Allergies and Hay Fever
What is Hay Fever or Allergic Rhinitis?
Rhinitis or nasal allergies commonly known as hay fever are very common in United States. If you are sensitive to certain allergens- small particles that can irritate the inner linings of your nasal cavity- you may experience inflammation, sneezing, runny nose and watery and itchy eyes among many other annoying symptoms.
A skilled and experienced allergy doctor can help you better manage your allergies and avoid complications. If your allergies are acting up, do not hesitate to call at 440-352-1474 to set up an appointment with a board-certified ENT doctor.
What Causes Allergies?
Your immune system protects your body from foreign bacteria and virus. However, an over-responding immune system may respond to non-infectious small particles such as pollens, dust mites or certain foods to activate your body’s defense mechanism. Your antibodies attach themselves to histamine producing cells, in your lungs, skin and mucous membranes. Histamine is released opening the blood vessels up and leading to swollen and inflamed membranes. This is what causes sneezing, runny nose and watery eyes.
Some common allergens that can trigger allergic rhinitis are:
- Tree pollens
- Pollens from grasses and weeds
- Dust mites
- Animal dander
- Animal hair
- Wood dust
Types of Allergic Rhinitis
There are two main types of allergic rhinitis, depending on the kind of allergen and the time of the year, your allergies flare up:
Seasonal Allergic Rhinitis or Hay Fever usually shows up in late summer or spring. Ragweed is the main causal factor of in the spring, while pollen exacerbates the allergies in people with sensitivity to tree pollens in March and April. Mold spores can also lead to allergies in early winter.
Perennial Allergic Rhinitis is usually caused by allergens and dusts from wallpaper mold, carpeting, pet hair, houseplants, and upholstery. This type of allergic rhinitis occurs year round and can be made worse by chronic bacterial infection in the nasal passage.
What are the Symptoms of Allergies?
Some immediate symptoms of your allergies may be:
- Hay allergy rash
- Runny nose
- Postnasal drip
- Watery eyes
- Itchy ears, nose, throat and eyes
Long-term effects of your allergies may include:
- Loss of smell
- A stuffy nose
- Breathing through your mouth
- Light sensitive eyes
- Sleep disorders
- Hearing difficulties
- Feeling of fatigue and tiredness
In addition to all these discomforting conditions, your allergic rhinitis can also lead to recurrent or acute infections to the mucosal linings of your nose and sinuses called sinusitis.
What are the Risk Factors for Allergies?
Following factors may increase your risks for developing allergies:
- Allergies in your family
- Living or working in a polluted area
- Excessive use of hairspray or perfumes
- Working with certain chemicals
- Exposure to cold temperatures
- Working outdoors can trigger pollen allergy
When Should I see a Doctor?
Whether you are experiencing discomforting symptoms of your seasonal allergies and acute allergic rhinitis, or an allergic reaction caused by an unknown source is making you restless, an experienced allergist should be contacted to treat your symptoms.
How are Allergies Diagnosed?
Your ENT specialist may use the following procedures to diagnose the nature and severity of your allergies:
A Physical Exam: Your ENT doctor may ask you some questions and conduct a physical examination to thoroughly check out the symptoms.
A Skin Test: Your doctor may place small amounts of allergens under your skin with the help of small needles, to pin point the substance responsible for your allergies. If you are allergic to a particular allergen, you may develop itching, bumps and redness that goes away in a while.
How are Allergies Treated?
Your allergies can be managed with the help of combination of following treatment options:
- Eye Drops
- Nasal Sprays
- Prescription Medication
Allergies can significantly reduce the quality of your life and may be accompanied with certain serious ENT diseases and disorders. A skilled and experienced allergy doctor can help you better manage your allergies and avoid complications. If your allergies are acting up, do not hesitate to call at 440-352-1474 to set up an appointment with a board-certified ENT doctor in east Ohio.
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OTHER HELPFUL NOSE, SINUS & ALLERGY FACT SHEETS:
- Allergies and Hay Fever
- Allergic Rhinitis, Sinusitis, and Rhinosinusitis
- Antihistamines, Decongestants, and Cold Remedies
- Cleft Lip and Cleft Palate
- Facial Sports Injuries
- Fungal Sinusitis
- Nasal Fractures
- Nose Surgery
- Pediatric Obesity and Ear, Nose, and Throat Disorders
- Post-Nasal Drip
- Salivary Glands
- Secondhand Smoke
- Sinus Pain: Can Over-the-Counter Medications Help?
- Sinusitis: Special Considerations for Aging Patients
- Smell & Taste
- Stuffy Nose
- Tips for Sinus Sufferers
- Your Nose, the Guardian of Your Lungs