What You Need to Know About Nasal Allergies

close up of a nose with flowers coming out of one nostril and an apple coming out of the other. concept for nasal allergies

If you’re one of the millions of people who suffer from nasal allergies, you know how annoying they can be. Sniffling, sneezing, itchy nose and eyes…it’s enough to drive anyone crazy! But did you know that there are things you can do to help ease your symptoms? In this blog post, we’ll discuss everything you need to know about nasal allergies – from what causes them to how to treat them. So if you’re ready to learn more about nasal allergies, read on!

What are nasal allergies and what causes them?

Nasal allergies, or allergic rhinitis, is a common condition which can cause sneezing, itchy nose and eyes, a runny nose, and congestion. Normally, the nose produces thin, clear mucus that keeps dust, pollen, bacteria, and viruses out of the lungs.

Allergic rhinitis occurs when the body experiences an exaggerated immune response to exposure to foreign substances called allergens. This can cause the nasal passages to become inflamed, which causes an increase in mucus production. When this happens, the mucus becomes thick and pale yellow in color.

Some common allergens include pollen, dust mites, and pet dander. People’s reactions to these different types of allergens vary widely; some might suffer severe allergic symptoms whereas others may only experience mild symptoms or none at all. Some people may also have short term symptoms, while others may experience chronic allergies.

There are different types of rhinitis, such as:

side profile of normal nasal passages vs. nasal passages affected by rhinitis

Allergic Rhinitis

Caused by allergies to allergens.

Seasonal Allergic Rhinitis

Also known as hay fever, this is an allergic reaction to pollen from trees, grasses, and/or weeds. As such, it mainly occurs in the spring and fall when pollen levels are at their highest.

Perennial Allergic Rhinitis

Caused by allergies that are present all year long. This type of allergy is usually caused by an allergy to dust mites, mold, animal dander, or cockroach debris.

Non-Allergic Rhinitis

Not caused by allergens, but caused by irritating environmental factors such as smoke or chemicals. Can also be the result of certain medications.

Infectious Rhinitis

Known as the common cold, this occurs when the cold virus infects the mucus in the nose and sinus cavities.

How can you tell if you have nasal allergies?

Recognizing the symptoms of nasal allergies can be tricky since the signs can often be mistaken for a cold, sinus infection, or other respiratory illness. But if you experience repeated instances of itchy, watery eyes; sneezing; runny nose; congestion; sore throat; and coughing in reaction to an environmental irritant – like pollen, dust, pet dander or mold – then it’s likely that you have nasal allergies.

People who suffer from seasonal allergies may find their symptoms get worse during certain times of the year when pollen levels are highest. Moreover, those with year-round allergies will find themselves dealing with similar issues all throughout the year. So if you believe that your persistent nasal troubles require more attention than just an over-the-counter remedy can provide, then make sure to visit your local ENT.

woman having a nasal endoscopy performed by an ENT

When should you see an ENT about your nasal allergies, and what will they do to help you manage them better?

If you’re dealing with regular and bothersome nasal allergies, it’s likely time to make an appointment with an ENT. ENT stands for Ear, Nose, and Throat, and refers to a medical specialist known as an otolaryngologist. These doctors are trained to diagnose and treat a variety of conditions related to the ear, nose, and throat, including hearing loss, ear infections, sinus problems, allergies, and sleep disorders, among others. An ENT doctor may perform medical or surgical procedures to treat these conditions, and may work closely with other healthcare providers to provide comprehensive care to patients.

Here is a table showing the steps an ENT (ear, nose, and throat) doctor may take in treating nasal allergies:

1. Initial evaluationThe doctor will perform a physical examination, ask about the symptoms and medical history, and identify any triggers for the allergies.
2. Diagnostic testsThe doctor may perform tests such as a skin prick test or a blood test to determine the specific allergens causing the reaction.
3. MedicationsOver-the-counter or prescription antihistamines, decongestants, nasal sprays, or eye drops can be prescribed to relieve symptoms.
4. Allergen avoidanceThe doctor may recommend avoiding triggers, such as pet dander, pollen, dust mites, or mold.
5. ImmunotherapyIf medication and avoidance measures are not effective, the doctor may suggest immunotherapy, also known as allergy shots, to reduce sensitivity to specific allergens.
6. SurgeryIn severe cases, surgery such as nasal polyp removal or sinus surgery may be recommended.
7. Follow-up appointmentsRegular follow-up appointments with the doctor may be necessary to monitor progress and adjust treatment as needed.

It’s important to note that the treatment plan will vary depending on the severity and type of allergy, as well as your medical history.

In Conclusion

If you’re suffering from sniffles, a runny nose, itchy eyes, and general misery during certain times of the year, you may have seasonal allergies. However, before self-diagnosing and treating your symptoms with over-the-counter medication, it’s important to understand what nasal allergies are and how to get rid of them for good. In this blog post, we discussed everything you need to know about nasal allergies: what they are; what causes them; how to tell if you have them; their symptoms; and how to treat them. If after reading this blog post you think you may suffer from seasonal allergies, we recommend scheduling an appointment with your local ENT (ear nose throat specialist) so they can help get to the bottom of your sniffles once and for all.

Lee A. Kleiman a doctor at Anne Arundel ENT

Dr. Lee A. Kleiman is a double board certified ENT & plastic surgeon at Anne Arundel ENT in Annapolis, Maryland known for his superior clinical outcomes in all Surgical and Non-Surgical ENT, specializing in Sinus Care, Voice and Swallowing, Rhinoplasty and Revision Rhinoplasty, and Facelifts and Non-surgical Aesthetic. He also continues to attend conferences internationally and nationally to keep abreast of the latest treatments and technology.