Dear Dr. Kadile, my doctor recently diagnosed me with sinusitis and prescribed antibiotics. I have family coming to visit, am I contagious?
– Jack, Palm Desert

Jack, sinusitis will generally start out as a cold or upper respiratory infection caused by a virus. The infection may cause obstruction in the sinuses causing headaches, sinus pressure and congestion, post nasal drip and ear pressure. If it is a cold, generally the symptoms will resolve in 1-2 weeks, but if the sinus obstruction persists, it may allow the development of a bacterial infection in addition to the viral infection. Since your doctor prescribed antibiotics, he believes you have a bacterial sinusitis. The bacteria involved are usually commonly found in the nose and are not considered highly contagious. A cold or viral upper respiratory infection is considered contagious.

Dr. Kadile, I’ve noticed that I have had frequent migraine headaches since it’s been very windy lately. Is there a connection?
– Jill, La Quinta

Jill, the high winds kick up all sorts of nasty allergens, dust, sand and irritants which can commonly cause itchy, watery eyes, congestion, runny nose, cough, sore throat and sneezing associated with allergic rhinitis. Migraines generally get “triggered” by something and the dust and sand from the high winds can certainly trigger a migraine headache. If your migraine headaches persist and/or worsen, it may be due to something other than allergies and you should be evaluated by your doctor.

Staying well hydrated, supplementing with vitamin C, vitamin D and omega 3 fish oils can help boost your immune system and help reduce allergy flare ups. Irrigation of the nasal passages with an over the counter neti pot can help reduce the congestion and runny nose associated with allergy symptoms. Over the counter (OTC) medications, usually antihistamines, can be effective in the prevention and treatment of symptoms, but can have side effects, commonly drowsiness. Make sure you read the labels of the various OTC allergy medications to educate yourself on the possible side effects.

Dear Dr. Kadile, what is a good SPF for sunscreen?
– Brendan, Palm Springs

Brendan, SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor and ranges from 2 to as high as 50. It refers to the sunscreen’s ability to screen or block out the sun’s harmful rays.The number stands for the length of time one can stay in the sun using the sunscreen before burning compared to when not wearing a sunscreen. For example, if a person uses a sunscreen with an SPF 15, that person can be in the sun 15 times longer than without sunscreen before burning.

Dermatologist’s recommend using a sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or greater, higher SPF if you are lighter or fair skinned. Choose a sunscreen that protects against UVB and UVA radiation.

If you plan on doing a lot of swimming or water activity, then I would recommend a “waterproof” sunscreen over a “water resistant” brand. A waterproof sunscreen maintains its SPF level twice as long as a water resistant product when exposed to water.

Don’t forget to reapply the sunscreen because they will sweat off, so follow the directions on the bottle on how frequently you need to reapply.

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