Allergies and Hayfever

Individuals who suffer with chronic sneezing, nasal discharge, or itchy eyes, could have an allergy or hayfever. Allergies are a significant underlying cause of sinusitis.

What is an allergy?

An allergy is the body’s chemical reaction to exposure to some environmental source that is disagreeable with the body. Allergies can be acquired or inherited. The result of a typical allergic reaction is sneezing, nasal discharge and itching eyes. Individuals have a variety of allergies from different sources but some of the most common include:

  • Pollen;
  • Dust mites;
  • Animal dandruff;
  • Mold;
  • A significant number foods; and
  • A significant number of medications both prescribed and over-the-counter.

Hay fever

is a pollen allergy and is one of the most common forms of allergy. Pollen is produced by trees, grasses and weeds. Most individuals are affected during the spring through early fall and the severity of pollen spores in the air at anytime is dependant on geographical location.

What are the symptoms of hay fever?

The symptoms of hay fever are similar to those of allergy and include:

  • Sneezing;
  • Runny or clogged nose;
  • Coughing;
  • Itchy eyes, nose and throat;
  • Watery eyes; and
  • Red , swollen eyes.

Who are the most likely candidates for allergies and hay fever?

There are no likely candidates for allergies or hay fever but because it can be genetic in nature, it is likely that if your relatives have allergies, you and other family members may have the same types of allergies.

How are allergies diagnosed?

A number of testing procedures can be used in order to determine if an individual has allergies and what sources or agents are causing the allergy. The two most common types of allergy testing are skin (“scratch” tests) where a small drop of diluted allergen is dropped in a small scratch in the patient’s skin and then the patient will be observed for 10-20 minutes to see if a red bump (indicating an allergic reaction) forms. Another type of allergy test is blood testing for a protein called IgE, which is produced in individuals who have allergies.

How are allergies treated?

Allergies are treated by:

  • Avoiding the sources that cause the symptoms of allergy;
  • Use appropriately prescribed medications; and
  • Use appropriately prescribed allergy shots.

Who is qualified to treat allergies?

If your allergies are causing significant sinus issues, your allergist will need to work with a sinus specialist in order to create a comprehensive treatment plan. A specialized professional, preferably an otolaryngologist with extensive sinus experience, is necessary to evaluate and diagnose the causes of chronic or acute sinusitis caused by allergies. It is important to not only deal with the current bout of sinusitis, but to take steps to reduce the chances of the sinusitis recurring in the future, which require analysis of the likely contributing factors.

The sinus-specialty otolaryngologists of The Sinus Institute at CEI have over 35 years of experience treating sinusitis in all of its forms using both medical treatments and cutting edge surgery options. Click here to make an appointment.