You may have never thought nasal allergies are the result of an attack by the immune system. Nasal allergies, technically known as allergic rhinitis, are the body’s way of defending the body against environmental allergens. Food and medicinal allergies affect the body in different ways. More extreme reactions include anaphylaxis and uncontrollable vomiting. If you have environmental allergies, when these allergens enter the body, it results in mucus build up, sneezing, runny nose, watery eyes, and other things. If you suffer from nasal allergies, you are not alone. 1 in 5 adults suffers from allergies but the good news is there are treatments to help.
If you suffer from allergies, you notice that not only are there nasal problems, but you may also feel pressure in your head and get runny eyes. To understand why this happens, you must know the structure of the nasal passage and how it relates to the sinuses. The nasal passage is a cavity. With it being a cavity, it is open to things entering. The nasal passage is connected to the sinus cavity. There are four types of sinuses: frontal, ethmoid, maxillary, and sphenoid. They all rest in the skull. When allergens enter the body through the nasal passage, it then leads to irritation of the sinuses. For this reason, you will also have watery eyes and in some cases sinus headaches.
An allergen is anything that causes an allergic reaction. In the case of nasal allergies, allergens typically include pollen, dust, ragweed, and even pet hair. Not everyone has allergies, so these things do not affect everyone. Allergies are not hard to diagnose. If you are not sure if you have nasal allergies, you will find out once springtime hits. The symptoms of allergies typically rise during the springtime where the grass begins to grow again and flowers bloom. All the pollen and ragweed flourish. When any of these allergens enter the system, the immune system’s response results in inflammation of the nasal cavity as well as inflammation in the sinus cavity.
Nasal Allergies Symptoms
Allergy symptoms include watery eyes, runny nose, and itching. The eyes will become extremely itchy. You may also feel itching in your nose as well as the back of the throat. Sneezing is a common symptom. The allergens irritate the nose, and it causes you to release it through sneezing. Smell will also become a problem. Other problems such as nasal congestion, headache, and sore throat typically occur with ongoing allergies. You may begin to feel swelling in the face as well as experience either ear pain or the feeling of your ears being clogged.
Treating and Diagnosing Nasal Allergies
A formal diagnosis is not always necessary for nasal allergies. Most people can diagnose themselves. A doctor can diagnose you based on your symptoms and the season in which you experience these symptoms. Some people want a deeper evaluation. In this case, a physician may do a skin test. The skin test consists of the doctor pricking you with only minuscule amounts of possible allergens. It shows both you and the physician your allergens. If your skin swells at the location of that particular allergen placement, then your result is positive. This test is typically done for food allergens but can be done for environmental allergens.
The best treatment is to try to avoid allergens that are causing your symptoms altogether. Some ways to avoid these allergens include keeping your house clean. Cleaning up the dust will cut down on nasal allergies. If you have an allergy to pets, staying away from them is your best bet. In many cases, staying totally away from allergens is difficult unless you live in a bubble. Physicians may prescribe over the counter antihistamines. These include medications such as Claritin, Benadryl, and Zyrtec. Nasal sprays are also helpful. The major side effect includes drowsiness. Corticosteroids in the form of nasal sprays are very effective in treating nasal allergies. Decongestants are used in conjunction with these other medications to decrease the inflammation in the nasal passage. In more severe cases, allergy shots made be given routinely. Allergy shots are only given when your symptoms cannot be controlled with other medications.
The great thing about nasal allergies is that they are treatable. It is best to get ahead of the problem. If you know for sure you will be outside for extended periods of time or know you will be in contact with allergens, take medication before leaving home. With the medication in your system already, it will lessen your reaction to allergens when you come into contact with them. Typically in the winter time, allergies are not a problem but when springtime comes stay on a daily routine. Nasal allergies are not necessarily cured, but they can be outgrown. Children who have allergies may not have them into adulthood, or they may not be as bad. If you have allergies as an adult, it is usually a life-long issue. Nasal allergies is not a life-threatening problem, but if your symptoms worsen, or your body no longer responds to the treatments you have been on, then it is time to see a physician.
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