Sjogren Syndrome (cont.)
Self-Care at Home
Much of the treatment of Sjögren's syndrome is aimed at relieving symptoms. Your health-care professional will provide guidance and suggestions, but you can also find treatments that work best for you.
It is important to know whether your symptoms are worse or better at home, at work, or when outdoors as this will assist in identifying which environments need to be modified to improve your symptoms.
Ask your health-care professional whether any medications you take for other medical problems could be contributing to your dryness. If so, ask him or her about alternatives. Some common medications that can worsen dry eyes and dry mouth and need to be avoided.
These general tips may help with dry eyes.
- Blink several times a minute while reading or working on the computer. Lowering the computer monitor below eye level can decrease the width of the eyelid opening and help conserves tears.
- Protect your eyes from windy or breezy conditions.
- Use humidifiers in the rooms where you spend much of your time, including your bedroom. Use distilled water in areas with hard water.
- Don't smoke, and stay away from smoky rooms.
- If you wear eye makeup, apply only to the upper eyelids and to the tips of your eyelashes to keep it out of your eyes.
- Eyeglasses fitted with moisture shields can decrease evaporation.
- Swim or ski goggles are also effective in decreasing evaporation, but wrap-around sunglasses are generally more useful.
- Use of contact lens can aggravate dry-eye symptoms, and its use is also associated with infections.
These general tips may help with dry mouth and its complications.
- Patients with dry mouth can liberally drink sips of water and take bottled water with them on trips. Keep a glass of water at your bedside to moisten your mouth at night.
- A humidifier at the bedside can relieve nighttime dryness. Keep the humidifier clean and change the water daily.
- Chew sugarless gum or suck on sugarless, sour hard candies (especially grape or lemon) to stimulate saliva production.
- Sometimes sucking on a non-nutritive object may increase salivation (such as a cherry pit).
- Avoid mouthwashes that contain alcohol, as they can lead to drying. Instead, rinse your mouth with water several times a day.
- Brush your teeth gently with a fluoride toothpaste after every meal and before going to bed. Nonfoaming toothpastes are less drying.
- Avoid sugary foods and snacks that promote tooth decay. When sugary foods are eaten, immediately brush or rinse your teeth.
- If you wear dentures, disinfect them often.
- Look at your mouth every day to check for sores and redness that could signal
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