What are allergies?
Allergies are an abnormal response of the immune system, which normally protects your body against viruses and bacteria.
People who have allergies, however, have an immune system that mistakenly fights and overreacts to an environmental substance that is usually harmless, such as pollen, mold, or animal dander.
This substance is called an allergen, and when a person is exposed to it, several reactions can occur that result in an allergic reaction. These often include dilation of blood vessels and the production of histamine, an inflammatory substance that can cause many symptoms.
Common systems of an allergic reaction include:
- Itchy, watery eyes
- Hives (a rash with raised red patches)
- Feeling tired or sick
What is sinusitis?
Sinusitis is an inflammation of the sinus lining and nasal passages that keeps mucus from draining easily through the nose, as it normally does. As mucus is blocked and builds up in the sinuses, it can lead to very uncomfortable symptoms.
Symptoms of sinusitis can include:
- Facial pain
- Pain or tenderness and swelling around the eyes, cheeks, nose, and forehead
- Sinus pressure or congestion
- Difficulty breathing through the nose
- Reduced sense of smell or taste
- Sinus headache
- Drainage of yellow or green mucus from the nose
- Teeth pain
- Sore throat from nasal discharge
- Bad breath
Is there a connection between sinusitis and allergies?
Allergies can trigger swelling in the sinuses and mucous linings of the nose. This can cause the sinus passages to close up and trap bacteria in the sinuses, which can develop into a sinus infection.
Frequent allergic reactions that result in sinusitis can cause sinusitis to become a chronic condition that can least for 12 weeks or more.
Because the symptoms of sinusitis are similar to those associated with allergies, it’s important to recognize the difference and undergo treatment that targets your specific issue.
What are the treatment options for sinusitis and allergies?
An otolaryngologist (a doctor who specializes in issues of the ear, nose, and throat) is the most appropriate person to evaluate your allergy and sinusitis symptoms.
Treatment for allergies can include medications in a wide variety of forms, including pills, inhalers, and eye drops. Some of these are available as over-the-counter medications, while others are available by prescription.
Antihistamines can be used to block the histamine that causes many symptoms, and decongestants may also be used to help relieve congestion.
In addition, immunotherapy is a treatment option that’s used to build up tolerance to those environmental substances to which a patient is allergic. It often involves using injections of a very small amount of the allergen, but it can also be administered under the tongue.
Sinusitis treatment options include:
- Nasal decongestant sprays
- Topical nasal corticosteroids (to help control inflammation)
- Nasal saline washes
Surgery may be necessary when antibiotics and other medicines aren’t effective at treating sinusitis. Sometimes an underlying issue, such as a deviated septum or nasal polyps, is the cause of your symptoms and can be corrected with surgery.
Where can I find treatment for my sinusitis and allergies in the Dallas/Fort Worth area?
DFW Sinus Select is a practice that’s specifically dedicated to the care, diagnosis, and treatment of disorders related to the nose and sinuses.
Our board-certified ear, nose, and throat doctors provide state-of-the-art care in a manner that’s individualized and compassionate. We’ll conduct a thorough examination and medical history to determine the cause of your issues. Based on this information, we’ll then offer the latest minimally invasive, long-lasting treatments available.
Schedule an appointment with DFW Sinus Select today!