Lauren: Welcome back. It’s time now to answer some of the health questions that you’ve sent us. Joining us with all the answers is News Channel 5’s medical specialist, Dr David Soria. He is the chief of emergency medicine at Wellington Regional Medical Center. Thanks as always for stopping by.
Dr. David Soria: You’re welcome, good to see you again.
Lauren: Good to see you. We’ve got some good questions this week. Our first one, really anyone who’s had this knows just how awful it can be, “How do you get rid of postnasal drip?”
Dr. David Soria: Yeah, postnasal drip is obviously a very common problem, not a serious one but definitely annoying especially when it occurs chronically. Really, all it is is rhinitis or anything that can inflame the mucosal membrane of your nose, which then incurs increased secretions which then drip to the back of your nose. What can do it? Well, the most common’s going to be a virus or the common cold, allergens, smoking, pollutants, and then cold weather and things like that, anything that can inflame it. Toxic irritants that are in the air can cause that.
What do you do to treat it? Well, typically nasal steroids, that’s prescription strength usually works real well but it doesn’t work right away. You can also take over-the-counter decongestants like Afrin. But I would advise that only use those if you’re very severe or for one or two days because you can get addicted to those.
Lauren: Right. People get hooked on that.
Dr. David Soria: They really do. That’s right.
Lauren: Okay. All right. Our next question for you, “A friend said she heard about an antioxidant that can help you look and feel better and younger.” Sounds good.
Dr. David Soria: It does.
Lauren: She says “It started with an A, can you tell us what it is?”
Dr. David Soria: Yeah. This viewer made me go on a little antioxidant hunt, which was kind of fun. Most likely, what she’s talking about is either the acai berry or a relatively new antioxidant that’s been found called astaxanthin. Now, the acai berry is well known. It’s known as [modavee 00:01:45]. It’s found in the acai berry, which is predominant in South America. We see that all over. It’s been around for years.
Astaxanthin is found in fish, in the muscle of salmon and trout, and it causes the pigmentation of the fish. What they found is that that also has very powerful antioxidant properties. So what is an antioxidant, or what does it do? Why do we hear the buzz? Well, antioxidants are very effective in scavenging free radicals. Free radicals are found in the body secondary to either toxins in food, pollutants, smoke, things like that. They contribute to the destruction of cells, which then, in turn, cause either aging or your increased risk of cancer.
Lauren: So you’re a believer?
Dr. David Soria: Antioxidants are good stuff. I take them every day.
Lauren: All right. All right.
Dr. David Soria: I mean, I’m really 65, Lauren.
Lauren: He is not. All right. We’re almost out of time but we do want to squeeze in one more question here. “What is a middle ear infection?”
Dr. David Soria: All right. Middle ear infection is just another name for the most common earache. It is infection of the middle ear rather than what swimmer’s ear is, which is the outer ear. The middle ear, really the most common cause is because what happens is you get a cold, the eustachian tube, which drains the middle ear, gets blocked and then bacteria can accumulate and cause an infection as opposed to swimmer’s ear, which is bacteria that gets into the outer ear and then can cause drainage.
So what do you do? Well, most of the time, it actually clears on its on. But when I want you to see a doctor is if it causes severe pain or lasts more than a day, if you have a fever greater than 101, if you have discharge coming out of your ear, or if your child is a toddler or an infant, if he or she becomes irritable, definitely bring him or her in to see us. Once again, I will advise don’t jump to thinking that your child or yourself needs antibiotics. Many times, you do not, not going to help, and antibiotics are not benign. They can cause side effects, complications that cost money, and they contribute to the resistance that we’re seeing.
Lauren: Yeah, overuse.
Dr. David Soria: Don’t use them unless you need them.
Lauren: Okay. All right. Thank you-