Tuesday, June 19, 2012

14 days to a sneeze free home -- Day 8

Do you wake up with a sore throat, a stuffy nose, and even a worsening of asthma?  Check out not only allergies as a source, but also the possibility that you might suffer from acid reflux.  Even babies can suffer from this, so ask your doctor if this is a possible source of these symptoms in children, as well.

Acid reflux can be caused or made worse by the following:

1)  A hiatal hernia where the esophagus meets the stomach.
2)  Being overweight and/or out of shape.
3)  Trigger foods, such as spicy dishes, peppermint and peppermint tea, soft drinks. caffeine, tomatoes, etc.  Your trigger food may be different from another's trigger food, so it takes a bit of experimentation to find out.
4)  Congenital problems of the esophagus.
5)  H. Pylori bacteria.

Some people suffer temporary bouts of acid reflux.  These are usually brought on by irritation of the esophagus or some specific trigger.  Other people suffer chronic, low level problems with acid reflux. 

Acid flowing up from the stomach can irritate the tissues in the lungs, nose, and throat.  Thus, they can compound regular nasal and respiratory allergies or even cause them. Our stomachs usually release acid at a specific time in the early morning hours.  Since people are sleeping, they are usually both flat and not eating, which means that the stomach acid can flow unopposed into the esophagus.  When  a person's valves work well, this is not a problem.  However, if one of the above triggers is interfering with the valve, then acid does flow up and cause symptoms.   

Your doctor is the one who can best tell you how to treat your reflux.  In addition to your doctor's specific advice, hare are a few domestic methods to try:

1)  Elevate the head of your bead.  This can be done with risers underneath the legs at the head of the bed or by special foam wedges that you can tuck underneath your mattress.  In this way, you use gravity to help stomach acids stay in place.
2)  Avoid eating within a few hours of bedtime.
3)  Learn to cook with foods that do not trigger your or a member's acid reflux.  Sometimes, finding healthy and cost-friendly recipes that don't involve trigger foods can be a challenge.   However, the challenge isn't insurmountable, as we have so many food choices nowadays, as well as lots of information about cooking and diet on the Internet and in cookbooks.


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