a strong way to allergens such as pollen when you're exposed to it.

Stacy: I do like to use local honey.

Dr. Swain: A lot of people do, and some people swear by it, but the studies are not...they're not 100% in agreement that that is something that's going to be completely accepted.

Stacy: Fair enough. So the next one is sinus infections aren't contagious.

Dr. Swain: False. They can be. You know, not everyone is walking around, when you initially get sick with some bacteria in your sinus, usually, it starts with a viral illness, and the viral illnesses can be contagious. So if you're around someone who's sick, who has a sinus infection, yeah, you might end up getting sick.

Stacy: I always hear, once I'm on antibiotics I'm not contagious.

Dr. Swain: That's a great question. When someone comes down with an upper respiratory infection, they talk about between 24 and 72 hours where they'll have viral shedding where they're either sneezing and they're coughing, and all those viral particles can be aerosolized and you can pick up an infection. Once you've passed that acute phase and you're on some antibiotics because they have a bacterial sinus infection at that point, usually, people are not as contagious, but if someone is sneezing a lot, I don't know that I would want to get around them either...

Stacy: Either way.

Dr. Swain: Yeah.

Stacy: All right, stay clear. Some folks, this might be a little controversial, would say that, "If I'm a smoker, it doesn't affect my sinuses."

Dr. Swain: Right, big fat false on that one. Smoking is one of those things that there're no good things that come from cigarette smoke. I know a lot...I have a lot of patients that would argue against that, that still think that it's okay, but I think the sinus is pretty definitive that smoking is not good for any part of your body.

Stacy: So I'm gonna go a little lighter topic next, does sinus issues cause bags under my eyes?

Dr. Swain: Well, most of the time not. However, there are things called allergic shiners. And if you look online and see what the term allergic shiners, there'll, you know, there'll be people that kind of look like discolorations underneath their eyes, not necessarily a swelling. You know, people with bad allergy symptoms can have facial features consistent with swelling or discoloration of their eyes. It kind of depends on the situation and the person that you're looking at. Everybody's a little bit different, but that is a term, allergic shiner is a term.

Stacy: I've never heard that before, I'm going to look up now. I learned something new today, I learn something new every day with you. My last question and these ones come from some folks who've listened to our podcast is, if I have a sinus issue and I come to see an ENT doctor, I'm gonna have to have surgery.

Dr. Swain: Right, the answer to that one is false. When you have a sinus infection, there are lots of different ways to go about treating it. If you look at the vast number of people that have sinus infections in the United States each year, only a small percentage of those people actually end up in the operating room. So the majority of people can be treated and can be treated effectively without necessarily having to go have an operation.

Stacy: Well, that's great news.

Dr. Swain: It is.

Stacy: Well, I thank you for answering some of our listeners' questions and some of the crazy myths that I've heard out there, and those of you listening to us today, let us know if you have a question, and then in the future episode we will answer some of the myths and questions from you. Again, remind everybody how to get in touch with you if they want to come see Dr. Ron Swain.

Dr. Swain: So you can call us, the number is 251-470-8823. Again, that is 251-470-8823, or you can find us on the web at drronswain.com.

Stacy: Great. Thanks, Dr. Swain.

Dr. Swain: Thank you.

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