Allergy In Sinus Disease

Allergy Testimonial.jpgHayfever
Do you experience runny nose, sneezing and nasal congestion in the same season year after year?
Do you seem to get "colds" often?
If so, you may be suffering from a common condition known as hayfever, or allergic rhinitis.
An understanding of the causes, symptoms and treatments can help make your allergy season more bearable. 

Causes
Allergic rhinitis is a condition in which the body reacts to the environment in a hyperactive way. Even normal substances in the environment can become symptom producing allergens in certain individuals. Although hay and weeds are common culprits, pollens from grasses and trees, mold, dust mite and animal danders can also cause symptoms. The various pollens produce seasonal symptoms, whereas mold, dust mite and animal danders may result in perennial, or year-round symptoms. Since pollen and mold counts can vary widely, a variety of resources are available to determine which allergens are found in your region, and when they tend to be highest in quantity (www.aaoaf.org, www.pollen.com) Regardless of the allergen, the result of exposure is the same. Histamine and other inflammatory chemicals are released in the body, and the symptoms of allergies ensue. 

Symptoms
Nasal symptoms such as runny nose, sneezing, and congestion are the most common complaints. Many other areas of the body can also be affected by allergies. Itching of the eyes with redness and watering, headache, intermittent ear plugging, chronic cough, wheezing, intermittent hoarseness, sore throat, and fatigue can also be experienced. Chronic sinus and ear infections may result from allergic rhinitis. 

Treatment
There are only three ways to manage the symptoms of allergic rhinitis:

  1. Avoidance
  2. Medications
  3. Immunotherapy

Avoidance
Some useful measures include:

  • Pollen 
  • Stay indoors during peak allergy season
  • Keep windows closed and use air conditioning if possible
  • Use HEPA air filters/vacuum cleaners

Mold

  • Thoroughly clean all damp areas of the home with fungicidal cleaner
  • Avoid having indoor plants, which can harbor mold in the soil
  • Discard any moldy food
  • Dust mite 
  • Wash bed sheets at least weekly in hot water > 140o F
  • Use synthetic pillows
  • Cover pillows, mattress and box springs with hypoallergenic material
  • Keep humidity low (<50%)
  • Remove dust catchers i.e. drapes, excess pillows, etc
  • Use HEPA air filters/vacuum cleaners
  • Animal dander 
  • Keep pets out of the bedroom
  • Wash pet at least once per week
  • Wash hands after handling pets
  • Use HEPA air filters/vacuum cleaners

Medications
In addition to avoidance measures, medications can be used to control allergy symptoms. The mainstays of allergy medication therapy are nasal steroid sprays and oral antihistamines. Topical antihistamines, leukotriene inhibitors, cromolyn sodium, and decongestants may also provide benefit. 

Allergy testing
Steroids
Leukotriene inhibitors

Immunotherapy
Allergy shots, or immunotherapy, can be useful in controlling allergy symptoms when avoidance measures and medications provide incomplete relief. Immunotherapy is a prophylactic and therapeutic treatment, and may decrease the need for allergy medications. Allergy testing is an integral part of immunotherapy, and can be performed by skin or in vitro methods. A consultation with an otolaryngic allergist will determine if you are a candidate for immunotherapy.

Other treatments (salycilate? – also in nasal polyp area)