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We provide the latest updates on bioelectronics therapy for chronic conditions, and also serve as a trusted information resource for allergy sufferers.

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Pressure Points
Essential Pressure Points for Sinus Relief: A Step-by-Step Guide

May 27, 2024

Introduction: Sinus congestion can be a real nuisance, causing headaches, facial pressure, and difficulty breathing. While there are medications available, some people prefer natural remedies such as acupressure to alleviate their symptoms. In this guide, we'll explore essential pressure points that can provide relief from sinus congestion when stimulated correctly.

  1. Location of Sinus Pressure Points:
    • Before we delve into the specific pressure points, it's essential to understand their locations. The primary sinus areas include the forehead, around the eyes, nose, and cheeks. By targeting these points, you can effectively reduce congestion and promote drainage.
  1. Key Pressure Points:
    • Between the eyebrows: Applying gentle pressure to this area can help relieve sinus congestion and headaches.
    • Bridge of the Nose: Directly between the eyes, applying pressure to the bridge of the nose can alleviate pressure and promote drainage in the nasal passages.
    • Cheekbones: Use your fingertips to massage the area just below the cheekbones. This can help open up the sinus passages and relieve congestion.
    • Base of Skull: Located at the base of the skull, just behind the ears, this point can help alleviate sinus pressure and promote overall relaxation.
    • Jingming: This point is found at the inner corner of the eyes, near the bridge of the nose. Gently massage this area to relieve sinus pressure and eye strain.
  1. Technique:
    • When applying pressure to these points, use gentle but firm pressure. You can use your fingertips or thumbs, whichever is more comfortable. Apply pressure in a circular motion for about 1-2 minutes on each point, focusing on deep breathing and relaxation.
  1. Additional Tips for Sinus Relief:
    • Stay hydrated: Drinking plenty of water can help thin mucus and promote drainage.
    • Steam inhalation: Inhaling steam can help open up the nasal passages and provide relief from congestion.
    • Use a humidifier: Keeping the air moist can prevent sinus dryness and congestion.
    • Consider dietary changes: Some foods, such as spicy dishes or those high in vitamin C, can help alleviate sinus congestion.
    • Utilize drug-free, non-invasive bioelectronic medical devices like Tivic ClearUP, which provides precise, targeted treatment to the sinus nerve pathways through low-current electrical stimulation, alleviating sinus pain and pressure.

Conclusion: By incorporating acupressure techniques into your daily routine, you can effectively manage sinus congestion and promote overall well-being. Remember to listen to your body and consult with a healthcare professional if you have severe or persistent symptoms. With regular practice, you can experience relief from sinus pressure and enjoy clearer breathing. ...Read More

Woman mindful breathing
8 Drug-Free Alternatives to Relieve Sinus Pain and Pressure

April 13, 2024

Sinus pain and pressure can be incredibly discomforting, affecting your daily activities and overall well-being. While over-the-counter medications can provide relief, there are also several drug-free alternatives, as well as some non-invasive options, that can effectively alleviate sinus pain and pressure. In this article, we'll explore eight natural remedies that you can incorporate into your routine to find relief without relying on drugs.

  1. Bioelectronic Medicine: A bioelectronic sinus device like Tivic ClearUP is a medical device designed to help alleviate symptoms of sinus and nasal inflammation through gentle microcurrent stimulation of the nasal passages. These typically small, handheld devices offer a drug-free, non-addictive and non-invasive alternative for sinus relief, using neuromodulation or neurostimulation to influence nerve activity in the sinus region. This stimulation affects the trigeminal and sympathetic nerves, which reduces symptoms of inflammation and provides relief from sinus pain, congestion and pressure.
  2. Steam Inhalation: One of the most effective and soothing ways to relieve sinus pain is through steam inhalation. Boil water and pour it into a bowl, then lean over the bowl with a towel draped over your head to trap the steam. Inhale deeply for several minutes to help loosen congestion and alleviate pressure in the sinuses.
  3. Nasal Irrigation: Nasal irrigation, also known as a saline rinse or nasal douche, involves flushing out the nasal passages with a saline solution. This helps to clear mucus and irritants from the sinuses, reducing inflammation and relieving pressure. You can use a neti pot or a saline nasal spray for this purpose.
  4. Warm Compress: Applying a warm compress to your face can provide immediate relief from sinus pain and pressure. Simply soak a clean cloth in warm water, wring out the excess moisture, and place it over your sinuses for several minutes. The warmth helps to increase blood flow to the area and promote drainage of mucus.
  5. Acupressure: Acupressure involves applying pressure to specific points on the body to alleviate symptoms and promote healing. Several acupressure points are thought to help relieve sinus pain and pressure, including points on the face, hands, and feet. You can try gently massaging these points or using acupressure tools to stimulate them.
  6. Hydration: Staying hydrated is essential for maintaining healthy sinus function and relieving congestion. Drinking plenty of water throughout the day helps to thin mucus and keep nasal passages moist, making it easier to breathe and reducing sinus pressure. Herbal teas and clear broths can also provide hydration while offering additional therapeutic benefits.
  7. Steam Shower: Taking a steamy shower can help to open up your nasal passages and relieve sinus pressure. Allow the hot water to create steam in the bathroom, then breathe in the steam deeply while showering. The warmth and moisture help to loosen congestion and soothe inflamed sinuses, providing relief from discomfort.
  8. Essential Oils: Certain essential oils have properties that can help alleviate sinus pain and pressure. Peppermint oil, eucalyptus oil, and tea tree oil are popular choices for their decongestant and anti-inflammatory effects. You can inhale these oils by adding a few drops to a bowl of hot water or using a diffuser to disperse the aroma into the air.

Sinus pain and pressure can be effectively relieved through various drug-free alternatives that promote natural healing and alleviate symptoms. By incorporating steam inhalation, nasal irrigation, warm compresses, acupressure, hydration, steam showers, and essential oils into your routine, you can find relief from sinus discomfort without relying on medications. However, if your symptoms persist or worsen, it's important to consult with a healthcare professional for further evaluation and treatment. ...Read More

Man sleeping
How Bioelectronic Medicine Can Ease Symptoms of Sinus Inflammation and Improve Sleep

Updated April 13, 2024

Struggling with sinus inflammation can significantly impact your quality of life, especially when it interferes with your ability to get a good night's sleep. From congestion to facial pressure, sinus issues can disrupt your sleep patterns and leave you feeling fatigued and frustrated. However, emerging technologies in bioelectronic medicine offer promising solutions to alleviate symptoms of sinus inflammation and promote better sleep. In this blog post, we'll explore the connection between sinus problems and sleep disturbances, and delve into how bioelectronic medicine can provide relief.

Understanding Sinus Inflammation and Sleep: Before we delve into bioelectronic medicine, it's crucial to understand the relationship between sinus inflammation and sleep. Sinus inflammation, often triggered by allergies, infections, or environmental factors, can lead to symptoms such as nasal congestion, facial pain, and difficulty breathing. These symptoms can worsen at night, making it challenging to fall asleep or stay asleep comfortably. Additionally, sinus issues can contribute to conditions like sleep apnea or snoring, further disrupting sleep patterns and reducing overall sleep quality.

The Role of Bioelectronic Medicine: Bioelectronic medicine is an innovative field that harnesses the body's electrical signals to modulate nerve activity and regulate biological functions. In the context of sinus inflammation, bioelectronic devices target specific nerves to reduce swelling, alleviate pain, and improve airflow. These devices use advanced technologies such as neuromodulation to deliver precise electrical impulses to targeted nerves, effectively restoring balance to the sinus tissues.

How Bioelectronic Devices Work: Bioelectronic devices designed to address symptoms of sinus inflammation typically involve electrodes that are placed near the targeted nerves. These electrodes deliver controlled electrical impulses, either continuously or on-demand, to modulate nerve activity. By stimulating sinus and nasal nerves, these devices can help alleviate symptoms such as congestion, facial pressure, and difficulty breathing. Some bioelectronic devices can be used externally, providing non-invasive options for individuals seeking relief from sinus issues.

Benefits for Sleep: One of the most significant benefits of bioelectronic medicine for individuals with sinus inflammation is its potential to improve sleep quality. By reducing sinus-related symptoms such as congestion and facial pain, bioelectronic devices can help individuals breathe more comfortably and sleep more soundly throughout the night.

Case Studies and Research: Numerous studies have demonstrated the efficacy of bioelectronic medicine in managing sinus symptoms and related sleep disturbances. For example, Tivic Health’s data from two previously conducted clinical trials demonstrated the benefits of ClearUP including significant improvements in sleep health, breathing during sleep, nose breathing, and concentration for sinus sufferers. The analysis also indicated an improvement in productivity and concentration and a reduction in difficulty falling asleep, waking up at night, fatigue, and irritability, highlighting the potential of this innovative approach in improving patient outcomes.

Conclusion: Sinus inflammation can significantly disrupt sleep patterns and diminish overall quality of life. However, with advancements in bioelectronic medicine, individuals suffering from sinus-related sleep disturbances now have promising options for relief. By targeting specific sinus and nasal nerves e, bioelectronic devices offer a novel approach to managing sinus issues and promoting better sleep. As research in this field continues to evolve, bioelectronic medicine holds great promise in improving the lives of those affected by sinus inflammation and sleep disturbances. ...Read More

Man sleeping
Innovative Solutions for Spring Allergy Congestion and Sinus Pain

Updated 04/02/2024

As the vibrant colors of spring start to paint the world anew, for many, this season also brings a less pleasant visitor: allergies. Spring allergies can turn the joy of blooming flowers and budding trees into a dreaded experience of congestion, sinus pain, and discomfort. While traditional remedies like antihistamines and nasal sprays offer relief to some, others seek more innovative solutions to manage their symptoms effectively. One such groundbreaking option gaining traction is bioelectronic medicine, offering a promising alternative for those seeking relief beyond conventional methods.

Understanding Spring Allergies:

Spring allergies, also known as hay fever or allergic rhinitis, occur when the immune system overreacts to pollen from trees, grasses, and flowers. This overreaction triggers a cascade of inflammatory responses in the body, leading to symptoms such as nasal congestion, sneezing, itching, and sinus pain. While these symptoms can vary in intensity, they often disrupt daily activities and significantly impact the quality of life for allergy sufferers.

Challenges with Traditional Treatments:

Traditional treatments for spring allergies typically involve antihistamines, decongestants, nasal corticosteroids, and allergy shots. While these methods can provide relief for many individuals, they may not be effective for everyone and can sometimes cause unwanted side effects such as drowsiness, dry mouth, or nasal irritation. Additionally, some individuals may develop tolerance to certain medications over time, requiring higher doses for the same level of relief.

Exploring Bioelectronic Medicine:

Bioelectronic medicine represents a cutting-edge approach to treating symptoms of various medical conditions, including allergies, by targeting specific neural pathways in the body. This emerging field harnesses the body's electrical signals to modulate nerve activity and regulate immune responses, offering a non-pharmacological alternative to traditional therapies.

How Bioelectronic Medicine Works:

Bioelectronic devices, such as neuromodulators, deliver precise and targeted gentle microcurrent impulses to nerves. By modulating these neural pathways, bioelectronic medicine can help restore balance and alleviate allergy symptoms at their source. While historically these devices were implanted, there are now over the counter non-invasive solutions like Tivic ClearUP that provide consumers with control over their symptom relief.

Benefits of Bioelectronic Medicine for Allergies:

  1. Non-Drug Approach: Unlike traditional medications, bioelectronic medicine offers a drug-free solution for managing allergy symptoms, reducing the risk of adverse reactions and dependency.
  2. Targeted Relief: By directly targeting neural pathways associated with allergy responses, bioelectronic devices provide precise and personalized symptom relief, potentially enhancing treatment efficacy.
  3. Long-Term Management: Bioelectronic treatments have the potential for long-term efficacy, as Tivic ClearUP clinical research showed sustained improvements in symptoms with usage over time.
  4. Minimal Side Effects: Compared to pharmacological interventions, bioelectronic medicine usually carries fewer side effects, making it a safer option for individuals sensitive to traditional allergy medications.
  5. Integration with Routine:  Bioelectronic devices can seamlessly integrate into daily routines, allowing users to manage their allergy symptoms discreetly and conveniently.

Conclusion:

Spring allergies need not dampen the excitement of the season. With the advent of bioelectronic medicine, allergy sufferers have a promising new method for effective symptom management. By harnessing the body's natural electrical signals, bioelectronic devices offer targeted relief from congestion, sinus pain, and other allergy symptoms, without the drawbacks associated with traditional medications. As this innovative field continues to advance, it holds the potential to revolutionize allergy treatment and improve the quality of life for millions worldwide. So, this spring, consider embracing the power of bioelectronic medicine and rediscover the joy of the season, unencumbered by allergies. ...Read More

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Choosing Solutions for Sinus Pain, Pressure, and Nasal Congestion

Updated May 19, 2024

As temperatures start to rise with the beginning of the summer season, many of us find ourselves combatting the common side effects of seasonal change– allergies, sinus pressure, sinus pain, and nasal congestion. While reaching for relief is a natural instinct, it's crucial to choose the right products tailored to specific symptoms. In this article, we'll explore the effectiveness of medication, nasal sprays, and bioelectronic sinus devices, shedding light on what works and what to watch out for.

Medication: Not all medications are created equal, and many consumers just grab something at the pharmacy without realizing the product is not addressing the correct symptoms.  For example, antihistamines are generally not as effective in treating nasal congestion compared to other symptoms associated with allergies, such as sneezing and itching. Antihistamines work by blocking the action of histamine, a chemical released during an allergic reaction, and they are more effective in addressing symptoms like itching, runny nose, and sneezing than sinus pressure or congestion.

On the other hand, nasal congestion is often caused by inflammation and swelling of the nasal tissues. In these cases, antihistamines may have limited impact on reducing this type of congestion. Decongestants, either in oral or nasal spray form, are more commonly used to alleviate nasal congestion. Decongestants work by narrowing blood vessels, reducing blood flow to the nasal tissues, and thereby reducing swelling and congestion.  However, recent findings highlight the limitations of some popular nasal decongestants. According to a Yale School of Medicine news article, an FDA advisory committee concluded that phenylephrine, found in brands like Sudafed and Dayquil, is no more effective than a placebo in treating cold and allergy symptoms. Additionally, certain medications can have side effects like increased heart rate. It's essential to be aware of such considerations when choosing a medication for sinus relief.

Nasal Spray: Nasal sprays provide a targeted approach to alleviating sinus symptoms. There are two common types of nasal sprays: saline nasal spray and decongestant nasal spray.

  • Saline Nasal Spray: Ideal for maintaining nasal moisture, saline spray is drug-free and safe for regular use. These sprays help soothe irritated nasal passages without the side effects of decongestants and risk of dependency.
  • Decongestant Nasal Spray: Products like Afrin offer quick relief by narrowing blood vessels, but users must be cautious about prolonged use. Rebound congestion can occur, leading to a cycle of dependency and worsening symptoms.

Bioelectronic Sinus Devices: Innovative bioelectronic sinus devices offer a drug-free, non-addictive alternative for sinus relief. These devices use electrical stimulation to target nerves associated with sinus symptoms, providing a novel approach to managing pain and congestion. Users have the flexibility to control where and when to use the device, offering a personalized solution.

Benefits of Bioelectronic Devices:

  • Drug-Free: Bioelectronic devices provide relief without the need for medications, reducing the risk of side effects and dependency.
  • Non-Addictive and Non-Invasive: Unlike some nasal decongestants, bioelectronic devices are non-addictive, offering a sustainable solution for long-term use.
  • User-Controlled: With these devices, individuals can customize their treatment, targeting specific areas and adjusting intensity levels based on their comfort.

Choosing the right product for sinus and congestion relief involves understanding the nuances of medications, nasal sprays, and innovative bioelectronic devices. While medication may have limitations and potential side effects, nasal sprays offer targeted relief with varying considerations. Bioelectronic sinus devices present a promising alternative that is drug-free, non-addictive, and customizable to individual needs. As you embark on your journey to sinus relief this winter, consider these options wisely for a healthier and more comfortable you.

  ...Read More

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Tips for Managing Cold & Flu Symptoms

As we approach the winter season in 2024, it's important to be mindful of the ongoing threat of viral infections. With temperatures dropping and more time spent indoors in crowded spaces, the common cold, flu, and Covid-19 can still easily spread.

Vaccinations for both flu and Covid are crucial, especially for high-risk populations. It's important to prioritize these vaccinations to protect yourself and others. For individuals with allergies, Dr. Annie Chern, Family Medicine Physician at Stanford Health Care and Medical Advisory Board member of Tivic Health, recommends taking extra measures, particularly for activities that involve exposure to irritants.  Wood-burning fireplaces, scented candles, or potpourri can trigger upper respiratory tract symptoms, so be mindful and take necessary precautions.

To stay safe, healthy, and enjoy the winter season, here are some tips and strategies:

  • Wash your hands frequently to prevent the spread of germs.
  • Pace yourself, stay hydrated, and get plenty of rest to manage stress levels during the busy holiday season.
  • Maintain your workout routine to keep your immune system strong.

A non-invasive sinus bioelectronic device can also be a valuable tool in managing symptoms of winter cold and flu such as sinus pain, pressure, and nasal congestion. This innovative approach utilizes advanced technology to provide targeted treatment without the need for invasive procedures or medication.

Here's how non-invasive sinus bioelectronic medicine can help during the winter season:

  • Relief from Sinus Congestion: Sinus congestion is a common symptom of cold and flu, often causing discomfort and difficulty in breathing. Non-invasive sinus bioelectronic devices, such as Tivic Health's ClearUP, use gentle electric stimulation to target specific nerves in the nasal passages. This stimulation helps to reduce the symptoms of inflammation and alleviate sinus congestion, providing much-needed relief.
  • Soothing Sinus Pain and Pressure: Sinus pain and pressure are often associated with cold and flu infections. Non-invasive sinus bioelectronic medicine can help alleviate these symptoms by delivering targeted stimulation to the affected areas. This stimulation helps to reduce pain and relieve pressure, allowing individuals to breathe more easily and comfortably through their nose.
  • Drug-Free Treatment Option: One of the significant advantages of non-invasive sinus bioelectronic medicine is that it is entirely drug-free. This makes it an appealing option for individuals who prefer to avoid medications or who may have sensitivities or allergies to certain drugs. By utilizing gentle electrical stimulation, these devices provide a natural and non-chemical solution for managing cold and flu symptoms.
  • Real-Time Results: Non-invasive sinus bioelectronic devices offer real-time results, meaning that individuals can experience relief almost immediately after using them. This fast-acting nature is particularly beneficial during the winter season when cold and flu symptoms can be particularly bothersome. By providing quick relief, these devices help individuals feel more comfortable and enable them to continue with their daily activities.
  • Convenient and Portable: Non-invasive sinus bioelectronic devices are designed to be convenient and portable. They are compact and easy to use, making them ideal for individuals on the go or those who travel during the winter season. The portable nature of these devices allows individuals to manage their sinus symptoms effectively, regardless of their location.

Tivic ClearUP statistically, significantly reduced sinus pain and congestion in many patients with allergic rhinitis, said Dr. Chern, “I’m very excited to recommend this device for my patients.”

Non-invasive sinus bioelectronic medicine offers an innovative and effective approach to managing winter cold and flu symptoms. By providing targeted relief from sinus congestion, pain, and pressure without the need for medication or invasive procedures, these devices can be a valuable tool in promoting comfort and well-being during the winter season.

Remember to prioritize your health and take simple precautions to ensure a healthy winter season. Stay informed, follow guidelines from reputable sources, and take care of yourself and your loved ones. ...Read More

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Understanding Sinus Remedies: Decongestants vs Bioelectronic Devices

With winter weather coming, many people who suffer from sinus congestion are seeking remedies for sinus flare-ups, which are often aggravated by indoor environments, cold and flu season, and allergies. However, familiar over-the-counter (OTC) medicines may not be offered in the near future due to the recent news that a panel of U.S. health experts found that many widely used products containing phenylephrine are ineffective. According to a Yale School of Medicine news article: “A U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advisory committee unanimously concluded that phenylephrine, an ingredient found in popular nasal decongestants sold under such brand names as Sudafed and Dayquil, works no better than a placebo in treating cold and allergy symptoms.”

There are numerous factors that contribute to phenylephrine being ineffective including its low bioavailability, meaning a significant portion of the ingested dose is metabolized and excreted before it can exert its decongestant effects. This can result in lower efficacy while still having safety risks and side effects. Individual variability plays a role too: People can respond differently to decongestants, and some may find phenylephrine effective, while others do not. Factors like the severity of congestion and individual metabolism play a role in the perception of effectiveness.

“We’ve known for years that what works well for one individual may not work as effectively for another, but here is proof from a panel of health experts that decongestants containing phenylephrine simply don’t work at relieving congestion for anyone,” says Dr. Howard Levine, MD, FACS, FARS, Director of Cleveland Nasal Sinus and Sleep Center. “That’s when it is time to seriously consider other options, such as a bioelectronic sinus device.”

A bioelectronic sinus device is a medical device designed to help alleviate symptoms of sinus and nasal inflammation through gentle microcurrent stimulation of the nasal passages. These typically small, handheld devices use a technology known as neuromodulation or neurostimulation to influence nerve activity in the sinus region. This stimulation affects the trigeminal and sympathetic nerves, which reduces symptoms of inflammation and provides relief from congestion, pain, and pressure.

These results are exactly what Tivic Health’s bioelectronic sinus device, ClearUP, are providing to users. This safe, proven, and effective device is a chemical-free, FDA-approved solution.  Consider these statistics for treating sinus pain, sinus pressure, sinus headaches, and congestion based on clinical trials of Tivic ClearUP:

  • 100% drug-free and non-addictive
  • 82% of users prefer Tivic ClearUP to other treatments
  • 74% experienced pain relief in one use
  • 88% saw a meaningful improvement in congestion symptoms

Another benefit of a bioelectronic sinus device like ClearUP is that it can be used anytime and anywhere, with no need to resupply medications and pills or worry that you won’t have something at hand when you need it.

“It’s very exciting to have this whole new form of treatment using extremely safe neuromodulation as a way to address the needs of the patient,” says Dr. Alan Goldsobel, Board Certified Allergist and Adjunct Clinical Professor, Stanford University Medical School, in describing Tivic ClearUP.

The patented ClearUP bioelectronic device works with the body's natural pathways to reduce symptoms of inflammation and can be used 2-4 times daily to achieve maximum relief. It’s easy to use as well: Simply glide ClearUP slowly along your cheek, nose, and under the eyebrow to locate treatment points. Wait for the vibration, then continue to the next treatment point.

With the medical community itself raising doubts about the effectiveness of OTC nasal decongestants, there is no better time to try a bioelectronic sinus device such as Tivic ClearUP.

 

References:

Phenylephrine, a Common Decongestant, Is Ineffective, Say FDA Advisors. It’s Not Alone (Yale School of Medicine)
Tivic ClearUP (Tivic Health) ...Read More

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Enjoy an Allergy-Free Fourth of July

With summer events and gatherings coming up such as the Fourth of July celebrations, we thought to share some advice and tips for an enjoyable summer holiday season.

Recently, we sat down with Dr. Mitesh Popat, CEO of Venice Family Clinic and Medical Board Member at Tivic Health, along with Dr. Maeve O’Connor, Founder, and Medical Director at Allergy Asthma and Immunology Relief of Charlotte, North Carolina, to gather some insights on how you can prepare, have fun, and make the most of your summer gatherings.


With summer events and holiday gatherings like the Fourth of July coming up, what are potential allergic rhinitis triggers to watch out for?

Dr. Popat: Allergy symptoms in the summer can be similar to those that occur in the spring, with similar triggers. Some people thus suffer from spring well into summer. Common symptoms are sneezing, itchy eyes, congestion, etc. Those with grass allergies tend to be a bit worse in the summer. Additionally, air pollution is often worse with hotter temperatures.

Dr. O’Connor: Outdoor allergens that can trigger allergy symptoms in the summer include tree pollen, grass, and mold. Tree pollen is especially prevalent when the outdoor temperature is cool at night and warm during the day. Grass grows in every US location so avoiding it during the summer is nearly impossible especially if you are planning any outdoor activities.

Mold can also be a cause of summer allergies, increasing in concentration and potential exposure in dry windy weather for some types of molds, while other mold spores thrive when humidity is high.

 

What tips can you share, to help allergy sufferers stay safe, healthy, and enjoy their holiday celebrations?

Dr. Popat: Avoiding allergens and triggers that affect the individual, to the extent known and possible, of course. Using as-needed treatments that are effective such as the ClearUP bioelectronic sinus device, neti pot, intranasal steroids, etc.

Dr. O’Connor: Take allergy medications in advance to prevent symptoms. Avoid smoke from fireworks, campfires, and barbecues as smoke can act as an irritant, making allergy symptoms and asthma worse.

Keep sunglasses on when outside to avoid allergy symptoms in the eyes (allergic conjunctivitis). And set out a blanket or towel, or grab a chair, before picnicking directly on the grass.

Insects enjoy picnics just like humans do but certain insects such as fire ants, bees, wasps, and yellow jackets can cause an allergic reaction in some people. Avoiding insects is best but you can minimize the chances of encountering insects by avoiding wearing bright-colored clothing, keeping drinks and food covered if outdoors, containing trash, avoiding perfume, and using insect repellent.

Be sure to check all food ingredients as well so that the holiday can be enjoyed without an allergic reaction to an accidentally ingested food allergen.  July birthdays and the Fourth of July also lead to the use of balloons which may contain latex, another allergen to look out for!

Other general allergy tips:

  • Allergy sufferers should become familiar with local climate conditions such as humidity, pollen counts, air quality, and changes in temperature. Limiting contact with outdoor allergens is a great way to prevent symptoms.
  • While outdoors, wear a face mask and long-sleeved clothes.
  • Always shower immediately after being outdoors and vacuum regularly to get outdoor pollen out of the home.
  • Keep windows and doors of your car and home closed. Running the air conditioning and using HEPA filters can help as well.
  • Some allergy sufferers need to take preventative medicines such as antihistamines or nasal spray prior to going outside while others may need daily medication to keep symptoms at bay.
  • If you suffer from asthma using your short-acting bronchodilator prior to going outdoors may be helpful in preventing an allergen-induced asthma flare.
  • Your healthcare provider can advise you which medications you may need on an as-needed or going basis to control allergy symptoms.

 

What tips can you share for managing Pollen Food Allergy Syndrome (PFAS) or Oral Allergy Syndrome (OAS)?

Dr. O’Connor: Cross-reacting allergens found in pollen and raw fruits, nuts, and vegetables can cause Pollen Food Allergy Syndrome (PFAS) or Oral Allergy Syndrome (OAS) leading to symptoms such as scratchy throat, itching of the lips and mouth, swelling of the lips, tongue, throat or mouth, or itchy ear, hives. Most PFAS sufferers have mild and short-lived issues that resolve without treatment but, rarely, more severe symptoms such as anaphylaxis can occur.

Common triggers for this include tomatoes, peaches, bananas, cucumbers, melons, zucchini, sunflower seeds, celery, apples, and more. Avoiding this food in raw form is the safest thing to do. Many PFS patients can tolerate these in baked form, however.

Be sure to take an antihistamine to treat mild symptoms and keep epinephrine close by if at risk of anaphylaxis. Talk to your allergist about the safest way to enjoy these summer treats!

 

Additional Resources:

Make Sure Your Red White and Blue Celebration is Allergy and Asthma-Free (ACAAI.org)
Pollen Food Allergy Syndrome (ACAAI.org)
Allergies and Travel (CDC.gov) ...Read More

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Summer Colds and Allergies – What to Know

Updated April 13, 2024

While spring is in full swing, several areas will start to experience warmer summer weather in no time. On a beautiful, warm summer day, you may least expect to have a scratchy throat, sneezing, and congestion, though it’s entirely possible to experience the common cold or allergy symptoms during this time of year.

Most seasonal allergy sufferers experience discomfort during springtime when trees pollinate. But others who are allergic to grass or ragweed can develop allergy symptoms like itchy eyes and sneezing well into the summer.

When the weather turns warm, the viruses that cause most colds tend to shift. Summer colds are largely caused by enteroviruses, which trigger upper respiratory symptoms such as a runny nose, congestion, and sore throat, as well as gastrointestinal issues.

How do people know if they have a summer cold or allergies, and how would their symptoms differ?

According to Dr. Annie Chern, a primary care physician, faculty member at Stanford Health Care Family Medicine Residency Program, and Tivic medical advisory board member, “Symptoms from summer colds and allergies can sometimes be hard to differentiate. In general, the patient’s history can provide a clue. If the symptoms began suddenly, and if the patient was around other people with similar symptoms before them (we call these “sick contacts”), and consist of fevers, chills, body aches, or cough, they are more likely to be from a cold virus.  Allergies typically have a more gradual or seasonal onset, are not associated with fevers or chills, and tend to be more noticeable with exposures to outdoor pollen, dander, or dust.”

Dr. Chern also shares what people need to know about the latest Covid variant XBB.1.16 and its symptoms as we head into summer. “The symptoms of this variant are fairly similar to previous Covid variants – with runny nose, fever, sore throat, muscle aches, fatigue. However, what’s new with this variant is that it seems to cause conjunctivitis – a condition with an itchy, red eye, commonly known as pink eye.

“This symptom is also commonly found in allergies so it can be difficult to differentiate. When in doubt, I recommend visiting your doctor for an exam and tests,” continued Dr. Chern.

Congestion is a common symptom shared by colds and allergies – and being stuffed up during the warm summer months can make you feel doubly miserable. In addition, no one wants to experience congestion symptoms during peak summer travel and vacation season. Dr. Chern shares these natural remedies and tips for congestion relief:

  • Run a humidifier in your home or office to soothe irritated nasal tissues, reduce sinus inflammation, and thin out mucus to help it drain.
  • Stand in a hot, steamy shower room.
  • Rinse out your nasal passages using a neti pot or saline nasal spray to remove irritants, allergens, and germs.
  • Stay hydrated to make it easier for congested sinuses to drain.
  • Revamp your nighttime routine by propping up a pillow or two under your head to help you breathe easier.
  • Consider using ClearUP, a bioelectronic sinus device that uses small doses of electrical current to stimulate affected nerves and relieve congestion. ClearUP is 100% drug-free and provides rapid, lasting relief.

 

  ...Read More

Allergies in the workplace
How To Make Your Workplace Allergy Friendly

Updated April 26. 2024

May is Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month, and we're preparing by spotlighting how you can stay healthy, safe, and productive in the office during peak allergy season.

The pandemic has changed the world of work, and over the last few years, companies have been adopting fresh new ways to motivate employees to return to the office. How can employers provide an engaging, collaborative workplace while creating a safe, healthy environment for those with chronic allergies?

Nearly 1 in 3 U.S. adults have seasonal allergies triggered by environmental factors from tree pollen to dust mites, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA).

Dr. Melissa Schwartz, founder of the Montgomery County ENT Institute says, “Some of the most common office allergens include dust mites, mold, and cockroaches. Dust mites are microscopic organisms that live in the dust around desks, bookshelves, and those annoying dust bunnies in the corners of rooms. Depending on the type of HVAC in your office or workplace, dust can be blown through the ducts and vents whenever the system turns on, and rarely are those ducts professionally cleaned.

“The same goes for mold which produces spores that circulate around in the air. Mold can develop in any location where there has been moisture – such as leaky pipes, roof surfaces, and flooded areas. It can be hidden behind the walls and is often difficult to find. The most common mold in damp spaces is the black mold called Aspergillus. Additionally, older buildings in urban areas can have cockroach infestations. These insects leave droppings which become airborne allergens that many people are allergic to,” continued Dr. Schwartz.

Each year, there are 4 million missed or low productivity workdays due to hay fever allergies. – with the average worker with allergies missing an hour a week per year. During peak seasonal allergy periods, allergy sufferers can miss up to 32 hours of work in a week.

A recent study[1] with over 2,000 people commissioned by Tivic Health shows that those with moderate to severe allergies take behavioral steps to mitigate their symptoms – which includes 11% of them missing work.

In addition to lost productivity, environmental allergens in the workplace can also potentially lead to serious health conditions for employees.

“Many individuals will notice chronic nasal congestion, sinus pressure or pain, headaches, and postnasal drip from these indoor allergens. Some may develop wheezing or asthma-type symptoms, lung infections or fungal infections in the sinuses that can be deep seeded, requiring surgical intervention to eradicate,” adds Dr. Schwartz.

What can employers do to improve their office environment, to minimize the impact of workplace allergens? Dr. Schwartz recommends the following:

  • Employers should keep their HVAC systems up to date with routine maintenance, and clean filters every 3 months.
  • Routine dusting, mopping, and vacuuming by housekeeping services.
  • Air purification systems can be helpful especially if the work environment is dusty by nature.
  • Water damage should be handled and restored as soon as possible to avoid the development of mold. Professional treatment of areas affected by mold can render the area as good as new.

How can employees protect themselves? Dr. Schwartz shares these tips:

  • Get an accurate diagnosis, including knowing what you’re allergic to.
  • Minimize exposure to the offending allergens.
  • Use a saline nasal. This will wash the allergens from the nasal passages and reduce the amount of contact with the nasal tissues thereby reducing symptoms.
  • Manage exposure proactively – e.g., if you are allergic to dust, investing in an air purifier for your office space would be beneficial. Be sure to measure the room as these devices have different specs based on the square footage of the space.

Another way to protect yourself? Consider using Tivic ClearUP, a non-invasive bioelectronic sinus device that treats nasal congestion and sinus pain/pressure associated with seasonal allergies. ClearUP is 100% drug-free and provides rapid, lasting relief, allowing allergy and sinus sufferers to breathe more easily.

 

Additional Resources:

Employer Guide to Managing Allergies in the Workplace (ADP)

Asthma and Allergies in the Workplace (CDC)

An Industry Ripe for Innovation – The Most Common Pain Points, Workarounds, and Alternative Solutions to Treat Congestion, Head Pain, and Allergies (Tivic Health)

 

[1] Intelligo Insights study with over 2,000 consumers commissioned by Tivic Health Q1/2023. ...Read More

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Spring Roundup for May as Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month

Updated May 13 2024

Since 1984, the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) has dedicated May to be Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month, to bring awareness to these two medical conditions and how they can impact lives.

The AAFA also just published their 2024 Allergy Capitals Report – check it out to see where your city ranks and get tips on how to manage your seasonal allergies to improve your quality of life.

Here’s our own roundup of spring allergies across the U.S, updated for May 2024:

Southeastern Region

Many cities in the southeastern U.S. are notorious for seasonal allergies, namely 1) Columbia, South Carolina, 2) Charlotte, North Carolina, and 3) Orlando, Florida.

According to Dr. Maeve O’Connor, founder, and medical director at Allergy Asthma and Immunology Relief of Charlotte, North Carolina, “In the Charlotte area, the spring season started early this year, and it’s expected to last longer as well, due to climate change and extreme weather patterns.

“The most common spring allergens in the southeast include pollen from these trees: ash, birch, beech, cedar, hickory maple, oak, poplar, sycamore, walnut, and willow. Currently, elm, cedar, and cottonwood trees are generating the highest amount of pollen in the Charlotte, NC area. Grass allergies tend to peak around early summer as well,” continued Dr. O’Connor.

Northeastern Region

According to Dr. Melissa Schwartz, founder of the Montgomery County ENT Institute, “With the mild winter in Philadelphia and the Northeast corridor, trees started budding earlier, and pollen counts were already up to moderate levels in March. And a very windy March has increased allergy symptoms for those spending lots of time outdoors.

“In Philadelphia, the most common allergens are pollen from birch, sycamore, maple, elm and oak trees. Birch pollen appears first, followed by the others. These trees release pollen from March through May in a typical year. Grass pollen allergies begin in April and will vary in severity based on rain levels, and can possibly last into July,” added Dr. Schwartz.

The AAFA Allergy Capitals Report ranks Northeastern cities such as 1) Scranton, Pennsylvania, 2) Rochester, New York, and 3) Worcester, Massachusetts among the most challenging cities for spring allergies.

Western Region

This spring, record rainfall and stormy weather in California and the Pacific Northwest have worsened allergy symptoms for many adults and children, according to UCLA Health. Heavy rains have pummeled pollen into smaller particles that are more easily inhaled and reach deeper into the lungs – so symptoms have been more persistent and worse.

Physicians have noticed an increase in consultations for nasal congestion, runny nose, and a cough that doesn’t go away. There is also symptom overlap with a fall and winter prolonged surge in upper respiratory illnesses.

Dr. Alan Goldsobel of Allergy and Asthma Associates of Northern California, and Tivic Health Medical Advisory Board Member says, “Steady rainfall can wash pollen away from the air and improve allergic rhinoconjunctivitis symptoms (nose and eye problems caused by allergens). However, this improvement can be short-lived as plants tend to grow, flower, and produce more pollen after a good rainfall, thus worsening symptoms.”

Roundup of tips to manage your spring allergy symptoms:

  • Minimize your exposure as much as possible by monitoring your allergy tracker for what to expect in your area and avoid the outdoors before a storm and the first few days afterward.
  • Stay home and keep your windows closed. Use your air conditioning and/or a HEPA purifier to filter allergens.
  • If you use a humidifier, keep humidity levels in your home between 40-50%.
  • When visible green pollen dust shows up on your car windshield or hood, it’s best to drive with your windows up to minimize exposure.
  • In general, avoid peak pollen times, usually around 5-10 am and at dusk. Pollen is also higher on warm, breezy days.
  • Use an over-the-counter saline nasal spray or rinse to clear pollen from your nasal passages and throat area.
  • If you’ve been diagnosed with seasonal allergies in the past, consider starting your meds right away to avoid symptoms worsening after several days of exposure.
  • Consider using ClearUP, a non-invasive bioelectronic sinus device that treats nasal congestion and sinus pain/pressure associated with seasonal allergies. ClearUP is 100% drug-free and provides rapid, lasting relief, allowing patients to breathe more easily.

If your symptoms worsen, consult with a board-certified allergist about treatment options. ...Read More

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What to Know About Allergies & Asthma – Q&A With an Allergist

May is Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month! We are putting a spotlight on useful things to know about these two medical conditions and more in the coming weeks. 

 

Seasonal allergies and asthma can make you miserable. And although they can overlap and share common triggers, they are very different medical conditions.

Dr. Alan Goldsobel, of Allergy and Asthma Associates of Northern California, and Tivic Health Medical Board Member, answers our questions regarding the differences between allergies, and asthma, how seasonality impacts these conditions and more.

 

1. Is there a link between seasonal allergies and asthma? If so, what is it?

If you have allergies, your immune system overreacts to an allergen by producing antibodies called Immunoglobulin E (IgE). When that reaction occurs in the nose and eyes, that is called allergic rhinitis or commonly known as hay fever.

Asthma is an inflammatory disease of the lungs. Most often, it is triggered by colds or viral infections, or irritants like smoke exposure or air pollution. In some cases, it can also be triggered by allergen exposures and exercise.

 

2. What are the most common asthma symptoms?

The most common signs of asthma are coughing, wheezing, a sense of chest tightness, or shortness of breath.

Seasonal allergies, emotional stress, airborne allergens, common colds, or other viral infections tend to make asthma symptoms worse. These symptoms tend to be more severe at night and early morning.

 

3. Can changes in temperature or humidity trigger asthma symptoms? If so, what happens physiologically, and what types of symptoms show up?

Yes, weather conditions can overlap and have significant interplay.  Cold air can cause some constriction of bronchial tubes and exercising in cold air is typically more of a problem for exercise-induced asthma.

In season, trees, grass, and weeds pollinate more in warm vs. cold environments.  Dust mites, a very common trigger of allergic rhinitis and asthma, grow much more in humid vs. dry environments.

Additionally, heavy rains and thunderstorms that occur during high pollen and high humidity season can also worsen asthma symptoms.

 

4. What is allergic asthma? How do patients know they have this?

Allergic asthma refers to asthma that is triggered by allergen exposures such as pollen, pet dander, dust mites, and mold.  Patients become aware when exposures are obvious, such as during the spring season or visiting a home with pets. However, it is not always obvious.

Irritants in the environment can also irritate sensitive airways and bring on asthma symptoms, such as:

  • Smoke from cigarettes, tobacco, or marijuana products
  • Air pollution such as smog or ozone
  • Strong fumes, vapors, or odors from paint, gasoline, perfumes, scented personal care products

 

5. Who is at risk for allergic asthma?

Allergies (allergic sensitivity) and asthma are different things.  Not everyone with allergic sensitivities has asthma and vice versa.  Most children with asthma have an allergic component.  When asthma doesn’t start until adulthood, it is not as common to have allergic triggers, but many do.

 

6. Can allergic asthma be intensified by factors that cause non-allergic asthma?

All the common triggers including viral infections, allergic exposures, irritant exposures, and exercise can overlap and have significant interplay.

 

7. What are some less common allergic asthma triggers?

In California, levels of tree and grass pollen in the spring are typically higher and cause more symptoms than weeds that pollinate in the fall. Mold allergies are less common in areas without high humidity.

 

It’s a good idea to know the things that trigger your allergy and asthma symptoms and learn how to minimize exposure to them. Meet with an allergist to help you properly diagnose and build a treatment plan to manage your condition. ...Read More

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Are Your Allergies Worse When It Rains?
Updated April 13, 2024

Stormy days put a damper on outdoor plans and on top of that, the weather can also affect a range of health conditions from headaches to asthma and allergies.

According to Dr. Alan Goldsobel of Allergy and Asthma Associates of Northern California, and Tivic Health Medical Advisory Board Member, “Heavier rainfall this year is anticipated to bring higher pollen levels much earlier this spring. During steady rainfall, pollen is washed away and kept from flying through the air – which can improve allergic rhinoconjunctivitis symptoms (nose and eye problems caused by allergens).”

The rain’s ability to reduce pollen in the air is short-lived. After a good rainfall, plants tend to grow, flower, and produce more pollen. Heavy rains can also break up larger clumps of pollen, especially grass and weed pollen – which can become airborne more easily when the rain stops.

And if a big cold front is on the back end of that rainstorm – a common recurrence along the west coast this year – higher wind gusts will toss that pollen around quite a bit; so it’s not unusual to see higher pollen counts after heavy rain.

According to UCLA Health, this year, record rainfall and stormy weather in California and the Pacific Northwest have already worsened allergy symptoms for many adults and children. Heavy rains have pummeled pollen into smaller particles that are more easily inhaled and reach deeper into the lungs – so symptoms have been more persistent and worse.

Physicians have noticed an increase in consultations for nasal congestion, runny nose, and a cough that doesn’t go away. There is also symptom overlap with a fall and winter prolonged surge in upper respiratory illnesses.

If you suffer from mold allergies, your symptoms may act up after a good downpour, or even after several days of high humidity. Wet conditions invite more mold to grow, especially outdoors in grass or leafy piles, or around areas in your home that are prone to being damp.

What are some drug-free ways to manage your allergy symptoms?

If your symptoms are severe, consult with a board-certified allergist about immunotherapy (desensitization) treatment which can be given as allergy shots, tablets, or drops under the tongue.

Consider using ClearUP, a non-invasive bioelectronic sinus device that treats nasal congestion and sinus pain/pressure associated with seasonal allergies. ClearUP is 100% drug-free and provides lasting relief, allowing patients to breathe better, faster.

  ...Read More

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March is National Nutrition Month! A Look at the Best Foods to Fight Seasonal Allergies

We are wrapping up National Nutrition month with food tips to help you manage your seasonal allergy symptoms.

We spoke with Dr. Annie Chern, a primary care physician, faculty member at Stanford Health Care Family Medicine Residency Program, and Tivic medical advisory board member, to get her insights and advice on this.

Could dietary changes help control seasonal allergies? If so, how?

Seasonal allergies are a manifestation of an inflammatory response – with contributions from genetic factors like family history, exposures, etc. Therefore, adopting an anti-inflammatory diet could boost the immune system and help to reduce allergy symptoms.

There are also studies that show how an anti-inflammatory diet can protect against the development of asthma in children. Asthma is in the same family of conditions as seasonal allergies and eczema, so it follows that adopting an anti-inflammatory diet would be helpful.

Which foods would you recommend to help fight seasonal allergies?

The anti-inflammatory diet emphasizes monounsaturated and omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids from marine sources, nuts, vegetable and seed fiber, legumes, whole grains, lean protein, spices, and minimizes ultra-processed foods.

In general terms, this means increasing the consumption of green leafy vegetables, fruits, nuts like almonds and walnuts, salmon, and other oily fish, while decreasing refined carbohydrates (bread, pasta, packaged foods) and red meat.

Are there certain vitamins or minerals that can help ease allergy symptoms?  

According to the Mayo Clinic, Vitamin D’s anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and neuroprotective properties support immune health, and can help to reduce allergy symptoms.

There are also studies suggesting that Vitamin D deficiency is associated with the development of asthma. According to the Andrew Weil Center for Integrative Medicine, "Vitamin D is known to modulate cellular immunity and to be important for proper lung development, both in utero and postnatally. Insufficient vitamin D may therefore predispose towards asthma by a greater risk of respiratory infections, abnormal inflammatory/allergic responses or impaired lung development."

Dr. Chern adds, “Patients predisposed to seasonal allergies, asthma, and other associated conditions should try to ensure they have adequate levels of Vitamin D.  Very few foods naturally contain vitamin D (fatty fish like salmon, swordfish, tuna, cod liver oil, egg yolks, beef liver) but some foods are fortified with it (fortified orange juice, milk products, and cereals).  The recommended daily allowance of vitamin D for adults is 600 IU – 800 IU (international units) / day.”

There is also some evidence that certain herbs can help alleviate seasonal allergy symptoms, and Dr. Chern offers these suggestions:

  • Thyme has been known to have antitussive (cough) properties so is often used for congestion, cough, and asthma symptoms.
  • Butterbur - can be used for allergies and asthma.  The Andrew Weil Center for Integrative Medicine says, "Petasin, a natural compound found in the butterbur plant, inhibits leukotriene synthesis and histamine release."  It's important to keep in mind that all parts of the plant contain a harmful component called pyrrolizidine alkaloids, which are highly toxic (especially to the liver), so you must look for "pyrrolizidine alkaloid-free"
  • Ginseng - in one study, fermented red ginseng resulted in significant improvement in nasal congestion and allergic rhinitis (seasonal allergies) quality of life scores when compared to placebo.
  • Chamomile - chamomile contains flavonoids that have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.  Some people have found success using steeped, chilled chamomile tea bags on their eyes (while closed!) to soothe itchy, irritated eyes.  Note that the eyes are a sensitive area, so watch out for skin reactions or allergies - you may want to test it out on another area before you try this.

For many patients, diet alone may not successfully control their allergy symptoms, and may also need to supplement their regimen with their medications and/or other treatment methods.

If you’re sensitive to medications, consider using ClearUP – a clinically proven, drug-free bioelectronic sinus device that provides rapid relief of sinus pain, sinus headache, and congestion from allergies. It’s a non-invasive form of treatment that uses safe neuromodulation to help patients breathe better.

 

Related References:

10 Foods That May Curb Seasonal Allergies (WebMD)
Dr. Weil’s Anti-Inflammatory Diet (DrWeil.com)
These 7 Foods Might Help Alleviate Seasonal Allergy Symptoms (Healthline) ...Read More

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Spring Allergies in the Northeast – What to Expect This Year

Across the country, spring flowers have sprung, and trees are leafing out weeks early, giving seasonal allergies an early start this year. Unseasonably warm temperatures have also led to earlier blooming in the Northeastern U.S., which has jumpstarted allergy season.

According to Dr. Melissa Schwartz, founder of the Montgomery County ENT Institute, “Due to the mild winter in Philadelphia and the Northeast corridor, we can expect an early spring allergy season this year. Trees are already budding and pollen counts are at low to moderate levels.

If we have a rainy spring, grass pollen will appear early as well. And March is typically very windy which will increase symptoms, especially for those spending time outdoors.”

Each year, the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) publishes its Allergy Capitals Report and its latest ranking includes Northeastern cities such as Scranton/ Allentown (Pennsylvania), Hartford/ New Haven (Connecticut), and Buffalo/ Albany (New York) among the most challenging cities for spring allergies.

What are the most common plant allergens in the Northeast?

Dr. Schwartz says, “In Philadelphia, the most common allergens are pollen from birch, sycamore, elm, maple, and oak trees. Birch pollen appears first, followed by the others. These trees release pollen from March through May in a typical year. Grass pollen allergies begin in April and will vary in severity based on rain levels, and can possibly last into July.”

Dr. Schwartz advises patients to pay attention to the onset of their symptoms – especially if they emerge following a prolonged period of time spent outdoors, particularly on windy days. Symptoms will typically consist of itchy, watery eyes, sneezing, rhinorrhea (runny nose), nasal congestion, and postnasal drip which can cause a sore throat, and sinus pressure/ headache.

Do patients experience different types of symptoms from different allergens?

“Not usually, but some patients are more prone to nasal symptoms and others tend to develop throat or eye symptoms. Patients with allergy-induced asthma will experience more wheezing or coughing during their prime allergy season,” said Dr. Schwartz.

What other noteworthy trends or observations have you seen from allergy sufferers this year?

“This year, we’ve noticed that many of our patients are experiencing persistent congestion or postnasal drip, as well as sinus headaches – which have led them to falsely believe that they may have an upper respiratory infection (URI) or sinus infection. This makes our physical examination even more important than in prior years, as we don’t want patients misdiagnosed and treated with unnecessary antibiotics,” added Dr. Schwartz.

For those who live in the Northeast, what are some ways to cope with spring allergies?  

Dr. Schwartz offers these tips and more from the Montgomery County ENT Institute blog:

  • When visible green pollen dust shows up on your car windshield or hood, it’s best to drive with your windows up to minimize exposure.
  • At home, keep your windows shut and use your air conditioning and/or a HEPA purifier to filter allergens.
  • It’s important to monitor the onset of your symptoms and minimize exposure to the offending allergens – for instance, you may be allergic to grass pollen if:
    • You do yardwork or cut your own lawn and feel worse immediately after or the next day.
    • You notice symptoms the day after watching your child’s soccer or baseball games.
    • Children with allergies may get itchy after playing in the grass, possibly with rashes or eczema developing.
  • To remove pollen you pick up outside, take a shower immediately after being outdoors and change your clothes.
  • Check the weather and learn when conditions such as rain or wind increase pollen levels in your area, so you can be prepared.
  • In general, avoid peak pollen times, usually around 5-10 am and at dusk. Pollen is also higher on warm, breezy days.
  • Use an over-the-counter saline nasal spray or rinse to clear pollen from your nasal passages and throat area.
  • If you have been diagnosed with seasonal allergies in the past, consider starting your meds right away to avoid symptoms worsening after several days of exposure.

 Consider using ClearUP, a non-invasive bioelectronic sinus device that treats nasal congestion and sinus pain/pressure associated with seasonal allergies. ClearUP is 100% drug-free and provides rapid, lasting relief, allowing patients to breathe more easily.

If your symptoms worsen, it’s best to speak with your doctor about allergy relief options and a treatment plan that’s right for you.

 

  ...Read More

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Preparing for Spring Allergies – Spotlight on the Southeastern U.S.

Longer days, warmer temperatures, and allergies signal the coming of spring. More than 50 million Americans live with various types of allergies each year and many of them suffer from seasonal pollen allergies.

Based on the latest Allergy Capitals Report by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA), many cities in the south and southeastern regions of the U.S. are notorious for seasonal allergies, namely, Columbia/ Greenville (South Carolina), Charlotte/ Winston-Salem (North Carolina), and Miami/ Jacksonville (Florida).

According to Dr. Maeve O’Connor, founder, and medical director at Allergy Asthma and Immunology Relief of Charlotte, North Carolina, “In the Charlotte area, climate change, extreme weather patterns, and an early spring equinox have jump-started the spring season, and it’s expected to last longer as well.

“The most common spring allergens in the southeast include pollen from these trees: ash, beech, birch, cedar, hickory maple, oak, poplar, sycamore, walnut, and willow. Currently, elm, cedar, and cottonwood trees are generating the highest amount of pollen in the Charlotte, NC area. Grass allergies tend to peak around early summer as well,” continued Dr. O’Connor.

How can you best prepare for spring allergy season? Dr. O’Connor shares these drug-free tips:

  • Stay indoors on dry, windy days and avoid outdoor activity in the early morning when pollen counts are highest. The most optimal time outdoors is after a good rain, which clears pollen.
  • Avoid gardening and lawn care  - this is a good time to hire a yard helper!
  • Remove clothes you've worn outside and shower to rinse pollen from your skin and hair.
  • Don't hang laundry outside — pollen can stick to sheets and towels.
  • Wear a face mask if you work outside.
  • Use air conditioning in your home and car. Do not drive with the window down and set car vents to recirculate when pollen counts are high.
  • Use high-efficiency filters on HVAC, vacuum cleaners, and HEPA filters, especially in the bedroom.
  • Monitor the weather and pollen counts in your area so you can get ahead of the game!
  • Rinsing your nasal passages with saline solution (nasal irrigation) relieves nasal congestion. Rinsing directly flushes out mucus and allergens from your nose. The safest homemade saline solution includes distilled water to reduce the risk of infection.
  • Natural remedies that may improve hay fever symptoms include extracts of the shrub butterbur, spirulina (a type of dry algae), quercetin, bromelain, and other herbal remedies.
  • Acupuncture has shown possible limited benefits in reducing allergy symptoms.

Avoiding allergens and taking nonprescription medications may be enough to ease symptoms.

However, allergy testing via blood or skin test can help identify triggers and allergy shots (allergen immunotherapy) can be a good option for those who suffer moderate to severe symptoms. Good news for those who fear needles: in some cases, immunotherapy (desensitization) treatment can be given as tablets or drops under the tongue.

If you’re sensitive to medications or prefer a drug-free approach, consider using ClearUP, a non-invasive bioelectronic sinus device that treats nasal congestion and sinus pain/pressure associated with seasonal allergies. ClearUP is 100% drug-free and provides rapid, lasting relief, allowing patients to breathe better.

Dr. O’Connor adds, “Charlotte and the Southeast are great places to live and offer so many wonderful outdoor activities. Finding the right treatment plan for allergies is possible and allows allergy sufferers the freedom to enjoy these activities.  A board-certified allergist can identify your specific triggers and set a treatment plan that is right for you.”

  ...Read More

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Seasonal Allergy Symptoms You May Be Missing – Q&A With An Allergist

For most seasonal allergy sufferers, recurring symptoms include itching, sneezing, and wheezing. But there are other less common symptoms that may show up seasonally or linger all year round – and these symptoms can be more subtle and overlooked, delaying relief.

We sat down with Dr. Alan Goldsobel of Allergy and Asthma Associates of Northern California, and Tivic Health Medical Advisory Board Member to learn more about  allergy symptoms and treatment methods.

 

What are some less common seasonal allergy (allergic rhinitis) symptoms that are often missed?

Sometimes I see patients with dark circles under their eyes (“allergic shiners”) which look slightly blue or purple, almost bruised. This is caused by the nasal cavities becoming inflamed and congested when exposed to allergens, causing the veins under the eyes to become dilated.

There is also the allergic “crease” – a horizontal line on the nose that comes from frequent rubbing of the nose. This can often lead to nosebleeds as patients with allergic rhinitis frequently rub and traumatize their noses, often unconsciously.

And for some patients, fatigue can be very prominent. Its exact cause is not completely understood. It may be attributed to partial or temporary sleep apnea from severe nasal congestion, and/or the direct effect of some of the chemical mediators released in the body from allergic reactions.

What are some behavioral issues that may be symptoms of allergies?

Behavioral issues such as lethargy or fatigue can be associated with seasonal allergies. This can be caused by exposure to pervasive environmental allergens like pollen, dust mites, and/or pet dander, which can lead to compromised breathing during sleep and interruptions in the sleep cycle. This can leave the patient starting a new day feeling foggy and irritable, which can impact productivity and overall well-being.

Studies have also shown that many children don’t do as well academically in school during their allergy season. This can emerge from poor sleep quality leading to lethargy and difficulty concentrating.

What drug-free treatments do you recommend for managing these symptoms?

Firstly, I recommend taking environmental control measures to minimize allergen exposure such as staying indoors as much as possible when pollen counts are highest. Check pollen counts in your area. If you’re allergic to pet dander, take aggressive steps to remove pet dander from your home and limit pet exposure.

Use saltwater irrigation for the nose and artificial tears in the eyes to stay moisturized.

Consider using ClearUP, a non-invasive bioelectronic sinus device that treats nasal congestion and sinus pain/pressure associated with seasonal allergies. ClearUP is 100% chemical-free and provides rapid, lasting relief, allowing patients to breathe more easily.

 

If symptoms worsen, it’s best to see an allergist for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan. In some cases, allergy immunotherapy (allergy shots) can be very effective and greatly reduce symptoms caused by allergen exposure. ...Read More

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Allergies and Headaches – What to Know

Updated April 13, 2024

About 70-80% of the North American population has headaches, with 50% experiencing at least one headache per month.

The most common headache triggers can include anything from stress to not getting enough sleep. While most headaches are not serious, they can significantly affect quality of life.

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In many cases, headaches can come from allergies or sinus problems. What are the underlying causes of these types of headaches?

According to Howard Levine, MD, Director of the Cleveland Nasal Sinus and Sleep Center, and Tivic Health medical board member, “Patients usually say that they are experiencing facial pain around the sinuses. They may feel steady pressure around the sinuses that lasts for days. Or it can be short-lived and attributed to some type of underlying sinus problem.

“Pain can emerge when sinuses are blocked – for instance, enlarged nasal turbinates, a sinus infection, or inflammation from allergies - can block the outflow of sinuses and cause pain. Sinus blockage can also occur from nasal polyps which are common or tumors which are uncommon. In some cases, people may experience short-lived headaches due to changes in barometric pressure from shifts in weather or altitude. And if headache pain is severe, sharp, or throbbing, it is likely a migraine,” continued Dr. Levine.

Allergy headaches are typically triggered by pollen, mold spores, pet dander, cockroaches or dust mites. Other triggers may consist of food allergens and environmental smells such as smoke or perfume.

Migraine triggers may include stress, anxiety, hormonal changes, dietary factors including alcohol, caffeine, and certain additives like tyramine. Environmental factors such as bright lights, strong smells, loud noises or flickering screens can also contribute to migraines.

It’s important to pay attention to your headache and its triggers, and manage your symptoms accordingly. Here are a few natural home remedies:

  • Minimize exposure to your allergen triggers.
  • Drink plenty of fluids to thin any mucus causing nasal congestion and stuffiness.
  • Use saline irrigation to flush the nose or saline nasal sprays to moisturize the nose.
  • Inhale steam two to four times a day – with a towel over your head to contain the steam or while sitting in the bathroom with the shower running.
  • Apply a warm, moist washcloth to your face several times a day.

Dr. Levine also recommends using ClearUP, a non-invasive bioelectronic sinus device that shrinks swollen tissue within the nasal cavity to ease congestion and allow patients to breathe more easily. The ClearUP bioelectronic sinus device is 100% drug-free and provides rapid and lasting relief, without chemical side effects.

It can be difficult to distinguish and diagnose the underlying causes of a headache. Consult your doctor if your headaches recur or worsen, and pain occurs with nausea, sensitivity to light and noise, or weakness in the arms and legs. ...Read More

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How to Sleep Better with Allergies

If seasonal allergies are keeping you up at night, you’re certainly not alone. In a study published by the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), allergy sufferers are more than twice as likely to have insomnia than those without allergies.

According to Howard Levine, MD, Director of the Cleveland Nasal Sinus and Sleep Center, and Tivic Health medical advisory board member, “Allergies can affect many parts of the body. One of these is the nose – allergies can cause nasal congestion and obstruction, and when this happens, it can be difficult to breathe through the nose. A blocked nose can disrupt sleep, leading to periods of wakefulness.”

For allergy sufferers, other sleep-related issues that can emerge include increased snoring, poor sleep efficiency, and increased risk for sleep apnea.

Dr. Levine adds, “Individuals who frequently experience sleep disruptions will wake up unrefreshed and feel fatigued during the day. Left untreated, this can result in impaired functioning and performance at school or work.”

Sleeping with allergies can be tough, but there are some natural, drug-free remedies to manage symptoms and get better sleep.

Dr. Levine suggests using nasal saline to irrigate the nose prior to bedtime - this can serve as a decongestant and flush out allergens in the nasal passages that may be triggering the congestion. It’s an effective drug-free method of managing nasal congestion.

“I also recommend adding the ClearUP bioelectronic device to your treatment regimen – it’s an FDA-approved, non-invasive device that provides rapid relief of sinus pain and congestion. Using ClearUP on a regular, consistent basis can also reduce the difficulty of falling and staying asleep, and therefore improve sleep quality for allergy sufferers. They can get a good night’s sleep and wake up less tired,” continued Dr. Levine.

Here are some other tips to sleep better with allergies:

If your allergy symptoms continue to keep you up at night, speak with your doctor or allergist to get a full evaluation and discuss treatment options. ...Read More

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Celebrate International Mind-Body Wellness Day

The connection between the mind, body, and soul plays an integral role in our overall health and well-being. Our emotions, experiences, habits, and actions play a part in mind-body harmony and wellness.

So today we kick off the new year by celebrating International Mind-Body Wellness Day with a focus on bioelectronic medicine’s role in providing personalized care with drug-free treatment options for people who suffer from chronic conditions such as headaches, anxiety, and seasonal allergies.

Bioelectronic medicine (neurotechnology) - the use of small amounts of electrical or other forms of stimulation rather than drugs to treat disorders - has opened many exciting opportunities to deliver targeted therapies without chemical or systemic side effects.

According to JoJo Platt, Neurotech Strategist and President of Platt & Associates, Inc., “In the mental health and wellness space, there are minimally-invasive, drug-free treatment options using neurotechnology to stimulate the brain and treat mental disorders with staggering results that have the potential to significantly change lives.

“There is also a big push to offer personalized treatments using closed-loop devices which track and monitor real-time data on treatment, therapy, and outcomes that patients can share with their doctor. This results in reducing the amount of time it takes for patients to experience much better results with far fewer side effects, less downtime, and time investment overall,” added Platt.

Platt pointed out that regardless of the healthcare sector – whether in psychiatry or internal medicine – it can be time-consuming to book an appointment and see your doctor because the number of physicians entering the workforce versus those who are exiting is not in the consumer’s favor, so this puts a lot of pressure on healthcare providers.

“The availability of specialized clinicians is declining at the same time that current demand is increasing. And future imbalances between supply and demand will only get worse. There is an increasing need for solutions that require less engagement and interaction with healthcare practitioners, instead of more. Clinician accessibility is particularly challenging in rural areas, and also given our growing aging population in the U.S., we need to look beyond telehealth and incorporate technology that will reach more people, provide personalized care, and improve outcomes overall.” continued Platt.

While safety and efficacy come first, Platt adds that, “It’s equally important for regulators and payers to consider solutions that serve as ‘force multipliers’ - to address clinical supply and demand as well as to reduce costs and optimize the time that physicians spend with their patients. The current standard of care - prescribing drugs with increased monitoring burden and usually with a significant risk of side effects is no longer the only solution.”

Several examples of such minimally invasive, personalized devices focused on mental health and wellness include:

  • Cala Health has a wearable device, Cala Trio™ that looks like a smartwatch and delivers individualized peripheral nerve stimulation to treat essential tremors.
  • Companies like Roga have produced non-invasive devices worn as earbuds and designed to treat headaches, stress, and anxiety by promoting relaxation and calmness.
  • Sana Health makes ocular glasses that use audiovisual stimulation (light and sound) to provide pain relief, reduce anxiety, and promote deep relaxation.
  • ClearUP® by Tivic Health is an over-the-counter handheld device that treats allergic sinusitis, sinus pain, and congestion that patients can use anytime, anywhere.
  • NXTSTIM’s EcoAI™ device is used for pain relief, rehabilitation, or muscle relaxation, and comes with an app that collects data, and provides closed-loop personalized treatments that enable patients to use it at their convenience – at home or on the go.
  • Vively’s arm patch monitors glucose levels and helps people understand how their diet and lifestyle affect their metabolic health in real-time.
  • Reliefband’s wearable device treats nausea and vomiting associated with motion sickness, pregnancy, migraines, anxiety, chemotherapy, and hangovers.

To sum up, Platt says, “With the proliferation of the Apple Watch and Fitbit devices, consumers are excited about taking a peek under the hood, to see the impact of their daily activities and how they can tweak this to optimize outcomes and achieve lifestyle improvements – from improving sleep to choosing the best type of exercise. The feedback we’re capturing in our watches today holds a tremendous opportunity to make our data more transparent, actionable, and relevant to our health.”

 

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Navigating the Holidays with Covid, Flu Season, and Allergies

Holiday gatherings are returning to normal as the U.S. adapts to living with Covid and prevention tools have become more readily available to reduce the risk of severe illness for many people.

But as temperatures drop during the holiday season and we spend more time in crowded spaces and close-contact settings indoors, viral infections from the common cold, flu, and Covid-19 are still more likely to spread easily.

As prominently reported in the media, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) cases are also on the rise across the U.S., causing cold-like symptoms in adults, and wheezing, bronchitis, and pneumonia in many children.

According to Dr. Alan Goldsobel of Allergy and Asthma Associates of Northern California, and a Tivic Health medical advisory board member, “The current increase in RSV infections is a type of ‘rebound’ as most respiratory viruses (besides Covid) were greatly diminished in the last two years due to masking, social distancing, remote work, and schooling.

“And with the flu season predicted to be more severe this year, ongoing precautions should still be taken. Flu and Covid vaccinations are vitally important, especially in high-risk populations,” continued Goldsobel.

“For allergy sufferers, extra measures should be taken, particularly when traveling for the holidays. When traveling to see family and friends, there is more exposure to pets, wood-burning fireplaces, scented candles or potpourri, that are irritants and can lead to increased upper respiratory tract symptoms,” added Goldsobel.

What are some tips and strategies to stay safe, healthy, and enjoy the holidays?

Dr. Goldsobel adds, “To manage cold or allergy symptoms, rinsing or flushing the nose and sinuses with salt water can be very soothing and decongesting.  And I recommend the ClearUP device as extremely helpful for sinus pain, pressure, and nasal congestion. It’s non-invasive, 100% drug-free, and delivers targeted treatment with real-time results.”

Don’t forget to take some simple precautions that can help ensure a healthy holiday season for you and your family. Safe travels!

 

Related Resources:

RSV Cases Are Rising. Here’s What You Need to Know (New York Times)
Allergies and Asthma Shouldn’t Prevent Comfort and Joy This Holiday Season (American College of Allergy, Asthma, & Immunology)
What to Know About Pet Allergies (Tivic Blog)

 

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What’s New from the 2022 Neurotech Leaders Forum

With Naama Mayseless, PhD, Director of Research and Clinical Affairs, Tivic Health

 

We recently sat down with our Director of Research and Clinical Affairs, Dr. Naama Mayseless, who shared the latest exciting trends from the 2022 Neurotech Leaders Forum in San Francisco.

This forum brought together executives, entrepreneurs, technologists, and investors who are actively working to grow the emerging neurotech (bioelectronic medicine) industry.

Bioelectronic medicine refers to the therapeutic use of small amounts of electrical or other forms of stimulation, rather than drugs, to treat disorders.

According to Dr. Mayseless, an overall theme that emerged from the forum was putting the patient and their health needs at the center of care. Some notable conference highlights include:

  1. Bioelectronic medicine is rapidly changing the nature of treatment for a wide variety of conditions, ranging from ADHD and anxiety to muscular aches and pains in which traditional drug therapies have fallen short.

    There is a big push to create more personalized, targeted solutions to give patients more control over their treatment. One of the ways to personalize treatments is with closed-loop feedback.

    Closed-loop devices deliver electrical stimulation to targeted areas of the body while simultaneously collecting patient data such as heart rate or electrical signals, in order to hone in on the right amount of stimulation that the body needs. This creates highly personalized and targeted modes of treatment that drug therapies are not able to provide.

  2. There is also a big push for neurotech therapies to be more accessible by making them as minimally invasive as possible. For example, implants are being placed as close to the skin surface as possible, to make them more controllable and accessible to patients, with a device. This also makes the initial implant procedure much easier for clinicians.

  3. Increased efforts are also being made to get these devices to patients earlier in their treatment program, as opposed to being introduced after many failed treatments. This would give patients more treatment options with greater accessibility to larger populations.

  4. Another new and exciting trend from the conference was the increased focus on mental health and wellness.

    Companies like Roga have produced non-invasive devices worn as earbuds and designed to treat headaches, stress, and anxiety by promoting relaxation and calmness. Sana Health makes ocular glasses that use audiovisual stimulation (light and sound) to provide pain relief, reduce anxiety, and promote deep relaxation.

  5. Among the compelling benefits that these wellness devices bring to patients’ lives is that they can be used at their convenience - at home or on the go. NXTSTIM’s EcoAI™ device is used for pain relief, rehabilitation, or muscle relaxation, and comes with an app that collects data, and provides closed-loop personalized treatments that enables patients to use it anytime, anywhere.

 

We are excited to be a part of this fast-growing industry with our ClearUP device – providing an accessible, over-the-counter treatment for allergic sinusitis, sinus pain, and congestion that patients can use at their convenience anytime, anywhere.

We look ahead to more innovations to come that will revolutionize healthcare and make bioelectronic medicine much more accessible to consumers in the near future.

 

Dr. Mayseless has extensive neuroscience research experience from her work at the Stanford University School of Medicine and is most passionate about using research and science to help people improve their care, health, and quality of life.

 

 

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How Cold Weather Can Affect Your Allergies

With cooler temperatures and rainy days upon us, it’s not unusual for allergy sufferers to experience mixed symptoms.

According to Dr. Alan Goldsobel of Allergy and Asthma Associates of Northern California, and a Tivic Health medical advisory board member, “Changes in atmospheric pressure and colder temperatures, along with more rain and wet weather cause less plant pollination – which are great for those who suffer from pollen allergies.

“However, if you are sensitive to mold or dust allergens, higher moisture levels on rainy or humid days make mold and dust mites thrive and can worsen your symptoms. Mold is commonly known for growing in wet spots outdoors such as in piles of damp leaves or in damp areas like bathrooms and basements.

“And as we spend more time indoors during the cooler months, other indoor allergens like pet dander can trigger allergy symptoms,” continued Goldsobel. “In addition, use of central heating and even worse – some types of combustible heating and use of fireplaces – can cause more irritation of both the upper and lower respiratory tracts (nose, sinuses, and lungs).”

Consider these tips to manage your symptoms from these fall and winter allergy triggers:

If you’re experiencing severe, persistent symptoms, consider seeing a board-certified allergist to get a proper diagnosis.

 

Related Resources:

Winter Allergies: What’s Your Risk? (WebMD)
Mold Allergy Symptoms and Causes (Mayo Clinic)
Winter Allergies: How to Cope (U.S. News & World Report)

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Exercise and Fall Allergies

As the days get shorter and the leaves start to turn, your allergy symptoms may worsen – especially if you are sensitive to grass pollen, ragweed, or mold, or the effects of rising temperatures and increased air pollution.

But don’t let fall allergies keep you from staying active. Although you can’t banish your fall allergies with exercise, a regular workout can help manage your symptoms.

According to Dr. Annie Chern, a primary care physician, faculty member at Stanford Health Care Family Medicine Residency Program, and Tivic Health medical advisory board member, “Increased blood flow from moderate exercise can help ‘flush’ inflammatory cytokines and more quickly decrease allergy symptoms. The constant movement of allergens through the bloodstream can reduce inflammation, which usually accompanies allergies.”

 

What types of exercise can help manage allergy symptoms?

Dr. Chern adds, “As a family doctor, I always encourage regular, moderate exercise - which has been shown to help with allergy and asthma symptoms. Exercises that promote regular deep breathing - such as yoga and Pilates – can strengthen lung capacity.

“I recommend moderate over intense exercise - the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology states that overdoing it on physical activity can actually make allergies and asthma worse. For instance, exercise can be a trigger for bronchospasm, especially for patients with exercise-induced asthma (EIA).”

 

What precautions can allergy sufferers take to manage their symptoms and still enjoy a good workout?

Here are a few recommendations from Dr. Chern:

  • Select your environment carefully – if you are allergic to mold, stay away from lakes or damp outdoor places. If you have pollen allergies, check pollen counts in your area and try to avoid peak pollen periods.
  • Don’t forget to warm up. According to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI), warm-ups help reduce allergy symptoms. Just ten minutes of stretching and cardio warm-ups can provide significant benefits.
  • Consider indoor exercises like swimming or weightlifting to avoid pollen exposure.
  • Wear sunglasses to protect your eyes against allergen exposure. And try wearing a mask to filter out allergens.
  • If you work out at a gym, be mindful of potential irritants such as mold spores and chemicals from cleaning solutions that can trigger allergic reactions. Poor air filtration systems can also be a catalyst for your allergy symptoms.
  • Stay hydrated while exercising and especially when taking allergy medication which can cause dry mouth, or if you’re breathing through your mouth instead of your nose.
  • After exercising, a hot steamy shower or visit to a steam room will clear the sinuses and lungs. Follow with cooler water and breathe freely again.
  • Use your medications as directed to help minimize symptoms – e.g., if you have pollen allergies, take your antihistamine before exercising outdoors; and if you have EIA, use your inhaler before exercise to avoid triggering an asthma attack.

If you’re sensitive to medications, consider ClearUP – a clinically proven, drug-free, non-invasive device that provides rapid relief of sinus pain, sinus headache, and congestion from allergies. It’s a new form of treatment that uses safe neuromodulation as a way to address patient needs.

Nearly 60 million people in the U.S. suffer from seasonal allergies each year. With the right fitness program, you can continue to stay active and feel your best all year round.

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Why Fall Allergies (and the Flu) Could Be Worse This Year

Seasonal allergies affect nearly 60 million people in the U.S. each year. All across the country, factors such as climate change and dry spells have largely contributed to an increase in pollen counts and allergy cases this year.

blankIn a recent survey conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Tivic Health, two-thirds of respondents said their allergy symptoms have worsened over the years, including 75% of those in the Northeast. Overall, more than half attribute this to increased indoor and outdoor pollution (58%) and rising temperatures (56%).

This fall, with fewer Covid-19 restrictions now in place globally, medical experts are seeing evidence that there will be an uptick in fall allergies and flu cases.

According to Dr. Alan Goldsobel, at Allergy and Asthma Associates of Northern California, “There is anticipation that there will be a booming fall allergy season, both from ongoing global warming causing earlier and higher pollen counts, as well as many people now masking much less. Warmer temperatures cause plants to pollinate much earlier, thus causing more symptoms among allergy sufferers.”

And just this summer, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported an increase in flu cases in the Southern Hemisphere – Australia, in particular, experienced its worst flu season in five years. Historically, flu trends in the Southern Hemisphere are a seasonal harbinger for the U.S., so if this continues to hold true, the U.S. may be in for a severe flu season this year.

According to infectious disease specialists at the Mayo Clinic, since the pandemic, our lack of exposure to flu viruses over the past two flu seasons may be problematic as our immune systems don’t “remember” the virus and how to attack it.

 

How will this impact people’s lifestyles?

The same survey revealed that nearly 70% of allergy sufferers have trouble enjoying the fall season due to their allergies. People’s seasonal allergies prevent them from being fully engaged in outdoor activities such as hiking and fall-themed photo shoots (56%), outdoor events such as a hayride or turkey trot (52%), and yard work (49%).

Additionally, the Covid-19 pandemic has had a lasting impact on the workforce, with more people exercising the option of working from home when they are sick and no longer feeling shunned by their coworkers for doing so.

 

What are some ways to cope with fall allergies and flu symptoms?

Dr. Goldsobel continues, “Avoidance can only go so far. It’s nice to be outdoors in early fall. There are no new prescription or over-the-counter medications available. And while immunotherapy (allergy shots) can be extremely helpful, patients must start treatment long before the season begins.

“For nasal congestion, sinus headache, or sinus pain from allergies, try  ClearUP – a clinically proven, drug-free, non-invasive device that provides rapid relief. It’s a new form of treatment that uses safe neuromodulation as a way to address patient needs.

“The best protection against the flu is to get a flu vaccine. This reduces the risk of hospitalization and death due to influenza, especially among high-risk groups including young children, older people, and those with certain medical conditions.” ...Read More

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Back to School and Fall Allergies

Back-to-school season is an exciting time for children and parents but it can also bring lots of anxiety if your child has asthma or allergies.

Increased exposure to new allergens and viruses can trigger asthma or allergy attacks. Doctors have seen increases in asthma-related emergency room visits by children during September, coinciding with back-to-school season.

According to Dr. Mitesh Popat, CEO of Marin Community Clinics and Medical Board Member at Tivic Health, “Kids go from being home during summer break to a new school environment for most of the day, so it’s important to pay special attention to potential allergy triggers such as chalk dust, mold, dust mites from new carpeting, pet dander, or other irritants on their classmates’ clothes and backpacks.

“Recess may be a favorite time of day for many kids, but for those with allergies, it can be a minefield of potential triggers, including plants and trees around the school.

“It can be tricky to identify allergy triggers in a new environment, and there’s also clear evidence of a genetic component here,” continued Dr. Popat. “For instance, it’s possible for kids who’ve had mild allergy symptoms that waxed and waned, to develop more intense symptoms from increased allergen exposure over time, due to genetic predisposition. If both parents have allergies, their kids’ odds go up to 75%.

“We’re also in contact with a lot more environmental substances than in the past – from chemicals in our water, to plastics and other everyday household items – so the immune system overreacts to these external irritants.”

Once you’ve identified the offending allergens, here are some back-to-school tips to help you manage your child’s allergy symptoms:

Dr. Popat adds, “It’s also important to correctly identify allergy symptoms and get tested so they are not mistaken for Covid-19 – given their overlapping similarities. Symptoms such as fever, body aches, and chills are likely not related to allergies.

While it’s not possible to completely eliminate allergen triggers in schools, it’s very important that your child’s allergies have been accurately diagnosed to determine what allergens to avoid.”

 

Other Resources:

Back to School with Allergies and Asthma (American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology)

3 Things to Consider When Determining if Your Child has Allergies or Covid-19 (Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital)

Are Allergies Inherited? (Tivic Blog) ...Read More

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Has City Living Worsened Your Allergies?

The earth is getting much hotter – and the effects of extreme weather patterns felt across the U.S. have also led to longer pollen seasons, worsening symptoms for allergy sufferers.

But did you know the effects of much warmer temperatures are amplified in cities? So, if you live in or near a major urban area, your allergies may be much worse.

blankAccording to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA), warmer temperatures are felt more intensely in cities due to the “urban heat island” effect, caused by more buildings, roads, population, and fewer green spaces.

Additionally, smog and air pollution from increased CO2 levels in cities generates higher ragweed pollen levels – up to 7X higher for an average increase of 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit, than surrounding rural areas.

These combined factors can increase allergic sensitivity. When ground level ozone pollution levels are high, it takes much less ragweed pollen to trigger an allergic response. Allergens in pollen grains can stick to tiny diesel exhaust particles which can penetrate deep in the lungs and remain there for a long time, which prolongs allergy suffering.

If you live in a city with higher-than-average seasonal pollen counts, here are some tips to cope:

If you’re taking allergy medications, check with your doctor and take extra precautions during the warmer months as these may increase your risk of over-heating or dehydration, among other things.

 

Related Resources:

2022 Allergy Capitals Report (Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, AAFA)

High Ozone and Pollen Levels Could Worsen Allergies (Scientific American)

6 Ways to Keep Exercising Outside With Allergies (WebMD)

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Summer Travel with Allergies

A Q&A with Dr. Annie Chern, Medical Advisory Board Member, Tivic Health Systems

 

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We recently sat down with Dr. Annie Chern, a primary care physician, and Tivic Health’s newest Medical Advisory Board Member, to discuss tips and advice for allergy sufferers who are traveling this summer.

With Covid cases still on the rise across the U.S., Dr. Chern also offers tips on what to watch out for and extra precautions to take, so summer travel can be as stress-free as possible.

 

With Covid cases still on the rise, what tips can you offer allergy sufferers who are traveling this summer?

Allergies don’t preclude you from getting vaccinated, so I strongly recommend being up-to-date on your Covid vaccine and boosters!

Some people assume their symptoms are “just allergies”, then a few days later realize that they have a Covid infection.  Unfortunately, by then they’ve already been out and about in public places, without quarantine.

If you don’t typically have summer allergies and notice symptoms that are out-of-the-ordinary for you such as a scratchy throat, it’s best to get tested and not assume it’s allergies.

 

Can you sum up how symptoms of allergies and Covid overlap, and how they differ?

Initial symptoms can have lots of overlap - runny nose, scratchy/irritated throat, and congestion. Covid or other viral infections typically come with systemic symptoms such as fever, body aches, and fatigue – these can occur with allergies, however, they are not as pronounced or persistent as with Covid.

 

For allergy sufferers who are traveling this summer, what precautions can they take?

If your allergies tend to flare up in the summer and you’re visiting a new place, be aware of the environment. If you’re sensitive to pollen, select destinations with generally lower pollen counts such as the beach, desert areas, or the slopes.

If you’re driving, keep your windows up, to keep environmental allergens from circulating in the car. Travel during early morning or late evening hours when air quality is better.

If you’re flying to your destination, continue to wear a mask in-flight as a precaution against environmental irritants and Covid. It’s also a good idea to hydrate and drink lots of water during air travel as dry air on planes can aggravate allergy symptoms.

If you’re staying at a hotel, request allergy-friendly rooms. Many hotels can provide state-of-the-art air purifiers, mattresses, pillowcases, and cleaning products to remove harmful allergens and irritants such as bacteria, dust mites, and airborne mold. If you are allergic to dust mites or if certain products like laundry detergent cause a reaction, consider bringing your own linens.

 

How can patients prepare for allergies, with climate or altitude variations between home and their destination?

Some of my patients who are planning trips to high-altitude locations, such as Lake Tahoe, will book an appointment with me ahead of time. During the office visit, we can look up those destinations together and discuss whether or not they’ve experienced any allergy symptoms at higher altitudes before.

In some cases, I prescribe medications for my patients to take before travel or to have on hand just in case.  We also review a list of symptoms to watch out for, so they know what to expect.

I would advise researching weather conditions and pollen counts in areas where you will be traveling in advance of your trip.

 

What would you recommend for patients who are seeking non-pharmacologic remedies for their allergies?

 

It’s best to create physical barriers to avoid exposure to allergens as much as possible. For instance, if you’ve been outside for prolonged periods, shower and change clothes as soon as you go inside, to wash pollen off your skin and hair.

Using a neti pot to rinse away allergens from your sinuses can help.

Also consider using a non-invasive treatment for allergic sinusitis, sinus pain, and congestion like ClearUP - a 100% drug-free handheld therapy device with no chemical side effects.

ClearUP is travel-friendly and super portable, and it also fits easily in your purse or backpack. It starts working instantly and doesn’t cause drowsiness so you can enjoy your trip, without disruption.

 

What final words can you share for summer travelers with allergies?

In general, I recommend planning ahead and being prepared!  This includes having a discussion with your doctor beforehand, being prepared with your allergy medicines and treatments, and having a plan to reduce allergens at your destination. Then you can relax and enjoy your trip knowing that you’ve done what you can to manage your allergy symptoms.

 

Dr. Annie Chern is on the faculty at Stanford Health Care Family Medicine Residency Program. She previously served on the executive committee of the Department of Pediatrics at O’Connor Hospital in San Jose and currently serves as their Department Chair of Family Medicine.  Dr. Chern is a graduate of Stanford University School of Medicine and completed her residency in Family Medicine at Stanford Family Medicine Program.

 

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Tivic Health Welcomes Two New Medical Advisory Board Members

Two Bay Area primary care physicians, Annie Chern, M.D. and Mitesh Popat, M.D., have joined our medical advisory board of clinical leaders in otolaryngology and allergy/immunology.

Dr. Chern and Dr. Popat will provide their expert opinions from a primary care perspective, on our clinical activities and identify key opportunities for physician education and engagement.

According to our research[1], 70% of patients with sinus symptoms see their primary care physicians for treatment, so this underscores the importance of raising awareness for ClearUP® Sinus Pain Relief within this group of medical practitioners.

Dr. Annie Chern is on the faculty at Stanford Health Care Family Medicine Residency Program. She previously served on the executive committee of the Department of Pediatrics at O’Connor Hospital in San Jose and currently serves as their Department Chair of Family Medicine.  Dr. Chern is a graduate of Stanford University School of Medicine and completed her residency in Family Medicine at Stanford Family Medicine Program.

“As a teaching faculty member of Stanford Health Care, I am always interested in innovations that can enhance patient care and treatment options,” said Dr. Chern. “Tivic Health’s first product ClearUP relieves symptoms of sinus inflammation like pain and congestion without the side effect burden that comes with many over-the-counter drugs. I believe ClearUP has an important place in the primary care toolbox, and I look forward to helping Tivic Health further integrate ClearUP into clinical practice.”

Dr. Mitesh Popat is Chief Executive Officer of Marin Community Clinics and Chief Clinical Officer of Sprinter Health. He serves on numerous boards, including for Partnership Health Plan of California and previously for the American Cancer Society. In addition, he has spearheaded innovations in care delivery, with a focus on operational execution and financial viability. Dr. Popat is a board-certified family physician with a Doctor of Medicine and has a Master of Public Health from Tufts University in Boston.

“As I have learned about the growing field of digital health and the many emerging innovations, such as bioelectronic medicine, I am compelled by the potential impact that companies like Tivic Health can have in healthcare as they continue to develop novel treatments,” said Dr. Popat. “In fact, I am a sufferer of sinus and nasal inflammation and have found great benefit from using the ClearUP device regularly.”

We welcome Dr. Chern and Dr. Popat to the Tivic Health team!

 

 

[1] OnePoll randomized survey of 2,000 U.S. allergy sufferers, on behalf of Tivic Health, April 2022

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Preparing for Summer Allergies

As spring transitions into summer, the warmer weather brings higher pollen counts that can trigger allergy symptoms and keep people from enjoying outdoor activities. Smog and air pollution are also worst in the summer and can worsen symptoms.

In a randomized survey of 2,000 U.S. allergy sufferers conducted in April by OnePoll on behalf of Tivic Health, 79% of respondents said they look forward to the changing seasons, but not the potential allergies that come with it. Eighty-six percent of respondents said sinus and allergy issues impact their job performance, while 46% of respondents said allergies even affect their commute to work.

The average worker with allergies misses about one hour per week over the course of a year, and during peak allergy seasons, they can miss up to 32 hours of work in a week. The total cost to employers exceeds $600 million in lost productivity due to allergies.

In the survey, at least half of the respondents find it difficult to walk their dog, and 49% said outdoor activities they enjoy like hiking or boating are impacted by their allergies.

When asked about allergy solutions, 63% of participants said natural and drug-free options impact their purchase decisions.

According to Dr. Alan Goldsobel of Allergy & Asthma Associates of Northern California, Adjunct Clinical Professor at Stanford University, “A vast majority of patients are not interested in taking more medications – steroids in particular – and don’t want to use nasal steroids even when doctors recommend it.”

Here are some natural, drug-free tips to help manage summer allergies:

“For fitness buffs and those who enjoy an active, busy lifestyle, ClearUP is an excellent drug-free alternative treatment for allergies, sinus pain, and congestion,” added Dr. Goldsobel. “It’s an excellent complementary treatment for allergies when medications alone do not provide complete relief.”

 

Other Useful Resources:

 

2022 Allergy Capitals™ Report: Where Does Your City Rank? (Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America)

Seasonal Allergies: Nip Them in the Bud (Mayo Clinic)

Common Seasonal Allergy Triggers (American College of Allergy, Asthma, & Immunology)

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Allergy Medicine Not Working?

Over 50 million Americans suffer from allergies and allergic sinusitis with pollen season getting longer and pollen counts higher each year, many people are experiencing worsening symptoms.

In some instances, you may find that your allergy medication no longer provides the same relief as before. Is it possible for over-the-counter allergy drug remedies to quit working?

According to Dr. Alan Goldsobel[1], at the Allergy and Asthma Associates of Northern California, “There may be a form of pharmacologic tolerance that develops in particular to antihistamines. Many patients state that one antihistamine works well for their symptoms for many months or years, then they feel that it loses effectiveness. Once they switch antihistamines, they feel better, and later, when they revert to the original, its effectiveness returns. It’s not entirely clear as to why some people have experienced this, and others don’t.”

There may be situational or other reasons why allergy medications can stop working:

Whatever the case may be, managing your allergy symptoms effectively may require a combination of natural and over-the-counter remedies, and lifestyle changes.

If you’re seeking a non-pharmacologic remedy for your allergies, consider non-invasive treatments like ClearUP® Sinus Pain Relief - a 100% drug-free therapy device that is FDA-approved and has no chemical side effects. It is the first of its kind and only  FDA-approved bioelectronic device that targets allergic sinusitis, sinus pain and congestion.

If your symptoms persist, consider seeing a board-certified allergist to get a proper diagnosis.

 

[1] Dr. Alan Goldsobel is a member of the Tivic Health Medical Advisory Board.

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Fortune Brainstorm Health: Bridging the Gap Between Tech, Doctors, and Consumers

By Jennifer Ernst, Co-founder and CEO, Tivic Health Systems Inc.

Last week, I participated in the Fortune Brainstorm Health 2022 Conference in Los Angeles – a gathering of leaders at the crossroads of business, health care, tech, and innovation. I  joined a panel with Adrian Aoun, Founder and CEO, Forward, Robert Ford, Chairman and CEO, Abbott, and moderator Phil Wahba, at Fortune to discuss what’s driving digital health and where wearable devices are headed next.

Major discussion points from my panel, Driving Digital Health: Where Wearables Are Headed Next, led to a spirited discussion around healthcare innovations that lie ahead for consumers and the importance and use of data being gathered by all these monitoring devices.  Some highlights are below.

According to Deloitte Global, more than 300 million consumer health and wellness wearable devices will ship globally in 2022. Digital innovations have led to sensors that can measure everything from blood glucose to resting heart rate, resulting in an enormous amounts of data. Under current regulatory frameworks, select data can be shared with the consumer themselves and other types of data can go only to healthcare providers to facilitate good decision-making.  However, it’s inconsistent which clinicians use it, to what extent, in what ways, if at all.

The result is not only a question of volumes of data, but islands of data.

This creates  obstacles for consumers to collaborate in their own health journey.  Ultimately, though, the consumer - me as an individual - has access to many different types of personal data.  The opportunity with health literacy is to create more meaningful, more complete, discussions between consumers and our healthcare teams.

It may be in how the data is packaged to provide insight or create catalysts for conversations.  Some will result in recommendations for modifying behaviors while others may require aggressive professional intervention.  The opportunities for improved health and wellness are abundant, if we are able to find ways to responsibly equip consumers with the proper context and understanding of the data in order to facilitate a good collaboration with their doctor.

There is the potential to challenge the traditional healthcare paradigm by using digital health to democratize data and put it into consumers’ hands in order to drive better outcomes.

The largest opportunity for digital health lies in breaking down healthcare data silos and increasing data transparency and timeliness to consumers, in helping healthcare professionals better connect the dots. Tech, pharma companies, and medical professionals all need to bring their expertise to the table to ultimately bring it to consumers in a meaningful way.

Looking forward, it seems we are moving toward datastreams that move from our personal health measurement devices to digital dashboards that can be utilized by both patients and clinicians, making our data more actionable and relevant to our health.

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What’s New from the 2022 Bioelectronic Medicine Forum

By Jennifer Ernst, Co-founder and CEO, Tivic Health Systems Inc.

I recently spoke at the fifth annual Bioelectronic Medicine Forum in New York City that brought together executives and medical experts to discuss the latest developments in bioelectronic medicine. Attendees represented companies addressing a wide range of applications from cardiac and gastrointestinal disorders, to chronic inflammation and sinus pain and congestion, among others.

Some notable highlights:

  1. Bioelectronic medicine and neuromodulation understanding has come a long way in the last decade, making its way into the standards of care for a number of conditions, including migraine, sleep apnea and epilepsy.

    An investor panel discussed how bioelectronics 10 years ago seemed an esoteric area for investment but today they no longer have to explain the high potential for the field. Investors across the board are interested in the many ways bioelectronic therapies are targeting organ, tissue and cellular responses to relieve chronic medical conditions.

    This has made it an important and growing investment opportunity. Conversations now revolve around where the early commercial opportunities are and who is generating real revenue.

  2. More so than ever, I heard a real focus on non-invasive therapies like those we are developing at Tivic Health. As we discussed how these technologies are being utilized in the care continuum, from self-care to the most refractory patients, non-invasive technologies took front stage. That’s because non-invasive approaches are essential to moving bioelectronic options into first-line therapeutics.

    Case in point: WebMD now discusses a microcurrent solution as part of the ways to treat sinusitis and sinus disease.

  3. Investors and panelists noted that pharma companies have become more active in the space. In many cases, they are partnering with medical device makers to create hybrid therapies to complement their own drug therapies with bioelectronic medical treatments.

    At least three pharma companies at the event acknowledged that this is an area they can no longer ignore and want to bring it into their portfolios.

    While many early adopters of bioelectronic solutions are drawn by their drug-free nature, the greatest health benefits may ultimately come from partnerships, allowing targeting of multiple simultaneous mechanisms.

  4. We continue to hear about closed-loop systems with embedded monitoring and commercial cases are emerging. For myself, I have to note that real-time closed-loop systems are not a holy grail. In some cases, such as monitoring how a nerve is receiving a signal, real-time makes complete sense, or how a physiological response like tremors are changing

    However, real-time closed-loop monitoring will not provide a complete understanding the body’s response to neural stimulation. There’s a big difference between real-time monitoring and outcome monitoring.

    Neural stimulation effects on the nervous system can develop over several minutes, hours or days, so real-time feedback may be less important for optimal therapy than monitoring for outcomes over the course of treatment.

This event captured an incredibly exciting moment for bioelectronic medicine and its potential impact on consumers in the near future. Congratulations to Jim Cavuto and his team at Neurotech Reports for bringing us together for this important conference.

I was pleased to carry some of this information to the stage at Fortune Brainstorm: Health just a few weeks later.  It will take our entire village to get the message out.

  ...Read More

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What Do Allergies, Migraines, and Asthma Have in Common?

Hint: it’s all about inflammation

Did you know that genes you may have inherited from your parents can cause your immune system to overreact to common allergens, leading to increased inflammation in the body? This can increase your chances of developing one or more allergic conditions known as the atopic triad – namely, asthma, eczema, and seasonal allergies.

About 40% of the population suffers from at least one type of atopic disease. People who suffer from one or more of these diseases can experience adverse effects on sleep length and quality, loss of productivity, and reduced quality of life.

 

Why Does Inflammation Occur?

Inflammation is our body’s natural response to protect itself against harm. However, sometimes our immune system gets it wrong and treats seemingly harmless intruders – such as the allergens that cause asthma, eczema and seasonal allergies – as harmful, producing chronic inflammation.

Inflammation may also play a major role in the onset of migraine headaches, which affects about 1 out of every 6 Americans and 1 out of every 5 women.

Inflammation isn’t all bad – it can act as a protective immune response to support tissue healing. In the case of infection, it allows the immune system to respond more rapidly and effectively to a pathogen it has encountered before.

 

What is the best way to treat inflammatory responses in our bodies?

Often, asthma, migraines and allergy conditions can be treated with pharmaceutical options, however, these can have side effects and dependency issues, making them less desirable.

Another exciting alternative, that will become more accessible soon, is the use of bioelectronic devices that decrease inflammation.

Bioelectronics harness the body’s electrical systems to reduce inflammatory symptoms by delivering carefully determined small levels of electrical current and frequency to stimulate the nervous system.

Bioelectronics offers an alternative to pharmaceuticals in alleviating inflammation-related symptoms with fewer side effects and less risk of developing dependency.

A growing number of companies have developed implantable and noninvasive devices that stimulate nerves to treat chronic conditions that are linked to inflammation such as:

Bioelectronic medicine presents a safe and new class of therapy for chronic inflammation, and will play a key role in addressing unmet patient needs in the years to come.

 

Other Related Resources:

What to Know About the Triad of Asthma, Eczema, and Allergies (Medical News Today)

What is Atopy? (WebMD)

The Rise of Bioelectronic Medicine Sparks Interest Among Researchers, Patients, and Industry (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS))

Health Tech: Dr. Blake Gurfein On How Tivic Health’s Technology Can Make An Important Impact On Our Overall Wellness (Authority Magazine)

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Spring Allergies: What You Can Expect This Season

Spring has arrived very early this season due to the changing environment and unusual weather patterns across the country. And with this comes an increase in respiratory allergies, caused by early pollination of various plants and trees, on top of ongoing concerns about Covid and the emerging mix of variants like BA.2.

Differentiating initial symptoms between allergies vs. Covid symptoms can be difficult due to similar presentation. This article will help you learn what to expect this allergy season, and help you know the difference between Covid and allergies.

 

Are Allergies Worse This Year?

In the southeast, cities like Atlanta and Tampa have already experienced a tree allergen spike this month, for the first time in 2022 – with pollen counts in the high range, as compared to similar levels occurring in March 2020.

“In Northern California, the hills are very green, very early this year. The continuing drought could lead to a shorter pollen season; however, pollen levels are currently high for juniper, cedar, cypress, and pine trees, therefore, I’m seeing a surge of allergy cases now,” said Dr. Alan Goldsobel, at the Allergy and Asthma Associates of Northern California and member of Tivic Health’s Medical Advisory Board.

“Experts predict that changing weather conditions from drought to temperature increases and climate change will lead to higher pollen counts overall,” added Dr. Goldsobel.

Many people have been limited to living indoors in their homes for months on end, in light of Covid and Omicron variants, and some – many of them children - may now be more prone to allergic reactions. This is because staying indoors has limited their exposure to allergens and has made their bodies more sensitive.

 

How to tell if you have the BA.2 variant or just allergies?

While there is some overlap between BA.2/Covid symptoms and allergies [1], such as nasal congestion, sneezing, and sinus headaches, there are some key differences, noted Dr. Goldsobel. One of those main differences is having a fever, body aches, or generally “just not feeling well” which more commonly occur with upper respiratory illnesses like Covid than allergies.

 

Signs of Covid vs Allergies

BA.2 infections also produce additional symptoms including sore throat, fatigue, and even gastrointestinal issues, which are uncommon with allergies. Allergy symptoms last longer and can linger for an entire season, while a patient with BA.2/Omicron symptoms may be feeling the effects from two to five days.

“Hopefully, with declining cases of Omicron and its severity decreasing, especially for those who are vaccinated, the chances of upper respiratory symptoms being from allergies vs. Covid will be higher in the coming months. It is possible that with a surge in cases of the BA.2 variant, people may confuse allergy symptoms and Covid, so it’s best to get tested to differentiate,” continued Dr. Goldsobel.

 

Tips to Help Manage Spring Allergies

Here are a few tips to help you manage spring allergies:

 

Other Resources:

[1] The Top Symptoms of the BA.2 Variant, According to Doctors (Parade.com)

[2] National Allergy Map (Pollen.com)

[3] Why You Should Take Spring Allergies Seriously (Tivic Health Blog)

[4] Achoo! Climate Change Lengthening Pollen Season in U.S., Study Shows (New York Times)

[5] Omicron, Flu, Allergies: How Can You Tell the Difference in Symptoms? (NBC News Chicago) ...Read More

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Top 4 Bioelectronics Trends in Medicine for 2022

By Jennifer Ernst, CEO, Tivic Health

Use of electronics to treat chronic health conditions from heart disease to Parkinson’s is not new. Similar approaches have been used to treat epilepsy, depression, and chronic pain.

However, what’s new is HOW bioelectronic medicine is being used today and in the near future.

What is Bioelectronics?

By providing non-invasive, over-the-counter, targeted treatments in very specific areas outside the body, bioelectronics is quickly emerging as an alternative to pharmaceutical drugs for treating chronic conditions. Among other benefits, these solutions generally eliminate chemical side effects, provide consumers with new options for drug-free treatments, and offer significant cost saving opportunities to healthcare systems.

Benefits of Bioelectronics Therapies

What does the future hold for bioelectronics and what other key benefits can we expect?

1. Non-invasive treatments will take hold as more prevalent first-line treatment choices. There are many non-invasive treatment options now available to patients to treat motor conditions such as essential tremor, mood disorders such as depression, and quality of life issues such as insomnia, nausea, incontinence, and sinus conditions. As consumer awareness grows, bioelectronic medicine will become increasingly prevalent as a mainstream approach to treatment.

 

2. The general trend is also around consumers having more access to solutions to take more control of their health and to find what works for them. We’ve seen the continued growth in the number of parameters we can monitor our health with today – all contributing to increased understanding of our constantly changing state of wellbeing.

We will see continued growth and evolution in this area of health monitoring, with heath improvement following closely as a natural next step.

 

3. The holy grail for bioelectronic medical devices is all about providing the consumer with closed loop feedback. A closed-loop system is able to continuously monitor specific bodily signals and make adjustments in real time as the body responds to external conditions, internal states, or to the device itself.

In these instances, the treatment itself adapts to the patient’s biological and perceptive state, allowing for tighter control of symptoms, with fewer side effects.

This is a great foundation for all of us, to be able to see the effects of bioelectronic medicine directly, on our health, via self-monitoring.

 

4. There will also be continued growth in direct-to-consumer healthcare solutions including self-test diagnostics and personalized healthcare.

There are companies today that bypass the traditional healthcare infrastructure system by offering consumers direct access to healthcare - from prescribing medications for skincare or migraine treatments to self-administered HPV or COVID-19 tests. Tivic and a handful of other companies are also making medical quality, evidence-based therapies available direct to consumers, with FDA oversight.

 

A Bioelectronic Approach is the Future

These incredibly exciting transitions will revolutionize healthcare and make bioelectronic medicine much more accessible to consumers in the near future.

  ...Read More

Young people sitting down to a holiday meal with sparklers
8 Tips for Coping with Holiday Stress This Year

By Dr. Blake Gurfein, PhD, Chief Scientific Officer, Tivic Health Systems

For many people, the holidays can be a season of joy as well as stress and anxiety. Coping with a multitude of holiday demands and expectations can feel overwhelming. Whether you are coping with seasonal depression, family anxiety, or even the in-laws; there is no getting around the simple fact that the most “wonderful” time of the year should come with a warning label even on a normal year. Needless to say, the additional stress of managing COVID-19 risk can bring yet more anxiety to group and family gatherings this year.

Stress can have a significant impact on the brain as well as the immune system. Your immune system is less capable of responding to challenges when dealing with chronic stress, and that same stress can harm brain cells and even reduce overall brain volume.  Thankfully, there are ways to combat the ramifications of stress and anxiety. Here are some tips to minimize holiday stress and stay healthy throughout the season:

 

1. Take care of yourself.

Keep up healthy habits on a consistent basis by prioritizing movement and exercise, getting at least seven hours of sleep each night, and eating plenty of fruit and/or vegetables among your holiday indulgences.

 

2. Enjoy Responsibly.

Over-consumption of alcohol over the holidays is common and the cause of dehydration and hangovers. As a friendly reminder, the CDC recommends not exceeding one drink per day (seven per week) for women and two drinks per day (fourteen drinks per week) for men. Drinking can give you more than just a hangover - side effects include disrupted sleep habits, changes in mood, increased anxiety, and more. If your goal is to reduce stress and anxiety, consider drinking a little less this holiday season.

 

3. Manage Risks.

Coping with stress gets easier when you create a plan to mitigate risk and avoid potential triggers for anxiety on holiday. Stay aware of local COVID-19 conditions in your area (hospitalizations, vaccination rates). Avoid crowds and high-risk gatherings where vaccination status of others is unknown. Use rapid home tests as extra precaution.

 

4. Set Reasonable Expectations.

Give yourself permission to forgo “must” and “should” traps and accept imperfections especially when holiday plans may not go exactly as planned. If you can hold firm to your personal boundaries to manage stress, enjoying the holidays will become much easier.

 

5. Strengthen Social Connections.

Strong, supportive relationships can help us get through challenges. Approach the holidays as a time to reconnect with friends and family. Sharing what is going on in your life and accepting support from those who care about us can also alleviate stress and improve mental health.

 

6. Volunteer.

Offer to help at a local charity. Helping others is a good way to lift your spirits and make new friendships. It can also help to put your own struggles in perspective. If volunteering isn’t possible, try a random act of kindness like buying a small gift for someone who wouldn’t expect one. If you prefer to provide an act of service, reach out to people you are thankful to know and let them know you appreciate them - the gift of a compliment can go a long way to others, and you never know where someone’s head is at - they could need your gratitude more than anything.

 

7. Embody Patience.

The holidays can bring long lines, bad drivers, and other frustrations. An easy way to cut through this is to keep reminding yourself that other people are fighting battles that you don’t know about. In the long run, practicing patience is proven to reduce stress levels, and is among the best relaxation techniques available during the holiday season.

 

8. Try Meditating.

Meditation is a powerful practice that has been shown to be very effective at reducing stress and anxiety. As little as five or ten minutes of meditation can be enough to quiet your mind and experience stillness. Guided practices are a great way to get some experience meditating. Try a free 10 minute meditation provided by Headspace.  Pro tip: it’s also a great excuse to get a few minutes away from visiting family.

 

Related Resources:

Holiday Stress Resource Center (American Psychological Association)

Navigating the Holidays Safely (Mayo Clinic)

We’re Having a Holiday Gathering. Are We Nuts? (New York Times Pandemic Holiday Quiz ...Read More

Doctor consulting with patient about sinus pain
Doctor’s Advice on Drug Free Treatment of Inflammation and Allergies

Inflammation has a major impact on our health and quality of life. It’s a common trigger behind chronic diseases from asthma to heart disease, arthritis, and diabetes. But what is inflammation and what causes it? How does it relate to allergies?

In simple terms, inflammation is the immune system’s response to an irritant. Inflammation exists to protect the body from invasion, infection, and damage.

According to Dr. Michael Foggs, M.D., Chief of Allergy and Immunology at Advocate Medical Group of Advocate Aurora Health in Chicago and  member of Tivic Health’s Medical Advisory Board, “Inflammation is a normal immune system response activated during the process of healing injured tissues. Natural inflammation can reverse tissue injury as part of the natural healing process.”

There are two types of inflammation: acute and chronic. People are most familiar with acute inflammation, which often comes with redness, swelling, and pain around tissues and joints that occurs in response to an injury.

“Unlike chronic inflammation, acute inflammation is a self-limited process followed by tissue healing,” says Dr. Foggs. “Chronic inflammation is caused by exposure to toxins, or from untreated acute inflammation that is allowed to smolder and progress. It can also emerge from autoimmune disorders [like Lupus, Crohn’s disease, and rheumatoid arthritis].

“Other factors contributing to inflammation include physical inactivity, diets high in saturated fat and refined sugar, low sex hormones (i.e., estrogen and testosterone), sleep disorders, and aging,”continued Dr. Foggs. “Chronic inflammation, when left untreated, can cause protracted tissue damage and organ system dysfunction.”

In fact, researchers at the Harvard Medical School have shown that chronic inflammation is associated with heart disease, diabetes, cancer, arthritis, and bowel diseases like Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.

 

How does inflammation occur in allergies and how does it cause sinus pain?

 

When a person breathes in a substance to which they are allergic - such as dust, pollen, or mold - this can cause pain, inflammation, and symptoms that resemble a sinus infection, such as nasal congestion, facial pressure and runny nose (sinusitis).

“Inflammation of the sinuses often occurs in association with environmental allergen exposure. It can also be triggered by bacterial, viral, and sometimes fungal infection,” says Dr. Foggs.

“Inflammation causes swelling of the tissues that results in pressure on the nerve endings that are in close proximity to the sinus cavities.  When pressure from swelling pushes on sensitive nerve endings, pain signals are sent to the brain. Some of the chemical processes of inflammation affect how the nerves behave, which can lead to an enhanced pain sensation.”

 

For managing inflammation, sinus pain, and congestion in allergies, Dr. Foggs recommends these natural, drug-free inflammation and allergy treatment options:

 

  • Consider non-invasive treatments like ClearUP® Sinus Pain and Congestion Relief, a drug-free, therapy device that is FDA-approved, safe, has no chemical side effects and is the only FDA-approved cleared bioelectronic device that targets sinus pain, pressure, and congestion. Sterile, low-pressure intranasal saltwater lavage can help remove allergens and microbial agents that are contributing to inflamed sinuses.
  • Use of capsaicin-containing (pepper) nasal sprays can also alleviate discomfort and shrink mucosal membranes.
  • Cut back on foods high in saturated fat or refined sugars and eat more foods high in antioxidants to lower inflammation such as all types of berries, cherries, plums, onions, turmeric, green tea, and dark green leafy vegetables.
  • Just 20-minutes of moderate-intensity exercise (e.g. walking on a treadmill) daily can protect against conditions linked with chronic inflammation.

 

Related Resources:

Understanding Acute and Chronic Inflammation (Harvard Medical School)

Chronic Inflammation is Long Lasting, Insidious, Dangerous. And You May Not Even Know You Have It (Washington Post)

Inflammation (WebMD) ...Read More

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Allergy Meds and Your Active Lifestyle

More than 50 million Americans have allergies – and this year in particular, has been brutal for seasonal allergy sufferers, with longer pollen seasons from warmer temperatures and climate change effects.

If you’re a fitness buff or someone who enjoys an active lifestyle and spends lots of time outdoors, keeping allergy symptoms manageable can be tricky and require a bit of advanced planning.

Allergy medications like antihistamines can relieve hay fever symptoms, but they can also cause drowsiness, dry mouth and eyes, dizziness, and other common side effects – making them less desirable for athletes as they can hinder performance.

Sinus pain and congestion are no fun out on the field or court – and while OTC vasoconstrictor nasal sprays such as oxymetazoline can alleviate these symptoms, they should not be used for more than three days, as symptoms could worsen with the “rebound effect.” Nasal steroid sprays can relieve allergy and congestion symptoms, however, they too can cause unwanted side effects, and many patients are steroid-phobic.

Dr. Alan Goldsobel of Allergy & Asthma Associates of Northern California, and Adjunct Clinical Professor at Stanford University says, “A vast majority of patients are not interested in taking more medications – steroids in particular – and don’t want to use nasal steroids even when doctors recommend it.”

Here are a few tips to help you manage your allergies and enjoy athletic pursuits:

“For fitness buffs and those who enjoy an active, busy lifestyle, ClearUP is an excellent drug-free alternative treatment for allergies, sinus pain and congestion,” added Dr. Goldsobel. “It’s an excellent complementary treatment for allergies when medications alone do not provide complete relief.” ...Read More

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Fall Allergies and COVID – What to Expect This Year

Seasonal allergies are reportedly worse this year as climate change and warmer temperatures cause longer tree and grass pollen seasons.[1] And this year’s fall allergies are no exception, with ragweed pollination and mold spores traveling in the air for much longer duration and distance, as temperatures rise.

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Seasonal allergy symptoms can range from mild to severe, including itchy eyes, ears, nose or skin, watery eyes, sinus pain and congestion, sneezing, coughing, headache, and shortness of breath for those with pollen-induced asthma.

With the Delta variant of COVID-19 and fall allergies occurring at the same time, every symptom can be concerning. While these conditions share many similar symptoms, there are clear distinctions.

According to Dr. Alan Goldsobel of Allergy & Asthma Associates of Northern California, and Adjunct Clinical Professor at Stanford University, “Fever is always the primary differentiating factor between allergies and any infection, including COVID-19.  In fully vaccinated people who do develop COVID-19, the symptoms are often mild, but frequently may have brief, low-grade fever and cold-like symptoms.  Loss of smell and taste is very rarely seen with allergies.

“Other symptoms that would make it unlikely to be allergies include myalgia and chills. Giveaways that it’s just allergies would be the time of year (for those with seasonal allergies), as well as itching,” continued Dr. Goldsobel.

Dr. Goldsobel recommends getting a COVID-19 test with any fever or unusual symptoms that come with your seasonal allergies.

Here are some tips to help you cope better with fall allergies:

Over-the-counter treatments such as eye drops, nasal sprays, or antihistamines may relieve symptoms but if you’re sensitive to medications, consider clinically effective treatments like ClearUP® Sinus Pain Relief – it’s 100% drug-free, FDA-approved and uses gentle microcurrent technology to relieve sinus pain and congestion.

[1] “Anthropogenic climate change is worsening North American pollen seasons,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 2/16/2021, https://www.pnas.org/content/118/7/e2013284118.

 

Related Resources:

COVID-Flu-Cold-Allergies Symptoms Chart (Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, World Health Organization, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

2021 Allergy Capitals Report (Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America)

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Are Your Cold Symptoms More Severe This Summer?

This summer, as we return to work, school and resume social activities, doctors have reported an unseasonal surge in common respiratory illnesses.

According to Dr. Maeve O’Connor, founder and medical director at Allergy Asthma and Immunology Relief of Charlotte, North Carolina, “It’s tough to truly say whether colds this year are actually worse or if people are more aware and nervous due to the pandemic. There is no actual data as of yet proving that colds are more severe this year.”

“The symptoms of cough, runny nose, fatigue, headache, body aches, and congestion are indistinguishable from the symptoms of COVID-19, likely increasing a patient’s awareness of symptoms and making them seem more severe than what they’ve experienced in the past.”

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that one virus in particular, called respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) which normally peaks in the winter has been on the rise since April. RSV causes similar cold and flu symptoms, and can be very risky to young children and seniors.

Dr. O’Connor adds, “The lack of pre-existing immunity from the previous winter is creating an exponential rise in RSV cases. Pandemic restrictions have created a much larger population of susceptible young children. Babies who are now toddlers were largely protected from RSV during lockdown. Since then, a new group of infants have been born, and as a result, the virus now has the opportunity to infect twice as many vulnerable children and spread it to older children and adults at higher rates.”

To prevent and speed up recovery from these common upper respiratory illnesses, Dr. O’Connor recommends:

  • Getting plenty of rest
  • Staying hydrated
  • Taking universal precautions such as washing hands, wearing face masks and eye shields
  • Getting vaccinated against COVID-19

Other tips to boost your immune system:

While over-the-counter medications relieve symptoms, many can only be taken for a limited time and cannot be taken while on the job. If you’re like many allergy sufferers who are tired of taking drugs[i], consider clinically effective treatments like ClearUP® Sinus Pain Relief – it’s 100% drug-free and FDA-approved. ClearUP uses gentle microcurrent technology to relieve sinus pain and congestion.

 

[i] Research America Tivic Health Sinus Device Pricing Survey, sample size 600, June 25, 2018 ...Read More

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Can Stress Make Your Allergies Worse?

With spring allergies, getting through the day can be challenging and can impact quality of life. Coping with symptoms ranging from sneezing and watery eyes to sinus pain and congestion, can put additional stress on work and social life.

Not only can allergies cause stress, but stress can also make allergies worse.

Common spring allergy offenders like pollen, dust, pet dander can trigger your immune system to fight – and feeling stressed can put your immune system into overdrive, making your allergy symptoms worse.

According to Harvard Health, feeling stressed also amplifies your emotional reaction to any symptoms you’re having. For people under stress, they can feel as if nothing is going well, including their health.

What can do to reduce stress and improve mental wellness in your life?

  • Learn stress management techniques such as meditation, yoga, or relaxation exercises. Check out this free 10-minute meditation provided by Headspace.
  • Adopt good sleeping habits by exercising regularly, get out in the sunlight, avoid looking at electronics 30-60 minutes before bed, and sleep in a cool dark room.

Work with your doctor to develop an allergy action plan, to help you identify your most common allergy triggers and emotional stressors, and which treatments will help you the most.

 

Other Resources:

Expert Tips for Reducing Your Stress (Tivic Health)

Effective Stress Relievers for Your Life (VeryWellMind)

10 Ways to Ease Stress (Cleveland Clinic)

  ...Read More

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Doctor Recommended Tips for Sleeping With a Stuffy Nose

Spring allergies, colds, the flu, and other common causes of a stuffy nose can make it tough to get a good night’s sleep. Related symptoms including post-nasal drip, itchy, watery nose and eyes, sinus pain and congestion can be bothersome enough to keep you up at night.

In the sleeping position, gravity increases blood flow to the nose which increases sinus pressure, leading to congestion in the nasal passages.

According to Dr. Subinoy Das, M.D., Chief Medical Officer at Tivic Health and CEO and Medical Director, U.S. Institute for Advanced Sinus Care and Research, “The holes in our sinuses that allow for drainage are very small, so a small amount of swelling from a sinus infection can clog the sinuses, create mucus buildup, and lead to congestion and sinus pain.”

Here are 9 natural ways to soothe your symptoms without medication, so you can get the rest you need to recover quickly:

Dr. Das adds, “Over 75% of my patients experience both sinus pain and congestion symptoms. In some cases, these are chronic conditions lasting for weeks. ClearUP’s gentle microcurrent technology can turn off signals from the autonomic nerves in the face, and break the cycle of chronic inflammation, providing fast, effective pain and congestion relief.” ...Read More

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Doctor’s Advice for Natural Allergy Remedies

Spring is here, and climate change has already brought on unexpected shifts in weather patterns across the country, resulting in longer pollen seasons and worsening spring allergies. The strongest effects were seen in Texas, the Midwest and Southeast.

During spring season, other environmental factors such as frequent shifts between sun and showers bring changing barometric (atmospheric) pressure, which can also worsen spring allergy symptoms.

Our bodies are acutely sensitive to pressure shifts, and when these atmospheric pressure shifts impact the nasal mucosal membranes lining the interior of your nose, you may experience sneezing, runny nose, teary eyes, headaches, sinus pressure, and sinus pain.

According to Dr. Michael Foggs, M.D., Chief of Allergy and Immunology at Advocate Medical Group of Advocate Aurora Health in Chicago, “Changes in barometric pressure can heighten sensitivity in a patient’s dysfunctional nasal nerve endings, resulting in nasal and sinus congestion, sinus pressure, and sinus pain. In some instances, these symptoms can also occur when a patient is exposed to extreme changes in temperature, such as entering and leaving a warm building from freezing cold outside temperatures.”

If you’re experiencing sinus pain and/or nasal congestion from a cold, flu, or allergies, Dr. Foggs recommends these natural, drug-free interventions:

  • Sleep elevated at 45-degrees to minimize swelling of the nasal passages. This also reduces pain and discomfort from mucus buildup in the nose and sinuses.
  • For standard-size bedrooms: use a modern, 2-gallon humidifier to keep indoor relative humidity levels between 40-50%. Close the bedroom door and turn the humidifier on at least 2 hours prior to bedtime.
  • For large rooms with high ceilings, use a console whole-house humidifier will be necessary to establish an indoor relative humidity in the optimal range of 40-50%.
  • Use a personal steam inhaler with sterile water to shrink the nasal passages and allow mucus to pass through.
  • Consider a low-pressure intra-nasal sterile saltwater wash – but exercise caution if your nasal passages are blocked, to prevent trauma from forcing the solution through the nose more freely.

If you’re tired of using medications, consider alternative treatments such as 100% drug-free ClearUP® Sinus Pain Relief– advanced microcurrent (low-level electrical stimulation) for reducing sinus pain from allergies and congestion from a cold, flu, or allergies.

In some cases, treatment may require a combination of natural, over-the-counter, and other alternative interventions. ...Read More

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Spring Allergies Are Coming. Why You Should Take It Seriously.

More than 50 million Americans suffer from allergies each year. And allergies are the sixth leading cause of chronic illness in the U.S.

While many people face serious, life-threatening complications from allergic reactions, there are common allergic reactions such as itchy eyes, runny nose, and itchy throat that can significantly impact quality of life.

According to Dr. Jacquelynne Corey, ENT and Allergist in Chicago, “Allergies can severely affect quality of life – much worse than what patients perceive from chronic heart disease. It has wide-ranging impacts – physically and socially. Coughing and sneezing limits their ability to interact with other people in person  – particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic, when people are afraid of becoming infected.”

“Many over-the-counter allergy medications make your head fuzzy and affect your ability to concentrate, resulting in absenteeism at work.”

In fact, there are now well over 7 million missed or low productivity workdays each year due to hay fever allergies. And the total cost to employers has exceeded $600 million in lost productivity related to allergies.

People who suffer from untreated seasonal allergies often don’t sleep well. Individuals with allergies are more than twice as likely to have insomnia and more susceptible to developing sleep apnea, which results in chronic fatigue and impaired performance at school or work. Over time, sleep deprivation creates a vicious cycle that leads to reliance on medications or alcohol to fall or stay asleep – which leads to other health issues.

A lack of sleep can also interfere with your memory, making it more difficult to remember events and responsibilities. It can also prevent you from staying focused on a task or conversation.

Over time, ongoing inflammation in the nasal passages due to allergies can make you more susceptible to sinus infections, or worsen asthma symptoms.

While allergies can have an adverse effect on everyday life, there are natural remedies and alternative treatments available.

If you are experiencing painful allergy symptoms such as sinus pain, consider ClearUP® Sinus Pain Relief -  a 100% drug-free treatment alternative that uses gentle microcurrent technology to reduce sinus pain from allergies.

If your symptoms persist, consider seeing a board-certified allergist to get a proper diagnosis. ...Read More

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Cedar Fever or Coronavirus? How to Tell the Difference

While winter season is typically a calming time for those who suffer from pollen allergies, the opposite is true for allergy sufferers in the southwestern U.S. region.

In Central Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Arizona and New Mexico, the Ashe Juniper tree (or mountain cedar) releases its pollen between December and February – leading to “cedar fever” symptoms including sneezing, itchy and watery eyes, congestion and runny nose.

These allergy symptoms begin very suddenly and intensely, and can be accompanied by flu-like symptoms including a sore throat, fatigue, aches and pains. While inflammation of the immune system caused by cedar fever can slightly elevate your body temperature, it will rarely surpass 101 degrees Fahrenheit. If your fever exceeds that temperature, cedar pollen isn’t likely the cause.

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Which symptoms are purely caused by cedar pollen allergies and which ones are linked to COVID-19? This diagram published by the Texas A&M Forest Service shows which symptoms overlap and differ.

In some cases, the pollen from Ashe Juniper trees are so concentrated that even those who are not generally susceptible to allergies can still be affected.

Here are a few tips to manage your symptoms:

  • Check pollen count forecasts in your area, and keep windows and doors closed on high pollen count days.
  • Limit your time outdoors and change clothes after being outside, followed by a bath or shower before bed to wash pollen off skin and hair.
  • Change your air conditioning filter every 3 months. Choose a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter to filter out smaller particles.
  • Use natural remedies like a Neti pot or saline rinse once a day.
  • If you prefer drug-free alternatives, consider using the ClearUP® Sinus Pain Relief device, an FDA-approved and clinically proven solution.  ClearUP is a small handheld alternative for allergy-related sinus pain and one treatment takes only 5 minutes.
  • Removing cedar trees from your property is not recommended primarily because the pollen is airborne and they are often released in cold, dry, windy conditions and blow for miles.

 

Other Resources:

Cedar Pollen Explodes to Second-Highest Level On Record (KXAN-NBC Austin)

Cedar Fever - What Is It, and How Can You Cope? (Tivic Health Blog)

Cedar Fever - Explained (Texas A&M Forest Service) ...Read More

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What to Know About Pet Allergies

In the U.S., as many as 3 in 10 people with allergies have allergic reactions to cats and dogs.

A survey from the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology found that pet dander is among the top 6 indoor allergens that are detectable in more than 50% of homes.

While people with pet allergies may be more sensitive to some breeds than others, a truly “hypoallergenic” cat or dog does not exist. If you have a cat or dog allergy, your body’s immune system reacts to proteins in the pet’s urine, saliva, or dander.

Pet allergens can land on eye and nose membranes, and cause swelling and itching of the membranes, stuffy nose and inflamed eyes. Pet hair or fur can also collect pollen, mold spores and other outdoor allergens, thus worsening allergy symptoms.

Even homes without pets can contain dander, as it can easily cling to clothes shoes, and hair – thus, pet dander can also be found in classrooms and workplaces.

While complete avoidance isn’t always possible, here are some tips to reduce exposure and manage your symptoms:

It’s best to ask your allergist to specifically test for allergies to pet dander, before making an assumption. Many allergy sufferers are sensitive to multiple allergens. So if you’re allergic to dust, pollen, insecticides, and pet dander, it helps to reduce the overall allergen level in your environment – for example, take aggressive steps to remove pet dander from your home, avoid using insecticides, and maintain a clean home.

 

Other Resources:

Pet Allergy: Are You Allergic to Dogs or Cats? (Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America)

How to Live With Allergies and Pets (Humane Society of the United States)

Coping With Dust Allergies (Tivic Health Blog) ...Read More

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Coping With Dust Allergies

As we spend more time in our homes this season, we become even more susceptible to allergy flare-ups caused by indoor allergens.

Dust mites are among the most common indoor allergy triggers, according to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, & Immunology (AAAAI). They live and multiply easily in warm, humid places such as upholstered furniture, bedding, and carpeting.

As house dust can be found throughout the home, strict avoidance isn’t always possible. But you can take steps to minimize the amount of dust mites in your home, to control your allergy symptoms.

Here are some tips to help you cope better:

  • Use a dehumidifier to keep humidity below 50%. A hygrometer (available at hardware stores) can measure humidity levels.
  • Dusting can kick up allergens into the air, so use a damp or treated cloth that attracts dust rather than scattering it.
  • Vacuum once or twice a week and be sure to look for certified asthma allergy-friendly vacuumswith HEPA filters to help reduce dust emissions.
  • Minimize clutter in your home as it tends to collect dust. Remove knickknacks and piles of magazines and newspapers from your bedroom.
  • Use allergen-proof fabric covers for mattresses, box springs and pillows. These covers are made of tightly woven fabric and prevent dust mites from thriving or escaping from mattresses and pillows.
  • Wash bedding weekly in hot water (130 F) and put items in the dryer at the hottest setting.
  • If possible, replace wall-to-wall carpeting with throw rugs. Wash or dry clean rugs regularly.
  • Tired of taking medication? Consider alternative allergy treatments for sinus pain from allergies such as 100% drug-free ClearUP Sinus Pain Relief®– advanced microcurrent (low-level electrical stimulation) for reducing sinus pain.
  • Install a high-efficiency filter in your furnace or air conditioning unit with a Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) of 11 or 12 and leave the fan on to create a whole house air filter. Change the filter every 3 months.

  ...Read More

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Is it COVID-19 or Just Allergies?

As COVID-19 cases continue to surge across the U.S., and with flu season still upon us, doctors are also seeing more patients suffering from winter allergies this season. How can we tell if we’re suffering from COVID-19, winter allergies, the flu, or just a cold?

Earlier this year, we published a blog article with Dr. Subinoy Das, M.D., Chief Medical Officer at Tivic Health, manufacturer of ClearUP® Sinus Pain Relief, discussing the major symptoms of allergies, flu and COVID-19.

Since then, researchers have learned much more about COVID-19, and we wanted to share the latest on how symptoms can vary for these conditions. This diagram published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows the key similarities and differences between allergies and COVID-19:

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Dr. Maeve O’Connor, founder and Medical Director at Allergy Asthma and Immunology Relief of Charlotte, North Carolina says, “The fear of catching the virus keeps the majority of people in their homes much more than in previous winter seasons, leading to prolonged exposure to common allergens such as dust mites, pet dander, and mold.

“Patients with winter allergies often report itchy, watery, “gritty feeling” in their eyes, nasal congestion and sinus pressure, sneezing, and itchy, dry skin.  However, sneezing, itchy eyes and skin are typically associated with allergies, and not COVID-19. Chronic symptoms like these that last for weeks or months are usually caused by allergies.

“Symptoms of COVID-19, flu, or a cold usually only display clinical manifestations for about two weeks and are accompanied by a fever.”

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This chart published by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) shows you what symptoms to expect for allergies, the flu, cold, or COVID-19. Click here to view larger image.

No matter which symptoms you have, it’s advisable to wear a mask when around others, wash your hands often, and maintain social distancing. Check out the full list of COVID-19 symptoms and more tips to protect yourself and others on the CDC site. ...Read More

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Are Allergies Inherited?

While allergies are often triggered by exposure to environmental elements such as pollen, mold, dust mites or air pollution, genetics are known to play a major role in a person’s chances of developing allergies.

And while specific allergies are not inherited, a tendency toward having allergies is. In fact, children with one allergic parent have a 33% chance of developing allergies, and with two allergic parents, it’s a 70% chance.

According to Dr. Maeve O’Connor, founder and Medical Director at Allergy Asthma and Immunology Relief of Charlotte, North Carolina, “When a person with no family history of allergies gets exposed to environmental allergens, they are less likely to develop allergies than someone with familial links.”

Are children allergic to the same allergens as their parents?

Unlike hair and eye color, allergies stem from the interactions of a multitude of genes, some providing protection, and others contributing to the development of allergies. Therefore, people may not inherit their parents’ specific allergies to ragweed or pets, but will have an increased likelihood of developing allergies in general.

Many studies on twins have also shown compelling results. In general, when one identical twin suffers from hay fever, asthma, or eczema, the other twin has it in 50-80% of cases. In fraternal twins, this drops to 25-40%.

Dr. O’Connor adds, “Twins have a much higher propensity to develop allergies between themselves, as compared to non-twin siblings or other family members.

Although identical twins have the same genetic basis, their genes respond differently to environmental factors over time. This can manifest as different types of allergies for each twin – one may develop dust mite allergies, while the other may develop ragweed allergies.”

For those who develop allergies as a child, their symptoms can often disappear in adulthood, but recur later in life. In some cases, allergy symptoms may show up for the first time in adulthood.

“Allergen tolerance levels are known to change, due to a few factors: changes in environmental exposures over time, weakened immune systems with age, and hormonal changes. And family genetic history carries an increased risk of developing allergies at any age,” says Dr. O’Connor.

More research continues to be done to understand shifts in allergen tolerance and sensitivity over time. And much remains to be discovered to deepen the understanding of the role genetics plays in allergies.

If you are experiencing painful allergy symptoms such as sinus pain, consider ClearUP -  a drug free treatment alternative that uses gentle microcurrent technology to reduce sinus pain from allergies.

In some cases, treatment may require a combination of natural, over-the-counter, prescribed medications and other alternatives. If your symptoms persist, consider seeing a board-certified allergist to get a proper diagnosis.

 

  ...Read More

womanwithallergiesfall
Coping with Fall Allergies and Ragweed

As we’re well into the fall season, many of you may still be suffering from allergy symptoms. In most cases, this is triggered by ragweed pollen and mold spores released into the air from lingering warm, humid or windy conditions.

Ragweed season begins in July, peaks in mid-September, and can linger until November, in some parts of the U.S. Approximately 26% of Americans have a ragweed allergy, and 75% of those who are allergic to spring plants also have reactions to ragweed.

As climate change results in more extreme storm patterns and wind events, this highly allergenic pollen becomes more readily dispersed by winds. With each plant producing about a billion pollen grains each season – ragweed pollen can be carried up to 400 miles by wind.

Higher carbon dioxide levels in our atmosphere have also increased the potency of ragweed pollen for allergy sufferers. According to Dr. Alan Goldsobel, allergy specialist at the Allergy and Asthma Associates of Northern California, “Increasing CO2 levels and urban growth effects have largely contributed to the rise in respiratory allergies and bronchial asthma cases seen over recent decades.”

But other types of weeds can also trigger allergy symptoms, including – tumbleweed, cocklebur, mugwort, sagebrush, Russian thistle, among others.

Here are some tips for keeping pollen allergy symptoms under control:

  • Check pollen and mold counts in your region, and plan outdoor activities accordingly.
  • Keep windows and doors closed, if at all possible, and use your central air conditioning system, if you have one. It’s a good idea to use air filters that are AAFA Certified Asthma & Allergy Friendly® and change them as recommended.
  • Avoid foods and herbs that contain proteins similar to those in ragweed pollen, which may trigger an allergic reaction, including: bananas, chamomile, cantaloupe, Echinacea, cucumbers, zucchini, among others.
  • Consider immunotherapy treatments available for severe cases of ragweed allergy (allergy shots or pills).

If you are experiencing painful allergic rhinitis symptoms such as sinus pain, consider alternative treatment methods using gentle microcurrent technology.

Such alternative allergy treatments for sinus pain from allergies include 100% drug-free ClearUP Sinus Pain Relief® - advanced microcurrent (low-level electrical stimulation)  for reducing sinus pain.

In some cases, treatment may require a combination of natural, over-the-counter, and other alternatives. If your symptoms persist, consider seeing a board-certified allergist to get a proper diagnosis. ...Read More

clearupunitwfallflowers
Four Patents Announced for ClearUP® Sinus Pain Relief

We are pleased to announce that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has issued four patents for ClearUP that include several features to improve effectiveness and ease-of-use for consumers.

"These foundational patents protect aspects of ClearUP that make the device clinically efficacious, comfortable, and easy to use, all of which are core to its utility", said Dr. Blake Gurfein, Chief Scientific Officer of Tivic Health. "As a member of the team who has worked carefully on the intellectual property strategy and execution, it is gratifying to receive our first set of issued patents from the US Patent and Trademark Office and look forward to several more issuances in the coming year".

The four patents issued for ClearUP address device specifications, performance, and comfort features during treatment and future product developments. They are as follows:

  • Sinus Treatment Device with Adaptive Circuit, US 10625076
  • Sinus Treatment Device with Enhanced Tip, US 10596374
  • Adaptive Trigger for a Microcurrent Stimulation Device, US 10537738
  • Treatment Device including Wireless Interface and User Application, US 10576280

Tivic Health has an additional 14 patents pending in the U.S. and abroad. ...Read More

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Wildfire Smoke and Your Allergies – What to Know

As wildfires continue to burn across the Western U.S., air quality levels in the region have reached very unhealthy levels.

Those who already suffer from allergies often have chronically inflamed airways, which makes them very sensitive to smoke, thus worsening their symptoms.

According to Dr. Alan Goldsobel, allergy specialist at the Allergy and Asthma Associates of Northern California, “People with allergic rhinitis and environmental allergies can have much worse upper respiratory tract symptoms involving the eyes, nose, and sinuses. Symptoms can include burning, itching, congestion, sinus pain and pressure.”

And according to WebMD, research has shown that air pollution can increase the risk of infection with COVID-19.

What precautions can allergy sufferers take to protect their immune systems, and particularly with COVID-19 still upon us? A few tips:

Wildfire Smoke and Your Allergies - What to Know
Worsening allergy symptoms can be painful, so if you are seeking sinus pain relief, you may want to consider alternative treatment methods using gentle microcurrent technology.

Such alternative treatments for allergies include 100% drug-free ClearUP Sinus Pain Relief® - advanced microcurrent (low-level electrical stimulation) for reducing sinus pain.

If your symptoms persist, see your healthcare provider immediately.

...Read More

pollencloudoverflowerfield
How Climate Change is Making Your Fall Allergies Worse (Part 1)

Changing weather patterns create longer seasons and more pollen

The past decade was the hottest ever recorded, with 2019 as the second warmest year on record. This warming is expected to continue for the foreseeable future as carbon dioxide emissions and other greenhouse gases are continually released into the atmosphere, largely from the burning of fossil fuels.

As global temperatures rise and weather patterns change, increased levels and duration of airborne pollen and pollution occur. This prolongs allergy suffering for more than 50 million Americans each year.

According to Dr. Lewis Ziska, Associate Professor at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, there are three key factors happening now that contribute to worsening allergies:

  • Climate change is extending the frost-free season, giving trees and plants more time to grow, flower, and pollinate. (Primary allergens come from trees in the spring, weeds and grasses in the summer, and ragweed in the fall.)
  • Warmer temperatures generate higher amounts of pollen from these plants. (In a study by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA), spring arriving 30 days earlier resulted in a 54.8% increase in ragweed pollen production.)
  • Plants need carbon dioxide to thrive, and as carbon dioxide levels rise in our atmosphere, initial evidence suggests that it may change the structure of pollen in plants like ragweed and certain trees, making them more allergenic.


Pollen counts are increasing over time

In a study conducted by the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI), pollen counts are expected to more than double by the year 2040.

As a result, allergies have become much more pervasive among Americans over the past few decades. In 1970, 1 in 10 Americans suffered from allergic rhinitis caused by pollen and mold spores. By 2000, 3 in 10 did, and the trend continues today.


Climate change is making more people allergic

The overall impact of worsening allergy cases has become expensive and damaging. Some key facts from the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA):

...Read More

fallleaves
Fall Mold Allergies – What to Know

As the days get shorter and leaves start to turn, your allergy symptoms may worsen – the fall season, in particular, can be difficult for people who are sensitive to mold and ragweed pollen.

Mold is commonly known for growing in your basement, bathroom, or damp areas in the house.  However, mold spores can also breed in wet spots outside, such as in piles of damp leaves.

If you have a mold allergy, your immune system overreacts when you breathe in mold spores. Once exposed, your body produces antibodies that cause it to react whenever it comes in contact with the mold, triggering the release of histamine, which causes mold allergy symptoms to occur.

So, you may find yourself sneezing, coughing, or experiencing itchy, watery eyes and sinus pain in the cool nights and warm days from August through October.

And with climate change, unseasonably warm fall temperatures combined with high humidity, or dry, windy weather can release mold spores into the air, thus making allergic rhinitis symptoms last longer.

Raking leaves and mowing the lawn can also stir up pollen and mold into the atmosphere, causing runny nose, itchy eyes, sinus pain, and other symptoms.

To reduce your exposure to mold inside and outside your home, consider these tips:

To keep your fall allergy symptoms manageable, consider adding 100% drug-free ClearUP Sinus Pain Relief® (gentle, advanced microcurrent technology) to your regimen. ClearUP is FDA approved and clinically proven so it's safe and effective. A single treatment takes only 5 minutes. When used twice a day for four weeks, sinus pain was reduced by 43%.

In some cases, treatment may require a combination of natural, over-the-counter, and other alternatives. If your symptoms persist, consider seeing a board-certified allergist to get a proper diagnosis. ...Read More

womantouchingface
Seasonal Allergies – Signs, Symptoms, and How to Cope

As people spend more of their summer outdoors enjoying fun activities such as hiking, swimming, and gardening, it can also bring some of the worst seasonal allergies. Heat, humidity, dust mites, and pollen from grass or weeds are prime summer allergy culprits.

Seasonal allergy symptoms are often confused with other symptoms, as they are very similar to that of a common cold. According to Dr. Maeve O’Connor, MD, founder and Medical Director at Allergy Asthma and Immunology Relief of Charlotte, North Carolina, “Both conditions share similar symptoms such as sneezing, runny nose, facial pain, sinus pain, post-nasal drip, and fatigue. However, itching is usually only associated with allergies, while fever and body aches are more closely attributed to an upper respiratory infection (from a cold or flu). And while colds can heal in 3-5 days, allergies can last longer and recur.

When summer allergens like pollen and dust enter the body, histamine is generated, which triggers allergic rhinitis and allergic conjunctivitis, which in turn, causes runny nose and itchy eyes.”

Sneezing spells can also occur as the allergens make their way into the respiratory system and nasal passages, and the body reacts by sneezing as a method of release. Pollen levels can vary by year, and when copious amounts of pollen are in the air, it can trigger allergic reactions in people that previously never suffered.

Seasonal allergies can come with a multitude of symptoms that occur simultaneously. Sneezing can be accompanied by sinus pain, or nasal, ear, and chest congestion. When these symptoms work in unison with each other, headaches can occur around the front of the face with worsening sinus pain as you breathe through your nose.

Coping with severe seasonal allergies can sometimes lead to emotional distress. According to Dr. O’Connor, “Emotional distress is underrated, because treating severe allergies can be complex, and not as simple as taking an oral antihistamine to get relief. Allergies can interfere with work productivity, and prevent you from performing simple, everyday activities, which lead to frustration, anxiety, and in some cases, depression.”

Dr. O’Connor recommends an integrative approach to long-term care and management of seasonal allergies:

  • Avoid outdoor activities during high-pollen count periods early in the morning (between 5am – 10am) and at dusk (after 5pm). Monitor local weather reports and pollen counts in your area.
  • After being outdoors for long periods, shower immediately (avoid sleeping with pollen in your hair). Wear gloves and wipe pollen from pets.
  • Aside from over-the-counter antihistamines or nasal sprays, consider natural supplements like Quercetin or Bromelain to treat inflammation of the nasal cavity and sinuses.
  • Use saline irrigation to clear pollen from nasal passages, or as a natural lavage to clear up secretions from inflammatory cells.
  • Stay hydrated and well-rested, eat healthy, and follow an anti-inflammatory diet to boost your immune system.
  • Consider immunotherapy treatments – there are shots and tablets that are now FDA-approved

Allergic rhinitis symptoms can sometimes be painful, so if you are seeking sinus pain relief, you may want to opt for alternative treatment methods using gentle microcurrent technology.

Such alternative treatments for allergies include 100% drug-free ClearUP Sinus Pain Relief® - advanced microcurrent (low-level electrical stimulation)  for reducing sinus pain.

In some cases, treatment may require a combination of natural, over-the-counter, and other alternatives. If your symptoms persist, consider seeing a board-certified allergist to get a proper diagnosis. ...Read More

manwithmask
Face Masks and Allergies – What You Need to Know

With the latest uptick in COVID-19 cases across the U.S., face masks have become essential protective tools, more than ever.

In addition to social distancing and avoiding large gatherings, the CDC continues to recommend wearing face masks in public, to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

What impact do masks have on sinus pain and allergy sufferers?

According to Dr. Alan Goldsobel, allergy specialist at the Allergy and Asthma Associates of Northern California, “Masks can help allergy sufferers manage their symptoms, in addition to protecting them from viruses. Masks can filter out allergens like pollen, animal dander, dust mites, mold spores, and other pollutants as you perform outside activities like gardening and yard work.

While there are no specific types of masks that are recommended for allergy sufferers, any type of face covering can be potentially helpful in decreasing exposure to allergens. N95 masks are not necessary, and are meant for healthcare workers only.

While face shields are used to protect against potential respiratory droplets from infected patients, they should not be used to protect against allergy exposure.”

For those who are active and on-the-go, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends wearing non-medical fabric masks that allow you to breathe while walking and talking quickly. Masks can prevent the spread of COVID-19 through droplets from your nose or mouth, when you are close to someone, less than 6 feet away.

If you’re having trouble wearing a mask, try a different fabric or fit[1]. Consider wearing breathable face coverings made from fabrics like 100% cotton. Or tie something across your nose that hangs down freely to shield your nose and mouth. Wearing some type of breathable covering is better than nothing[2].

For allergy sufferers who like to work or play outdoors, Dr. Goldsobel recommends:

  • Minimizing exposure to allergens as much as possible
  • Being desensitized with allergy immunotherapy or shots
  • Taking medication or adopting alternative treatments to control symptoms

Alternative treatments for sinus pain from allergies include 100% drug-free ClearUP Sinus Pain Relief® (advanced microcurrent technology for reducing sinus pain).

Tivic Health, makers of ClearUP, wish you safety and health.  We are here to help you manage your allergies during these challenging times.

[1],[2] Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (aafa.org), “What People with Asthma Need to Know About Face Masks and Coverings During the Covid-19 Pandemic,” 6/16/20, https://community.aafa.org/blog/what-people-with-asthma-need-to-know-about-face-masks-and-coverings-during-the-covid-19-pandemic

  ...Read More

manwithsinusheadache
Here’s How to Identify an Allergy Headache, According to an Allergist

source: PopSugar.com with Dr. Alan Goldsobel, MD, Allergy & Asthma Associates of Northern California

You're hydrating regularly and getting ahead of your stress, but your headaches won't quit — seasonal allergies may be the one trigger you haven't outsmarted.

According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, throbbing headaches that occur over the sinus area of your face (your cheekbones, eyes, bridge of the nose, and forehead) or on one side of your head are often allergy-induced.

"The usual seasonal-allergy headache will be associated with a lot of nasal congestion and other nasal and eye symptoms," Dr. Alan Goldsobel, MD, with the Allergy & Asthma Associates of Northern California, adds.


If seasonal-allergy headaches are negatively affecting your quality of life, Dr. Goldsobel suggests that you see a doctor. In the meantime, over-the-counter medications like allergy antihistamines, anti-allergy nasal sprays, acetaminophens, or NSAIDs could help ease your pain.

[Addendum]:
 Alternative treatments for sinus pain from allergies include 100% drug-free ClearUP Sinus Pain Relief® (advanced microcurrent technology for reducing sinus pain). 

Reducing your exposure to allergens by avoiding the outdoors during peak-pollen times — like midmorning, early evening, and while the wind is blowing — can also lower your risk of allergy headaches.

While inside, keep your doors and windows closed, wash your hands or take a shower after being outside, and use an air conditioner instead of a window fan. Cleaning your pets after they've been outdoors will keep pollen out and lessen your chances of experiencing head pain, too.

Yes, staying inside as the weather finally heats up is far from ideal, but it's a quick fix as you wait for an allergy-relief prescription from your doctor. ...Read More

doctoronipad
Should I Schedule an Online or In-Office Visit With My ENT/Allergist?

Doctors weigh in on what you need to know

 

As our healthcare system has been overwhelmed by COVID-19 cases, many patients have postponed non-critical treatments, surgeries, or routine appointments.[1] These patients are scared to leave their homes, and so overwhelmed by COVID-19’s impact on their everyday lives that they risk not seeking proper treatment for chronic conditions.

Dr. Maeve O’Connor, MD, founder and physician at Allergy Asthma and Immunology Relief of Charlotte, North Carolina, says, “Some of my patients with chronic allergy symptoms are uncertain about whether or not it’s safe to come into the office, so they delay making appointments.

I encourage patients who suffer from allergies and sinus pain to seek proper care, regardless of whether they have a chronic, recurrent, or acute condition - and there are ways that they can feel comfortable doing so, without leaving home, such as scheduling an online/telehealth appointment.”

Telehealth has become much more integrated into medical care today, and has vastly changed the doctor-patient relationship. Since the COVID-19 crisis began, Dr. O’Connor has seen an increase of up to 50% more telehealth appointments in her practice.

While a large part of allergy and ENT practice involves physical diagnosis – from performing laryngoscopies, biopsies, or immunotherapy (allergy shots), to therapeutic “interventions” like ear cleanings – some common conditions like acute sinusitis can also be diagnosed by symptoms, using telehealth, to start.

For patients who want to be seen, Dr. Mark Mehle, MD, an ENT-Otolaryngologist in Cleveland, Ohio, first offers telehealth appointments to review their symptoms, then makes recommendations based on those symptoms. When feasible, treatments are made with over-the-counter antihistamines, nasal steroids, or by prescription. If a patient has symptoms that cannot be treated remotely, they are advised to book an in-office visit. For example, someone experiencing hearing loss would need to schedule an in-person hearing test or other diagnostics to see what’s blocking the ear canal.

Now that telehealth is covered by Medicare and reimbursed at the same level as in-office visits, physicians encourage patients to use it for initial evaluations and routine care.[2] 

Dr. Alan Goldsobel, an allergist and immunology specialist based in San Jose, California, pre-screens his patients at the time that the appointment is booked. “We screen patients for COVID-19 symptoms including cough, shortness of breath, fever, muscle pain, new loss of taste or smell within 14 days. Patients who fail the screening are considered for more detailed screening or evaluated via telehealth.

When they do come into the office, we take their temperature again. We screen patients extensively, and our staff is tested for symptoms regularly – we just keep refining the process.”

As some states cautiously reopen this month, physicians like Dr. O’Connor are advising patients to strictly follow their state government’s guidelines and not bend the rules. “Patients should not be afraid to seek the proper care they need – which includes reaching out for help if they are feeling isolated or anxious. Most insurance providers cover mental health services now.”[3]

Patients who are concerned about risking infection from an office visit should check with their doctor’s office for safety measures and guidelines. Many healthcare practitioners like Dr. O’Connor, Dr. Mehle, and Dr. Goldsobel are now implementing guidelines from these organizations to ensure that their staff and patients stay safe:

For more on this topic, check out our recently published blog on how ENTs and allergists keep their offices safe.

 

[1] Salesforce, “How Pack Health Scales Fast to Help High-Risk Populations,” 4/24/20, https://www.salesforce.com/blog/2020/04/pack-health-scales-fast-with-health-cloud.html?eid=ss-hls-blog&nc=7010M000000ZX2UQAW&d=7010M000000uW0VQAU

[2] Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, “Medicare Telemedicine Health Care Provider Fact Sheet”, 3/17/20, https://www.cms.gov/newsroom/fact-sheets/medicare-telemedicine-health-care-provider-fact-sheet

[3] American Psychological Association, Does Your Insurance Cover Mental Health Services?, https://www.apa.org/helpcenter/parity-guide ...Read More

doctorandpatientinmasks
How Safe is Your ENT or Allergist’s Office?

How doctors are protecting patients and staff from COVID-19

Since mid-March, many physician practices and medical offices have asked patients to postpone scheduled routine appointments for a later date. Decisions like these were made to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus and to protect patients, staff and doctors.[1]

As many states slowly start to reopen and resume business activity, how do you know if it’s safe to go see your doctor for a medical issue?

The American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery (AAO-HNC), has published a set of guidelines and recommendations for a safe return to practice, which practitioners have now started to implement.

According to Dr. Alan Goldsobel, M.D., allergy specialist at the Allergy and Asthma Associates of Northern California, “Patients are screened for their exposures as well as symptoms before they come in, and we also check our staff for fever and other symptoms, or if they’ve been exposed to known COVID-19 patients. Exam rooms, tools, pens, or any items that patients have come in contact with are sanitized with germicidal solution.”

The thought process has changed dramatically, where doctors and staff used to wear masks to protect patients, however, these days, it’s all about protecting both patients and staff.

Dr. Mark Mehle, M.D., an ENT-Otolaryngologist in Cleveland, Ohio, says, “We do our best to reassure patients that we have protective measures in place, for their safety and our staff’s. All patients are reminded to practice social distancing, and are required to wear masks when they come in.

Appointments are scheduled such that waiting time is minimized, and no one sits in the waiting room (where chairs and magazines have been removed). Family members are now asked to wait in the car.

We also coordinate patient appointment bookings with other doctors in our office to keep patients evenly spaced, and to give us time to sanitize rooms between visits.”

Dr. Maeve O’Connor, M.D., Medical Director and Founder of Allergy Asthma & Immunology Relief in Charlotte, North Carolina keeps patients informed via email and social media with COVID-19 related updates in the local Charlotte area and her practice specifically.

“Additionally, we have hand sanitizers and bright-colored social distancing signs posted all around the office. When it is mandatory to treat patients closer than 6 feet away, all of my staff including the providers protect themselves and the patients by wearing full gowns, gloves, masks, foot protection and goggles – with face shields worn over masks.

To minimize the spread of infection, we also limit performing certain procedures, such as pulmonary function testing (spirometry) because droplets can be blown into the air. We only do those when it’s absolutely necessary, and we have plexiglass barriers so testing is completely contained; and it’s cleaned thoroughly after each use,” says Dr. O’Connor.

Dr. Mehle adds, “In the longer term, we may expect doctors to use more face shields or N95 masks for medical procedures. And HEPA filters in offices. Far more attention would be paid to social isolation and proper sanitation techniques.”

Social distancing will likely continue for a while, and we may be wearing masks everywhere for the time being. It could be a while before we go back to the way things were before.

 

[1] Modernhealthcare.com, “Physician practices modify operations to cope with COVID-19”, 3/17/20, https://www.modernhealthcare.com/physicians/physician-practices-modify-operations-cope-covid-19 ...Read More

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Why Seeing Your Allergist or ENT Won’t Ever Be the Same Again

How COVID-19 has changed the doctor-patient relationship, and what we can expect

COVID-19 has dramatically changed how patients and doctors interact, and will likely have long-term effects as well.

These days, many physicians are only seeing patients in-office with acute conditions that need immediate care. The American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery (AAO-HNC) advises physicians to use telehealth for follow-ups, minor chronic care visits, prescription refills or lab result reviews.[1]

And while there is a lack of physical contact with telehealth, many patients are grateful for this type of interaction as their anxiety levels are obviously very high. Doctors are able to provide advice and care management tips to get patients through this tough time.[2]

Dr. Maeve O’Connor, Medical Director and Founder of Allergy Asthma & Immunology Relief in Charlotte, North Carolina says that while she’s experienced an uptick in telehealth visits of up to 50%, it does not replace in-office visits. “Allergies can’t be treated remotely, nor can we provide proper antibody replacement therapy for immunodeficient patients from a distance, when patients need to be monitored,” she says.

Just last week, ENT-Otolaryngologist Dr. Mark Mehle, M.D., based in Cleveland, Ohio, resumed performing elective surgeries. (Ohio governor, Mike DeWine approved elective surgeries in the state, on a case-by-case basis effective May 1st.[3]) Decisions will be made carefully to keep patients and staff safe. Procedures to treat infections will be prioritized over less-critical ones like relieving chronic nasal blockages from a deviated septum.

“The thought process has certainly changed - masks worn in the operating room used to be about protecting the patient, but now it’s about protecting doctors and staff too,” says Dr. Mehle.

 

What changes can we expect to see in the coming months?

Telehealth can only go so far. As the doctor-patient relationship is primarily based on healing and trust, the lack of hands-on live contact can make it much harder to build that relationship. 2

According to Dr. Alan Goldsobel, M.D., an allergy specialist based in San Jose, California, “Telehealth will become a part of medical care more than ever. But basic medical care is still very hands-on – it’s tough to view, touch, and examine patients solely with telehealth. Younger patients who are more digitally oriented may be more comfortable with telehealth than the older generation.”

We live in unprecedented times, and Dr. O’Connor sums it up well: “My patients are much more appreciative of me as their healthcare provider, and I care about them too. My staff also appreciates their mission and purpose (along with having an income stream), which in turn, improves patient care. It has become less about punching the clock than making sure patients get seen and treated.”

 

[1] American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, “Guidance for Return to Practice for Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery Part One” 5/8/20, https://www.entnet.org/sites/default/files/guidance_for_return_to_practice_part_1_final_050520.pdf

[2] Harvard Medical School, “COVID-19’s Impact on Patient Care in the Primary Care Setting”, 3/31/20, https://postgraduateeducation.hms.harvard.edu/thought-leadership/covid-19s-impact-patient-care-primary-care-setting

[3] WLWT5-NBC News, “Ohio easing restrictions on elective surgeries, one of first steps in reopening economy,” 4/22/20, https://www.wlwt.com/article/ohio-easing-restrictions-on-elective-surgeries-one-of-first-steps-in-reopening-economy/32239928

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Expert Tips for Reducing Your Stress

With Dr. Blake Gurfein, PhD, Chief Scientific Officer, Tivic Health Systems

Our Chief Scientific Officer, Dr. Blake Gurfein, happens to have academic expertise in this area. While at the University of California San Francisco, he conducted research on the biological impacts of stress on the brain and immune system and how stress reduction techniques can be beneficial. 

Dr. Gurfein shares that there is a biological reason to reduce your stress now.  Why?  Because chronic stress and persistent stress hormone production have been linked to weakened immune function.


Here are 5 tips for reducing stress levels based on his research:  

 

  • Limit your consumption of news.  Of course, it is important to stay informed about the current health crisis, however getting incessant alerts, scrolling through your news feed, and keeping television news on all day will send anyone into a panic. Try to set a healthy boundary around when and how long you will consume news each day (e.g., 30 minutes in the morning). Read the articles, not just the headlines; headlines often contain different information. Stick to fact-checked reputable news organizations.

 

  • Keep moving. Exercise has been shown to reduce stress and elevate mood. Try to do some form of physical activity every day. Go for a walk or run, take an online yoga class in your living room, or do some jumping jacks. Heed the instructions of your county if exercising outside (e.g., keep 6 feet away from others).

 

  • Stay connected. Many of us are feeling isolated because of shelter in place orders or because our normal routines have been disrupted. Take advantage of the many ways you can continue to connect with your friends, family, and colleagues. Write an email, pick up the phone, or videocall. Videocalls are particularly powerful in trying times. Try to interact with your community on daily basis to alleviate loneliness and bolster your sense of community support.

 

  • Try meditating. Meditation is powerful practice that has been shown to be very effective at reducing stress and anxiety. As little as five or ten minutes of meditation can be enough to quiet your mind and experience stillness. Guided practices are a great way to get some experience meditating. We recommend trying a free 10 minute meditation provided by Headspace.

 

  • Laugh more. Laughter can lighten any situation and has been shown to potently reduce stress. Find ways to laugh each day.  This can be through playing games with your family like charades, watching standup comedy, or putting on your favorite funny movie.

 

Feel free to send us a good joke via email or on social media to keep us laughing.

For more stress reduction approaches, visit Verywell Mind.

Note: These recommendations are for healthy individuals, if you are ill, consult with your healthcare provider. ...Read More

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What Does Shortness of Breath Feel Like? Doctors Explain This Coronavirus Symptom

Source: Health.com with Subinoy Das, MD, Chief Medical Officer, Tivic Health Systems

Yes, it can be a sign of COVID-19...but it's also a symptom of anxiety.

Dry cough, fever, fatigue—by now, most have heard about the commonest symptoms of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2). For the most part, those symptoms are pretty self-explanatory. But another common symptom—shortness of breath—has been raising a lot of questions, including what the sensation feels like, and when it might warrant a call to your doctor (or a trip to the emergency room).

Essentially, shortness of breath—aka, dyspnea or breathlessness—is "a group of subjective sensations that suggest our respiratory system is not functioning well," Subinoy Das, MD, chief medical officer of Tivic Health Inc tells Health. Those sensations usually feel like an increased work or effort to breathe, chest tightness, and air hunger or "the feeling of not getting enough oxygen." he says.

Shortness of breath can be caused by a number of things, according to the American Lung Association (ALA)—the least severe of which include strenuous exercise, extreme temperatures, or high altitude. Even anxiety—which many of us are feeling right now—can sometimes lead to a sensation of breathlessness. Sometimes, however, shortness of breath can signal more serious illnesses like asthma, heart disease, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). And in some cases, when shortness of breath comes on quickly, it can signal emergency situations like carbon monoxide poisoning, pneumonia, or a heart attack, per the ALA.

When it comes to COVID-19, shortness of breath is thought to be due to the development of pneumonia, an inflammation of the lungs linked to a coronavirus infection, says Dr. Das. In that case, the shortness of breath occurs when oxygen in the lungs doesn't make its way to the blood as a result of the viral attack, he adds. The American College of Chest Physicians echoes this, saying that when blood carbon dioxide levels rise, a person's breathing rate can increase, which can lead to the sensation of difficulty breathing. Too much acid in the blood from an infection can also lead to the feeling of breathlessness, per the ACCP.

For some diagnosed with COVID-19, shortness of breath is a more severe symptom, and can be treated in a hospital setting with supplemental oxygen, says Dr. Das. The extra oxygen helps increase the amount of oxygen in a patient's blood. "In rare cases, pressurized oxygen through a mechanical ventilator is needed to force the oxygen through severely inflamed lungs into the blood stream," adds Dr. Das.

Overall, if you're worried you're experiencing shortness of breath possibly related to COVID-19, the first thing to do is try to calm down (easier said than done)—that's because, again, shortness of breath is a common symptom of anxiety. In that moment, take stock of how your body is feeling and looking overall: anxiety can also make your heart race, palms sweat, and pupils dilate.

If you're still concerned about a possible coronavirus infection after that—and you have other symptoms common with coronavirus, like dry cough, fever, and fatigue—give your doctor a call; they can then help you determine whether you qualify for a COVID-19 test. However, if your shortness of breath is severe, and accompanied by other symptoms like chest pain, lightheadedness, and lips turning blue, it's best to seek medical attention ASAP. ...Read More

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What is a Dry Cough? Experts Explain the Coronavirus Symptom

Source: Health.com with Subinoy Das, MD, Chief Medical Officer, Tivic Health Systems

Here's how it's different from other coughs you've had.

You've heard the typical symptoms by now: fever, shortness of breath, dry cough—about 80 percent of those with COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2), only get those mild signs, according to research. And while one of those symptoms—a cough—may sound pretty easy to diagnose, many are questioning what exactly a dry cough is, and how it's different from other coughs.

Basically, a dry cough is "one where no mucus or phlegm is produced with the cough," Subinoy Das, MD an Ohio-based ear nose and throat physician, and medical director for the US Institute for Advanced Sinus Care & Research, tells Health. Conversely, a wet cough "is one filled with mucus or phlegm where someone can actually feel the mucus move in their bronchi or throat," he says, adding that "mucus expectorates or leaves the chest with each [wet] cough."

A dry cough may also sound different than a wet cough. "It has a very consistent sound," says Dr. Das—often triggered by a tickle in the back of your throat, with a barking or hoarse sound. That's because "the airway is not constantly changing with the cough," says Dr. Das. (With a wet cough, mucus builds up, then leaves, constantly changing the airways.)  He explains that, while dry coughs don't necessarily hurt, they are “unsatisfying coughs, because no mucus or phlegm is expelled past the vocal cords.” Still, the coughing can get so hard that the person can possibly injure their ribs or intercostal muscles (the muscles that run between the ribs).

It's important to remember, however, that dry coughs can be a symptom of a variety of other illnesses—not just COVID-19—including, allergies, asthma, bronchitis, or a typical common cold, according to the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology. However, Dr. Das explains that if you have any other symptoms related to COVID-19, like a fever, unexplained loss of taste or smell, or gastrointestinal issues like diarrhea, you should call your doctor to inquire about getting tested for coronavirus.

While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests cough medicine, humidifiers, and cough drops to ease the discomfort of a flu-related dry cough, Dr. Das points out that currently, there are no medically proven ways to reduce a dry cough from COVID-19, but those with symptoms can use the above remedies to help relieve them, as well. Dr. Das also recommends taking steamy showers, “which helps thin the mucus building up in the nose or nasopharynx that could possibly be worsening a patient’s cough.” And if you do test positive for coronavirus, or if you believe you have it, it's necessary to self-isolate so you don't make those around you ill, as well.

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Allergies, Flu and Corona Virus – What to Know

Much of our population is rightfully concerned about catching the coronavirus, properly known as COVID-19. How can we tell if we are suffering from COVID-19, typical seasonal allergies, or another common ailment such as the flu or the common cold?

It is not easy to distinguish between all of these respiratory ailments. However, for COVID-19, time to onset of symptoms from exposure is typically five days, ranging from 2-14 days. In nearly 90% of patients, the first symptom will be a high fever, often above 101 degrees Fahrenheit. This is often followed by a dry cough, where not much mucus or phlegm is produced.

For most patients, particularly those under 40 without underlying health conditions, these may be the only symptoms that one might experience.

Some may experience more severe symptoms, particularly older patients, those on steroids or immunosuppressive drugs, chronic smokers, or those who have underlying health issues such as diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, or respiratory problems.

More serious symptoms include shortness of breath typically 5-10 days after the initial fever. This can be accompanied by fatigue, sore throat, muscle and joint pain, and other symptoms.

Patients can rapidly deteriorate after developing shortness of breath and may need prolonged oxygen therapy, mechanical ventilation, and intensive care. Elderly patients or those with underlying health complications should seek hospitalization if they develop shortness of breath 5 days after a high fever.

Allergic rhinitis from seasonal and year-round allergies is typically associated with itchy eyes, sneezing, and nasal congestion and is not associated with a high fever.

Other ailments such as a common cold may have similar symptoms to COVID-19 but do not often cause shortness of breath after the fever. Influenza does mimic COVID-19 very closely but the shortness of breath is not usually as severe as it is with COVID-19.

Congestion and facial pain or pressure are not symptoms associated with COVID-19, and likely indicate a more common cold, flu or allergies.

To prevent spreading any illness, people should wash hands often and vigorously. This is the best behavior to minimize risk of infection. Patients should also limit public exposure, avoid travel to areas with known outbreaks or crowds of people, and stock up on supplies necessary for a several week quarantine, including non-perishable food, prescription medicines (ideally a 30-90 day supply if possible). If you are elderly or have underlying health problems, then limiting exposure to other people as much as possible is prudent until anti-viral therapies and/or a vaccine is developed.

Patients on steroid therapy or immunosuppressive therapy should consult with their physician to discuss whether reducing or avoiding these medications for the short-term might be appropriate.

If you suspect that you may have COVID-19, you should call your physician or local health department and inquire about testing options which are becoming more available throughout the country.

If you develop shortness of breath after the onset of a fever, then call your local emergency room and/or 911 immediately, particularly if over the age of 60 or if you have any underlying health problems.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the people of the world as we deal with the crisis.
 

Subinoy Das, MD

Chief Medical Officer
Tivic Health Systems

Other Useful Resources:

CDC Covid-19 What You Should Know
Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center
CNBC Corona Virus Updates ...Read More

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What’s triggering your spring allergies?

Spring is in the air and so is pollen. Several states including California, Arizona, Texas, Florida, Louisiana, Alabama, and South Carolina, have the highest pollen counts, making it potentially miserable for allergy sufferers.

Dr. Alan Goldsobel, an allergist and immunology specialist based in San Jose, California, stated “Where you live impacts the start and end of allergy season, and the severity of your symptoms.

Common symptoms include itchy, watery eyes, sneezing, scratchy throat, dark circles under the eyes and nasal and sinus congestion.  Less common symptoms include facial pain, sinus headache, earache, or loss of smell.”

Here are some key triggers by region:

  • From New Mexico through California and Washington, common Juniper and Rocky Mountain Juniper are notoriously severe allergens, followed by willow, ash, oak and maple.
  • Southern California residents are hit with allergens from as far away as Nevada and Arizona, due to Santa Ana wind conditions.
  • In North Texas, pollen from oaks, pecans, or ash trees are the worst offenders, and in other parts of the state, Bermuda, Johnson, and Rye grasses pollinate from spring through October.
  • Florida’s mild weather makes plants pollinate 12 months in a year – making it a perennial pollen state. According to Jacquelynne Corey, physician at Chicago Nasal and Sinus Center, “plants that are wind-pollinated  are the worst  on allergy sufferers. I’ve travelled to Florida regularly over the years and have experienced the thick film of pollen on my car firsthand.”
  • In Louisiana, elms, Bradford pears, and especially oak trees are the worst offenders.
  • When South Carolina’s weather goes from extreme cold to warm quickly, pollen from oak and bayberry trees in particular, hit hard.

Here are some drug-free tips to prevent and fight allergy symptoms:

  • Monitor local pollen counts.
  • Keep windows closed and use central air conditioning with air filtration.
  • Add drug-free, quick and convenient ClearUP® Sinus Pain Relief to your regimen. This handy device is FDA approved and clinically proven so it’s safe and effective. A single treatment takes only 5 minutes! When used twice a day for four weeks, sinus pain was reduced by 43%.
  • Use a certified allergy-friendly air cleaner.
  • Wash clothes worn during outside activities and take a shower before bed.

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10 Tips for Fighting Winter Allergies

Fighting winter allergies?

Staying indoors for most of the winter season increases exposure to indoor allergens like dust, mold, pet dander, and cockroach droppings.

A survey from the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology found that at least 6 allergens were detectable in more than 50% of homes.

While no home can be allergen-free, there are common sense steps you can take to help reduce allergen exposure to keep your allergies from taking control of you.

“Indoor allergens can be significantly reduced by using dust-mite proof covers and bedding, minimizing carpeted surface areas, and keeping pets out of bedrooms and living areas as much as possible,” said Dr. Alan Goldsobel, a practicing allergist at Allergy and Asthma Associates of Northern California.

Here are 10 other tips to help you keep allergies under control:

1) Replace your air filter every 90 days – try changing it with the start of each season, to help you remember.

2) Bedrooms are the most allergen-prone, due to dust mites – in addition to using hypoallergenic bedding and sheets, wash them weekly in very hot water – at least 130 degrees. Limit stuffed animals to 1 or 2 that are washable.

3) Wash your pet’s favorite furniture and toys often.

4) Dust mites accumulate in carpets and heavy upholstery, so opt for smooth-surface floors and furniture (leather and vinyl are better furniture options).

5) Air cleaners with certified allergy-friendly filters can filter out almost 98% of allergen air particles.

6) Vacuum once or twice a week and be sure to look for certified asthma allergy-friendly vacuums with HEPA filters.

7) Tired of taking medicines? New on the market is ClearUP® Sinus Pain Relief device – a drug-free, FDA approved, clinically proven handheld device for allergy-related sinus pain.  It’s easy to use, convenient and a single treatment takes only 5 minutes! When used twice a day for two weeks, sinus pain was reduced by 43%.

8) Use a humidity meter to monitor humidity levels in your home – the CDC recommends keeping it below 60% to reduce dust mites and prevent mold growth.

9) Use vent fans to clear the air after cooking or showering, and clean all solid surfaces regularly with 5% bleach cleaning solution.

10) Use poison baits, boric acid and traps instead of chemicals to control cockroaches. Keep all food stored in sealed containers, garbage cans covered, and emptied regularly. ...Read More

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Cedar Fever – What Is It, and How Can You Cope?

Allergy sufferers who live in South and Central Texas are quite familiar with allergy symptom triggers caused by pollen from native cedar or juniper trees. Cedar allergy season runs from November through March, but December, January, and February are peak months.[1]

Cedar trees pollinate during this time of year, releasing large amounts of pollen particles into the air that can travel with the wind for hundreds of miles. Timing and severity of cedar pollination is determined by rainfall amounts and other weather conditions.

Winter months in South and Central Texas cities like Austin and San Antonio, and surrounding areas are the most brutal for allergy sufferers, where cedar fever can bring on flu-like symptoms.

Symptoms can be severe and include itchy, watery, red eyes; nasal congestion, runny nose, sinus pressure; sore throat, fatigue, and sometimes slightly elevated body temperature.[2]


Coping with Cedar Allergies

If you’re susceptible to cedar pollen, there are a few things you can do to manage your symptoms:

  • Stay proactive even before cedar allergy season begins – the most benefit occurs when you start taking your medications a few weeks in advance
  • If you prefer drug-free alternatives, consider using the ClearUP® Sinus Pain Relief device, an FDA-approved and clinically proven solution. ClearUP is a small handheld alternative for allergy-related sinus pain and one treatment takes only 5 minutes.  Use it 2 times a day for 2 weeks for maximum effectiveness.
  • For other natural alternatives, you could reach for a Neti pot or saline rinse once a day
  • Monitor local pollen counts – knowing when pollen counts are highest will help you manage your symptoms
  • Stay indoors whenever possible, and change air filters frequently throughout the year[3]
  • Keep doors and windows closed, and run the air conditioner on extremely high pollen count days
  • Your vacuum cleaner should contain a HEPA filter to trap pollen to prevent it from being re-released into the air[4]
  • Shower and change clothes after going outside, to remove cedar pollen from clothing and hair[5]
  • Bathe pets more frequently during cedar season
  • Replace cedar trees in your yard with good hardwoods like elm, ash, or oak[6]

 

Sources:

[1], 2 “What You Need to Know About Cedar Fever”, RediClinic Blog, January 24, 2018, https://www.rediclinic.com/blog/what-you-need-to-know-about-cedar-fever/

[3], 5 “New to Austin? Only a matter of time before you get cedar fever”, Statesman, December 10, 2018, https://www.statesman.com/news/20181210/new-to-austin-only-matter-of-time-before-you-get-cedar-fever

[4], 6 “Cedar allergy remedies that work”, TexasMedClinic.com, December 11, 2018, https://www.texasmedclinic.com/cedar-allergy-remedies-that-work/

 

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2020 Consumer Electronic Show for Tivic Health was a HIT!
2020 Consumer Electronic Show for Tivic Health was a HIT!

Thanks again to our community who voted day in and day out!  ClearUP® tied with WOWCube and Comper ThermArt for first place in the prestigious Last Gadget Standing People’s Choice Awards. Congratulations to our fellow winners. We greatly appreciate your consistent support throughout the voting process!

“I am a happy customer… Four days ago I got one of these and two days ago, everything is better,” said George Jones. Thousands came by our booth 50527 at Eureka Park.  We were often 8-10 people deep at any time with future partners and allergy-ridden sufferers waiting to learn about and experience the revolutionary results of ClearUP. “I tried it the first day and I came back the next day and I can’t wait to get one” said one attendee.  “I am a happy customer… Four days ago I got one of these and two days ago, everything is better,” said George Jones.

VP of Manufacturing, Chandra Durisety at the showcaseThousands more passed by the CES Innovation Showcase room to take a peek at all of the great products on display, including ClearUP Sinus Pain Relief.  Here’s our VP of Manufacturing, Chandra Durisety at the showcase.

What an honor for Tivic Health CEO Jennifer Ernst to speak at the Digital Health Summit on A New Wave of Electric Medicine: No Rx Required in front of a large tech crowd of 500+. Important publications like Forbes and PC Magazine covered it here.

Tivic Health CEO Jennifer Ernst speaking at the Digital Health Summit

Here's some more notable CES media coverage for ClearUP:

Looking forward to CES 2021!

Tivic Health Team ...Read More

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Consumer Electronic Show 2020 (CES) starts with a bang!

Awards at CES

Tivic Health is headed to CES 2020!  We will exhibit at CES Eureka Park, along with fellow CES Innovation Award honorees.  Tivic Health’s ClearUP® Sinus Pain Relief is also a finalist in the prestigious Last Gadget Standing CES Award (please vote for us again!).

Speaking at CES

In addition, Tivic Health CEO Jennifer Ernst will give a presentation at the CES Digital Health Summit on A New Wave of Electric Medicine: No Rx Required. She will examine how bioelectronic medicine is harnessing the electrical properties of human physiology and how state-of-the-art, non-invasive treatments are producing massive therapeutic benefits.

“The human body is an electrochemical system. For decades, medicine has focused on the chemistry part of the equation. Now we are seeing many companies developing ways to intervene on the electrical side.  Tivic Health is proud to be on the forefront of bringing bioelectronic medicine to the mainstream with accessible and affordable over-the-counter products,” said Jennifer Ernst, CEO of Tivic Health.

CES press events

We are also participating in the Unveiled press event on January 5th, and a satellite media tour later in the week with reporter Andrea Smith.

Announcing more ClearUP benefits in Bioelectronic Medicine Publication

ClearUP is the first bioelectronic solution for sinus pain cleared by the FDA. According to McKinsey & Associates, Bioelectronic Medicine “has the potential to become a pillar of medical treatment and play a key role in the future of medtech innovation.” Read Tivic Health’s new paper in Bioelectronic Medicine which reveals results of a four-week clinical study demonstrating 43% reduction in sinus symptom severity after using ClearUP regularly. ...Read More

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ClearUP Named to TIME’s 100 Best Inventions of 2019

We are honored and excited that ClearUP® Sinus Pain Relief has been named to TIME’s list of 100 Best Inventions for 2019 in the health care category!

This annual list recognizes 100 groundbreaking inventions that are making the world better, smarter and more fun.

ClearUP was among many global nominees in the health care category, who were evaluated based on originality, effectiveness, ambition and influence. The 2019 TIME Best Inventions list was assembled from editors and correspondents around the world and through an online application process.

“The bioelectronics industry is generating new non-drug therapies and this new class of devices represents an emerging vertical in healthcare that is currently in its infancy but is showing promise in addressing serious conditions including depression, chronic pain, Parkinson’s, PTSD, Alzheimer’s, diabetes and others”, said Jennifer Ernst, CEO of Tivic Health. “There is a plethora of new products just now getting clearance from the FDA and an explosion in this new area of medicine is beginning to happen.” ...Read More

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Is the Change in Weather Triggering Your Allergy Symptoms?

In recent years, scientists have become increasingly interested in understanding how various weather patterns and extreme conditions impact our health.

In fact, we often associate weather changes with our allergy symptoms because some seasons bring in specific allergens that trigger sneezing, wheezing, and runny noses. For instance, mold grows in the winter months, pollen is rampant during spring season, ragweed in the fall, and poison ivy is widespread in the summer.  Transitions between seasons are often the most challenging periods for allergy sufferers.

The colder months can also trigger indoor allergens – like pet dander and dust mites. While dust mites are common during humid summer months, they can get stirred into the air the first time you turn on your heat in the fall. We become more susceptible to these allergens as we spend more time indoors when it’s cold out.

And while mold is known to grow in damp basements and bathrooms, wet outdoor conditions are ideal breeding grounds for mold – such as piles of wet leaves. Going back to school can also trigger allergies in kids as mold and dust mites are common in schools.

The effects of climate change have also pushed temperatures up and brought higher-than-average rainfall levels, thereby increasing allergy season length and its intensity.1

In some parts of the U.S., dust mites and pollen can exist year-round due to the humidity of the rainy season and homes that are not completely weather-tight.2

Regional conditions such as high winds and rains can also “wake up” trees and grasses, and send out pollen clouds to affected areas.3

 

What can you do to relieve your allergy symptoms?

 

While it’s not possible to avoid the weather, understanding your triggers and limiting exposure to them can significantly impact your quality of life.

Control your indoor environment by using a dehumidifier to ward off mold and dust mites, or use a HEPA filter to remove mold, pollen, and other particles from the air.4

Check local air quality levels, pollen and mold counts, and watch for Ozone Action Days. Spend less time outdoors if you’re susceptible to these triggers. Or wear a mask when performing outdoor tasks and activities.5

Before turning on your heat for the first time, clean heating vents and change the air filter to clear out remnant bits of mold and allergens from the summer.

Besides over-the-counter allergy remedies, there are other ways to minimize symptoms such as use of a neti pot (nasal rinse) or sweeping away allergens (vacuuming can spread more allergens).  In some cases, these treatments are not enough, so it’s best to consult with an allergist to get the proper diagnosis.

 

Notes:

[1]“This Year’s Bay Area Pollen Season Is Really Bad. Here’s Why”, KQED Science, May 20, 2019, https://www.kqed.org/science/1941908/this-years-bay-area-pollen-season-is-really-bad-heres-why

[2], [3] “Coping with San Diego’s Year-Round Allergy Season”, Scripps Health, October 26, 2018, https://www.scripps.org/news_items/4182-coping-with-san-diego-s-year-round-allergy-season

[4], [5] “How Weather Affects Allergies,” WebMD, https://www.webmd.com/allergies/how-weather-affects-allergies#2 ...Read More

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Two Awards for Tivic Health and Upcoming Competition

It’s been a busy, exciting month for the Tivic Health team! Tivic Health received two awards and was also named finalist in another event.

 

CES 2020 Innovation Honoree  

This prestigious award will be presented at the CES (Consumer Electronic Show) event in Las Vegas this January.  Tivic Health is honored to be among some of the top tech innovators across multiple categories and looks forward to showcasing the ClearUP® Sinus Pain Relief device.

 

2nd place in HealthTECH Startup Competition 2019 in Chicago

Tivic Health was honored with 2nd place at the seventh annual HealthTECH Startup Competition, given by Insight Product Development. Tivic Health's ClearUP® Sinus Pain Relief device was among ten early-stage digital health and medical device companies who were featured at the HealthTECH Startup Competition event. CEO, Jennifer Ernst presented a live pitch at the event held in Chicago on November 14, 2019. "It was gratifying to see such meaningful medical device innovations in the competition. Thank you to our new Midwest friends Seng Weiland and Steve McPhilliamy in Chicago," said Jennifer Ernst.

Other finalists included PhotoniCare, Inc. (1st place), CareBand, InterShunt Technologies, Inc., Noleus Technologies, gaia Wearables, TheraB Medical Inc., Rockfield Medical, cliexa, and Rhaeos.

 

Finalist in MedTech Strategist Innovation Summit Conference 2019 in San Francisco

We are also heading to San Francisco to present at the MedTech Strategist Innovation Summit Conference on November 18-19.

Jennifer Ernst, CEO, will give a presentation on the successful launch of ClearUP Sinus Pain Relief, the future of the company Tivic Health and the importance of the emerging new trend of bioelectronics.

“Innovative advances in neuromodulation devices, including sensing, novel waveforms, and personalization are enhancing efficacy and accelerating the integration of neuromodulation therapies in medicine. Our team is dedicated to providing readily accessible, at-home solutions to treat chronic diseases and conditions,” said Ernst.

GO TIVIC HEALTH TEAM! ...Read More

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Tivic Health Named CES 2020 Innovation Award Honoree in Health and Fitness Category

At the CES Unveiled event in New York City today, Tivic Health’s ClearUP® Sinus Pain Relief was selected as a CES 2020 Innovation Awards Honoree.  The CES Innovation Awards recognizes companies for their innovations in engineering, design and technology.

ClearUP Sinus Pain Relief was in good company with many notable honorees including P&G, Stanley Healthcare (BLACK+DECKER™), Garmin, Omron Healthcare, among others.

ClearUP is a drug-free, non-invasive device that uses microcurrent (low-level electrical stimulation) to treat sinus pain from seasonal and year-round allergies.

The ClearUP device is an example of bioelectronic medicine, an emerging trend in healthcare, with promising results for previously untreatable medical conditions, or chronic diseases.[1]

“Our team is honored that ClearUP has been selected as a CES 2020 Innovation Awards Honoree. ClearUP’s use of drug-free, non-invasive microcurrent technology is disrupting how clinicians and consumers treat allergy-related sinus pain,” said Jennifer Ernst, CEO of Tivic Health. We are developing well-designed, accessible home-use bioelectronic medical devices for those suffering from a wide range of chronic conditions. We expect to bring more of these products to market giving millions access to health solutions that historically were treated with pharmaceuticals or even surgery.”

[1] “Why It’s Time to Take Electrified Medicine Seriously”, TIME, October 24, 2019, https://time.com/5709245/bioelectronic-medicine-treatments/ ...Read More

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Dr. Howard Levine talks “SINUS PAIN”

This is one of our most popular posts, and we've received many positive comments - so we thought it would be helpful and informative to share this again:

By Howard Wolinsky, a healthcare blogger

Howard L. Levine, MD, an expert in nasal and sinus disorders, at the Cleveland Nasal Sinus and Sleep Center examines patients daily who often are complaining of “sinus pain.” But just because his patients think that’s the problem, it may not be the case at all. “Patients relate most things that occur in and around the face to the sinuses because people are aware of the sinuses being in the face,” observes Levine, an ENT (Ear, Nose and Throat) specialist and past president of the American Rhinologic Society (ARS).

The sinuses are cavities in the bones of the face or skull connecting with nasal cavity. They produce a mucus layer that protects the nose from pollutants, micro-organisms, dust and dirt. About 15% of Americans see doctors for sinus issues, according to the American Rhinologic Society. And many others simply live with the discomfort.

In evaluating his sinus patients, Levine asks them to describe the nature of the discomfort, its severity and its location. “Individuals who have sinus problems typically describe their discomfort as pressure and congestion. Migraine sufferers, or those with cluster headaches, will say their pain is very severe and more than just pressure,” Levine says. Levine typically does not use the word “pain” unless the sinus patient specifically mentions experiencing pain. “I want them to use pain if in fact there is pain. I look for them to use the words that are more descriptive and can help differentiate the cause. I look for them to use words like pounding or steady or vise-like,” he said.

He then asks the patients to describe the severity of the discomfort on the typical 10-point pain scale. As in real estate, location, location, location is key. Location is important in diagnosing nasal problems and other kinds of head discomfort. Levine asks patients to point to the site of their discomfort or perceived sinus pain. He says some point to their noses, cheeks or brow bones while some point to their temples or the back of their heads--places where there are no sinuses.

He says once he has a history, he may use a nasal endoscope or a computed tomographic (CT) scan to examine the nose to look for physical deformities such as a deviated septum, a blockage in the nasal passage, sinus or nasal polyps that may be the source of pain and can be corrected surgically. Also, swelling of structures in the nose known as turbinates, shelf-shaped networks of bones and blood vessels, can be responsible for sinus discomfort, says Levine. Turbinates warm, humidify and filter the air. Levine says the turbinates can cause nasal obstructions and discomfort when people have a cold or allergies and when they encounter irritants.

If true sinusitis is confirmed, current treatments include several choices of medications that may include over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, decongestants in pill or spray form, nasal steroid sprays and antibiotics if a bacterial infection is found. Patients should ask their physicians and pharmacists about potential side effects from the drugs.

Levine says he has had an eye out for years for a non-drug product that can help his patient with sinus pain. “If there are non-invasive or minimally invasive treatments to help my patients and give them comfort, then I am going to inform my patients about them” he says. Levine says a product such as ClearUP Sinus Pain Relief should be safe, effective and have minimal side effects. ...Read More

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Shipping ClearUP® and Awards Update

SHIPPING CLEARUP SINUS PAIN RELIEF TO THE PUBLIC

September was a busy month for the Tivic Health team and marked a major milestone: we began shipping ClearUP Sinus Pain Relief.  ClearUP is now available for purchase on our website and on Amazon and will be available in November at BestBuy.com, CVS.com and Walgreens.com. All customers from the Indiegogo campaign and website pre-orders received their units first and are now enjoying the sinus pain relief. Thanks for your support!

 

LAUNCHING TO PHYSICIANS

We headed to New Orleans to exhibit at the American Academy of Otolaryngic Allergy (AAOA) and American Rhinologic Society (ARS) Annual Meetings and met with ear, nose and throat specialists and allergist-immunologists. We received positive feedback about ClearUP - these physicians saw how a non-invasive and drug-free device can help their patients with the challenging symptom of sinus pain.

 

HEALTH 2.0 SANTA CLARA, CA FINALIST

ClearUP was one of eight finalists in the Health 2.0 Launch! competition in Santa Clara, where we presented to an audience of healthcare technology professionals. We demonstrated ClearUP and discussed the importance of bioelectronic medicine to patients with chronic conditions. While ClearUP did not win, we are appreciative of the opportunity to bring the importance of sinus pain treatment to the forefront of the healthtech community. The Tivic Health team congratulates OMNY Health – the winner of Health 2.0 Launch!

 

MEDTECH INSIGHT FINALIST

Our last stop was Boston where Tivic Health was a finalist in the MedTech Insight Awards. We were honored to be among so many distinguished companies that are driving the future of innovation in healthcare. We send our congratulations to Johns Hopkins Medicine, Thrive Earlier Detection, the winner of the most innovative team of the year! ...Read More

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Tivic Health Named a Finalist in Medtech Insight Awards Category: Most Innovative Team or Innovator of the Year

By Jennifer Ernst, CEO, co-founder Tivic Health

The Medtech Insight Awards has named the Tivic Health team a finalist in the category, Most Innovative Team or Innovator or the Year, which recognizes the medical technology team who has made significant contributions in the device and diagnostic space.

We are truly honored to be a finalist among such distinguished companies as Johns Hopkins Thrive Earlier Detection and Sigrid Therapeutics that are driving the future of innovation in healthcare.

These awards honor companies and executives who have made significant contributions in the device and diagnostic space. Award winners will be announced at the awards dinner in Boston on September 23 that coincides with the MedTech Conference, which will take place September 23-25.

According to Christopher Delporte, editor-in-chief of Medtech Insight, “The Medtech Insight Awards not only recognize the achievements of innovative people, partnerships and organizations, but they are also an excellent opportunity to highlight the transformative work being done in the medical technology sector overall. Given the pace of product development, regulation and business in this industry, the awards finalists have all demonstrated their unique ability to navigate marketplace challenges and seize technological opportunity to improve patient care.”

Our team is committed to creating accessible solutions for chronic conditions and next month we will be bringing to market a next generation microcurrent device, ClearUP® Sinus Pain Relief, which will help transform treatment for the 40-60 milliion Americans suffering from allergies.

Tivic Health is looking forward to the MedTech Awards dinner next month. Please drop me a line if you’d like to arrange a meeting in Boston. ...Read More

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Tivic Health Welcomes Sheryle Bolton, Karen Drexler and Dean Zikria to Board of Directors

By Jennifer Ernst, CEO, co-founder Tivic Health

This month, we welcomed three new members to the Tivic Health board of directors: Sheryle Bolton, entrepreneur and former chairman and CEO of Scientific Learning Corporation; Karen Drexler, CEO and board member of Sandstone Diagnostics; and Dean Zikria former global marketing executive at Johnson & Johnson and Pfizer Pharmaceuticals.

These dynamic industry leaders bring a wide range of consumer health and technology experience and will help guide the growth of our company. Our team will directly benefit from their expertise, perspectives and contributions as we scale our commercial operations and develop future bioelectronic therapies. Background on our new board members is below:

Sheryle Bolton is Professor of Entrepreneurship, Hult International Business School. She is an experienced public company CEO, international board member and serial entrepreneur. As CEO and Chairman of Scientific Learning Corporation, a neuroscience technology company, she built the company from pre-product to a highly successful IPO. Previously, she was vice president at Merrill Lynch Capital Markets, and a senior executive at Home Box Office and Rockefeller and Co.

Karen Drexler is CEO and board member of Sandstone Diagnostics with extensive and operational experience building consumer health tech device companies. She founded and ran Amira Medical until its sale to Roche Diabetes Care. She managed a variety of functions across the company at LifeScan and executed the sale of the company to Johnson & Johnson. She has received 11 patents, served on numerous boards and is active in non-profits that support female entrepreneurs.

Dean Zikria brings deep industry experience in allergy and asthma to the Board. He has previously served as CEO of Spirosure, a FeNO detection company for asthma diagnostics. He has also previously served as head of global marketing for Johnson & Johnson's Animas Corporation within their medical device & diagnostics division. He was head of strategy for Pfizer Pharmaceuticals U.S. Cardiovascular Unit, a division with about $7 billion in annual revenues. ...Read More

Jennifer Ernst
THANK YOU and UPDATE FOR EARLY BACKERS!

A big THANK YOU to our early backers for making the ClearUP Sinus Pain Relief crowd funding campaign a success!

We have nearly tripled our fundraising goal with 641 backers!

Update:

  • ClearUP is currently being manufactured.
  • We expect to have ClearUP into your hands in late September - in time for the fall allergy season.
  • ClearUP will also be available for purchase on Amazon and TivicHealth.com at that time.

 

ClearUP is a true game changer – it’s the first and only US bioelectronic device designed to alleviate allergy sinus pain. This small, handheld device delivers treatment that’s clinically proven where three out of four experienced relief and it’s FDA approved.

The Tivic Health team is very proud to be bringing our first product to market with the support of so many that suffer from sinus pain due to allergies.

A few fast facts about ClearUP Sinus Pain Relief:

Who is it for?
Adults 18+ years old with moderate to severe allergies

What does it do?
Provides relief from allergy sinus pain using microcurrent waveforms—low-current electrical stimulation proven to relieve pain.

Is it safe and effective?
Yes, because it clinically-proven and FDA approved.

How it is different?

  • Sinus Pain Relief without medication or chemical side effects
  • Rechargeable, reusable. Battery lasts 1-2 weeks on a single charge when used 4 times daily
  • Non-invasive and no mess.

 

How long does it last?

  • A single 5-minute treatment can last up to 6 hours
  • Remember, there’s a 1-year warranty.

 

HERE’S TO HEALTHY SINUSES!

Jennifer Ernst, CEO and Co-founder ...Read More

Blake Gurfein, PhD
Tivic Health Chief Scientific Officer, Blake Gurfein, PhD Receives Annual 40 Under 40 Award from Silicon Valley Business Journal

The Silicon Valley Business (SVB) Journal has named Tivic Health Systems’ Chief Scientific Officer, Blake Gurfein, PhD to their annual 40 Under 40 Awards. This distinction is given to 40 business executives, entrepreneurs, nonprofit and community leaders who have made outstanding professional and humanitarian contributions, before the age of 40.

Dr. Gurfein was selected based on his vast accomplishments in the fields of bioelectronics and neuromodulation at age 35. He completed his doctorate in neuroscience at age 26, and at age 29, he ascended to the level of faculty at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF), one of the preeminent research institutions in the world. Dr. Gurfein is now assistant adjunct professor of medicine at UCSF, and his research was supported by a prestigious multiyear award from the National Institutes of Health, a Mentored Research Scientist Development Award.

As a creative thinker, Dr. Gurfein was drawn to research demonstrating that devices employing electricity and magnetism could be used to generate new non-drug therapies to address inadequate treatment needs in neurology and psychiatry. Dr. Gurfein’s vision is that this class of device therapies represents a breakthrough in medicine that is already showing promise in addressing serious conditions including Parkinson’s disease, depression, chronic pain, allergic rhinitis and many others.

He has four patents pending and 12 peer-reviewed publications in prestigious journals, one of which was featured on the cover of Molecular Medicine.

Dr. Gurfein has served as the Chief Scientific Officer of two neuromodulation companies, Rio Grande Neurosciences and Tivic Health.

Moved by the homelessness epidemic in the Bay Area, Dr. Gurfein has volunteered with Community Housing Partnership (CHP) to raise awareness of their work to help homeless individuals secure housing and become self-sufficient. He also serves on CHP’s Advancement Committee, a Board of Directors sub-committee, which focuses on community outreach.

Dr. Gurfein has prioritized humanitarian activities throughout his career and has volunteered at homeless shelters and organizations including the Ivy League Connection and Habitat for Humanity. He also mentors junior scientists and aspiring entrepreneurs.

“I am honored to be among this exceptional group of executives that are making major contributions to their communities and businesses,” said Dr. Blake Gurfein. “Thank you to the SVB Journal for recognizing the important work we are doing to bring innovative, bioelectronic medical solutions to those with chronic diseases. It’s an especially exciting time because we are about to launch ClearUP Sinus Pain Relief after rigorous clinical work culminating in an FDA clearance. I’m also grateful to the Community Housing Partnership for bringing awareness to help homeless individuals secure housing and become self-sufficient.”

“Blake Gurfein has made tremendous scientific and cultural contributions at Tivic Health, in his prior work at UCSF and Rio Grande Neurosciences, and through his work with the community,” added Jennifer Ernst, CEO of Tivic Health. “The Tivic Health team is pleased to see him recognized by SVB Journal.”

View the official press release  ...Read More

Alan Goldsobel, MD
What You Need to Know as Allergy Season gets Underway

Allergic rhinitis, also called hay fever, is a very common disorder affecting 30-40 percent of children and adults in the U.S. The basic definition of an allergy is an abnormal reaction of a part of the immune system, where common things everyone is exposed to, pollen, animal dander, dust mites, molds, etc. are recognized as “foreign” or harmful to the body – and they really aren’t!

An allergic reaction in your body may occur in the upper respiratory tract (nose/eyes/sinuses), lower respiratory tract (lungs), skin, and/or gastrointestinal tract. These are the areas of the body where we come into direct contact with our environment.

Symptoms

Symptoms from allergies that occur in the upper respiratory tract are called allergic rhinitis and although they aren’t life threatening, they can be severe in many people leading to significant morbidity and decreased quality of life. Adults miss work and children with allergic rhinitis are known to miss more days of school and perform poorly when present, especially during their worse seasonal allergies. Both children and adults with allergic rhinitis get more viral infections and sinusitis. And sleep disturbance is common in children and adults with allergic rhinitis leading to daytime tiredness and poor performance at school and work.

The typical symptoms of allergic rhinitis include nasal congestion with sinus pain and pressure, runny nose, sneezing, itchy nose and eyes. Allergic rhinitis is classified as either seasonal, due to tree, grass, and/or weed pollen exposure in the spring or fall; or perennial, due to dust mite, animal or mold allergies. In different parts of the country, spring and fall seasonal allergic rhinitis occur at different times due to different exposures and different weather patterns.

The Start of Spring Allergy Season Across the U.S.

In many parts of the country, the onset of spring allergic rhinitis is due to pollen from cedar and juniper trees and can start as early as December or January in certain warmer climates. It is particularly bad in Texas. Many other trees will pollinate from March through June.

Grass pollen causes an intense allergic reaction usually from April through July, again depending where you live in the U.S. Climate change has caused longer pollen seasons and higher levels of pollination across the country.

Treating Allergic Rhinitis

The approach to treatment for allergic rhinitis includes first, controlling one’s environment as much as possible and avoiding what you are allergic to. Second is to manage symptoms. Medications such as antihistamines, decongestants, nasal sprays, and eye drops and drug-free treatments like nasal washes are the typical course of treatment and can help relieve and manage your symptoms. Tivic Health’s ClearUP Sinus Pain Relief is a new part of the arsenal, recently cleared by the FDA to be safe and effective in treating the sinus pain associated with allergic rhinitis. Finally, if needed, one can be desensitized to what they are allergic to with regular allergy shots or vaccinations.

Alan Goldsobel, MD is a member of the Tivic Health Medical Advisory Board and a practicing physician at Allergy and Asthma Associates of Northern California. He’s an adjunct clinical professor at Stanford University School of Medicine, clinical professor, UCSF and past president of the California Society of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. ...Read More

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Spring is Around the Corner and so are Allergies

It’s March and while it may be cold and snowing in parts of the US - it’s the start of allergy season in other regions. According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology between 40-60 million Americans have some form of allergic rhinitis - allergies.  Allergy season has already started along the west coast and in the south. In a few weeks those in the rest of the country will begin to feel the affects of pollen along with environmental allergies such as dust, mold and pet dander.

We’ve asked some top-notch allergists and ENT physicians from around the country, who see patients suffering from seasonal allergies and other related sinus conditions, to share their knowledge about this spring's allergy season.

You’ll be hearing from Subinoy Das, MD and CEO, US Institute for Advanced Sinus Care and Research in Ohio, Alan Goldsobel, MD at, Allergy and Asthma Associates of Northern California and adjunct professor at Stanford University Medical Center and others.

Here’s to a healthy spring!

Jennifer Ernst,
CEO, Tivic Health Systems Inc. ...Read More

Dr. Su Das from our Medical Advisory Board explaining how it works at CES Eureka Park booth.
CES 2019 Highlights

Tivic Health participated in our first CES and what a week it was! We introduced our first product, ClearUP Sinus Pain Relief, and received a lot of interest and warm welcome from consumers, health care professionals and journalists.

We are proud to report that ClearUP won two awards from leading industry news outlets: Gear Diary’s Best of CES and Techlicious’ Top Picks of CES.

...Read More

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3 OUT OF 4 SINUS PAIN SUFFERERS WITH ALLERGIC RHINITIS EXPERIENCED PAIN RELIEF – SEE CLEARUP™ AT THE CES SHOW

CES is fast approaching and we’re looking forward to meeting with thousands of technology and medical professionals looking for the latest healthcare offerings.

For the first time, Tivic Health will be demonstrating the newly FDA approved product ClearUP Sinus Pain Relief to the public at Sands Expo, Eureka Park, Health Section, Booth #53355.

ClearUP is a groundbreaking product for sinus pain for allergic rhinitis sufferers that was successfully tested with consumers in a double-blinded. Randomized Control Trial at a top-tier US science research center. The results were presented this fall at the American Rhinologic Society’s (ARS) Annual Meeting in Atlanta. The study included patients with Allergic rhinitis, Chronic Rhinosinusitis and other sinus pain causes. Overall results were:

  • 3 out of 4 who used ClearUP experienced a reduction in sinus pain
  • Patients treated with Tivic Health’s microcurrent ClearUP device experienced an average pain reduction of 30 percent
  • 82 percent preferred ClearUP Sinus Pain Relief device to their current sinus treatment(s).

In May 2018, recent third-party market research with 600 sinus sufferers has also revealed that sinus sufferers tend to use pills (75%) and prescription nose sprays (60%). However, 91% of them are concerned about taking too much medicine and 66% concerned about side effects.  ClearUP is an ideal option because it is drug-free, has no known side effects and is reusable for anytime, anywhere treatments.

Tivic Health is part of the emerging Bioelectronics industry. In fact, this fall the World Economic Forum named bioelectronics or “electroceuticals” as one of the top 10 disruptive technologies poised to change medical treatment.

We look forward to seeing you in Las Vegas! ...Read More

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Tivic team heads to CES 2019!

Tivic Health staff is excited to be exhibiting and demonstrating the ClearUP Sinus Pain Relief device at the largest electronics show in the world, the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas Jan 8-11, 2019. ClearUP™ Sinus Pain Relief is the first bioelectronic treatment that relieves sinus pain for the 40-60 million allergic rhinitis sinus sufferers in the US. This includes any adult with seasonal allergies like dust, mold, and pollen or year-round allergies like mold, cleaning products or pet dander.

The Tivic Health team will be - Jennifer Ernst, CEO; Maureen Perou, VP, Marketing; Blake Gurfein, PhD, VP, Research and Scientific Affairs; and Chandra Durisety, VP, Manufacturing. Dr. Subinoy Das, a member of the Tivic Health Medical Advisory Board and CEO of US Institute Advanced Sinus Care and Research, will join us in Eureka Park.

ClearUP harnesses the power of bioelectronic technology into a simple, non-invasive, home device for use by consumers suffering from allergy-related sinus pain. ClearUp features a one-button control and three intensity levels for quick five-minute treatments. It’s portable for use at home, work or travel and rechargeable.

We hope to see you at CES, January 8-11, booth 53355 at the Sands Expo, Eureka Park, Health Section. If you are a journalist please stop by and see us at CES Unveiled on January 6 (invite only). ...Read More

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Dr. Howard Levine talks “SINUS PAIN”

By Howard Wolinsky, a healthcare blogger

Howard L. Levine, MD, an expert in nasal and sinus disorders, at the Cleveland Nasal Sinus and Sleep Center examines patients daily who often are complaining of “sinus pain.” But just because his patients think that’s the problem, it may not be the case at all. “Patients relate most things that occur in and around the face to the sinuses because people are aware of the sinuses being in the face,” observes Levine, an ENT (Ear, Nose and Throat) specialist and past president of the American Rhinologic Society (ARS).

The sinuses are cavities in the bones of the face or skull connecting with nasal cavity. They produce a mucus layer that protects the nose from pollutants, micro-organisms, dust and dirt. About 15% of Americans see doctors for sinus issues, according to the American Rhinologic Society. And many others simply live with the discomfort.

In evaluating his sinus patients, Levine asks them to describe the nature of the discomfort, its severity and its location. “Individuals who have sinus problems typically describe their discomfort as pressure and congestion. Migraine sufferers, or those with cluster headaches, will say their pain is very severe and more than just pressure,” Levine says. Levine typically does not use the word “pain” unless the sinus patient specifically mentions experiencing pain. “I want them to use pain if in fact there is pain. I look for them to use the words that are more descriptive and can help differentiate the cause. I look for them to use words like pounding or steady or vise-like,” he said.

He then asks the patients to describe the severity of the discomfort on the typical 10-point pain scale. As in real estate, location, location, location is key. Location is important in diagnosing nasal problems and other kinds of head discomfort. Levine asks patients to point to the site of their discomfort or perceived sinus pain. He says some point to their noses, cheeks or brow bones while some point to their temples or the back of their heads--places where there are no sinuses.

He says once he has a history, he may use a nasal endoscope or a computed tomographic (CT) scan to examine the nose to look for physical deformities such as a deviated septum, a blockage in the nasal passage, sinus or nasal polyps that may be the source of pain and can be corrected surgically. Also, swelling of structures in the nose known as turbinates, shelf-shaped networks of bones and blood vessels, can be responsible for sinus discomfort, says Levine. Turbinates warm, humidify and filter the air. Levine says the turbinates can cause nasal obstructions and discomfort when people have a cold or allergies and when they encounter irritants.

If true sinusitis is confirmed, current treatments include several choices of medications that may include over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, decongestants in pill or spray form, nasal steroid sprays and antibiotics if a bacterial infection is found. Patients should ask their physicians and pharmacists about potential side effects from the drugs.

Levine says he has had an eye out for years for a non-drug product that can help his patient with sinus pain. “If there are non-invasive or minimally invasive treatments to help my patients and give them comfort, then I am going to inform my patients about them” he says. Levine says a product such as ClearUP Sinus Pain Relief should be safe, effective and have minimal side effects. ...Read More

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Tivic ClearUP® 2.0